About a month ago, I started writing again and had at least tried to begin responding to the many queries that have kept coming in the door – some left on posts that are a year or two old. (And for all of you out there who have asked, those old posts are still ‘open’ so that you can leave a question or comment and they will be forwarded to me). Due to the volume of the queries, I had to limit my responses to some of the most recent ones and to those that are not adequately addressed in the original posts or in the ‘strings’ of comments that follow.
Anyway, despite my best intentions, I am afraid I was side-tracked early in my return engagement by another round of medical problems. I had actually been under the weather for awhile, but had thought it was secondary to all the administrative responsibilities I had had as interim chair as well as my clinical load. To make a long story short, I had a series of tests that culminated in a cardiac catheterization 3 days ago and placement of stents in one of my coronary arteries that was 99% blocked. It just goes to show, “It’s always something.”
Mind you I am not overweight and have always exercised religiously, even at the expense of time spent with my family, and that is probably what had saved me to this point (I do come from a family with BAD GENES - a very poor track record of early onset and severe arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease). Indeed, I actually passed the exercise portion of the stress test with flying colors to the amazement of my doctors because when they looked at my perfusion studies, the whole anterior wall of my left ventricle was hardly getting any blood. In all honesty, I feel I was only days to weeks away from a heart attack or lethal arrhythmia that may well have put me in the grave.
So today I decided to test out my new stents! I went out and walked 4.5 miles and for the first time in ages, I had no tightening in my chest or shortness of breath. Indeed, there were several times during the walk that I wanted to burst into a run, but sensibly controlled my exuberance for the sake of my right groin (the entry site for the heart catheter). When I got back to the house, my pulse was only 80. But, the most amazing thing I noticed was the ‘fog’ that had clouded my concentration for the preceding months, and truly had made writing a burden, had also been lifted. I was thinking clearly again!
In the big scheme of things, I feel as though I have been spared a relatively early grave and, as so often happens under these circumstances, that has given me a sense that my work on this earth is not yet done. It’s not too often we get second chances like this and I wanted to tell you all that at least part of that work is attention to this blog. Please bear with me again as I get back into the routine and thank you for hanging on as loyal readers through all of my down time over the past six months.