A Glorious Fortune

I sure feels to be back home. Nora and my trip to Rochester and the Mayo Clinic turned out to be a day longer than anticipated, but for all good reasons. I don’t know how many of you were up to date on the reason for us going, but it was to get some testing done on my heart to figure out the best way to fix some clogged coronary arteries. We already knew that it would not be by grafting in some arteries from another part of my body, as there was no good spot in the troubled coronary arteries to do the grafting. Stenting was also projected to be a risky proposal. So risky that the folks at Aspirus in Wausau referred me to the Mayo.

Nora and I headed south to Rochester on Sunday and then I had tests Monday and Tuesday and then I was to have a right heart catheterization on Wednesday. By around midday Tuesday, another appointment was added and all it said was “consultation”. The Mayo is a great place, but one thing I wish they would do is to explain better why some tests were ordered and the nature of the consultations. The new appointment for Wednesday was set for just an hour or so ahead of my heart cath. Nora and I were quite worried that we would not be able to get to the heart cath on time. Not just because the consultation was so close in time to it, but also be cause the consultation was at the Mayo Clinic and the cath was at St Mary’s hospital. The two are basically both considered the Mayo, but St Mary’s is where all of the procedures takes place and the buildings considered the Mayo Clinic are where most of the testing and consultations are done.

So Nora called to explain our concern and were told that we should not worry, because the cath lab was aware of our new appointment just ahead of my procedure. So Tuesday night and early Wednesday I went through all of my prep for the cath, mainly not eating and drinking as one would before sedation as well as holding some of my daily medications. We then went to the appointment at the “Mayo” end of town and there we spoke with some members of the cardiac clinic. It turns out that the doctors had done a little pow-wow and their “Ace” for doing stents had determined that he could perform the stenting of the artery that was the main trouble maker. So a ton of weight suddenly was lifted off of the shoulders of Nora and I. We really had thought that they would not do the stenting due to the risks and I would be put on the list for a transplant. The only minor down side was that their schedule in the cath labs was full for Wednesday and I would have to wait until Thursday. Hardly seemed like a downside at all!

So the first thing we did was get me some food and then did have one more appointment with a surgeon Wednesday afternoon just to completely fill us in on all that had gone down. He did a great job of explaining things and said that this stenting would be a good test to see if it was the main culprit for my symptoms and also give us all a baseline to go off of having that blockage cleared. He also said that I was knocking on transplants door, but that could be many years away.

The stenting went very smoothly and they did keep me overnight, just because it was not a typical stenting. We did get to see some pictures of the problem artery before and after and I got to see some before and after. The artery that they fixed is called the LAD for Left Anterior Descending Artery. We were told that it is responsible for supplying around 40% of the blood that the heart uses. So it’s a pretty important one! Mine was 99.5% blocked, but my heart had found some work arounds to supply my heart with enough blood to keep going. 

I got discharged Friday morning and then we hit the road for home. Poor Nora had to do all the driving, as I was not allowed to. The holiday traffic heading north made a 7-7 1/2 hour a 10 hour trip! She got us home safe and sound and now I am just taking it easy for the next few days, waiting for all the restrictions to come down. They said it will most likely take 2-3 weeks for me to feel the full effects of what they did and I still need to get the ablation done, but things worked out about as good they could on this trip and Nora and I are both full of gratitude.

The Friday before we left, we went to the lake and the air was fairly warm. Warm enough for Grace to take her first dip in the lake. We’re not talking a dipping of the toes or even wading out to her knees or waist, were talking full emersion! I don’t know what the water temp was, but it had to be no warmer than the 40’s and the look on her face when she came up showed how refreshing it was!

While we were gone, the rest of the filling out of the woods took place and we now are fully green, as well as some pinks and whites. That was the crabapple tree in our front yard and here is the cherry. The cherry tree looks kinda boring, but that is because it had already flowered and is now in the process of making it’s fruit.

I guess that covers it for this one. I thank everyone for their well wishes, thought and prayers for my trip to Mayo. It really helped to keep my spirits high and proved to push things in a very welcomed direction!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..