Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CPR on me!

It's a long story. Back in the early 1980s my doctor first told me that I had a "benign" heart murmur. At that time he simply wanted me to know in case any other doctor asked if I had been aware of the murmur.

About 2002 the doctor whom I was seeing at that time became more concerned about the presence of the murmur in the Aortic valve and repeated tests every year or two to keep an eye on it.

I began to see my current cardiologist in 2008 and he did both an echocardiogram and a heart catheterization to get a "baseline" for me as a new patient. He has continued to do an echocardiogram each year since then. This year's echocardiogram was done on October 29 and I went back to the office on Nov. 5 for the follow-up. When the doctor entered the room he asked how I felt. "Fine" He looked at me in all seriousness and asked "Do you have any symptoms?" I was a bit floored and replied, "None."

He then proceeded to explain that the echocardiogram was showing significant worsening of the Aortic Valve problem -- almost twice as bad as last year. "I am really worried" was his comment. He suggested a heart catheterization for the very next day. And that was ok with me.

So yesterday I was at the hospital at 6 am to register, do the labs, and be ready for a 7am catheterization. When the procedure was over they called Mary Sue to meet with the doctor who explained that the results were much better than he had expected. The aortic valve was compromised about 20% compared to 10% four years earlier. And while there are deposits on some of the arteries that is not of much concern at this time. Mary Sue was to wait where she was after the doctor left and they would be bringing me out soon.

In the meantime our friend was in the waiting room and heard a "Code Blue" page for the room in the cath lab where I was having my procedure. About the same time a nurse asked Mary Sue to return to the waiting room for a bit longer. When Mary Sue rejoined our friend, the friend could not understand why Mary Sue was so upbeat when Rebecca had just heard the Code page. Apparently Mary Sue was still remembering the good news from the doctor and had not associated the Code page with me.

Later on, the cardiologist met with Mary Sue a second time and explained that when the team had removed the catheter my heart stopped twice. The cardiologist showed her a paper strip from the EKG showing the regular rhythms and then the two periods of straight lines.

Fortunately all is well that ends well. I have some soreness in my chest this morning as a result of the CPR compressions. Also there is some mild soreness around the site where they inserted the catheter. I get to remove the big clunky bandage this afternoon and take a shower (and wash off that green stuff that I am painted up with).

I am to resume normal activities tomorrow and have a follow-up with the cardiologist on November 26.

So I was especially thankful to wake up this morning still breathing!!!!!!!!! and rejoicing in the good news from the heart catheterization.

So, with gratitude, I share with you the good news.