Posts Tagged With: Dr. Deeb Salem

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 1529: Compassion will make you beautiful

I hope you have compassion for the beautiful teabag I encountered yesterday morning:


Do you believe that compassion will make you beautiful?  Do you see beautiful compassion in any of my other photos from yesterday?



















That is the beautifully compassionate Dr. Deeb Salem. When I asked him yesterday how he thought I was doing, his compassionate  reply was, “I think you’re doing great.” Isn’t that beautiful?

Here‘s a beautiful and compassionate song.

Thanks to all the beautiful people who helped me create today’s post and to all my beautiful readers — of course! — for having the compassion to visit me, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1528: Other people’s worries

Hello, people!  Do you have worries, right now?

If you do have worries, how might that affect me or other people?

Does anybody worry about how your worry might make other people worry?

Don’t worry, people!  I’m now getting to the point of this post.

Lately, as I recover from open heart surgery, I have noticed other people’s worries about me.  Other people’s worries result in worried questions, like “Are you sure you’re up to this?”  “Are you doing too much?”  “Are you taking on too many things, too quickly?”

I’m not worried about these other people’s worries. Instead,  I appreciate their concern.

However, I do not take on their worries.  I’ve got enough worries, of my own.

Today, I’ll be seeing my cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem. If he’s worried, THEN I’ll be worried.

Are other people worried about whether I have any photos to share today?






Don’t worry, people, I’m going to explain that last photo.  Yesterday, a water main broke in the Longwood Medical Area  of Boston.  Other people besides me were very late to work.  Did that worry me?  No.   Did it affect my sense of self worth?  Don’t worry about that, either. I and many other people have been working on keeping our sense of self worth protected from everything that comes at us, including other people’s worries.


I hope people aren’t worrying about what YouTube video I’m going to share. When I search “Other people’s worries,” THIS comes up:

I’m not worried about those dogs. Are other people worried?

Other people who regularly read this blog are not worried, I’m sure, about whether I’m going to express gratitude to all who helped me create this post or to you — of course! — for being here, now.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1502: Opening the heart

I’m going to  open my heart to you, here and now, and tell you about a dream I had last night. In that dream, my open-hearted cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, told me that my new mechanical valve (which I got during open heart surgery in September) wasn’t working correctly and that they were going to have open up my heart again to fix it.

I wonder if that dream about reopening my heart was triggered by this image I saw yesterday morning, at the beginning of a blizzard here in Boston?


When I saw that opening-the-heart image yesterday morning on my way to work,  it opened my heart in a good way. My heart opened up with appreciation for all those things that are key to opening my heart to love and to new possibilities. And when I  opened my heart (and my iPhone camera) to other images during the day, I continued to think about that first open-hearted image.

As you open your heart to my other photos, do you see any keys to opening the heart in them?




















Today, I’ll be opening my heart to patients on the first Friday I’ve worked since my Open Heart surgery in September. But first, I have to open my heart to cardiac rehab at 7:30 AM.

Do I have time to open our hearts to an Opening-the-Heart song?

As usual, I end every post by opening my heart with gratitude to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for opening your heart to me, today.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1417: Tough

The tough title of this post is inspired by the first photo I was tough enough to take yesterday, while I was doing some tough exercises at cardiac rehab:


Based on my understanding  of (1) the word “tough” and (2) the staff at cardiac rehab, I assume they meant  I am “strong and resilient” rather than “difficult.”

If you want me to provide citations for those two definitions of ‘tough,” one word:


The last few months have been tough for me, as I’ve undergone several  tough cardiac-related surgeries and suffered other tough slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Apparently, I’m tough enough to take it,  because here I am, writing this tough post today.

Now, some of my tough readers probably want to know how tough my day was yesterday, since I mentioned in yesterday’s tough post that I’d be seeing lots of tough doctors and getting some tough tests at my tough hospital.

I hope it won’t be too tough for you to tough it out through several other tough photos from yesterday, first.


































For those of you tough enough to make it through all those tough images, here’s my news from my tough day:

The news is good.  My tough doctors told me that all the tests show that I am exactly where I should be, after all the tough things I’ve been through.  As a matter of fact, my tough doctor, Mark Estes (not pictured), said this to me:

We’re going to keep you going until your 90s.

