Day 960: Follow the Heart

What an amazing day in the heart of Edinburgh yesterday! I hope you can follow my attempt to try to capture it, here.

First, I met two wonderful women who share my incredibly rare heart condition — congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries.

That’s Vicki and Andrena, posing with me after we shared a heart-to-heart-to-heart about our similar and yet unique experiences. Over my heart in that photo, I’m wearing my “Expert on my own experience” t-shirt. I had enough of a heart to bring  along a similar t-shirt for one of my new heart buddies.

I am speaking straight from the heart when I tell you that I have NEVER met anybody else with my rare condition. It was heart-warmingly amazing  to share experiences and reassurances with those two lovely ladies, who are Really Scottish in their hearts (and elsewhere).

Minutes after I left the good hearts of Vicki and Andrena, I saw this:

Is everybody following my heart, so far?

Next I was following my heart through the heart of Edinburgh, noticing other hearts:

Soon after my heart was considering getting the above gift for my sweetheart Michael (who is heartily taking care of our two cats near the heart of Boston USA), my heart sank into my feet when I fell off a high curb and felt fear in my heart that I had damaged my ankle.

My late father was a warm-hearted pharmacist and my heart knew enough about possible ankle sprains to buy this

at a nearby dispensing chemist and put it on like this, back at our hotel room:

I knew in my heart that was the right place to put it, rather than on my heart or on my knee (as pictured on the packaging).

I also followed my heart to rest in my room and to NOT take this ibuprofen pill

despite assurances at the chemist that it was okay to take with my anti-coagulant medication, which I need  every day for my heart.  I also followed my heart to email the most  accessible heart doctor ever — Boston’s (and my) lion-hearted Doctor Deeb Salem.

Here’s the heart of our email exchange yesterday, which dispelled fear in my heart about a possible heart-rending sprain to my foot:

Hi Deeb,

About an hour ago, I stepped down wrong (twice!) and felt a fair amount of pain in my ankle. I am now back at my hotel room, elevating the ankle after wrapping it with an ace bandage that also applies cooling. (Europe is ahead of us in certain ways.) The clerk at the pharmacy said I could take Ibuprofen with Xarelto, but I’m assuming that is incorrect.

I was googling “sprained ankle on vacation” and noticed some scary stuff about blood clots so I thought I would write you and get your take on how I could best stay safe. I would rather not go to hospital as they say around here, if possible.

Also, earlier today I had breakfast with two lovely women in their 40’s who have cctga. They both thought you sounded like a wonderful doctor.

I am not using a cell phone for calls here, but I do have Wi Fi so I can check email.


As usual, Dr. Salem had the heart to respond within minutes, as follows:


Sorry to hear about your ankle sprain:

  1. Do NOT ibuprofen. It will increase your chance of bleeding when you are on Xarelto
  2. Blood clots are very rare with ankle sprains and since you are on a heavy duty anticlotting med (Xarelto) your chance of a blood clot is exceedingly low.
  3. Having had over a dozen sprained ankles myself you are doing all the right things. Did they put you in a boot? Did you get an x-ray to rule out a small fracture (not that the treatment is much different)?


I followed my heart to write back, like so:

I didn’t get a boot. I was thinking of just keeping it wrapped and getting a walking stick. I’m also wondering how long I should keep off of it. I didn’t get an X-ray and would really rather not. There is a lot of walking involved in the Fringe Festival here. We have tickets to things every day.

Thanks for being my consulting doctor from many miles away.

Dr. Salem, heart doctor extraordinaire, then followed:


If you are not in too much pain and can wrap the ankle well it is probably OK to give it a try. If the bruising is excessive (which means you have bled a lot into your ankle) you should keep off it or at least get a boot.


I followed, happy now in my heart, with this:

Brilliant (as they say here in the UK)!

Then, I followed my heart to hobble around and look for a real Scottish walking stick. I got one that worked its heart out for me last night, so I could follow my excellent ex-sister-in-law and my son Aaron to a heart-felt production of the musical Rent.


The production was so amazingly brilliant, that I cried during this number, my heart exceedingly touched:

“Will I Lose My Dignity” gets to one of the many hearts-of-the-matter in that incredibly heart-felt musical.

Soon after that number, I followed my heart to realize that one of the original cast members, Anthony Rapp, who had worked closely with the late Jonathan Larson — the show’s genius of a writer —  was sitting in the row behind me. During intermission, Mr. Rapp was kind-hearted enough to allow me to take his picture.

Then, after the show was over and I was openly weeping, Mr. Rapp and I had a heart-warming discussion about the untimely death of Jonathan Larson, who died the night before Rent opened in 1996, of an undetected, congenital weakness of his heart.

I’m not sure how to end this post, except to follow my heart to the final two  photos I took last night, after a most amazing day:

If you have any questions or comments, please follow your heart to express them, below.

