After graduating from South, Jackie Courson got me a job at Wyatt’s Cafeteria. I worked there as a Bus Boy then Store Room Manager while attending BC. In 1970 I transferred to what was then known as Cal State, Bakersfield and started working at Colony Kitchen thanks to Dan Hellyer. Dan , Linda Brownlee Valenti as well as Julie Oranbaum who was a few years behind us at South was working there at the time. After a while I became a cook and later head cook. I receiving a BA in History but I could not find a teaching job in California. I visited my parents in Oklahoma, put in four applications and received three offers. I later received a MA as a Reading Specialist from Central State University. I taught for 31 years before retiring.
Teaching in Oklahoma does not pay very well so I delivered appliances for a year, then mowed lawns after school and during the summer for the next three years to supplement my income. I started selling Real Estate in 1978 and became a Real Estate Appraiser a few years later. Apparently retirement is not my thing since I am still selling. My business website is http://www.mikegilbertopenhouse.com if you would like to view it. You will be amazed at the difference in home prices in Oklahoma compared to California.
I was married for 28 years to a lady from North High. We divorced in 1999. I am now engaged to Ronell Talley who grew up in Tecumseh, OK. She is a florist and owned a wedding shop for several years.
I have three daughters, Jennifer Lynn in California, Holly Edwards in Oklahoma and Crystal Smith in North Carolina. I have nine Grand Children, and three great grand children.
A good friend who I taught with for several years was a part time professional Bass Tournament Fisherman. He taught me how to fish and it became my hobby. I have a Bass Boat and fish one of the many Oklahoma and Texas lakes whenever I can. I am in the process of finding a House Boat on Lake Eufaula, OK. In lieu of retiring I am going to start slowing down.
Since I live so far away I have not kept in contact with many Rebels, but I am looking forward to our 50th. I hope to see some old friends and talk to some of the people I attended school with and did not have the opportunity to know. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk about anything. I specialize in selling foreclosures so I have a lot of computer work and spend a large portion of my day at my desk. You can generally find me here from 9:00 to 7:00 CST. If I am not in leave a message and I will get back to you.
First of all, I would like to thank all of the Rebels who contacted me privately and on public chat. It means a lot to me.
I am telling my story in the anticipation that it may help at least one of you reading this or help some of your love ones. I did not have a massive heart attack, nor was I in a lot of pain. I went to my Primary Physician concerned with my feet hurting. I have been a diabetic for 35 to 40 years but I take my medication and I thought I watched my diet. She gave me a pill to stop the foot pain and set an appointment for me to come back in two months. The medication worked and I went back to report it to my Doctor. She asked if I had any other issues. I almost did not say anything. I finally told her that “I felt ridiculous bringing it up but I have had a slight pressure in my chest area”. There was not any pain involved. I did get a little dizzy when I first stood up, but I take high blood pressure medication to prevent proteins from leaking into my kidneys which is a typical side effect. This medication does cause dizziness. At times I felt dizzy when I worked for an extended time with my chest above my head, but not all of the time.
She sent me to a Cardiologist for an ultrasound which came back normal. Then I was scheduled for a stress test about two months in the future. But I received a call in about a week telling me that some one cancelled and if I could get there within an hour, they could take me in if I did not have anything to eat or coffee to drink. For some reason I did not so I came in. I took the test and was told I would be called within a few days with the results. Two or three days later I get a call telling me that it came back abnormal and they were scheduling me for an angiogram. I could take it in my home town within a couple of weeks, but they recommended that I go to Oklahoma City where I could have it completed within a few days; therefore, I had the procedure completed in Oklahoma City.
The results came back with me having from 70% to 99% blockages requiring a quadruple bypass. It was so bad that the Cardiologist did not attempt to clean my arteries out or put a stint in. I was destined for a heart attack within a short time.
My surgeon, Dr. Lucas visited me the next evening. He had a lot of confidence which gave me what I needed. Come to find out he is rated as one of the top 50 Cardio Vascular Surgeons in the country with a 98% success rate. The lord was looking out for me.
That was a few days ago and I am now under Home Health Care which I was told means according to Social Security that it is a “Taxing Effort to Leave Home”. I can not drive for a while and was told by my Physical Therapist not to bring my heart rate over 92 beats per minute until told otherwise. I keep a pillow with me where ever I go in case I sneeze or fall. This sounds rough, but hopefully after a few months I will be in good shape again.
The reason I am writing this is that is may help at least one of you. My primary physician told me that having tests such as heart lung scans or ultrasounds when the heart is not under strain is not always a good indicator of heart issues. In my case the ultrasound came back normal. The stress test did pick the issue up. It was completed chemically. I did not get on a tread mill. Pain is not always an indicator. In my case there was none. Only some chest pressure. Apparently, diabetics do not always feel internal pain. Watching your diet does not always work. I have been a diabetic for years and have watched mine fairly closely. Living an active physical life helps, but is not a cure all. We all had a quality physical education at South compared to most. I was an “A” class racquetball player for several years after graduation. I have a bass boat and fish quite a bit. I worked two jobs most of my life running up stairs at my office and home most of the time.
We are all about the same age. If it happened to me it could happen to you. I am encouraging you to ask your physician about a stress test. It could save your life.