Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the widow-maker

Hello all. Many thanks for your well wishes, cards, emails, food. 

All goes as well as can be expected. It's been one month.

Actually, I was leading a very LEISURELY "My First Canoe Trip" outing at Ijams on Mead's Quarry Lake when I started having the initial symptoms of what is known as a widow-maker heart attack, blockage of the left anterior coronary artery.  That was Saturday, August 18.

Most people, even those apparently very healthy like joggers, tennis players, can just drop dead. A few have enough warning signs to get to the hospital in time. Luckily for me, I did.

Ijams coworkers, Peg Beute and Kara Remington, came quickly to my rescue at the lake and got me to the ER at UT. 

There is said to be no "foolproof" test for diagnosing a widow-maker blockage. You have to go in with a tiny camera and look around.

My cardiologist that weekend, Dr. Raj Baljepally, actually had a catheter ready to insert into my chest to locate the source of my trouble when the artery finally closed down. There is roughly only a five-minute window to relieve the arterial blockage. If this shut down is not corrected within this window, death is nearly certain, so he was in the right place at the right time and was able to get my artery reopened promptly, put in a stent, and I'm good to go for another 100,000 miles and, hopefully write three or four more books. 

Call it a miracle. They expect a slow but complete recovery. And apparently no long term damage to my heart, so it's not broken like it was in the fifth grade by heartthrob Debbie.

I know this is more detail than you need, but heck, it makes such a good story, and one I can walk away from.

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