Lefty’s Letter


Lefty awoke from his routine ten minute nap dusting some residual  fur collected while resting on a dog bed in the back of the flyshop. The dog bed wasn’t routine, but his daily naps he made happen. He already had several presentations that day, told at least one hundred jokes, and was gearing up for the evening session. We were gathered at a fly fishing event. It was packed and Lefty knew everyone’s name. He later ordered a plain hamburger and I’m sure he gave me a sermon on something that is so ingrained in me by now, I own it.

I refer to a time in my life where I attended numerous fly fishing events a year as, “Traveling with the circus.” Those of us who saw each other over and over again started hanging out prior to opening time at the casting ponds – sharing the gospel of “the cast.” It was not uncommon to see Joan, Mel, Lefty, Clouser, Joe Humphries, Stu Apte… talking it over – or better yet, demonstrating outright casting greatness before our eyes.

I can still hear Mel yelling, “down up!”, and I’m sure he has that silly hat on his head in heaven. Meanwhile, the mentioned fly fishing heroes, are very much participating in our casting, tying, writing and exploring nature, world. Yeah, in their nineties! And with the grace to continue with their passion at a speed that now suits them best.

Lefty has recently written a letter to his fly fishing friends. It strikes me so funny because he even explains in this letter his condition so everyone can understand what is going on with him! It’s like he is showing us his cast or explaining why he invented a pulley system for his mail from the mailbox. Who does this? Special characters who want to share their life findings. And we thank them! We thank you Lefty! Thank you for taking the time to share you with us.

To my friends,
I was 92 in January and had a carotid artery operation. During testing the hospital determined my heart was only pumping 35% and must limit my physical activities followed by a rest. The industry was extremely helpful and last season was able to attend the shows, clinics, etc.
Several weeks ago, I realized I was developing another problem, which is normal for someone nearly 93. It turns out I have congested heart failure. My pacemaker revealed there was a series of very rapid hear beats, which could cause a stroke. Fortunately a lot of doctor/friends are fly-fisherman and worked with me. In summary I have to give up travel and presentations as in the past.
Everyone produces a certain amount of fluid in the body and excretes the excess. Because of the low heartbeat my body is not getting rid of all the fluids and I gained weight. My best friend Dr. Mark Lamos put me in the hospital and with back procedure they twice removed a liter and a half of fluid from my chest. After five days in the hospital. I lost weight.
A week or so later I starting gaining weight again so it was back in the hospital for the same treatment. They reduced most of the fluid and returned home. I determined I was not going to continue back to the hospital. Mark decided to use medicine to control the excess fluid. It’s been a fine-tuning situation but looks like it’s starting work.
This means the schedule I lived for decades is no longer valid and will spend most my time at home. As we get older we learn to adjust to what we can and cannot do. I have a number of interesting computer home projects on the computer and busier than a Syrian bricklayer. I’m not frustrated and I’m content My problem is I don’t have a lot of stamina and have to work around that. If Marks medical system works I should be busy and around for a year or two.
I would like to be able to send this email to my friends but I don’t really know how to do this. So I’m asking others to help me spread the word through email. Because my lack of energy and stamina I having trouble answering emails (there are more than 400 on the computer) and not talking much on the phone. This is not meant to be unfriendly is learning to adjuster my situation.
In summary I’m busy and content but I want you to know I am so appreciative you’ve have shared your lives with me.
All The Best Friends,