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Thursday, September 20, 2012

This was a 99% of which I DIDN'T want to be a part

This story started about a year ago, when I started having pains right down my center when I walked from my car to my office.  I mentioned it to my regular doctor and she seemed to think that it was an inflammation of my trachea, and it was only happening during the colder months.

Then it began to happen whenever I walked in and then I started having pains in my underarm.  So, about 3 weeks ago, I went for my diabetes checkup (did well, by the way, an improvement from 6.7 down to 6.4) I saw a different doctor who helps out now at their practice.   I mentioned it to him and he immediately scheduled a stress test for me.

A week later, I went to Methodist University Hospital, got the stress test done, and since they didn't haul me off right then to the Cath lab, I figured I had done well.  Well, a week ago this past Friday, my regular doctor called me to say I had flunked the stress test and that I needed a heart cath to find out what was wrong.

Susan and I met with the cardiologist, Dr. Pranab Das, this past Friday, and they did an EKG, scheduling the cath at Methodist University Hospital for Tuesday.  I have to say, Dr. Das is amazing, calmly explaining everything and making sure you remain as calm as he is.  We were both impressed with him; if you use Methodist for healthcare and you need a cardiologist, this is the guy you need to see.

He explained that the cath would show any problems, and if there were no arteries with blockage of 70% or better, all that would be done would be to give me medicine.  Above that, a stent could be put in or, worst-case scenario, bypass surgery, which would be done then.

We showed up at 11 AM on Tuesday, they got me in to a Same-Day Surgery room, and Susan's Aunt Barbara arrived to sit with Susan during my procedure.  At 2 PM, I went to the Cath room. As Dr. Das had told me, they would use an artery in my wrist and not through the femoral artery in the groin, so I was given Lorezepam as a sedative, which sedated me but did not knock me out.  Yes, I was awake for all of this!

About halfway through, Dr. Das stopped to tell me that my main artery was 99% blocked (he would tell Susan, but not me, that if we hadn't caught this, I would have had a major heart attack within a month).  He would need to put in a stent and I said, "so I'm staying overnight then?" and he confirmed that.  

I have to tell you, it kind of hurt, but it saved my life, and it was the strangest feeling in the world to feel a balloon expanding inside my heart.  He put in the stent, got finished and I went to recovery for three hours, then back to my room where Susan was waiting for me.  I was never so happy to see anyone in my life as I was to see Susan.  I was too dumb to be scared, so she was scared for me, I think.  

She told everyone how it went, and I made a few calls myself.  I am off work until Monday, but I am still going to a wedding Saturday for two friends who are perfect for each other, and I need to see that.
I will get back to writing next week, as I am trying to keep the outrage down.  Besides, every time Mitt opens his mouth, The President goes up 5 more points in the polls.

I am very fortunate to have you as readers and friends, fortunate to have Dr. Das as my cardiologist, and most fortunate to have Susan, without whom I would not have thought to have this checked out. She is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I would not be here without her.

See you in a few days!