A few weeks back, I was walking to the store. It’s a short walk (about 3/4 of a mile) with a very slight grade. I walk a lot, usually a few miles a day, mostly by choosing to walk while waiting for the train, or when going to the market.

This time, when I got almost to the store, I started having some chest pain. I thought maybe I was feeling the precursor to a heart attack, or that maybe that bug from last week had turned into pneumonia. I hadn’t been walking that briskly, and I was really out of breath in addition to the pain (both of which were odd for me, especially since I had been walking relatively slowly).

Naturally, I immediately made an appointment to see my doctor (although in hindsight I probably should have gone to the ER). He saw me, had an EKG machine brought in, and didn’t see anything, but referred me to cardiology to get a stress EKG.

Apparently, they’re really busy so it was a few days before they could see me. Another lesson learned here is that I should have pressed harder to get in for the test, as I was having chest pains with exertion, but I was fine as long as I didn’t walk very fast (which of course is not normal for me). So every day I would walk from the train to my office and feel a little bit of pain in my chest. Nothing like that first day, but always a broad pain that I was pretty certain was my heart.

Well, the day for my stress EKG got here, and I went to the appointment at the time that was scheduled, only to have them tell me they needed me there half an hour earlier. The stupid scheduling software was scheduling the time for the cardiologist, but there was a half an hour of prep prior to the test. They couldn’t squeeze me in, so rescheduled (for a couple of weeks later). I ended up going in the next week (senior moment), but again they had me wait.

By this time pain in my chest was pretty normal (it was dull, but still there most of the time). I went through the stress EKG, and there’s this point after you’ve walked on the treadmill for twenty minutes or so that they have you jump from the treadmill to a table where they try to do an ultrasound. The idea is to get measurements of how your heart is doing while your heart rate is elevated.

Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for this test, I’m in good shape, so by the time I got to the table, my heart rate had already dropped. I had no pain during this whole test.

The cardiologist said she saw some irregularities, but there was nothing definitive, so she gave me the choice of doing a PET scan or an angiogram. I was still hoping this was nothing, so I told her, of course, I will do the PET (since it’s not surgery). She sent off the referral, and in they called me to let me know I was scheduled a couple of days later.

During the PET scan, they measure how much plaque buildup you have on your heart arteries, and then they give you a drug that makes your heart speed up. It’s the weirdest sensation: like you walked up a bunch of stairs, and your heart is trying to catch up with the exertion. Anyway, at that point, I had more chest pain (which I expected at this point), but things went back to normal pretty quickly.

I waited a bit for the results, and they took a LONG time to finally come talk to me. Karen and I were waiting together, and talking about going to lunch after this, and where did we want to go.

Finally, they come and give me the results. Your plaque levels are in the 95th percentile (meaning I have more plaque than 95 out of 100 people my age). AND they say you need to go see your cardiologist straight from here, no stopping for lunch.

We drive up to see her, and my mind is going straight to the open heart surgery and triple bypass my brother went through. The pain in my chest was constant again.

Well, my cardiologist tells me that there is definitely some problem, and now I NEED to get an angiography done so that they can see what the damage is. If all goes well, they see some blockage and place a stint. If the blockage is too severe, they’ll wake me back up and talk about another surgery.

It is sort of blurry after this. I remember that I went in, the surgeon talked to me and let me know that because my arteries are good, they’d be going in through my wrist (if the plaque build-up is too severe, they go in through the groin). They taped my wrist down so that I wouldn’t accidentally move it, and drugged me enough so that I was comfortable. I was sort of awake, and remember the surgeon talking and watching images of my heart on the screen. I don’t remember the part of the procedure where the stint was placed, but I do remember seeing the picture of my heart.

Afterward, he told me my main artery was 100% blocked and that they had placed a 22 mm stent in the heart with good results. I felt better immediately, and there was only some ghost pain, which now seems to be completely gone.

I was going to keep this all private, but then I saw a post from a friend about some health issues she was going through and thought if somebody hears my story and benefits from it, then it’s worth sharing.

Since I’d had this blockage for a long time, I had been tired, more often short of breath than normal, and suffering from respiratory infections at a rate that was abnormal for me. I knew something was wrong, I just hadn’t been able to find out what.

So listen to your body, pay attention to your family history, and push the doctors to figure out what’s wrong. If you’ve got family history of heart disease, it’s worth pushing to have them double and triple check your heart. They can do amazing things, but they have to find the problem first.

