heart condition

Day 2662: No one asked for this

Yesterday, after I published my breaking news post, I discovered I had cold symptoms and a slight fever.

Worried that I might have caught the coronavirus (which no one asked for) during the week-long group therapy conference in NYC, I informed my manager and my doctors. Because of my risk factors (over 60 years old, chronic heart issues), the doctors decided they would test me for the virus if my temperature went above 100.4. Also, because I’ve gotten endocarditis (a dangerous inflammation of the heart which I also never asked for) three times in my life, I usually ask to get tested for that whenever I run a fever.

No one asked for this, but I stayed home from work, watched TV, monitored my temperature, and took photos of more breaking news which nobody asked for.

I also caught up on the Stephen Colbert shows I had missed last week. I took a photo of this …

… thinking “my next blog post will probably be titled ‘No one asked for this.'”

No one asked for the coronavirus outbreak. Also, no one asked for me to run a fever of 100.6 in the evening, which I did.

When I reported my fever to my medical team, they asked me to go to the Emergency Room, another thing I’ve never asked for. I asked if I could finish the delicious salmon dish Michael had cooked for me first.

They asked me to wear a mask to the Emergency Room. Since I didn’t have a mask, they asked me to wear a scarf around my face. I asked Michael to accompany me to the Emergency Room.

They tested me for many things, including the flu and endocarditis. I certainly didn’t ask to be admitted to the hospital overnight, but the Emergency Room doctor didn’t like my oxygen levels.

No one asked for this, but here are more photos from yesterday.

No one asked for this, but they think I might have pneumonia. Whether or not you ask for this, I’ll give you more updates in my next post.

No one asked for my gratitude, but I give it willingly, every day.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 50 Comments

Day 2629: Fresh on so many levels

Yesterday,  when I was fresh from a very good meeting with my cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem, I saw this:

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There so many levels of meaning for the word “fresh.”

FRESH adjective
\ ˈfresh \
Definition of fresh
1a : having its original qualities unimpaired: such as
(1): full of or renewed in vigor : REFRESHED
rose fresh from a good night’s sleep
(2): not stale, sour, or decayed
fresh bread
(3): not faded
lessons fresh in her memory
(4): not worn or rumpled
a fresh white shirt

b: not altered by processing
fresh vegetables
2a: not salt
fresh water
b(1): free from taint : PURE
fresh air
(2)of wind : moderately strong
a fresh breeze

3a(1): experienced, made, or received newly or anew
form fresh friendships
(2): ADDITIONAL, ANOTHER
a fresh start
b: ORIGINAL, VIVID
a fresh portrayal
c: lacking experience : RAW
coming fresh to the job
— Helen Howe
d: just come or arrived
fresh from school
e: having the milk flow recently established
a fresh cow
4[ probably by folk etymology from German frech] : disposed to take liberties : IMPUDENT
don’t get fresh with me
5 slang : FASHIONABLE, COOL

I hope my other photos in today’s fresh post  are fresh on so many levels.

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Here‘s a song I remember that used the word “fresh”.

I’ll be looking for so many levels in your fresh comments, below.

I’m grateful on so many levels, here and now.

 

 

Categories: definition, group therapy, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2621: I don’t want to bore you

I don’t want to bore you, but yesterday morning I heard  Stevie Wonder singing about not wanting to bore you either:

Personally, I’m not bored, at all, and I wonder why so many people worry about being boring. People are SO interesting, as I hope you can see in these photos from yesterday:

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I don’t want to bore you with it, but Michael cooked a new fish last night.

I don’t want to bore you with this story, but when I was in my first year at college, one of my professors told us on the first day of class that he would not remember any of our names and quoted a biology professor saying, “Whenever I remember the name of a student, I forget the name of a fish.”

I don’t want to you bore you with this, but I can’t remember the name of that new fish Michael cooked last night.

I don’t want to bore you with this, but

  • I get my teeth cleaned every three months because  I got endocarditis three times in my life,
  • I’m getting my teeth cleaned today,
  • I haven’t gotten endocarditis for ten years,
  • I’m seeing my cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem next week about my very unusual heart, and
  • I’m doing fine, even if I worry at times.

I don’t want to bore you with it, but I’m in the photo at the beginning of this post:

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I don’t want to bore you by quoting more lyrics of the Stevie Wonder song but “I don’t want to bore you with it, but I love you, I love you, I love you.”

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Categories: group therapy, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2615: Proud to be

Proud to be

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  • someone who follows my dreams,

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  • a  healthcare worker,

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  • a functioning adult,

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  • somebody who notices requests and rules,

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  • somebody who gives respect and gets it,

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  • quiet, and thankful every day.

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What are you proud to be?

 

Categories: group therapy, health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2417: Roadmap for a respectful culture

Hello, my respectful readers!

