Some final words on Rick Crawford before I try to put this behind me. Rick’s sister Barabra somehow caught wind of my recent posts here and left the following message for me in the comments section:

“I read your words about my brother and I am so moved. Rick touched so many people.

Rick wasn’t feeling well earlier in the week and went to the emergency room. Because there is no family history of heart disease, he was so young and in good shape, he was diagnosed with acid reflux and sent home. The autopsy revealed chronic heart disease that had probably been progressing since his 20s. His arteries were 90-95% blocked. His chloresterol was not high, but he was a smoker and life can be very, very cruel.

Thank you for your kind words.”

So some of the pieces are coming together. At first glance of this message, I felt so infuriated that a team of professional caretakers in an emergency room could so badly mangle a diagnosis. Acid friggin’ reflux? But upon a couple of quick internet searches and conversation with Stephanie, both of us pretty much realized there’s little way, other than a cholesterol test, to initially detect chronic heart disease. Think about that. It’s really quite terrifying. Clearly you can test low on cholesterol and still be walking around, a timebomb just waiting to go off.

I would imagine it obvious, of course, that more in-depth testing for an individual could point the way to proper diagnosis, but if there are no initial upfront signs, and it appears there were none in this case (although I clearly don’t know all the facts here), you’d be hard pressed to get our healthcare system to provide extensive testing for someone who’s not displaying the symptoms. That’s just the way it is in America and I have no desire to get into the healthcare issue. No matter what caused the problem, be it not taking care of yourself (eating/exercise), smoking or simply bad luck or a combination of it all – the cause of his death doesn’t really matter much to me. He was a good guy and Barbara nailed it when she said life can be so very cruel.

They can map the human genome but they can’t tell when someone has blocked arteries? All I can do is shake my head in bewilderment and mild disgust.

In other, much lighter news, imagine to this? Holy crap on a stick.