Graphic Chemical & Ink Company is a world leader in the fine art field of printmaking. We manufacture our own time-tested inks for etching, litho and relief printing, as well as sell screen print inks, papers, tools, chemistry, plates and supplies for all of a printmaker's needs

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Location: Villa Park, Illinois, United States

I have worked for Graphic Chemical & Ink Company since 1968 - with a brief hiatus(almost 4 years) to travel the World courtesy of my uncle. Sadly it turns out it was my Uncle Sam, and I wasn't too thrilled about the places that he chose to send me. My wife and I have run Graphic Chemical for many years, and have enjoyed the travel that comes with the position. We get to meet our customers (and the occasional vendor) from all over the World

Friday, April 01, 2011


This post comes under the heading of a public service announcement....or perhaps a "don't be stupid like I was" announcement. Take it for what it's worth. Do not assume that I'm looking for sympathy or attention, I'm not. I want you to avoid what happened to me.

When I was little, my parents made me eat whatever was on my plate...completely. It seemed to me that there was an inordinate amount of liver on that plate, and to be honest there isn't enough ketchup in the world to mask the taste of liver. Two things, however, came out of that. First, I pretty much learned to intensely dislike things that were probably reasonably good for me, and second, I learned to finish everything on my plate...everything!

When I moved away from my parents house, there is a chance that my choices of meals were perhaps not as healthy as they should have been (unless deep fried twinkies are healthy). Bad habits are a bear! Yes, when I married Susan, the quality of my choices got infinitely better, but quantity probably didn't.

Coupled with my eating habits, I started getting involved in the community (schools, planning commission, chamber of commerce etc) and stopped playing basketball and volleyball on a regular basis. I hope you can see where this is leading....I couldn't.

About a month ago, Susan and I were finishing up a two week sales trip to the West Coast. We decided to fly home from Las Vegas. We stayed there for a day and a half. On the first morning we were there we decided to go to a restaurant down the street from our hotel for breakfast. When we travel, we walk a lot, so three blocks to breakfast shouldn't have been a big deal. The operative phrase was "shouldn't have been". I had to stop twice because I was out of breath. Well, to be more honest, my chest hurt a lot, but it didn't seem to be classic heart attack symptoms. The pain didn't radiate down my left arm, there was no jaw pain, and no crushing chest pain.

Susan was sure that I needed to go to the hospital, but I convinced her that I just needed some rest (that would be mistake #1). Because I'm not entirely stupid, I called one of our daughters and asked her to make a doctor's appointment for me for when we got home. The short version of the story is that we got home Friday night (mistake #2 being getting on not one but two airplanes!).

Circumstances dictated that we drive to Ann Arbor, MI on Saturday morning and back on Sunday (mistakes #3 and 4). On Tuesday, I cheerfully went to see my doctor. I like him. I went in with the obligatory laundry list that Susan wanted me to share with him. His nurse ran an EKG while I was there and it was perfect!

Uncharacteristically, the doctor spent very little time with me. He heard my list - blah, blah, blah, chest pains, blah, blah, called the hospital, arranged for a room for me, and scheduled an angiogram for the next day.

What both he and the cardiologist expected was to find a minor blockage, remove it, put in a stent, and send me home the next day. It seemed simple enough to me..a minor blip on my health radar screen. In retrospect, I really wish it had worked that way...really!

It turns out that my life style had lined up not one minor blockage, but rather 5 blockages at 80% or more. I've come to realize that there are numerous statements that you don't want to hear in your life. Things like a dentist saying, "oops!" or the ever popular, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you", come to mind. The latest addition to this list is a conversation that begins, "Hello, Mr. Clark, I'm your surgeon."!

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (known in the medical trade as CABG or Cabbage) ain't for sissies. The problem is that we sissies don't have much choice in the matter.

I had absolutely fantastic doctors, nurses ....everyone that I came in contact with was excellent. My recovery from triple bypass surgery has gone exceedingly well. The problem is that I never should have gotten to that point. I assumed that I wasn't a risk for heart problems. We've never had heart problems in my family. There is a fair level of longevity on both sides of the family, so I thought I'd live forever (it's worked out pretty well so far).

Don't allow yourself to buy that story. My problems go back for decades. I am rapidly becoming a zealot for eating better, exercise and a healthy dose of common sense when it comes to these things. Most of my friends believed, as I did, that a good EKG and blood tests were sufficient indicators of good health. That just isn't true. The good news is that I've lost a lot of weight, seemingly have my cholesterol and blood sugar under control, blood pressure is way down and I intend to keep it that way. This operation isn't fun, and I don't want to swap cabbage stories with you, unless you've already had the surgery. Please clean up your act and stay healthy!


Blogger Diane Cutter said...

Thanks, Dean, for being so open with your story. We all need to take better care of ourselves. I know I speak for many in the printmaking community when I say we wish you the best and expect you to be around for a long, long time!

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Jeanne Norman Chase said...

Dear Dean

Relieved that you are on the mend and will pay attention to "clean up your act" from now on. We like you here and want you to stay for awhile!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeanne Norman Chase (Baren)

7:30 AM  
Blogger Erin K. Nolan said...

Aye, aye captain! Will do! I'm so very glad to hear you are doing well.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Ellen Shipley said...

So glad it went so well for you! A good cautionary tale for the rest of us!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Sharri said...

Best Wishes for cleaning up your act. Exercise is the hardest part for me, it is always easier to do just as soon as I finish whatever it is I'm doing. But, then I'm too tired, it is too late, too dark, not a full moon, etc. Thanks for the reminder that we need to get that exercise done first. Get well, stay well!

10:49 AM  
Blogger Terry Peart said...

I'm glad to hear you're on your way to healthier, happier life!

12:12 PM  
Blogger Barbara Mason said...

You scared the daylights out of us.. I have a friend who did your same little procedure...but after a few months of "good behavior" he slid back to all his old habits...I am really pulling for you to make this a life change of good eating and exercise! After a year or so of working out every day (it took me that long) I miss it if I don't do it...hard to believe but true. So keep on keeping on
My very best to you and Susan and your family

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:01 PM  
Anonymous Dianne Haralson said...

Dear Dean,
Some people will do anything for attention. Seriously, here is that sympathy you wern't fishing for. Wish I'd known and I would have made you one of those damn heart pillows embroided with the newely uncloged veins.

Just spoke with your customer service. I'm donating the Sturges etching press to the college and keeping the smaller one unless you know of a buyer. Love to you and Susan. Dianne Haralson.

1:36 PM  

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