A Surgery Is Announced

Recovery from the catheterization and trauma to my groin went pretty smoothly.

A Coumadin tabletA Coumadin tablet

A Coumadin tablet

Since then I’ve had several more blood tests and doctors’ visits. In late July I saw my cardiologist to get him to clear me for the surgery.

When he took my blood pressure the reading was 147 over something or other. That is very high for me. Typically my BP after I’ve been sitting for a few minutes is about 120 over whatever.

Dr. M____ thought too it was a bit high. So I explained.

“They’ve been renovating nearby apartments in my building, so all day I’ve had the discordant sound of hammering pounding in my head.” And you wonder why I moved out of that building?

“Plus,” I went on, “I just missed a bus on my way here so I ended up walking the whole way in this miserable heat and humidity. And my heel hurts…”

“Yes, that would explain it,” said the doctor.

I didn’t add, though I should have, “…and the fact that I’ve been sitting here waiting an hour for you to show up probably hasn’t helped either.”

In any event he did clear me for the surgery.

Also in the intervening weeks, two people have suggested that I ignore that nurse’s advice about having surgery on a Friday so I could possibly spend more time in ICU. Apparently I probably don’t want to spend any more time in ICU than I have to, as it is noisy and they never turn off the lights. (Thanks, Pat! Thanks, Stan!)

Yesterday I saw the surgeon again. In addition to getting me to sign the release, he needed my input.

“We’re going to try to repair your mitral valve, but about five percent of the time we find that the valve can’t be repaired so we have to replace it. Would you prefer a mechanical valve or a sheep skin?”

At least I think that’s the choice he gave me. The difference being that the sheep’s valve might deteriorate in ten to fifteen years so I’d have to do the surgery thing again, whereas the mechanical valve would last indefinitely but would require that I take a blood thinner, (Coumadin, also known as Warfarin, a rat poison), for the rest of my life.

“If you opt for the Coumadin,” he said, “you wouldn’t be able to go bungee jumping.”

Not wanting to go through this whole procedure again ten years from now, I selected the mechanical valve.

The date for the surgery is now set for Thursday August 28 at 8:30AM. The surgeon thinks I should be able to go home after about four days.

But that’s Labor Day weekend, so I’m not sure if the hospital would release me on a holiday. We shall see.

Oh, one last thing. I’ve decided not to tell my mother about the surgery; I’ll just explain to her that I’m going on a camping trip for a week. To a place with no cell service.

So don’t tell Mama, whatever you do. If you see my mummy, mum’s the word!

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