"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Chris' Cardiac Care Christmas

Greetings brethren, and thanks for all the kind messages, calls and visits. For those who don't know, I was admitted to the hospital on Monday afternoon because of extreme shortness of breath. I'll say. It seems that my lungs were filling up to the brim with fluid, which was preventing me from insignificant things like sleeping and inhaling. My doctor was so concerned that he actually threw me in his car and drove me to the hospital.

After three days in the Indiana Heart Hospital, they don't think I'm in here because of a heart problem, but they aren't sure. THAT'S modern medicine. It's been a true comedy of errors in here that I won't think is so funny when the bills come (since I have no health insurance). Still, no one here can seem to figure out why my lungs fill up with fluid. And there's a little question of a massive, unidentified mass of tissue under my thyroid that's striking terror into my very being, especially since my 13 year old oncologist, Dr. Pablo Mengele, keeps reiterating that it might not be cancer, really. Maybe. Not. But there are over 300 kinds of cancers and it might be one. He of course wandered in to my room last night in his $500 Armani suit while my whole family was here and blurted this out.


More tests today, then I think they'll send me home while I sweat it out for three days like a prisoner on death row to hear just which of the more than 300 cancers this isn't.

Not my idea of how to spend Christmas. But given the way I felt Christmas Eve, better than the alternative. And best of all, I have both Alice and the dog in the room with me. All in all, everything after this is a gift.

Thanks again for your thoughts, prayers, wishes, and especially for your friendship.


  1. I hope you get the answers you seek soon. If you require a second opinion, my brother is a board- certified radiologist, with board certifications in several oncological fields related to nuclear and magnetic medicine, in short, he looks for all 300 kinds of cancer all day long. If you require assistance, I can ask him to look at your films/scans.

  2. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

    Traveling Man

  3. All the best wishes. Get answers, then get well.

  4. Brother,
    You are in our thoughts in prayers.

  5. Bro. Chris,

    You are in the prayers of Masons around the world. I always thought of you as a proud Dummy, not an Idiot, and only an Idiot would let his lungs fill up!

    Tell Alice "Hi" from Jacquelynn and me.


    Chief Idiot

    P.S. By the way, since I am a doctor, my services are available to you whenever you need them.

  6. Bro Chris,

    We're all pulling for you and hoping for the best. I am not a doctor, so my advice is based on nothing more than instinct. Whatever you do, do not try to entertain yourself by watching the movie .

  7. My brother, my prayers are with you and your family. If you need anyting, please just ask.

    Br. Greg

  8. Dear Brother Chris,

    I am praying for your comfort and for
    Divine intercession on your part. May the Lord radiate His healing touch upon you and bring peace to your household and strength to your spirit.

    Fraternally in the Mystic Chain,

    Bro. David

  9. Bro. Chris -
    Maybe they are discharging you because of your perverse sense of humor.

    And if I were you, I'd check the references on the correspondence college from which Dr. Morris received his credentials. Can't be too careful.

    Best wishes and good reiki for you.

  10. Brother Chris,
    Knock it off and get back to work. Jees, some guys will do anything to loaf around a hospital with the pretty nurses.

    Seriously, Brother get better soon. Be strong and keep a positive attitude as much as possible. It helps a lot.


  11. Bro Chris,

    I hope that things turn out all right. I know the frustrations with modern medicine, I am right there with you.

    Know that we are all pulling for you.

    Bro Vick

  12. Chris,
    Hurry up and get better so you can finish your next book!!!

    In all seriousness- I am praying for your speedy recovery and please keep us informed.


  13. Chris - I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Regarding your lack of medical insurance, I hope you'll let us brothers know if we can be of any relief. I know that's a hard thing to do but that's what we're here for.

  14. No, no, my brother. Please do NOT misread my remark about stupidly being without insurance as a plea for help. But I am touched and humbled that you asked. Thank you.

    I'm home tonight, after finally going postal with the docs who were playing switch-finger over my test scheduling. They were content to have me languish around the hospital day after day waiting for this department or that one to get around to getting me in, while telling me nothing. They finally sprung me and I'll do the other tests out-patient.

    Right now, signs point to congestive heart failure that allowed the fluid to build up in my lungs – yet they aren't sure if this bizarre "growth" they discovered caused the problem in the first place, or if it is totally unrelated. I do know this started weeks ago when I was in New Jersey and Boston, and maybe before.

    Brent - thanks for your offer, not that I question your medical acumen or anything. However, if this lumpy refugee from a bad Vincent Price movie (it looks like "The Tingler") that's spreading from my thyroid turns out to be truly exotic, I may call upon your expertise as a magician.

    Wayf - thanks for the suggestion of your brother. I have no confidence so far in the oncologist I have, but the Indiana University Cancer Center is here in town, and is highly regarded. I don't get results from the biopsy till next week. But if it turns out to be cancer, the first call I'll make will be to the head of the IU program.

    Yeah, I don't mind saying it out here in front of God and everybody. I'm bloody terrified.

    Alice and I both thank you all for your notes, calls, visits and prayers. The brethren of this fraternity truly mean the world to me.

