Where Have You Been?

There has been no reason yet every reason not to have updated Swedish Golf Online. I can list excuses up the yang, but probably the main reason is that after the year I’ve just gone through, golf, in general, and Swedish golf, specifically, has not been that important to me.

I have, literally, fallen off the golfing grid, and what’s been difficult is I haven’t let anyone in on the reason except family and close friends. Why that was is something I want to explore later down the page.
What is this event that has turned me into a virtual hermit over the last year? Well, wouldn’t you know, golf was deeply involved.

Last year, at about this time and earlier, Eva and I were in our place in Spain. Physically. I was, to my mind, okay. Sure, I was nowhere near the athlete I once was, but at my age, who is? Like Little Feat sing: “And you know that you’re over the hill / When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill “For me, it was shortness of breath when, for example, I would go up a few flights of stairs. I would tell myself that I was out of shape and began to walk to the grocery store to get back in “shape.”

I hadn’t been playing much golf since we got down in Spain. To be honest, the way I was playing didn’t exactly act like a siren’s song. I spent a lot of time on the driving range, but my swing was always left on the pad. I couldn’t transfer to a golf hole.

But my birthday was coming up and my big birthday gift was to play a round of golf. I signed up for the weekly golf event sponsored by the Nordic group, Mas Amigos. It would be played at Lo Romero, a nice track right up the road from where we live. Eva dropped me off, and I offloaded my clubs and electric buggy, and while signing in, Eve bought me a birthday golf cap.

Lo Romero GolfIt would be a shotgun start, and every hole was filled, some holes having two groups. Of course, my hole was as far away from the clubhouse as possible and uphill almost all the way. Knowing that I was not in the best of shape for a forced march uphill, I headed out earlier than most. It was the most searing walk I ever took, before or since. I had to stop to catch my breath halfway to my tee. My walk was so agonizing that putting one foot in front of the other became arduous. People were passing me like I was standing still and, indeed, I might have been. Finally, and thankfully, I reached my tee and collapsed on a bench to catch my breath and let my heart slow down.

Now I can hear you saying, why would I continue in that condition? Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I completely concur. But for most of the round, we played downhill of on the flat and the punishing pain never returned, until…
The last three holes were back uphill and the ordeal began again. My walk had slowed to a crawl and my swing, if you could call it that, had become very weak. Finally, on the last hole, after a drive that barely made 100 meters, one of my playing partners came up to me and asked if I was alright? Sure, I replied. I was just a little out of shape. Meanwhile, my inner self was screaming, “NO! He’s not alright. He needs help now!” Fortunately for me, my golfing friend was a light more intelligent than I. He flagged down a Marshall, who piled all my stuff in his cart and took me back to the clubhouse with me saying all the way that I had never felt this way before.

It took two hours before I got home as Eva was away on business. When I was dropped off, there are 20 stairs to climb to get to my front door. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make two trips, so I loaded up bag, clubs, buggy, and battery and barely made it up the stairs. I collapsed on the couch, exhausted. That night, I couldn’t lay down to sleep, so I dozed sitting up in a recliner.

The next day, we went to a Swedish medical clinic, where they took my blood pressure and EKG. They found nothing out of sorts. I found out later that this can be a common occurrence. The heart will work fine at times. So home we went. It would take until the following Tuesday before the verdict would be diagnosed. While awaiting test results, I was getting off the bed to go to the toilet. A nurse came up to me, asking where I was going? To the bathroom, I replied. Oh no, you’re not. You’ve had a heart attack. Within the hour, I was on the table, watching on a monitor, doctors putting four stents in my heart.

From April until July, I was in and out of hospitals. There was recovery from the heart attack. A week after being released, I came down with Cellulitis. Another stay in the hospital in isolation. On May 10, 2019, after being released, we flew home to Sweden. I had a benign tumor removed from my chest from too much sun in my past life. It became infected, back into the hospital in isolation. I had heart failure, meaning that the heart doesn’t pump blood as it should, back in the hospital. Then, my blood pressure fell so low, I collapsed. Back into the joint, as they hand idea why. Finally, after missing Midsommer and the 4th of July, I was released. However, not quite done, as I had to go back and have the tumor in my chest that they missed removed.

So after spending most of 2019 under doctor’s care and still swallowing 16 pills a day in the Swedish winter, Eva and I finally escaped back to Spain for better wether and RnR. Just our luck, we arrived just in time for a pandemic in Spain where we have been in a nationwide quarantine fo what seems like the foreseeable future. What a year!
Why have I gone so long without letting you readers and my friends know of my predicament? I really don’t know except for my pride. I grew up in a home where,  if you fell down, you were told to get up; it’s not that bad. You’re okay. Another phrase I heard a lot growing up was rub it off. So, much to Eva’s exasperation, if you ask me how I am or how I feel, I’ll say fine or getting better. To be honest, I’m not. I still get short of breath, my blood pressure is still low, and staircases leave me gasping.

No one likes to reach a stage in their life when they have to declare weakness. I hate the fact that things I once took for granted are now difficult to do. I was hoping to try swinging a golf club down here, but the Coronavirus has disrupted that plan.

But now that I have, finally, opened myself up to what I never let know, I can begin to update Swedish Golf Online in a more timely manner. That is if there’s any golf going on anywhere.

Thanks for staying loyal and, please, stay inside, wash your hands, and stay safe.