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BUSEK: Anniversary message to a woman he has thought about often

By JIM BUSEK • Mar 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Memo to: Dr. Stephanie Mick

Thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon

Cleveland Clinic

Dear Dr. Mick:

Remember me? I like to think you might. After all, it was just a year ago this week that I gave you my heart. Well, more precisely, you took it out and worked on it. Aortic valve and ascending aorta replacement. Remember that? Slightly balding — OK, cue ball — gentleman? That was me, Jim Busek.

I thought of you the other day as I was walking around my back yard. The white bark of a sycamore tree was just beautiful against a cloudless blue sky. Then when I looked down, I saw a cluster of snowdrops, the first flowers of the year.

I thought to myself: I might have missed these things if Dr. Mick had not done her timely work on my heart and my aortic aneurysm.

I have had similar thoughts many times in the past year, Dr. Mick.

I thought about you on the late spring evening after Char and I watched five baby foxes playing in our back yard.

I thought about you while I was savoring my attendance at the very moment when our favorite six year old learned to swim. And after each of his two piano recitals. And again each time he and his brother first mastered biking without training wheels. I really wanted to see those things, Dr. Mick.

Similarly, my tomato crop last summer was the best and longest-lasting ever. More than once, Dr. Mick, as I was enjoying a red, ripe Better Boy, I thought of you.

Likewise after the fantastic steamed clams I had in Alaska (three times in one week!). I was so grateful to be there instead of wherever I might have been with a ruptured aorta.

Then there were a couple of times I went swimming in the ocean last summer. Afterward, I am pretty sure I thought kind thoughts about you and your work as I fell asleep on the beach. Really, Dr. Mick, a chance to doze in the sun with the sound of the ocean in the background — such a gift.

And there was so much more, Dr. Mick, in just one year.

There was the handful of good ideas I got for a newspaper column I write. There was the pleasure of reading a few good books. There was the day I showed a little boy a dozen robins feasting on crabapples outside our bedroom window. And the night I saw Venus and a crescent moon in the pitch-black Santa Fe sky.

Did you see the once-in-a-lifetime Super Moon, Dr. Mick? I did.

And I would have been so disappointed to have missed the amazing sports moments of the past year: The Cavs, The World Series in extra innings, OSU-Michigan in overtime, the Super Bowl in overtime. What a year! And, probably thanks to you, I was around to see it.

Of course I also saw a bald eagle at a park close to my home. My begonias were beautiful and lasted until November. I got interviewed on national radio. I went downhill skiing in the Rockies. And cross country skiing on a perfect winter day. I told some stories that made people laugh. And one night in a Minnesota state park lodge, I listened for an hour or more to falling rain and rolling thunder.

Really, it’s been another great year to be alive. And I got to see just how many people cared very much that I continued to hold that status. Which has caused me to appreciate those friends and loved ones as never before.

I am pretty sure your work on March 9, 2016 made all those moments and all that appreciation possible.

I was a little groggy at the time, so I am not sure if I ever adequately thanked you.

Thank you, Dr. Mick. Thank you very much.


Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at jimbusek@ hotmail.com.

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