Heart Cath Day

Last Thursday I got to sleep in a little since I didn’t have to be at the hospital for my heart cath until 9:45. It was nice to sleep in since I was up late the night before so I could go see the musical group Black Violin at the Miller Theater. Great show but slightly off topic.

I admit I was a bit nervous and Kim and I didn’t talk all that much during the thirty minute drive to the hospital. Check-in was pretty easy and I was taken back for prep probably within a half hour of arriving.

Prep started with the usual kind of things: blood pressure check, temperature, oxygen levels, weight. They did take blood for lab work. Next I had to change into a hospital gown and was shaven in a few areas I wasn’t really expecting. Weird to have two nurses just chatting away like nothing was going on all the while you’re sitting there almost naked. They gave me some Benadryl and Zanax. I guess the Benadryl is to prevent an allergic reaction to the catheter. It was freezing in the room while I waited to go into the cath lab and I couldn’t warm up my legs and feet for nothing. I have no idea why but I ended up laying there for nearly two hours before going in for the procedure.

The staff in the cath lab were very friendly and funny. They had me laughing pretty hard. Once everything was ready, one of the nurses told me she was going to give me something that I would really like and after that I really don’t remember anything else. I guess it was about 90 minutes later, the Doctor was sitting beside me holding a set of X-rays. It showed I had 100% blockage in one artery, 90% in another and 70-80 blockage in a third and then he tells me the one thing I least expected. I need to have heart bypass surgery! Honestly, I was expecting to hear the stress test was a false alarm or he had to put in one or two stents and then I’d be good to go.

A long story made just a little shorter: NO RUNNING! NO LIFTING OVER 15 POUNDS! NO STRENUOUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY! You might think I would have the bypass surgery in a day or two but nope! Other than the blockages I’m in pretty good health. Because I have been active, my body created collateral arteries (maybe veins, capillaries–not sure what they are called) to supply blood to my heart. That’s the one thing that has kept me from having a heart attack. Anyway my surgery is scheduled for May 23rd.

I have the doctors permission to fly to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 Mini Marathon coming up on Saturday. NO–I won’t be running but I can walk it under certain conditions. Just have to keep my heart rate low and if I feel any discomfort to stop immediately. I also have to walk around carrying nitroglycerin pills, just in case. So far, I haven’t needed them and I’m not expecting to need them either.

I’ve had a few days now to think about all of this and I’m trying to keep a positive outlook. From what I’ve been told by the Doctor’s and Surgeon this will just about give me a new lease on life. My expectation is by this time next year I’ll be running again and running stronger than ever!

In the near term: I get to at least walk the Indy 500 Mini Marathon with my daughter and son-in-law; I can go to a Hannon family reunion the same weekend of the Indy Mini; and I can travel to see my grandson graduate from high school all before my surgery. I feel very fortunate to say the least. I’m not very good at expressing my feeling but through this blog I’m going to try harder to do that. I am a little scared. At the same time I have some dread. I know recovery will be hard work. While I’m not very good at expressing my feelings I’m pretty damn good at being stubborn! I’m not going to let a bad heart slow me down without a fight.

Well, I think you’re all caught up now. Friday I fly to Indianapolis for the Mini Marathon so I’ll probably post a few times over the weekend. Since I’m walking I’ll have more opportunities to take photos so I’ll be sure to post some of them here. Who know’s what I’ll see this time. Ok. thanks for listening and stay tuned for the journey.

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