Playing Doctor with Peter Pan

Typically after my type of heart surgery the recovery is right around 3 months. Of course the sole provision being that you NOT have an even more complicated surgery immediately following that one — cause if you do – well, then all bets are off and the recovery plan goes right out the window.

Never having “formally” studied medicine, although I have both played one on TV and spent a good deal of time playing doctor when I was younger. Oh and just as an interesting aside, people don’t find it nearly as cute when you are 32….. in fact, it becomes much harder to find “patients” and even when you try wearing a white jacket and making “rounds” at your local hospital, at times – your reception can be chilly….

Like I said not having bothered to actually get my medical degree, I can but venture a guess as to how messed up my giblets were there for a while. So my crack team of health care providers all took great pains to ensure that I was well prepared to push those pre-op dates back a tad – and not have a total meltdown hissy if things didn’t go my way by the projected recovery dates…. that floating recovery date also goes for the open chest recovery, as the heart operation was effecting the recovery for that operation as well… Holy Jesus on a peanut crumpet can a fella get a break here, basically they were all just taking a wait and see approach. So when the three months came and went, I prepared myself by not focusing on the specific date or a specific outcome, I would be like the stream, I would flow….

July 23rd was the heart surgery…. 3 months hence, had taken us to October 23rd. November 10th was the cardiac follow-up appointment, so it was roughly 2 weeks past the three-month deadline. Now, normally, when I go in to see this guy, I’m out before I realize I’ve been examined, he’s that fast. Some times the only way I know he’s been in to see me, is by the swirling dust and a distinct, mildy creepy feeling I’ve had my shirt off…. I mean he’s some kind of miraculous south american faith healer fast, I half expect him to pass his hands over me and remove a tumour without breaking the skin, like those psychic surgeons you see on particularly graphic episodes of 60 minutes. But alas, twas not to be… this time I was in there for TWO HOURS….

I made the mistake of taking my Mom with me, because it had been a couple of weeks since I had allowed her out of the house and as she is wont to do, she kept herself busy by getting nervous. I told her repeatedly to calm down, everything was going to be fine, at length I went on and on about how quickly I would be in and out. Famous last words.

Naturally she spends the next 2 hours sitting in the waiting room on full Mom panic alert mode, endlessly playing out scenarios where they had to rip open my chest right then and there in the hallway – several people hand massaging my heart, trying to staunch the flow of life as it drained from my body and coax the stubborn muscle back to life. We come from a very dramatic family….

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I’m not proud of using a cat graphic here.

They tested this and they tested that. They ruminated over my Holter monitor readings, they discussed the medications and the ramifications of each. The possible interactions I may see emerging… they looked at the tides and the phases of the moon, they threw some chicken bones into the corner of the room and tried to read them, I was served a strong black tea and then as one doctor tried to read the leaves, a second dealt Tarot cards and a third sacrificed a young goat… well… that’s the way I remember it. But there was a lot of talking and nodding. That was all before the actual surgeon came in, these were nurses and residents preparing the altar for HIS arrival.

Arrive he did on a complicated system of rope pulleys like some kind of bad high school Peter Pan production, he soared into the room and in his customary Lone Ranger manner, said – “it’s too early to tell”, then sept from the room leaving all to ask who was that masked man/peter pan. OK I made up the flying, but his visit was that short, he came in and looked at my readings, listened to the residents regurgitate what I had told them and then said “I’d like to give it another 2 months, if we see no activity or resumption of symptoms then I think we are in very good shape”….

I asked if I could lower some of my medication doses and they allowed me to drop my aspirin from 325 to 81 which is good because although it helps prevent clots and strokes due to the atrial flutter, it messes with your stomach. Also the amiodarone, was dropped from the 200mg’s to 100mg’s a day…. which is also good because amiodarone has a lengthy list of side effects, which grow exponentially the longer you use it. So those are both positive actions, less meds is definitely the right direction to be heading… with the goal of being able to stop completely. Knock wood – I have felt symptom free for about 2 or 3 weeks… no feelings of A-Fib or Flutter, so I was feeling pretty confident, until they wiped that stupid grin off my face by telling me that no, in fact the halter monitor showed I was still having tiny episodes through the day and night.

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This was news to me, because before – when it hit, I FELT IT, right away, it wiped me out, but now here I was having some episodes but they were so minor I wasn’t even aware of them. So again that’s positive and a move in the right direction. I wish I could say they gave me a totally clean bill of healthy and I was free, but while I am clearly moving towards that day, I’m not quite there yet. So I’m guardedly optimistic…….

Have a Great Day.

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