xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: January 2015

Thursday, 15 January 2015

My heart and I

Sanjay Sharma does not open the bowling for the Indian cricket team. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon. What he does do is open up chest cavities to repair broken hearts. He is my cardiothoracic surgeon and hopefully he will be repairing my broken heart on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015. Actually, he told me my heart is quite strong, it is the clogged up arteries that are the problem that the bypass will fix up. Sounds good to me.

The major downside is that Lesley and I were booked in for a week at Rottnest Island from January 17th. Obviously we have had to cancel that holiday, so for the first time in many, many years we will not be enjoying our summer in the sunshine and surf at beautiful Rottnest. 

Richard Tauber used to sing about “My heart and I” and now it is my turn. My heart and I have been together for over 70 years. I have always appreciated that it kept on beating away so that I could get to do the things that I was doing. In fact it began beating away several months before I was even born, just so that I could make my way into the world on that Christmas Eve so many years ago.
Now my heart is struggling because an angiogram reveals that my three heart arteries are clogged 100%, 80% and 20 % respectively. That means I am only getting about 30% of my normal blood supply. Dr Sharma says he will give me a quadruple by-pass to get blood flowing back into my hard working heart. Thank you, my beating heart, for keeping up the good work while on such severe blood supply rations. I am very proud of you.

Dr Sharma told me that a quadruple by-pass is a “Bill Clinton” by-pass in honour of the former US President’s heart surgery a few years ago. Well that may be so, but let me tell you right now I do not even know Monica Lewinsky.

At my meeting with Doctor Sharma, he told me that a heart bypass would be very beneficial for me whereas, to do nothing would almost certainly result in a very unfortunate outcome within a few months.

I had a heart attack in March, 1993, almost 22 years ago. An angiogram at that time showed my arteries were clogged up and I asked when I was going to have by-pass surgery. However, because I had not had any pain since my attack and had passed a cycling stress test with flying colours the doctors decided to treat my heart condition with medication, diet and exercise, namely a lot of walking. 

This turned out to be pretty good advice as it gave me more than 21 years of pain free living.
Dr Sharma, after examining my angiogram results told me that in fact my body had given me a natural by-pass and blood vessels had found their way around a clogged artery to increase my blood flow. Unfortunately, where this natural by-pass hooked in to an artery was just below where a 95% blockage had developed, hence the onset of my pain in mid November, 2014.

He also told me that there were a few risks associated with bypass surgery, but that the risk was only about 1%. I was very happy to hear this. Then he mentioned that the risk increases if you have diabetes or hypertension. Hello! I have both of those.

Dr Sharma explained that the three likely outcomes of a heart bypass are:
1.      You die on the table.
2.      You have a stroke.
3.      The operation is successful and after a month of recovery you enjoy life without pain and with much more energy.

I am not worried about the results. Why worry about something you cannot do anything about? It is in God’s hands and I am quite happy with that. God has been very good to me in my lifetime. If I die, well, apart from the short term sorrow it would cause my family and friends, I cannot complain. I have had a great life with the family I was born into and the one that Lesley and I created. I have great friends and work colleagues. Above all, I have enjoyed a beautiful life with my lovely Lesley. However, I am confident that Dr Sharma will do a first class job and, after my recovery period, I look forward to enjoying what is left of the summer and getting on with my life. Maybe even a trip to Rottnest later this year.

If I do, you will read about it here.