Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heart Issues

“You’re a very lucky man.” Those words, coming from a cardiologist at Duke University Hospital, carry weight. “Most people who experience what you did last night are not alive this morning.”

Since we came in Friday night, Ben has been catheterized, MRI’d, and echocardiogrammed in an effort to find out why his heart rate was almost 300 beats per minute. They still aren’t quite sure they know the answer to that one exactly. But in the process of looking for an explanation, they discovered a lot. So much, in fact, that as I type this, Ben is in surgery for a double bypass AND mitral valve repair or replacement, a 6 hour open-heart procedure.
There’s nothing like a real life trauma to throw things into perspective. I rearranged my schedule -- thanks to the kindness of my classmates, supervisor, professors, parents, kids, and friends -- so that I could remain up here in Durham. I’ve assumed responsibilities and questioned doctors and met Ben’s friends and daughter and talked with his ex-wife (we’ve even been texting today!). I’ve laughed my head off, and cried, and worried. I’ve felt strong, and weak. I’ve been glad to be here, and I’ve wished I were anywhere else. But mainly I’ve just been grateful. Grateful at the opportunity to know someone in a completely different way….there’s nothing like this to reveal facets of a person! Grateful at the providence that put us at Duke when this happened and for the world-class cardiovascular surgeon who is working on him now (his "clinical interests" are listed as cardiac transplantation, left ventricular assist devices, adult cardiac surgery, and mitral valve surgery). Grateful that undetected problems could come to light and be addressed. Grateful for life.

1 comment:

LauraLiz said...

I've been somewhat out of pocket computer-wise, so am glad to get back home and read this update. Life is so unpredictable, isn't it?! Hugs to you.