AT RANDOM: It’s one of the few times in my life I’ve listened to the voice in my head and been truly thankful.

It’s one of the few times in my life I’ve listened to the voice in my head and been truly thankful.

“Go to the walk-in clinic,” said the voice. “You need to go to the walk-in clinic. Now.”

It was late August. I was having pains in the middle of my chest, accompanied by a cough.

As usual, I was ignoring it, hoping the pain would go away on its own, or figuring it was heartburn – though there was no actual “burn” feeling like I normally get when I KNOW I have heartburn – or maybe I’d pulled a muscle from the cough. I’ve done that before.

But I was on Facebook – I probably should have listened to the voice when it said “you don’t need to be on Facebook again” – when I read about a friend of mine who had the same symptoms I did and, yada, yada, yada, he had been sent by air ambulance to Vancouver and had a stint implanted in his chest.


I went to the walk-in clinic. The doctor thought I was having heartburn but ordered some blood work.

The results weren’t good but at least I had some answers. And I could start to make changes in my life, which I have done and, so far, the results are very encouraging.

I am glad I listened to myself and went to a doctor. And I am thankful that I have a chance to make things better.

If there’s one big lament I have in this life (and have not been able to get over), it’s the fact I only got to spend 12 years with my dad before he died.

He was my hero, my idol, I loved him more than anything or anyone. And he hated doctors. With a passion.

My dad was a boxer. He broke his pinkie in a bout. Rather than go to a doctor to get the finger fixed, he went through life with a crooked pinkie, such was his loathing of the medical profession.

Some of that has rubbed off on me. But had my dad gone to a doctor, who knows, he might still be with us, a couple of months shy of turning 96. He may have lived long enough to see me graduate, to hit my first home run, to have a beer with.

With my own son turning 16 this month, I don’t want him to go through what I did.

I like my doctor. He’s laid back, never on time but he cares about me. I’m thankful for that.

As this is the Friday of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, there are a lot of things I’m thankful for:

n My son; the greatest gift I have ever received and I hope to be around for many more years to love him, live vicariously through his athletic prowess, embarrass him every once in a while, watch him grow into a fine young man, and have a beer with him;

n My son’s mom; She never hears it enough but she does a great job in raising our son;

n My family; I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without them;

n Same goes for my co-workers;

n That I still have a job, one that – most days – I enjoy.

n A great health care system in Canada;

n Long weekends;

n Baseball playoffs, leading up to the World Series;

n The ability to cast a ballot in next Monday’s federal election;

n The greatest friends a guy could have;

n For Facebook; it’s a way to keep tabs on those friends;

n Thanksgiving dinners;

n Nanaimo bars (I’m not giving up everything without a fight).