  15. bro hodapp,

    all my best wishes and prayers are being sent your way. if you need any help, please do not hesitate to ask.

    -jl page

  16. Chris

    Get well soon my brother

    my prayers are with you and your family

    Wayne Cowley

  17. My dear Brother,
    I am sad to read about your actual health problem, as many of your friends and brethren around, my thoughts are with you.

    Frederic "ParisFred"

  18. Chris, I told Sally last night that one good thing that's come out of this is that you've scared me spitless about MY health. The diet and exercise regimen is thus scheduled to start Jan. 2. (I also have a full physical scheduled for Jan. 10.)

    For those who don't know, Chris and I joke that we are twin brothers of different mothers. When I sit as Master and Chris is in the West, he swears that it's like he's looking in a mirror.

    You were greatly missed at last night's Feast and at the potables meeting afterwards (where the REAL toasts were offered).

    Anyway, we're pulling for you, Bro. Let us know if there is anything we can do.

  19. Bro. Chris,

    My thoughts and best wishes are with you. If I can help you in any way, just ask.


    Widow's Son

  20. Surely you didn't do this just so I'd give you yet another good review on the about-to-be released Conspracies for Dummies book, eh?

    Seriously: take care and let all of us know if there's ANYTHING we can do to help. You may be surprised at the people we've met that you haven't (yet!).

    Warmest fraternal regards,
    Ed King

  21. Brother you will be in my thoughts. The Brothers of Enlightenment Lodge would like to help if something needs to be done. We even have some Brothers who could help transport a family member or something I am sure....

    Please let us know.


  22. I will send out a cosmic prayer for good health and happiness to you in 2008.

    Be Well,


  23. Ed King wrote:"Surely you didn't do this just so I'd give you yet another good review on the about-to-be released Conspiracies for Dummies book, eh?"

    You have detected my cunning scheme. Hey, sickness worked for Liz Taylor's "Butterfield 8" Oscar... On the other hand, Peter O'Toole gets skunked no matter how terrible he looks.

    Nathan Brindle wrote: "The diet and exercise regimen is thus scheduled to start Jan. 2. (I also have a full physical scheduled for Jan. 10.)"

    You know I hate being an example, unless I can be a bad example.

  24. Bro. Hodapp, my prayers are with you during these trying times. May the Lord watch over you.

  25. You know you and Alice are in mine and Julie's prayers. If there is anything I can do you know you can just ask and it will be done.

    Bill Hosler

  26. Dear Brother:

    My wishes and prayers are for your complete recovery--we aren't ready to release you to the Great Lodge Above just yet.

    Bro Chris Hansen

  27. Brother Hodapp,

    The world at large, and Masonry in particular, needs you around for a long, long time. You have my family's and my lodge's prayers for as long as you need them.

    I also am in one of several periods I've had of being without health insurance. I know that this tension cannot help any either. From personal experience, I can say that the best thing you can do is be determined to heal now, and deal with all that later (like, with a best-selling book, movie script, video game or TV show concept).

    Positive energy to you, my friend. Be well.

  28. A Masonic TV Game show.

    The Secret Square...


  29. Bro. Hodapp.

    I had better see you, Alice, and Wiley at Masonic Week this year.... There are more than a few brothers here in the DC area (and visiting) who will miss out, and above all, I believe i have a debt to settle ;)

    get better bro.

    Justin Budreau

  30. Brother Justin,
    Barring grim pronouncements from white jacketed ghouls, I'll be there with Alice. However, some four-alarm genius booked Masonic Week into a swanky Hilton that doesn't allow dogs (or cigar smoking either, BTW, which should make Nelson King extra-cranky). In other words, the hospital was more accommodating than this hotel as far as my canine associate is concerned. Sort of insulting, since they allow children, who are far more destructive, invasive and annoying. And frankly, I'm more likely to pee on the floor than Wiley is right now, especially since I'm taking a water pill the size of a largish melon.

  31. Brother Chris,

    Let me see if I get this straight: You have just come out of the hospital with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, and you are complaining that the hotel chosen for Masonic Week doesn't allow cigars ??!!? Need I say more?

  32. Hah.
    Well, first, I don't smoke the wretched things. I much prefer a pipe:

    - More crowd pleasing tobacco choices

    - Gives the puffer that artificial pretense of sophistication and intellect

    - Gives you something to do with your hands to keep from having to answer direct questions right away. Pipe messing about can occupy 10 and 20 minute stretches of intense, yet disinterested looking fiddling that will eventually bore the questioner into leaving you alone.

    - You have a nice little work of art when you're done, as opposed to a soggy butt. If you know what I mean.

    Nevertheless, my smoking days are at a halt until the foreign invaders in my chest can be identified.

    However, I discovered that I have been misinformed. When I made my reservation, I was told the Hilton DOES have smoking rooms.

    Now, if I can con them into believing the 17 pound French poodle is a service dog, all will be right with the world...

  33. i imagine the smoking rooms are going to be taken up by hospitality suites...at least i hope they do...


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