VACAVILLE — Vinnie Langdon has chatted with everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Vacaville’s own Papa Roach.
For 10 years, he’s done “The Vinnie Langdon Show,” which now airs on cable access in New York City as well as Vacaville and Fairfield, so it’s easy to think the 23-year-old Vacaville resident doesn’t get nervous.
That’s what happened Thursday as Langdon sat down, camera rolling, for a one-on-one chat with the doctor who performed heart surgery on him when he was 2 months old.
“It’s emotional,” Langdon said as he set up his equipment inside a conference room at the University of California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. “It will be nice to meet him when I can remember him.”
Langdon was referring to Dr. J. Nilas Young, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the UC Davis Medical Center. At the time of Langdon’s surgery in 1990, Young was at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.
The Langdon family had attended some reunions for children who’d had surgery at the facility, but it had been years since they’d seen Young.
Vinnie Langdon grew up knowing the doctor’s name, but little more. He was also aware of what had happened when he was a baby. It started with respiratory syncytial virus, a virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Then, it was pneumonia.
“His hands and feet were blue,” said Kathy Langdon, Vinnie Langdon’s mother. After a few trips to the doctor and one to the emergency room, Langdon was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where he had heart surgery on Feb. 13, 1990.
He bears a chest scar from the surgery that is sometimes visible, depending on the shirt he wears.
Now was the time to get the story behind the scar. Langdon had a page of questions to ask the doctor. A different tactic from music interviews where he improvises.
When he entered the room, Young said it’s always nice to see a former patient. Then, he wanted to know what the day’s topic was. The stock market? Syria?
“Your secret celebrity crush,” Langdon said, in jest. “That will get you in trouble.”
“Sounds dangerous,” Young said.
The conversation turned serious. For about 40 minutes, Langdon asked Young a variety of questions, including why he chose his profession as well as information about Young’s Heart to Heart International Children’s Medical Alliance.
Langdon shared a bit of his story and pushed for more information on what happened to him when he was a baby.
“You want to know what was wrong with you?” Young asked, in jest.
He explained how Langdon’s heart was getting oxygenated blood only on one side. Langdon had total anomalous pulmonary venous return. A scattering of pictures taken during Langdon’s four-month hospital stay were next to him. He showed Young an EKG taken in 1998.
The black-and-white picture had seen better days, but Young gave it his approval while noting it was a little fuzzy and backdated.
Young was asked to close the interview by introducing himself and said, “You are watching The Vinnie Langdon Show.”
“Do you think I have a future in this?” Young asked rhetorically, before wishing Langdon well.
The exchange seemed surreal, Langdon said after Young left the room. Kathy Langdon agreed and mentioned she that noticed how nervous her son was.
Langdon had dreams of becoming an actor when he stumbled upon community access cable in Vacaville. He was 14 at the time and trucked his video camera around to community events as well as government meetings. He estimated he’s done more than 600 videos since then.
He still thinks of working in front of the camera but doesn’t see himself stepping away from “The Vinnie Langdon Show.” People he doesn’t know will approach him and ask about his show. It’s that interest that keeps him going, he said.
The work is full-time but it’s not a paying gig doing the show, he said.
“I enjoy what I do,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got to do it.”
Kathy Langdon said, “It’s like an addiction.”
You can check out “The Vinnie Langdon Show” at www.vinnielangdonshow.com. The interview with Young may be posted by next week, along with footage from the two-day Sacramento music festival, Aftershock, where Langdon is filming this weekend.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.