This is Part 4 of a (no longer short) series on my interactions with the medical profession and my blood pressure (BP). If you haven’t read it yet, Part 1 describes my belief that my BP will be okay When the stress goes away. Following that, Part 2 covered my regular semi-annual meeting with the doctor where I described an ache I’ve been having in the middle of my chest in But Doc, I feel fine Except…. At my subsequent meeting with the cardiologist, I was informed that I needed to have a cardiac catheterization. That was on Friday, 7 January, and now I’m preparing for a Quadruple Bypass this Tuesday.
I’ve spent the past week getting things ready. Not so much for having open heart surgery as getting things lined up so I can be away in the hospital for four or five days. As a single Dad with minor children at home, first priority was to find a place for them to stay for the duration since my 12 year olds will not be staying home by themselves. And that part is done, each will be staying with classmates: my daughter will be staying with a girlfriend and my son will be staying with a Boy Scout friend.
Another major task has been to write up what I do at work and how I do it as my responsibilities are being split out among the rest of the team. By day, I’m a systems analyst. The simplest description of what I do is – I read, I think, I write. So I’m busy documenting what I read about, what I think about and what I write about. And there’s that scary feeling that if everyone knows everything thing I do and how I do it, that I won’t be needed any longer.
I’ve also been explaining to the twins exactly what is happening to me and what the doctor will be doing. I have done my best to avoid creating undue stress in their minds by telling them that I’m not worried and everything is going to be okay. And, I really believe that myself. But, there is in the back of the mind, the what if thoughts. So, I planned that our last three evenings would be together, Friday through Sunday. That didn’t go over well with my daughter. She wanted to go to a school dance Friday evening and was really angry Thursday when I told her I wanted her to stay at home with me and she was still angry when she went to bed.
Some time later that evening it occurred to me that maybe she was angry because I had done a really good job of convincing the kids to not worry. And if there’s nothing to worry about, why should she have to stay at home? So, I did a little research on mortality rates associated with this type of surgery. Although the rates are not high, they are not zero and they are higher than I expected. I shared a recap of that information with them Friday morning, again emphasizing that I am not worried. That made things better. Right now, they’re actually side by side helping to put tonight’s dinner together.
There are other things I think about also. I know I have to quit smoking. I’ve been a smoker for 45 years and currently smoke just over two packs a day. Soon, I’ll be an ex-smoker and I hope that I’m not the pain in the ass that most ex-smokers become. Any smoker who knows an ex-smoker knows exactly what I’m talking about.
I’m expecting that I’ll be told to drop about 20 pounds. And I guess I’ll have to give up my allegiance to Paula Deen. That woman’s recipes are fabulous and so flavorful. But, she has never met a pound of butter that she didn’t love. Time to shift loyalty to Ellie Krieger, I suppose. But, Paula, I don’t blame you for my current status. The doctor said the top three factors are my gender, age and my father’s history.
The one thing I am really curious about though, is how I’m going to feel after the surgery. Everyone tells me I’ll feel so much better. But I didn’t choose the title of this post series lightly. I really do feel fine now.
As it stands now, I’ll be taking a hotel room in Winchester close to the hospital for Monday night. The weather forecast for the northern Shenandoah Valley is calling for snow, sleet and freezing rain. After ten days of preparation, I don’t want Murphy to prevent me from getting the surgery on Tuesday.