My Enlightening Summer In Review


(Captblowdri @ Talladega Superspeedway)

Labor Day is now upon us and that signifies the end of summer.  The Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last weekend of the family sun and fun.

My 2010 summer has been drastically different from any other that I have had since graduating from Fresno State in June 1973, or for that fact in my entire life!

The preface to my summer was written on the evening of May 16, 2010.  That was to be the beginning of, what I will deem, my enlightening summer!  The series of events, the UAL Flight Safety Investigation and the NTSB Investigation, that followed the cockpit fire, made me feel like I was under the intense scrutiny of both United Air Lines and the federal government.

In conjunction with dealing with the above events, I was notified that one of my closest college buddies, and the former Chief of Police of Madera, CA, had lost his gallant battle for his life.  It was the summer of ’69 that I first met Jerry Noblett. However, it was a cool spring morning on May 24, 2010 that I had to say farewell to my buddy!

As the next few weeks progressed, I came to realize that there was something strange going on in my chest.  I was feeling like my pulse was erratic, my blood pressure was giving me strange feelings, and I was feeling tired.  So I did what most responsible patients do, I contacted my cardiologist, Dr. John R. Nelson.

On Monday July 5th, I was able to get in to see my cardiologist.  Before I left his office he had me hooked up with a heart monitor that I had to wear for 24 hours. Late the next evening my cardiologist called me to relay to me the news from the monitor data.  The doctor instructed me to report at 8:30am for a heart CT scan and an echocardiogram.  By the time I left his office on Wednesday afternoon, I had an appointment to see the Electro-Physiologist, Dr. Khoi Le, regarding my newly found issue, Ventricular Tachycardia!

Thursday morning at 8:30am I consulted with the Electro-Physiologist.  When I left his office around 9:15am, I was scheduled for a cardiac ablation procedure with a hospital report time of 8:00am Friday morning.  The four hour procedure and my stay in the hospital was an experience that I soon will not forget!

One of the several outcomes from the cardiac ablation is being grounded by the FAA pending the outcome of this procedure and many tests that are to follow.  The latest from the FAA is that I am grounded until at least November of 2011.  Another outcome from all of this is that my aorta valve is approaching the point whereby it is needing to be replaced.  Another procedure that I must confront sometime in the near future!

In spite of the medical conditions that have come to light, I was able to meet up with one of my brothers in Belleville, KS and Knoxville, IA to get a heaping dose of midgets and sprint car racing in August.

So all was not lost!  In spite of it all, I have had a very enlightening summer!

Other than that Captain Blowdri,  how was your 2010 summer?

…..And Then There Was Two!

Monday evening my sister and I had dinner with Steve Detjen and his lovely bride, Jennifer.  I was back in Fresno for my periodic cardiology appointment, also it was a time to visit with my friends and family.

It was just two weeks ago that I met with Steve Detjen, one of my old college buddies, to celebrate the life of our other good college buddy, Jerry Noblett, who had lost his battle to heart disease.  After the memorial service, we had decided to stay closer in contact with each other.

So I notified Steve that I would be in town at this time, it was agreed to meet for dinner at P.F. Chang’s on Monday at 6pm..

As my sister and I walked into the restaurant, the unmistaken profile of one Steve Detjen was observed at the bar waiting for our entrance, and I might add, sipping a cool beverage!  It had been since Jerry Noblett’s retirement party, 8 years previous, that my sister had seen Steve.

As we three sat at the bar sipping a cool one, waiting for Steve’s wife to join us, we caught up on things.  My sister and Steve caught up on old mutual friends that they both knew from the Madera P.D. and Fresno County Sheriffs Dept.  Within a few minutes Jennifer arrived and we adjourned to the restaurant for some food.

Once we all slipped into our booth, and the pleasantries and re-introductions were over, the four of us exchanged stories.  For me, being a Criminolgy major and a veteran of 1 1/2 years of law school, I was/am quite interested in what is like to hold court.  So I had, and still have, many questions for “her honor”!  Some of her responses and stories were quite enlightening, to say the least.  Jennifer is really a very nice, down to earth woman, quite funny, and a great conversationalist!  Obviously she is way too good for my old buddy, no offense Steve!!!!!!   LOL

Additionally Steve and I re-hashed a few of our most memorable “good times at California State University, Fresno” stories.  Some of them were still live-like in our minds  and conjured up deep laughs and giggles!  One in particular story would be the keystone of my college career, and I still have a very vivid picture in my mind of that event.  Unfortunately, now both my sister and my oldest son also have that same picture of their brother and father!!!  Can we say embarrassing?  Oh well it was the late 60′ and early 70’s, what can I say?

I had a really great evening telling stories about the old days, asking questions and catching up on all those years.  The realization that right before our very eyes we have gone from  a “wide eye innocent teenager ” to a senior citizen still boggles my mind!

Those were the good old days!

For those that really know me will know that I am forever linking life to music.  With the events of the last 3 weeks, it has made me re-live and old song by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band , “Like A Rock”.  There is some lyrics that occur in the middle of the song that really hits close to home and goes like this:

Twenty years now, where’d they go?

Twenty years, I don’t know.

I sit and I wonder sometimes where they’ve gone.

And sometimes late at night,

oh, when I’m bathed in the firelight,

the moon comes calling in ghostly way and I recall,


Like a rock

So there we were reminiscing over 40 years of lost time, I was wondering “where did the time go”?  Then, I RECALLED!!!

And then there was two!