Friday, February 13, 2015

Episode 2.3: A Meeting with the Surgeon. GAME ON!!!

In a zealous display of enthusiasm reminiscent of the late, great Ernie Banks, Dad has decided "Let's do TWO!" Two replacement valves that is. The 3-4 hour surgery is slated to be scheduled for Tuesday, 24 Feb at 7:30 am.  The final go-ahead will come after Dr. Platt reviews the images from a CT scan that Dad should be finishing right about now. He wants to make sure that things are just as him left them when he sewed Dad up back in July, 2011. It will also let him check on scar tissue.

Needless to say, our appointment went well yesterday. Dr. Platt is no nonsense, but listens well and has a dry, understated sense of humor. He is the surgeon who deemed Mom's cancer inoperable and who did Dad's heart surgery. We liked him then and we like him now.

The tone of the visit was set when he asked Dad, who was sitting on the examination table, to lift up his legs and lie down. Dad pivoted and swung his legs up and onto the table in perfect form, straight legs, feet together, toes down, just like a gymnast mounting a pommel horse.

"Well, you're certainly fit and in good shape!" noted the Doctor.

He only works out five times a week, we explained.

Several pertinent facts came out during the examination:
  • Dad's heart is left-dominant, meaning that the heart itself is supplied by the arteries from the left side of the heart. Fairly rare.
  • He has no blockages, the vessels are extremely clean.
  • The replacement valve is working perfectly.
  • The left ventricle has not diminished in strength since the last surgery. It was weakened then to the same degree that it is weakened now.
  • He had moderate mitral regurgitation at the time of the last surgery, graded 2+.
  • The leakage is worse now, graded 4+.
  • He did not address the mitral valve then because the aortic valve and the aneurysm were more demanding problems. He thought that three procedures would have been to much to address in one surgery.
The plan is to use the same incision and route of entry as the last surgery. While he always looks to repair, he anticipates that the best course will probably be to replace the 90 year old valve. A replacement should work for at least  10 years. Dr. Platt sees no reason not to procede. Dad is in great shape, much better shape than most of his patients who are younger.

The most important factor is that Dad wants to procede. He was out of breath after bending over and tying one shoe.

"All I know is that I just can't go on like this!"

1 comment:

  1. Pete and I are praying for a surgeon's steady hand on Tuesday and Uncle Don's strength to continue. As the Waddintong clan goes through yet another medical roller coaster ride, my heart is warmed by the fact that they all know just how much they all mean to each other. Hang on to each other through this one as you have for all of the others. Our thoughts are with you.