Yesterday, I noticed this big roadmap on the office wall of our Senior Director of Social Work and Patient/Family Engagement at the hospital:

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Respectfully, I realize that parts of that important roadmap are difficult to read.  I hope this helps:

Version 2

In case it doesn’t, I respectfully submit this list of behaviors promoting a respectful culture:

  • Intentionally engaging and including all constituents by participation and information sharing
  • Spending time with people
  • Introducing new employees via walkabouts through the department
  • Saying thank you
  • Asking questions
  • Listening more, talking less
  • Paraphrasing to check understanding
  • Coming up with at least 3 possible rationales for an action
  • Making eye contact
  • Saying “hi” to everyone
  • Helping those who are lost
  • Smiling
  • Show gratitude frequently
  • Asking for and accepting help when needed
  • Asking for feedback across, down, up

Yesterday, I met our neighbor Will Isenberg,  who is offering a roadmap for a respectful culture …

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I’m voting for Will on September 10 because I believe his roadmap will lead to a more respectful culture.

Today, I will be respectfully appearing on the podcast Heart to Heart with Anna, in which Anna Jaworski and I will be intentionally engaging and including all listeners by participation and information sharing about my very unusual heart. I don’t yet have a specific roadmap to my episode, but I’ll insert that link later today.

Here’s the link to the podcast. The first airing will be noon USA Eastern time.

And this link lets you listen at your convenience.

I respectfully submit all my other photos from yesterday, wondering which offer a roadmap for a respectful culture:

What music comes to mind when you think of a roadmap to a respectful culture?

This is what comes up on YouTube:

This shows up, too:

Now I’m asking for feedback across, down, up, with a respectful roadmap to the comments section, below.

Since gratitude is such an important part of a roadmap to a respectful culture, thanks to all who helped me create this blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2327: Why? Why?

Why oh why am I writing a fourth blog post about Why?  Why am I linking to the previous three posts (here, here, and here)?

Why did I write “Why?” on two different white boards at work yesterday?

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Why do white boards consistently get more difficult to erase?

Why were people in therapy yesterday asking so many WHY? questions, including:

Why is there so much traffic?

Why did it take me four times as long as usual to get here today?

Why do people back their cars into spaces in parking lots?

Why do people do what they do?

Why do I deliberately act like a mischievous child?

Why am I in so much pain?

Why am I in therapy?

Why aren’t other people in therapy?

Why did I take the rest of these pictures?

 

Why is it taking so much longer for me to access and transfer my photos? Why does that happen periodically?  Why does it bother me less each time it happens?

Why am I still having trouble writing that letter from the President for my professional organization’s newsletter?  Why did I start fresh yesterday with a new topic?  Why did Michael say he thought my first, abandoned topic  (the rejuvenation of Spring) was better? Why am I going to finish the second topic and then write another letter with the first topic if I have time? Why am I using the quote “If you want something to get done, give it to the busiest person” in my letter?

Why did I ask all the questions I did in this podcast (starting at 19 minutes and again at 28:34)?

 

Why did Michael not want to listen to that podcast last night? Probably for the same reason he doesn’t usually read this blog.   Why did I think I could find the post that explains that by searching on “Why Michael doesn’t read this blog”?

Why would you leave a comment today?

Why would I thank all those who help me write these posts and also YOU?  Why do you think?

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Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2059: HEART TO HEART

Where does your HEART go, dear HEART, when you HEAR The words “HEART TO HEART”?

My HEART goes to important conversations with those I love, including these two Scottish women with whom I share a very unusual HEART condition.

Whenever I’m in Edinburgh, I have a HEART TO HEART TO HEART with Vicki and Andrena. We all have congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga), the rarest of congenital HEART conditions and we have a lot to say to each other. The odds of the three of us being in the same place at the same time are so astronomical, I don’t have the HEART to calculate it.

Do you see any other HEART TO HEART’s in my other HEARTfelt photos from yesterday?

I look forward to HEART TO HEART’s in the comment section, below.

Thanks — from my HEART — to my HEART sisters Vicki and Andrena, Vicki’s wonderful rescue dog Belle, Loudons Cafe, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, those who celebrate difference, all who battle suicide, Gillian Skye (the excellent writer and actor of Come Die With Us, which touched my HEART), Tony Slattery, all those who forgive and learn from mistakes, and — of course! — YOU, my dear heart of a reader.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1732: Got a second?

Got a second? I’d like to tell you about yesterday’s appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Salem (who is second to none).  While I was waiting several seconds in the exam room for Dr. Salem, I took a second to snap this:


Got a second to hear about my conversation with Dr. Salem?  Dr. Salem said he couldn’t be more pleased about how my heart is beating every second, as I begin my second year after my heart valve replacement surgery last September.   I seconded that opinion.

