The first day of testing is over. Reported to the registration station as scheduled at 8 am and went through the formal registration process. Filled out all the paperwork about me and collected all my insurance cards and ID. Guess they wanted to make sure they got paid for all the services I will be receiving. My estimate is that this procedure will cost between 250 -300,000 USD dollars when all the cotton balls are counted. Its a good thing that Medicare and my supplemental insurance will pay for all of it. It will not pay my travel expenses, but that is a small exchange for this world class care. Its time for me to finally get something back from the decades of taxes I've paid into the system.
After registration, I had an EKG, blood panel, and a chest xray. At 10AM, I met with my assigned staff cardiologist. He is from Ireland and is the head of his department. Tomorrow I am meeting with the head of Cardiovascular research who will do my catheterization procedure and finally, the director of cardiac surgery will be doing my procedure. Talk about lucky streaks, somehow I got the three top people in their organizations at CC on my case. If these three renown doctors can't fix me up, no one can.
Anyway, the take-a-way from the morning session with the cardiologist is that my valve is indeed leaking, but the heart rhythm is ok. I do have palpitations from an early firing of the left ventricle but that is not major - I am not going to drop dead tomorrow. His early impression is that a minimally invasive procedure is likely unless they find that I need some kind of bypass surgery. Tomorrow's catheterization procedure will give a more complete picture and determine the final approach. That was great news for me as I was preparing for the worse case scenario - a full sternotomy where they crack open your chest to get to your heart. My hope now is that I can get robotic surgery and save weeks if not months of recovery. He told me that whatever approach, there would be pain and to not be macho and forego the drugs. I know from first hand experience when I had hernia surgery that he was absolutely right.
Found a great place for lunch at the hospital. They have a huge Au bon pain bakery and restaurant. Same chain as the ones in the big mango, but much much larger in size and a huge selection of food. Had a great soup and sandwich combo to end my fasting.
Family and friends coming in tonight so I am in good care. Plan on going to dinner at Little Italy tomorrow as they will likely be tired. I personally feel as good and energetic as ever, doing my daily walk and having a busy day today. Since tomorrow is a only half day of testing and so is Wednesday, I plan to keep the days full and might even go to the Rock and Roll hall of fame before my procedure. Strange situation feeling so good going into an operation knowing that you will feel worse coming out on the other side in the short term. Its the long term benefits that I am after and it will be worth it.
Finally thanks for all the well wishes from everyone! I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart - its in need of a little tune up now, but its deep and full. We'll be hanging out again soon.
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