My Normal Self


My Normal Self

For those of you who might have noticed that I haven’t been my normal self lately and I thought you deserved an explanation. Seventeen years ago I had a heart valve replaced. I was told at the time that the new valve would last between 15 and 20 years. Right on schedule it began to fail this year.

In the meantime, I began to have an irregular heartbeat, unrelated. When it rains it pours.

My doctor and I decided to fix the irregular heartbeat first and I had two ablation treatments which were basically outpatient procedures and they ‘fixed’ the heartbeat issue. At least so far. It has to remain ‘fixed’ for a year. We shall see.

In the meantime the pesky valve continued to fail and the result was that I was extremely tired and out of breath all the time. However the good news was that technology marches on and whereas the replacement two decades ago was a major open chest procedure, today it can be done with a catheter and one can go home the next day. Therein turn the tale.

The procedure went well and I was home walking the dog the next day. I felt great.

Last Wednesday an infection hit me like a ton of bricks. The symptoms were like those of a stroke, mostly in my cognitive abilities. I couldn’t understand others and when I spoke I made no sense. I know, how did they tell the difference.

So it was off to the hospital and a week’s course of antibiotics which worked out of the blocks. Fever gone and feeling great. However the docs were concerned about the new valve and further infection so I’m now on a six week course of heavy duty meds including a pump I carry around to keep the drip going.

I don’t recommend a week in the hospital. You can’t “do” anything. I must have seen 30 episodes of “Friends” and read four books. The staff was terrific, even when they woke me up four times a night to check my blood pressure. Many thanks to the folks at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica. I might not be here without them.

I’m definitely on the mend and expect to see blogs and columns issuing forth shortly. Thank you to all those who sent words of inspiration and support.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

4 Responses

  1. Glad to hear you have a plan and you’re on the mend! And for the record, we couldn’t tell the difference :).

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