Heart-following thanks to the people who put on a kick-ass production of Rent last night, to Anthony Rapp, to Andrena and Vicki, to Dr. Salem, to my son Aaron and my excellent ex-sister-in-law Deborah, to the late and great Jonathan Larson, and to you — of course! — for following your heart, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 45 Comments

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45 thoughts on “Day 960: Follow the Heart

  1. What an amazing encounter. Will you keep in touch? I hope the ankle improves quickly, and doesn’t spoil your holiday too much

    • I followed my heart to ask Andrena and Vicki for their phone numbers, so I’m thinking we will keep in touch, Derrick. Many thanks for your kind and heartfelt wishes.

  2. Ann, sorry to hear about your ankle. The boot would have been nice because it immobilises and lets you walk at the same time; but a good ankle Ace wrap like the one you have should also do (but you might need a surgical shoe if no boot is available?) Take care Ann, thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences.

  3. How wonderful to meet Andrena and Vicki- how unwonderful to have hurt your ankle, but what a Dr you have to help sort it all out from so far away. It looked like a great day over all, and that was some dessert Aaron was enjoying! I hope you heal up post haste Ann!!

  4. What an exciting, heartwarming day. Sorry about your ankle, but you have to ❤️ a doctor who would respond to you so quickly. Wow. You must have a special place in his ❤️. And to top off your day with Rent, And Anthony Rapp…What’s not to love ?? ❤️ ❤️

  5. My heart is sorry that you had a mishap and injured your ankle. I heartily hope the injury does not impede your ability to enjoy all that you had planned while on holiday. My heart also wonders why we don’t have cool things like cooling ace wraps in the US. What a brilliant idea. I am sending a heart felt hope out to you hoping and wishing your ankle feels better. By the way, was that dessert as scrumptious as it looks? Yumm!!!!

  6. Dr. Salem is the best, Ann, putting his heart into his care with every word. Word!

    So glad you met your two special Scottish sisters. That brings a spring to my step!

    I hope your (rented?) walking stick allows enough relief for you to continue your excellent adventure and heartfeld reporting, my friend. The sprain certainly has not curbed your enthusiasm.

    • You are at your best, Mark, when you are writing from your heart, like here. Who is afraid of curbs when I’ve got friends like you?

  7. At the moment I’m reading a biography of the big-hearted Scotsman Billy Connolly. Every morning when he was a wee laddie he was given a spoonful of molasses followed by a spoonful of medicine. Before Mary Poppins he knew in his heart that the sweet should come second, to help it go down. With that in mind I’m hoping your heart and ankle and the rest of you are able to enjoy the rest of the festival, that you’ll be able to follow your spoonfuls of medicine with something sweet.

  8. Wow, what an amazing few days you’ve had! I’m so sorry about the ankle and hope it feels much better now. That Big Bag O’ Ice must have really helped! It touched me to the heart to see you flanked by your fellow crossed heart friends. It’s the first time I’ve even seen your sweet face since I’ve been reading this blog. And I see the purple tension remains joyfully with you!

  9. Wow – following your heart took you to some interesting people and places Ann.
    Sorry you hurt your ankle. Take it easy and elevate it often … and hopefully it feels better soon.
    Take heart my friend!


    Honestly Ann, You are a brave Wonder Woman. Love, Karen

  11. I am so happy that you have met fellow rare heart companions, I can imagine how much this fellowship will mean to you after a lifetime of feeling isolated by being different. Sorry about the ankle, I hope it is already on the mend and I’m deeply impressed by your specialist. I loved that song from Rent (which I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of). This will be my last visit for while. I have a publisher for the book about Far East POWs that I am editing and I have to have everything in a few weeks time. Then I go to Chicago, and, unlike you, my capacities are limited.

  12. What a nice encounter. So glad you exchanged contacts. I do hope your ankle heals up fast.

  13. Eleanor

    Ann, I am so enjoying my vicarious trip to Edinburgh with you and Aaron and your EESIL, and I so loved today’s post because of your wonderful encounters except for the one with the curb. And I loved your red, heart-colored toes. You are the first and probably only person I know who has a Scottish Walking Stick. My wishes for a quick healing of your ankle.

  14. This is not unique to humans, it can happen to cats. What are you looking at! My heart follows the good care a cat deserves.

  15. Ann,
    Sorry about your mishap. But, no matter where we are stuff happens. It must be “heart warming” in knowing that wherever we are we have knowledgeable and compassionate people to help and comfort, a few who are in the same boat as us for support and a doctor who is well deserved of our confidence.
    Seems like, all in all, you had a great trip.

  16. If I had always followed my heart, my life’s journey would have been that much easier.

  17. What an inspiration you are!

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