Got a second to look at some more split-second photos?

Got a second to listen to “A Good Thing Going” from Merrily We Roll Along, which I’ll be seeing for a second time this weekend?

If you’ve got a second, keep a good thing going by leaving a comment below.

I’ve always got a second to thank all who help me create these posts. Second, I want to thank YOU for being so supportive, every second.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 1476: I haven’t been the same since …

When people get into therapy, they often say, “I haven’t been the same since …” and they name some life-changing event.

Personally, I haven’t been the same since …

  • my first heart surgery at age 10,
  • I got my first cat,
  • I got my first car,
  • I rode a bicycle for the first time,
  • my heart valve replacement surgery last September,
  • my son was born,
  • my son went away to school in Scotland,
  • my son returned home for Christmas,
  • my son went back to school yesterday,
  • I took my first disco dance lesson,
  • I met my husband,
  • my divorce,
  • my cardiac pacemaker was recalled in 1975,
  • my cardiac pacemaker/defibrillator was recalled two weeks after my valve replacement surgery in September,
  • President John F. Kennedy was killed,
  • Bobby Kennedy was killed,
  • Martin Luther King was killed,
  • John Lennon was killed,
  • I went away to college,
  • I was attacked by a rapist outside my apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
  • I first got into therapy,
  • I went to film school,
  • I became a therapist,
  • Barack Obama was elected President of the United States,
  • Donald Trump was elected President of the United States,
  • I met my boyfriend Michael,
  • I first saw Gene Kelly dance,
  • I heard my first pun,
  • I made my first pun,
  • I attended Berklee School of Music for a summer program when I was in high school,
  • I worked on the recruitment tape for Berklee College of Music in the 1990s,
  • I did stand-up comedy at an Open Mic,
  • my son performed stand-up comedy at an Open Mic,
  • I had my first cup of cocoa with marshmallows,
  • my father died,
  • my mother-in-law died,
  • my mother died,
  • my father-in-law died on Friday,
  • I encountered Mexican food for the first time,
  • I had my first black raspberry ice cream cone,
  • I saw my first palm tree,
  • I started blogging,
  • I got my first comment on this blog,
  • I bought my first personal computer during the 1980s,
  • I wrote computer manuals in the 1970s,
  • I slept out under the stars in Monument Valley,
  • I went cross country by bus,
  • I attended the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,
  • I heard Pat Metheny play guitar,
  • I sang in front of people,
  • I met every person who is important to me,
  • I saw my first Stephen Sondheim musical,
  • I first heard the band Steely Dan over the sound system at a Cambridge store, playing this song

  • and countless other events.

I haven’t been the same since all those things happened and yet I’m still the same person.

I haven’t been the same since I took all these photos:

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Give the happiness of a comment and I will end up happy.

I haven’t been the same since I first learned to express gratitude, so many thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for being changed and yet the same, every moment.

 

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 1391: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

To start telling this story, today’s post title is a quote from the musical Hamilton.

 

Who lives, on the day I’m writing this?

  • I do, against all odds and even though a team of doctors at the Mayo Clinic  essentially killed me* on September 21 in order to repair my heart before they brought me back to life.
  • Mel Brooks, thank goodness, even though he is 90 years old (and whom I’ll be seeing today in person in Boston).
  • Approximately 7.5 billion people, according to this link.

 

Who dies, on the day I’m writing this?

  • Kevin Meaney, suddenly at age 60, who was one of my and my son’s favorite comedians.
  • 151,600 people, according to this link.

 

Who tells your story?

I’ll tell you who tells my story —   it’s me, through this blog.  Perhaps because my story has included so many doctors and medical institutions from the moment I was born, it’s VERY important to me to be the expert of my own experience — the primary teller of my own story. Of course, I can’t control how others will tell my story after I die, but to quote Kevin Meaney about that, “I don’t care.”

Here’s how I photographically choose to tell my story of October 21, 2016, when I went to  one hospital for cardiac rehab and then to another hospital to get blood work to prepare for ANOTHER surgical procedure on November 2 and also to drop in on my  amazing cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem:

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And because we do need help from others to tell our stories, I want to thank my friend Carol, who is such a wonderful woman, for capturing the story of those last four photos.

Here’s the last photo that I took yesterday, to tell my story:

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Now, how would you tell a story in a comment, below?

I’ll end today’s story with live gratitude to all those living and dead who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — no matter how you tell your story.


* I’m glad you lived to read  this part of my story from the Mayo Clinic surgeon’s report on  September 21:  “The aorta was occluded, and 800 cc of cold blood cardioplegia was infused into the aortic root obtaining satisfactory asystolic arrest.” Doesn’t that sound like they satisfactorily killed me?

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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