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!