Wednesday, May 27, 2015

And Now for Some Even BETTER NEWS!

Dad and his support team met with Dr Musselman (the cardiologist) this morning to discuss the results of last week's TEE diagnostic test. The reader might recall that it was the impression of Doctor Huang (who administered the test) that the outcome was positive.

And today, Dr. Musselman confirmed that finding. In spades!

The new pacemaker and the third lead to the ventricle have improved the pumping performance of the heart and reduced the mitral valve regurgitation to moderate from severe. He does not recommend surgery at this time. Dad is to go back for a checkup in four months. And of course, call if the symptoms worsen.

Big smiles all around!                       

Monday, May 18, 2015

And Now for Some GOOD NEWS!!!

As has been noted, Dad has been feeling improved since receiving new pacemaker with the defibrillator and third lead to the left ventricle. He saw Dr. Musselman, his cardiologist last week who thought it was time to do another Transesophageal Echocardiogram and take a look at how the heart is performing.

Remember that the TEE is a test where a sensor is inserted down the esophagus where it can get super close to the bottom of the heart and get a much better image of how the heart is functioning. It was the TEE exam in early February that showed the severe leakage in the mitral valve that was to be surgically repaired.

It was a foggy early morning in Dallas today as we drove through the grey darkness to the hospital. Walnut Hill Medical is a brand new, tiny, private hospital adjacent to the Texas Healthcare Presbyterian Hospital (yeah, the one famous for Ebola.) Dad barely had time to complain about the wait before they came to take him away and the test was over quickly.

The results were much improved today. The leakage was less severe, mitigated by the stronger impulses generated by the new lead from the pacemaker. One of the acute symptoms Dad was feeling when all this started was waking up at night in a panic caused by the poor blood flow and resulting loss of oxygen. He has been sleeping through the night since coming home from the hospital.

Dr. Huang, who is the TEE specialist and who performed the earlier test said the improvement was significant. and in her judgment put the need for mitral valve surgery in question. If Dad is feeling better, is the major surgery worth the risk and hardship at his age?

Dad will meet with Dr. Musselman in the coming weeks and they will make the final decision. But for now Dad just intends to party on!

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Just got a message from Helen: She went with Dad to the cardiologist (Dr. Musselman) today. He wants another TEE, so Dad's scheduled for Monday. They don't mess around when it comes to prompt scheduling.
I talked to Dad this morning: He said Musselman was pleased that Dad has evidently improved since they put the second lead in his Pacemaker; perhaps that has relieved the burden on the iffy valve.
Dad always went to his regular doctor, Dave Wiggins, who said Dad was in amazing health for his age. So Dad was feeling pretty pumped. (No heart pun intended.) As well he should.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Heading Into May

Once again it's been a couple of weeks since the last post and that's a good thing. Dad's feeling pretty good and is getting back to his old schedule, working out five days a week several dinners out with friends every week, not to mention his church activities. It's enough to tire a young man out.

He saw the pacemaker doctor last week. Everything looks good and they are starting him back on Coumadin (blood thinner.) At some point I suspect they will talk about mitral valve replacement, but as of now he does not have an appointment with his cardiologist.

The important thing is that he is feeling better. After his last doctor visit  I asked him if he was feeling better. He said he was but that he still gets tired very easily.

I asked him if he remembered how exhausted and out of breath he was when he bent over to tie his shoes when we saw the surgeon and scheduled the valve replacement. From that day's blog entry:
"The most important factor is that Dad wants to proceed. 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!"
Dad said he remembered and I asked him if still got that exhausted and frustrated and he said, "No."

In addition to the shortness of breath, the other major symptom of mitral regurgitation is waking up at night unable to breath. Dad described it as waking up panicked. (Because the ventricle can't push the blood all the way through the valve, the valve lies open when in the horizontal position. Blood can't get to the lung and oxygen can't get to the body.) I asked him he was sleeping better. He said yes, he was not waking up panicked.

The sum of these points is that the third lead to the ventricle has improved, if not cured the leaky valve. That will give him the full time necessary to recover from the two surgeries. That should take at least a couple of months.

So now we're making plans for his 90th birthday celebration in June. Should be a glorious affair. If you're reading this, consider yourself invited!

Mary was in town this weekend. Here's a picture of her and Dad standing on the spot in the garden where we buried Mom's ashes, so I guess she's in the picture too.