My Two Year Review

| November 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

Medical care and hospitals have certainly been a big part of my two years with this magnificent heart.  I arrived in Tampa for my two-year review and a session with Dr. Albakri on Wednesday.  He is a really great guy and excellent neurologist.

You have probably heard enough about the transplant center’s psychologist, Dr. Kronsnoble but it is always comforting to see her.  I was fortunate to see her on the first of my two days at Tampa General.  We talked about how the recovery was going.  As usual, Dr. K shoots from the hip and that was the type conversation I wanted. Somehow, Dr. K makes everything seem like it can be fixed.

We talked about lifestyle changes quite a bit.  We talked about who I will be, not who I was.  She’s the greatest!

I saw the front office staff that somehow manages to remember everybody’s name and story.  They are a jovial group in a tense environment. 

Dr. Hoffman’s assistants, Jori and Marge, were on my case. They really accomplish a lot and follow through very diligently.  The ladies invited me to attend a heart walk-a-thon on Saturday but my transportation fell through. I think about 20,000 people participated.  Next year, I will be ready for them.

On Monday I had comprehensive blood draws and a stress test.  I was supposed to have an MRI but Dr. Hoffman did not want the dye in my body for the next day’s procedures.

The stress test took a bit more out of me than I anticipated.  It may have been because I flew in on Sunday and did not sleep all that well Sunday night.  In any case, I was exhausted at the end.  I had to stop because I could not breathe as the elevations kept increasing.

As Suzanne did not come with me, I had enough time to check in with my neighbors and plenty of time to think about the last two years.  One neighbor asked me if I had to do it over again, would I have gone ahead.

I really had not thought about that question for a long time.  The last time thoughts of that kind came to mind was during one of my several hospital stays.  I vowed to never think negatively about the transplant or to second-guess the decision to use the organ to prolong my life.

Because of that firm decision, I have always tried to look ahead.  If an obstacle arose, we focused on the outcome or remedy without any could ‘a, would ‘a or should ‘a thoughts.  My neighbor made a point that she would never have gone through it.  I laughed and told her not to worry, she had time to re-think that decision.

Once grandchildren are around, it is tough to be sick.

On Tuesday, Dr Hoffman did the right and left heart caths and a biopsy.  I must say, she is an artist.  I never felt uncomfortable but was a little stiff later in the day.  The good news is that my ticker is functioning like a Swiss watch.

It is ironic that when I left Tampa to go home, I was in great pain and discomfort from my back problems.  Yet, I was hesitant to leave Dr. Hoffman and Tampa General.

I have received great care at Albany Med.  When I left Albany this time, I was ever so slightly hesitant.  We really have a great team in Albany with a super cardiologist, a great neurosurgeon, an endocrinologist, a general practitioner, an infectious disease physician, a dermatologist and a pulmologist.  I need them all!

I have four lingering issues.  The most serious is a stubborn pulmonary embolism.  With that comes some heavy clotting.  I constantly battle myopathy and neuropathy but the fitness center is helping with those.  What would a transplant be without a little skin cancer and rosacea?  Throw in some pretty intense ribcage pain and we have a checklist.  The aside effects are identified, out in the open and on the table.  We are working on it.

I am pretty sure my case is unusual, but I feel one heck of a lot better than I did two years ago at this time.  As one of the kids asked, “Where would you be without the transplant?”

I guess that is the point, isn’t it?  Where would I be and what would I be missing?  I think in two months or so I will put almost all those symptoms to bed once and for all. And, everyday will be an even greater gift than it is now. 

Yes, I am looking forward to my three-year plateau.  I am going to be a whole lot better by then.  Bet on it!


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