Monday, December 28, 2015


   I looked deep into my heart last week. 
   It beats at an odd rhythm. Thump, tap tap, thump, tap tap.
   It works fine when I'm resting or when I'm working out but the everyday beat is uneven. It stutters. It plays around. 
   I had some tests done. 
   The MD told me, "Well, if you do die from it it'll be fast so...there's that." 
    Just keep riding your bike, was his parting advice. Your heart's a champ when you're sweating.
    Normal life is killing me was the message. 
    Trussed up like Da Vinci's akimbo man - tape and wires hanging between my chest and the machine. I was a health care marionette. 
   I stood , I sat , I laid down, I ran on a tread mill and then they took that thing they run across a pregnant woman's belly and filmed my heart with sound. Sonared my chest. 
   And there it was. The little muscle that's kept me alive for half a century. Pumping away. An oblong shape jumping at every beat. That motion when someone surprises you- that full body jerk you make when you leap back from sleep - that's what a heart does - and when it's going at 180 beats per minute the saying "Nearly lept out of my chest" no longer seems like an idiom.
   Every step I've taken. The days I spent grousing in Edgewood grade school, fused to the chair in Ms Jozwiak's class, the long beautiful Ohio summers, the dark incredible years in New England, the decades sprinting between New York and LA. Each minute inside that pathetic personal immensity my heart was pumping inside me. The same song every day, every hour down to the minute.
   In the sonogram what struck me most was the not the heart's wafer thin walls  but its bird-like finger valves opening and closing, tapping away like feathered drumsticks, letting the blood run from chamber to chamber. It doesn't even look like a "process"- it's a dance, a stream barely regulated. I've never seen such efficiency. 
   Your life rushes through you and your heart keeps the time. Keeps it from overflowing. Or stopping dead. It is the time. Your time. 
   Your life as a single muscle. Stunning to stare at on a screen, cut in half like a house you're wondering should I build it or not, a cross section. A four room fixer upper.  
  I wanted to give it a name. Reach out and pet it like I would an eager dog, a happy horse who had carried me for a hours. I stared. It couldn't possibly be me but really is me more than my imagination or the bag of ideas I call my soul. 
  There I was. A nameless, blind blob, eager and working in the dark, bobbing away like a mad legless gerbil .....there I am. David Conrad. 
   Inconceivable machine. One that never rests. Amazing we live as long as we do.
  Every one of us with the same inner badass. 
  I laughed. I wanted to hug the little guy.
  I guess I kinda do, every day. 
   Now I lay me down to sleep...
   And wake up in 2016. Another decade making the turn and heading home. 


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  2. I'm glad you still keep writing. All the best to you and to everyone.

  3. Oh dear Dave, when I've started to read this...
    I just hope you have still min. fifty years. Please take good care of yourself! I'm egoistic.. I want to enjoy to read your contemplation about our bitter-sweet world. You are my favourite guide.
    I wish you a fantastic new year: the best health, much more love, some amazing roles on the stage and in front of the cameras, lot of travels, and exciting mental adventures - please write more to yourself and to us!

  4. Wanted to wish u a Happy and Healthy New Year David, keep up the writing, i always enjoy reading ur blog

  5. You such a amazing writer with the words that grasp me and pulls me in your world. I just discovered your blogs and love them! Take care of your heart and eat healthy. Have a Happy New Year. Huggs

  6. Our whole bodies are amazing machines that do mind blowing intricate work everyday. Feel blessed that you have the health you do and enjoy life!

  7. Your blog could have been written about me, except I have had an irregular heart beat for over thirty years. The pace of a normal heart is...beat wait beat wait. My pace is...beat beat wait wait. It feels like I am skipping beats but actually its the time in between the beats that have changed. I feel a jerking sensation when my heart makes an effort to beat and then immediately beat again followed by a long wait because it has already beat for that space of time. Its hard to explain but just once there were seven beats bunched together and then seven waits...yes you know how many when you are waiting for the beats to start again because I was wondering if they were going to start again. That was a long wait but it only happened once.
    My doctor has thoroughly done the test over the years and he can not find any reason for this. He says my heart is actually stronger than most people my age. He says that it could be caused by any number of things like stress(it gets worse when I am stressed)or caffeine(which makes it worse)or I could have inherited it(my father had an irregular heart beat).
    It happens randomly mostly when I am resting or just doing normal things. I never feel it when I am exercising and can do anything and exert as much as I want. I have no pain and have no trouble breathing.
    My doctor is a very good doctor and he told me that it is peculiar to me and it is not something that would cause me to drop over dead. He jokingly said "If you do you can haunt me."
    I don't take any medicine because I tried it and it didn't change anything. I mostly have small fluttering feelings now and I have gotten use to it. Its not an issue to me any more except when I am stressed or I get caffeine. Most of the time I don't even think about it.
    People don't always know everything, so if in the end it comes from this, as you said, it probably will be quick and would be my second choice after going in my sleep unaware but we don't get a choice.
    I'm ok with it because it has stayed the same and has not gotten any worse over thirty years, I think it has been proven it is just something peculiar to me, anyway my doctor says a lot of people have irregular heart beats after they are over forty. If there is pain or trouble breathing there is cause for concern.
    I wrote this to you hoping that it might help to hear from someone with the same concerns. Its good that you went to the doctor as everyone is unique to themselves.

