Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cardio Vascular Assessment/Procedure

Well what a day and I mean that in a good way, PA hospital visit to my Cardio Vascular surgeon was awesome.

A little history first.

March 2009 I had been in for a fairly routine angiogram following an heart attack. Suddenly the Cardiologist stopped (You have to be fully conscious and alert during these procedures) "Peter, we have a very serious condition here!" he stated, "We have a 99% blockage in the main coronary artery just above the first branch" he continued. "The body swell's when it has been invaded by a foreign object, so we can't pull out." He went on to say "This situation is serious, if we operate now there is a 2% chance of success due to the volume and location of the blockages. There are 2 other serious blockages, 100% below the 3rd branch and 99% between the second and third branch also there are 9 other blockages of varying degrees." He added, "We are going to move you to a ward for 30 minutes where you will be watched by a nurse, while we prepare for surgery, is there anyone you would like us to notify?". I told him that Ronnie was downstairs in the cafeteria so he sent someone to find her. They explained the situation to Ronnie advising her that she may need to go home alone later that day and left her with me for a few minutes.

I had had a premonition the day before and it had been so strong that after discussing it with Ronnie we had invited 2 friends over to execute my last will and testimony so when I had my few minutes with Ronnie we prepared for the worst (my premonitions had never been wrong!). We were already pretty well resigned to the fact that it was over for me.

Everyone was doing their best to keep the mood light when the lead surgeon quipped "we are ready to give this our best shot... are you ready?" It was an extremely painful (no anaesthetic could be applied as the risk was already at an unacceptable level) and lengthy procedure. I watched as my heart stopped several times, fibrillated and convulsed at times during what appeared to be a delicate procedure while my left leg went into uncontrollable convulsions, all the while the wonderful Doctors and Nurses encouraging me, "You're doing very well Peter... just try and stay as still as possible."  Needless to say the Doctors and Nurses were so chuffed with themselves (and deservedly so) when it was all over. "We have just extended your life from 30 minutes to 30 year's" one quipped.

I was advised very strongly, NOT to smoke "one cigarette can kill you with those 3 stents in your heart."

October 2010 whilst at work I had my 15th heart attack and some sort of convulsive fit which threw everyone into a panic, an ambulance was called and transported me to hospital which of course had all the tongues wagging at work and in the security industry. (Miraculously I have not had a stroke and this has Cardiologists and Vascular Surgeons somewhat perplexed.) I had been in the process of giving up smoking and had just had a puff of a co-workers cigarette (they really can kill you). Anyway as a result, last February (2011) I had a CABG and Medicated Stent procedure performed. This was my second heart procedure and due to the advances in medicine and medical procedures not usually a big deal apart from the risk factor, however because I only have one rather sick kidney remaining , complete renal failure is a high risk. The kidneys do not tolerate the dye required for the angiogram or angioplasty so in my case I have to have the kidney fully hydrated prior to and following, any cardio vascular procedure... this reduces the risk a little.

Side Note 1:
The missing kidney came about at age 6 following an appendectomy where something had been left in the body causing an infection and subsequent rupture. The error was corrected and unbeknown to my family at the time a kidney was removed. I found this out following my first heart attack at the age of 35.

Side Note 2:
My Heart rate is very low - usually between 40 and 50, causing the heart monitors to constantly go into alarm.

Side Note 3:
I suffer sleep apnoea - Respiratory system collapses 3 times per 5 minute interval so only rem 2 sleep is ever achieved. A CPAP machine is used to provide 11 litres of air. I have never been able to get used to this so use it infrequently and never even took it on holiday but still improved:)

In December 2010 during a visit to my Cardiologist, (Bonnie Ronnie was present) I asked what the reason for delaying surgery was. The response left my little Bonnie Ronnie terribly upset for quite some time but with some support she has come to terms with it. "You are living on borrowed time, Peter." he explained, "You have a distended kidney and each procedure carries the very real risk of complete renal failure which at your age and coronary condition will be fatal".

May 2011 During a visit to my Cardio Vascular Surgeon we discussed the blockages in both my legs (Left 100% in the femoral artery and Right 99% in the femoral artery). "Your condition is full reversible!" he stated. This really stimulated my interest I can assure you. We discussed the risks which are of course pretty astronomical but given the fact that I am on borrowed time I figured what the heck, lets do it. (I quickly made arrangements for a friend to take full responsibility for any life support following a possible stroke - he gets to pull the plug cause I know he will!)

We 'blew' the left leg (I have a very high pain threshold but that had me bowed 12 inches off the operating table screaming like a baby - wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy - ask my brother Guy, he knows first hand). No stent required at that time which leaves that option open in the future. The surgeon agreed that should I survive till the following February (2012) he would do the right leg.

Today was the visit to start this Right Leg procedure but the Surgeon's were so amazed at my level of health and fitness they decided that the problem (99% blockage of the femoral artery still exists with the same risk factors) didn't warrant immediate intervention with that level of risk. Rather schedule a full body arterial scan and work up for three months time with a consultation to follow on the same day and reassess the situation. the term used by the surgeon was "improvement beyond belief". I absolutely love it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Routine Journal

This is a new blog to record rather mundane daily journal type entries and will be private once I get it sorted.