While recent events have shown lots of tough people that it is VERY tough to make accurate predictions, that was not tough for me to hear.

It’s tough for me to decide which tough music to include for this tough post, so I will leave that to my tough readers.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The tough writer of this tough blog does need to get going, but not until I express thanks to all, with three more tough photos:




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













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:


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

Day 1375: Band wagon

Time to join the band wagon of Ann’s readers, who are used to seeing her begin posts by defining phrases like “band wagon.”

1. a wagon used for carrying a band in a parade or procession.
2. a particular activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular.
“the local deejays are on the home-team bandwagon”

I had a recent experience with definition #1, when one of my  Boston cardiologists offered to pick up me and my boyfriend Michael at Boston’s Logan Airport in a band wagon, no matter when  we returned home after my September 21 open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.  However, I foiled that band wagon by returning late at night and way before anybody expected me to —  six days after my heart valve replacement surgery.

By the way, I just noticed that WordPress is suggesting I invite my readers to join a band wagon (definition #2) by including this message at the top of post-creation page:

Encourage your US-based users to register to vote by adding a subtle prompt to your site.

If you were in my band wagon  of classic American movie musical fans, you might add a third definition of “band wagon,” like so:

3. the most intelligent AND fun American movie musical ever made starring Fred Astaire (as opposed the most intelligent AND fun American movie musical ever made starring Gene Kelly, which is Singin’ in the Rain).


Because I like to join band wagons of people recovering from a traumatic event like surgery who treat themselves exceedingly well, I watched the beginning of The Band Wagon yesterday morning, which included these two musical numbers (here and here on YouTube):

No  matter what is going on in my life, that second number from The Band Wagon puts a melody in my heart, gives me a singable happy feeling AND a wonderful way to start my day.

Now, would you like to join the band wagon of Ann’s readers who enjoy looking at  images captured on her iPhone from the day before?









Those last two photos feature Dr. Deeb Salem, one of my band wagon of cardiologists (but not the one who offered to pick us up in a band wagon at the airport).  In the first photograph, Dr. Salem  is with Dr. Marvin Konstam, 31 years ago, as they performed the first heart transplant at Tufts Medical Center. In the second photo, Dr. Salem is with the person who is writing this here blog post on band wagons.

Now, would you like to join the band wagon of people who keep telling me I look way too good to have had heart surgery a scant two weeks ago?

Because I always like to join the band wagon of people polite enough to express thanks when they are feeling gratitude, here’s a message to all those who helped me create this post and to all those who are reading it, here and now:


Categories: heart surgery, personal growth, photojournalism, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 1356: Important

Yesterday, while I was waiting for an important appointment at an important Boston hospital, I saw this important book:



After I saw that important book, I saw my important cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem, who thought it important to tell me about two important people fainting when observing open heart surgery. It’s probably important for me to share now that I’m having important open heart surgery in four days at the important Mayo Clinic in important Rochester, Minnesota. That surgery is so important to me that I asked for an important hug from the important Dr. Salem yesterday for the first time in our important 34-year doctor/patient relationship. I also told Dr. Salem that I’m so important to his important colleague and fellow cardiologist Dr. Mark Estes that Dr. Estes had promised to importantly greet me with his important medical team at Boston’s important airport when I return in two weeks from my important surgery.

Then I went back to my important job at another important Boston hospital, where many important people wished me well.

Here are more of my important shots from yesterday:

























It’s important to note that those last two important shots include important lyrics from the important musical, Hamilton. Here‘s the important Hamilton number “(I Am Not Throwing Away) My Shot.”

Another important fact in today’s important post: last night I gave myself my first important injection of twice-daily anti-coagulant before my important surgery …


… and then I threw away my shot.

What’s important, here and now, to you?

Gratitude is important to me, so ….


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1295: What is heart failure (part 2)?

Four months ago, I wrote a blog post titled What is heart failure?  wherein I

  • defined heart failure,
  • explained that one of my cardiologists, Dr. Mark Estes,  believed I was in heart failure,
  • reported that I did not agree with that diagnosis,
  • tried to de-dramatize the extraordinarily scary term “heart failure,” and
  • suggested the alternative name of “heart struggle”instead.

My chief cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, has suggested, for years,  that I weigh myself every day, to make sure that I’m not going into heart failure.  Why? A major symptom of heart failure is the body’s retention of fluid — which shows up in weight gain as well as swelling around the ankles.