  8. Mr. David Conrad: Just a great heart-healthy eating plan someone shared with me...just passing the info along. I follow it daily (except for holidays and special occasions, of course) There is always room for "cheating" wisely. - Happy 2016!

  9. Whilst waiting at LA airport to return home to Holland I read your blog! Am looking for company to do a pilgrimage by bike (Holland - Santiago de Compostela, 2000 KM) I do have to get into shape again with the heartbeat you seem to have for cycling!!! So if you're interested in joining....:)
    Anyway wishing you a happy and HEALTHY 2016!!!!

  10. I have been there and done that wired-up testing. I came away with a diagnosis of Mitral Valve Prolapse and spent years having to get antibiotics before every dental visit. Then, to the amazement of my doctor, one day it simply disappeared. A second round of wiring-up confirmed that a condition I was assumed to be born with and was expected to be lifelong had vanished.

    The world is a very, very strange place. You just can't predict what will happen, or what it will mean for you when it does. So it's good to see you aren't taking, to heart.

  11. Hello David!

    One year today, that I first visited your blog and wrote you.
    Time flies and we are in 2016!
    Hope you have had a good Festive Season and health is my best wish for you for this New Year and many more to come!
    Take care,

  12. Human fragility. It sounds like something that refers to the brain, our emotion, stress or simply our mental state. But the human machine, the body, quite magical and always more fragile than we think. I am constantly amazed at the history I have put my poor body thru and even more impressed at how it has always rebounded, but truthfully I'm very lucky and extremely grateful that this old girl keeps going and the day it stops I'll know it went way further than I thought was possible. I've done terrible things to my body, my body has seen the best and worst of times. Now I do try to do the best I can at taking care of the old girl but honestly thank god my lungs and liver can't talk. My heart, well, I've laughed and loved wholly, so I know my heart would say good things, but the rest, it's better they say nothing. Happy New Year.

  13. Hi David- Having just gone through several heart tests to see if I could withstand hip replacement surgery, I can relate to some degree. But I am sorry that you have to deal with this, especially at your age. Hope you find the strength, if you haven't already. And, I guess, keep biking???

  14. The Ohio summers are just as beautiful these days. You should try to make it to FC and reconnect. Love and peace and grace abound. Carpe Diem David.

  15. I think about your heart a lot, even though we never talk anymore. What were you doing in November, you had such a dry spell. I'll be home at the end of the month for a weekend to visit Gram.

  16. Please take care of yourself sweet guy. I had a similar experience but it seemed caffeine was the culprit. I pray it's nothing serious for you. I live in Ohio, stop by sometime :)


  17. Please take care of yourself sweet guy. I had a similar experience but it seemed caffeine was the culprit. I pray it's nothing serious for you. I live in Ohio, stop by sometime :)


  18. P.S.

    So I'm browsing the net and I come across this and I immediately thought of you, I just had to come back to share.

    Written. Inked. Penned.
    It was you. You were the words. Your sentences were your emotions. Your paragraphs were your world. I heard you breathe with every comma, your heartbeat with every period. And as I read through your words, I tasted your tears, I felt your smile, I've seen a part of you. I don't know you but it doesn't seem wrong that my heart knows every fiber of you....

    Although I didn't write that, I felt it, I feel it when I read your blogs.

    Hope you have a happy and healthy 2016 David!

  19. Happy new year ! And wish you a healthly one ! The fact that you still work out is def a plus :) your hearts getting a workout ... Be well

  20. Hello! I'm the crazy woman who accosted you at R&B tonight! I truly have been in love with you since Relativity was on. I had NO idea you were a writer, too!!!
    I moved to Pittsburgh in 1998 and knew you were from here, but never thought I'd actually ever meet you!
    So, thanks for not calling the police and I hope I'm lucky enough to be able to talk with you one day! I'm booked to go to Istanbul in September, but now wonder if that tour will be cancelled. So sad.
    Thanks for your great work!!
    Candy Ritchey

  21. Since I first heard Leo's little heart - apparently the size of a lentil - It marked my understanding of hearts forever. What did you name your heart?

  22. Since I first heard Leo's little heart - apparently the size of a lentil - It marked my understanding of hearts forever. What did you name your heart?

  23. Go ride your bikes homes. Don't stop the dance.