health care, road trips, tech talk, occasional rant

Harvard Class of ’70 40th Reunion report

My life to this point has fallen into convenient multiples-of-five year chunks. Fifteen years growing up in Louisville, five in Cambridge, ten in Washington DC, ten in SoCal (Encinitas), fifteen in NorCal (Mill Valley), bringing us to the most recent five years, which I have spent in Reno, Nevada. And boy, haven’t we all accumulated a large quantity of years!

Why Reno? Because the ex got the house in Marin and I eventually wanted to buy again but could not afford my part of the Bay Area. At the top of my list was to be near running water and to be able to walk to where I spend my time, so here I am on the lovely Truckee River (starts at Lake Tahoe and ends at Pyramid Lake, never a chance of making it to an ocean) in the heart of downtown Reno, living the life of a semi-retired computer guy with lots of time and not much money … I trade-off I make by choice, and am mostly happy to do so.

Life in Reno has been mostly quite pleasant and mostly uneventful, except for the one big unpleasant event, heart trouble and open-heart surgery in May 09.

The short version is that I had a little heart attack in Nov 08, had no health insurance (and still don’t), for a couple of months seriously thought the rest of my life was ruined, but eventually discovered the medical tourism option. A plane ticket and three weeks in an excellent hospital in Istanbul, and here I am as good as new and possibly better!

The long version is available on-line. I blogged the heck out of the whole saga on my website – cloudyhands.com/wp – from getting sick, to figuring it out, to getting it fixed, to getting well, to the aftermath – also known as my current life.

To my surprise, my blog plus my generally noisy and passionate outspokenness about the whole thing has made me something of an internet star in the medical tourism world. I had a video interview in Turkey, a phone interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, and a nice lady from the Voice of America drove herself over the Sierras in February for an interview for the radio box. So there Harvard, I DID amount to something!

My excellent daughter Martha is married and living in San Rafael with a four year old son and a 12 year old step-son and her husband Mike. One of us visits the other every six weeks or so.

The Reno phase of my life, or at least this form of it will probably be wrapping up soon – I guess my five years are up. After the heart operation, I took the retirement money that I thought I was going to have to pay to the local physicians group and hospital and instead bought a sweet camper van. I turn out to be much more of a back roads car-camper than an international tour-taker, so this is pretty much my dream vehicle for heading down that sunset trail. … although …that $70K would have bought a lot of HAA tours up the Volga or whatever … :)

In any event, from the day I got the van, my Reno situation no longer works quite as well as it did before. The van doesn’t fit in my parking garage; parking it outside long-term in downtown Reno is a loser; don’t get me started on condo fees; I could really use the cash from the sale to make my IRA not quite so sickly; and besides, the whole point of the van is to be OUT, not hanging around my condo. So the condo is for sale (in this un-wonderful market sigh…) and next interim report should be from somewhere else, possibly the back of the van :)

The near-term master plan is to be free of the condo by mid-summer, thus freeing me mentally and financially to make a multi-month cross-country trip which would include our 40th in October. It would give it too much importance to say the reunion was the destination, let’s just call it the proximate cause of the trip at this particular time :) Stay tuned to see if it all works out.

hope this finds each and every one of you happy and well (though that is a lot to ask of the universe :)