Last weekend, as I was dealing with many successive days of unsolved fevers that were apparently not endocarditis (everybody’s main fear for me), I stepped on the scale, at home, for the first time in several days.  And I noticed I had gained a lot of weight.  My heart dropped in fear and I immediately called the Infectious Disease Fellow on call at my hospital.  Here’s my memory of the conversation:

Me:  I’m still running fevers.

Infectious Disease Fellow: We’re still watching the many cultures that were taken, including those when you were in the hospital last week.  They are not growing anything. Don’t worry, you don’t have endocarditis.

Me:  Good.  I wanted to let you know something I just noticed. I’ve gained some weight inexplicably.

Infectious Disease Fellow: How much weight?

Me:  I’m not sure. But it really doesn’t make sense. I haven’t been eating much.

Infectious Disease Fellow: Okay. Well, keep watching things. If your fever goes up or you’re feeling much worse, come into the emergency room.

I called the Infectious Disease Fellow three times over the weekend.  The last time, Sunday evening, I was feeling very lousy — no energy at all and an even higher body weight.   I could tell that the Infectious Disease Fellow was not nervous.  Why?  Because he was focusing on his specialty, according to how he had been instructed  — “Above all, watch out for endocarditis with this patient.”   We both agreed that I should come into the emergency room if my fever went over 101 — something I knew was inevitable by Sunday evening because it was climbing.

On 7 PM last Sunday night, my fever went over 101 and I told my boyfriend Michael I was heading back to the Emergency Room. He insisted on accompanying me, thank goodness.

When we got there, they discovered I was having trouble breathing, because I had pneumonia AND — for the first time in my life — I was in heart failure.  My heart had been compromised enough by the fevers and the developing pneumonia  that it could NOT do its job, and fluid was gathering in my lungs.

In the Emergency Room Sunday night and then in my hospital room Monday morning, I felt worse than I have ever felt in my life. I kept panicking, because I was in “air hunger” — not getting the right amount of oxygen.  Also, there was a psychological component to my panic — I feared I would not be able to go to Edinburgh in August with my son and I feared I would not be able to have the reparative heart valve surgery we had scheduled at the Mayo Clinic in September.

But soon, because of the right medications, the pneumonia and the heart failure began to resolve.

This photo, from last week, shows my successful cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem, smiling at how much better I looked, felt and sounded last Monday evening:


Right before I took that successful photo, Dr. Salem and I had successfully discussed the following:

  1. My insistence that somebody talk to the Infectious Disease Fellow on call ASAP about how that person had missed the very important clue that I was going into heart failure.
  2. My concerns about my trip to Edinburgh in August (plane and hotel reservations which Dr. Salem said I could cancel, if need be, with a note from him).
  3. My concerns about my heart surgery in September, which Dr. Salem totally reassured me about, stating I would definitely be recovered sufficiently by then.
  4. How I was right 99.9% of the time about medical issues, beating Dr. Salem by 20%  (these were Dr. Salem’s calculations, which I do not necessarily endorse).
  5. The fact that — after all these years of living with my extremely unusual heart — I had finally gone into heart failure (temporarily), and Dr. Salem’s belief that this was more proof positive that the heart valve surgery in September is perfectly timed.

Any failures in today’s post, so far?

Of course, my heart cannot fail to share my recent photos with you:










Of all the dozens and dozens of songs with the word “Heart” in the title, how can I successfully choose the right one for today?

How about this one?


Heart-felt thanks to all those who never fail to warm my heart every day … including you!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 1289: Masks

At various points during the day yesterday, people coming into my hospital room  — where I’m being treated for pneumonia and some associated heart failure —  have had to wear masks, for their protection and mine.

Because I’ve been wearing various types of oxygen masks and because my face has sometimes been a mask of exhaustion, illness, worry, nausea, and anxiety, I haven’t taken a lot of photos of those masks.

Here’s the one photo I took yesterday.


Who is that masked  man?

That is my long-time and trusted cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem.  To me, the mask cannot hide his wonderfulness.  Both times he showed up in my room yesterday, he dispelled my masks of worry and fear.

What music am I about to unmask for this post about masks?

I cannot mask my delight and appreciation for your visit to my blog, here and now.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 41 Comments

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