Heart-to-heart advice from an outdoorsman

Avoiding the doctor’s office could let a health time bomb go off.

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17th Street Barbecue has been a fixture at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair.

17th Street Barbecue has been a fixture at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair.

Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

I had plans for another column today, but sometimes life intervenes.

On Monday morning, I was doing a stress test when Dr. Gauvar Kapoor halted me and said he wanted to admit me, right away. OK, I’ll be straight: I was not shocked. I even had my computer bag in the car trunk. For months, I had building issues with shortness of breath while doing routine things from walking the dog to mowing the lawn.

But, being a bullheaded guy, I didn’t get it checked out until my wife virtually bullied me into visiting our family doctor. Dr. Simon Wu immediately ordered a battery of tests and started me on blood-pressure and cholesterol medications.

On Monday afternoon, Dr. Kapoor found even more blockage than expected during the angiogram and set up a place to do a bypass. Dr. Wu stopped by late Monday night and said I had three major blockages.

That’s where I sit as of early Tuesday as I type, awaiting transport to have a bypass, then to restart a new life with a different lifestyle.

Bottom line: I was living on a time bomb, as I think Dr. Wu put it. I am damn lucky I didn’t drop dead while lugging a gun, a deer blind, a camo chair and a backpack with sundries for 12 hours afield for deer hunting in November at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

I know about 90% of my readers are men. Take it from one of your own, get your head out of your ass and get your checkups done in a timely fashion.

Finally, for the women who love bullheaded men, bully them until they follow through on checkups and doctor visits. If you need help, I will put you in contact with my wife.

Illinois hunting

I will post harvest numbers online when they come for the first CWD and late-winter deer seasons. . . . Season totals for waterfowlers at Heidecke Lake were 244 boats, 710 ducks and five Canada geese, according to Chris Jones, site superintendent.

In memoriam

Mike Mills brought world-champion barbecue to southern Illinois, or world-champion barbecue from southern Illinois to the world.

The four-time world champion and founder of 17th Street Barbecue in Downstate Murphysboro died Dec. 29. His places in Murphysboro and later in Marion were required stops for me on trips around southern Illinois. One of my small claims to fame was that a photo of my lifetime muskie, caught with guide Chad Cain from Kinkaid Lake nearly 19 years ago, hung briefly at the Murphysboro spot.

Mr. Mills made his place a beloved fixture at Conservation World during the Illinois State Fair. It was my must-stop.

No piker

Congratulations to Les Grobstein for hitting 50 years on sports radio. I remember him first being battered on ‘‘Steve & Garry.’’ In recent decades, his broadcasts on The Score made late-night drives to hunting or fishing spots bearable. In a brush with greatness years ago, I had Grobstein collar me at an outdoors show to talk pike fishing.

Stray cast

No, my surgery is not a result of the shock of my catching a 7½-pound smallmouth bass or the Packers-Bears game; no, credit heredity and lifestyle for that.

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