Graph of coverage

Most of my career was spent in healthcare, working in IT for providers, coordinating third party payments, and being a consumer battling with crazy multi-layered payment systems. I was lucky enough to be healthy in my youth and get by without insurance (although my feet still point in different directions thanks to breaking my ankle and not going for treatment).  I have clear experience with seeing how the system is so badly broken, and it seems to me we’re not addressing the actual problems.

I feel like people miss the point of the ACA, which was a first draft at controlling costs and a start to healthcare reform. I also believe that repealing it will do more damage than simply starting to address the shortcomings and work on reforming the actual problem.

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I occasionally run into weird permission problems after a restore of files and folders on my machine, I think it has to do with OSX trying to protect me from myself.

Today I needed to fire up my coding environment on my Mac Mini, so I jumped into the folder for the code that I wanted to update using SourceTree, and did (what I thought was going to be) a quick pull, only to get a weird error message.

I figured it was probably something goofy, so I went to the command line, only to get another weird error:

Well, I’ve seen that before, and knew that message was probably because I’ve updated the OS a few times since I last coded. Basically it means the XCode command line tools are missing. Fixing that is easy: just run:

This fires up the Xcode installer, which will ask you if you want to install Xcode, or just the command line tools. In this case I don’t need Xcode, so I chose the latter.

That took a pretty long time (it was on “about a minute left” for at least 10 minutes), which was a bit worrisome, but not all that unusual.

Going back to the command line, I tried to do my “git pull” only to get another error:

OK, weird – why can’t it write that. Found a few things online that suggested running “git gc” might fix it, so I tried that, but that just gave me this error:

More curious Googling, and finding the suggestion to look at the extended file permissions, so I tried that:

Wait, what’s this “group:everyone deny delete” ? Well, no wonder I can’t run stuff that updates these folders. More Googling and I find the right switch for chmod to clear out the extended permissions:

Note that I had the two flags reversed the first time and the command told me it couldn’t find a file named “-R”. After running the above, the folder permissions looked more normal:

And my commands worked as expected.

Sometimes I get my branch in a state where I need to reset things to what is on the server. Most of the time a simple switch of branches is enough to get everything back in shape, but once in a while I need to actually reset to what is in the parent repo.

To reset your local working copy to exactly what is in the remote (typically called origin) do the following:

These should be done in the root of your project.

I needed to do some work on an old Maven project I have that I’ve worked on for years, and when I fired up my handy Netbeans IDE and ran the obligatory “priming build”, I was surprised to get an error on one of the basic Maven plugins. Continue reading

For testing, sometimes I need to validate web behaviors like redirects on SSL, and one of the reasons I love the Mac is that it gives me a ready to roll Apache server. I actually run a local copy of my web site on my Mac, and have it set up as a virtual host so that I can just browse directly to it. Continue reading

Two years ago, I moved to Salt Lake City for work. After looking around a bit for a rental property close to my new work, it became clear that I would be better off trying to buy a new home than renting if I could afford to do so. At the time the interest rates and property values in Salt Lake City were very low, so monthly mortgage payments were often cheaper than rental prices.Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.22.15 AM

Sitting at the Salt Lake Roasting Company after we first moved here, we found a really nice real estate agent (Jaral Ferwerda).  I worked with him diligently to find a home while my lovely wife was buttoning up our home in California.

After a while, I started to find it very difficult to keep track of all the homes I was seeing. They started to blur together, and I wasn’t really able to figure out which one I liked best.

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I created a WordPress site for a client who needed to support both English and Español versions of their content, which involved using a plugin called MultilingualPress that creates relationships between sites for each language.

I developed the site locally on my server, and then after they created some content, migrated it to their hosting service.

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I get a chuckle over this every time it happens. Something in one of the many synch tools I use does some sort of conversion of birth dates, and I end up with alerts on my Mac that tell me somebody is having a really great birthday:

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I also see the opposite where I’ll get a reminder that today is somebody’s second or third birthday.

In the case of the ones where they show up younger, it’s usually because wherever I got their birthdate from originally, they didn’t put in the year. So that usually ends up being the year that the contact was entered into my address book.

But in the case of the incredibly old dates, my address book typically has an 1800’s date, so my guess is it’s some system breaking on a date overrun. I’ve also noticed that sometimes these contacts have two birth dates in my address book (again, some symptom of a synch problem), so for instance Reinald has both a birthday in the 1800’s and one a littler more reasonable than that.

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Sometimes I find myself working backwards up a tree of errors to fix a problem. Today was a case in point.

Since I’ve been doing a bit of WordPress grooming, I have the development build checked out locally. Previously I had run phpunit against the unit tests included in the code, but for some reason when I tried to run things under NetBeans, it would error out (Bug 247704).

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