On My Heart (A Series) … “I’m Glad We Did This.”


I had a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist, yesterday. Dr. P is the one who decided I needed the transplant, but not the one who actually did it. This visit was just to check my vitals and gauge my overall wellbeing. I will see Dr. H, my surgeon, at the end of the month to check on my recovery from the surgery and decide when I can resume “normal” activities.

Charles and I met a lovely man in the waiting room, he was retired military and had worked as a civilian at the Air Force base for many years. He and Charles hit it off and had a lot of connection based on their work on software, electronics, and air planes. He was probably over 80, and unlike most of the patients in a heart doctor’s waiting room, he looked pretty healthy. Charles reminds me so much of my Daddy, he can strike up a conversation with anyone at any time. But, in this case, it was the other gentleman who started things off with “you are quite tall….”

In the room my vitals were taken along with my weight. I am down 16 pounds post-op. Dr. P came in. He commented on my particularly low blood pressure which was hovering around 100/60. I reminded him that my blood pressure is always low and that Dr. H had also added a blood pressure pill to my list of daly medicine. Dr. P advised me to only take a half dose going forward. He reviewed my numbers, gave me a once over and said “I’m really glad we did this.”

I chuckled. He said, “I’m really glad we did this,” it in the same way someone might have said “I’m really glad we had dinner together,” or “I’m really glad we painted the bathroom.”

This procedure is one of the top two hardest things I’ve had to do physically. The other thing was the cancer treatments in the 90s. The cancer was hard because it was two long drawn out processes. The first was every day to the hospital to get radiation for about 6 months. I was trying to work full time and raise two young children. The second was 4 years later, after moving to Atlanta, and included regular hospital trips for chemo, platelet transfusions, and suffering all kinds of side effects, while still trying to raise two children. I had a good support system from my church, but my family was in Oklahoma. That was hard, really hard. I had no choice in the matter, nobody was going to raise my kids but me, so I had to get well.

This heart procedure, necessitated by all the damage caused by the cancer treatments, was a little different. My kids are grown now, with kids of their own. But, still my survival required it. The good news is the recovery from surgery should not take anywhere near as long as the cancer.

Dr. P said things should start to level out in the next 3-4 months. My mind turned toward the things I hope to do next year. I want to clear the dust off Ramona, my bicycle, and take her for a spin. I want to get back to walking 5-7 miles a day. I want to book a scuba trip. Charles and I are going to Ireland in May with my sister and her husband. I hope to walk from Tipperary to Dublin, But first, I think I will concentrate on walking to the mailbox without taking a break.

I’m glad we did this.

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