Day 1186: Violent Agreement

You’re probably in violent agreement with me that one rarely sees the words “violent” and “agreement” linked together, as they are in today’s post title. You might violently agree that the words “violent” and “disagreement” are MUCH more commonly paired.

People who have have read this blog before could be in violent agreement about all this:

  1. I usually blog about things that have happened the day before.
  2. If I see or hear something that agrees with me (violently or otherwise), it appears in this blog.
  3. Since I started this daily blog, cardiologists have been in violent disagreement about my very unusual heart, including how it affects my health and my prognosis.

Yesterday, I wrote a  despairing (if not violent) email to my chief cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, with the subject heading “descending into confusion and anxiety (again).”

Hi Deeb,

I know that’s a dramatic subject heading, but there it is.

One heart specialist tells me I’m in class 2 heart failure, a week ago Friday.

That affects how I feel.

Another one insists that I need to have a surgical consult when I visit with her at the Mayo Clinic.

She is not available for me to ask her why.

Her very kind and nice scheduling person tells me that she was concerned by the data she saw in my records about my valve and believes a surgical consult is necessary.


And I remember you and I deciding that the odds were not good for a valve operation.

Why would I want to talk to a surgeon in Minnesota ? There is no friggin’ way I would have the surgery out there, away from my friends and family.

So my question is this: does it make sense for me to shlepp all the way to Minneapolis, especially if the likelihood is that they are going to suggest valve surgery, which people here have  already convinced me would be very dangerous?

I know that you are used to dealing with smart people who ask a lot of questions. Please answer as best you can.

I am seeing Dr. Laura Snydman today and I’m sure we will be discussing this also.


After I saw Dr. Laura Snydman yesterday  (whom people would agree, violently or otherwise, is AWESOME), I checked my email and saw this:


Give me a call.


When I called Dr. Deeb Salem and told him where I was, he invited me up to his office.

Then, Dr. Salem listened patiently as I expressed all the thoughts and feelings in my heart, about my heart.

When I was finished, he said:

I’m in violent agreement with you.

Which immediately made me feel less violent and much more agreeable.

Isn’t it amazing how validation and agreement can do that?

As I write this “Violent Agreement” post today, Dr. Salem and I are in violent agreement about the following:

  1. I will consult with adult congenital heart specialists at the Mayo Clinic in May.
  2. My sister will accompany me there.
  3. No matter what happens, that will be a valuable trip.
  4. Brown University and the University of Edinburgh would both be non-violently agreeable places for my son to attend college next year (if he gets into both of those, which we should find out today).

Here are some pictures I took yesterday, in the midst of much violent agreement:











Are you in violent or non-violent agreement  or disagreement about any of the above?

I hope you are in violent agreement with me that Dr. Salem deserves to be on my


and so do my readers, including you!

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

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48 thoughts on “Day 1186: Violent Agreement

  1. I admire and appreciate YOU controlling and advocating for your health and the treatment options you have. I see a lot of folks who don’t question, don’t learn, don’t get involved. I violently agree with YOU YOU YOU.

  2. If I use ‘violent agreement’ in any future conversations, do I acknowledge you or Dr Deeb?

  3. Can I peacefully agree, although I do love this “violently agree”. It seems it should be one step above vehemently agree at least. If someone told me I had to trek all the way to Minnesota for a surgical consultation, but they weren’t available over the telephone to tell me why, and I found out all of this through the surgical coordinator, I would be a bit, I don’t know…. frustrated, worried, annoyed – or just a whole bunch of things which would generally just make me feel kind of pissy.
    University of Edinburgh? that’s like, so far away. Which university does he really want to go to? How exciting. Such a smart fellow. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets accepted to the school he really wants to go to.
    I send peaceful wishes to you today!!!!!!

  4. I am very very grateful that you navigate these waters with Dr. Salem whose expertise and humanity are right with you, unfaltering. You two make a brilliant team. I am always moved by this. Looking forward to speaking at length w u on Sat. Love you.

  5. I felt strangely certain I’d heard “violent” used in a positive way before and my old friend the Oxford English Dictionary did not let me down, telling me it sometimes simply means “intense”, such as in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones when Tom offers up “many violent Protestations of Love.”
    I also wonder how often Dr. Salem reads your blog. It’s a common theme of yours to accentuate the positive, and how better to do that than to use a word with a negative connotation in a positive way?

    • I assume we’re in violent agreement about a lot of things, Chris, which makes me feel intensely peaceful and positive.

  6. Validation is wonderful! Preferably non violent.

  7. My heart is in violent agreement with Dr Salem — your precious heart should not be trusted to strangers — but their violent agreement to consulting on it is acceptably agreeable.

    From my heart to yours, the intensity of my violent agreement mirrors the beauty of your heart.

  8. Good for Deeb, and let us all agree that we wish you well

  9. I wish I lived closer to Minneapolis! A tea party would suffice! I know your visit is nervewracking, but then again, so is not knowing. While I, too, don’t use the word violent often, paired with agreement, I couldn’t agree more!

  10. Always found it amusing silence rhymed with violence.

  11. I can get into very violent disagreements!

  12. Validation and agreement are indeed amazing, and beautiful things! I’m so happy you found both! Also happy you have such excellent health care providers who seem to genuinely care for you and your health.

    Good luck to you son on his college admissions!

  13. Carol Ferenc

    Absolutely, Dr. Salem should be on your gratitude list. Compassionate, skilled doctors are heroes in my book.

  14. Ann,
    I am absolutely in violent agreement with you. When I was a young boy with polio I had to undergo a few corrective surgeries. I, like you, was fortunate to have a doctor in the class of your Dr. Salem. I was violently comfortable in putting my life in his hands. I knew that with a man as wonderful as he was, God’s hands must be working through his.
    I understand your trial, Ann, because I have my own. An improperly functioning muscular system, hasn’t deterred me from achievement. Nor has your improperly functioning heart deterred you from mastering the true mystery of the heart, that means so much to your family and those who call you friend.

  15. I love Dr. Salem and it looks like he is loved and appreciated by the whole world. You are in good hands and that gives me comfort. Perhaps you can take Oscar along the next time you visit Dr. Salem and have the good doctor give your cat a talking to?

  16. Any thing violent is generally not a good thing but I think I can take violent agreement (as long as there is no friendly fire 🙂 ).

  17. I think violent agreement is validating and that’s good. I’d be a wreck in your circumstances. Or violently anxious. About that we can be in perfect agreement.

  18. May be you have anxiety regarding surgery, but the operations are quite successful and patients feel so much better after surgery. I am sure you are in good hand. I hope you will have the best care.

  19. Love the term violent agreement. I’m squarely aligned with you….

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