No, I am not talking about my health... rather, it's referring to L's health. Last July, he had a pacemaker attached to his heart. It was one of the things that he and I had discussed when we first started our phone conversations in early June of '09. He had apparently put it off for several years (he did NOT tell me that part) and I kind of pushed him, verbally, into getting it done.
As part of that pacemaker program, he has to have dial-up checks of the device and how well it is working. And on May 3rd, he had an in-the-office checkup. During that office visit, he mentioned to the technician that he had been having some episodes where he was short-winded. So the tech set him up with a visit with a local cardiologist two days later. During THAT visit, L expanded on his "short-winded" experience, and said that it involved a burning in his chest. Not. A. Good. Sign. This time, it was the cardiologist who nudged him into an angiogram. As the good doc stated it, "Your heart is in one piece right now. If you have a heart attack on Island Lake (this is the lake we live on), I don't know in what shape your heart will be, by the time you take that helicopter flight here and I see you."
I need to tell y'all that it is a 40-minute trip by vehicle from this place to the hospital, and there is a helicopter landing sight about 10 minutes down the road from this house. That would assume that he could get in a car under his own power, or that I could get a neighbor to assist me in getting L into a car. He probably weighs about 250, standing 6-foot-four.
Back to our story: the doc scheduled L for an angiogram on May 10th. For those of us who have lost a spouse, you can imagine my apprehension for this day. Hoping, HOPING that it would be okay, that things would turn out well.
And L was lucky, LUCKY -- there were several narrowings on the right side, mostly bunched together, that were able to be repaired by piggy-backing two stents. These blockages were about 80% - 90% blocked. On the left side, he has lesser blockages, in the 20% - 30% range. He had to stay overnight, was put on Plavix and has agreed to attend at least one cardiac rehab session. He SAYS he takes this as a warning, and of course his kids were (rightly so) shook up by all of this.
The best news of this is that he does NOT have that burning sensation anymore, not even when he picks up the pace during a walk. His PCP (primary care physician) will put him on a statin (cholesterol-lowering) drug next week. That will allow us some time to read up on the various ones and have some well-informed background when L discusses those drugs with the PCP.
Rather ironically, this cardiologist (Dr. N) is the one that I had an appointment with, about an hour before L saw him last Wednesday. I do like him, and he is a very "straight shooter" type. He let L make the decision (angio or roll the dice?) but did give him some very serious things to think about.
I am very grateful for the results and for the fact that, better late than never, L took a positive step towards ensuring that he might stay around a bit.
Oh -- and I won a 6-month free membership at a local gym! So now I can take action, too -- Do as I DO, not just do as I SAY. Wish us both luck.