Posts Tagged With: Dr. Joseph Dearani

Day 1369: Cool Cats and Cool Jazz

Hello, Cool Cats!

It is AMAZING to me that the number of today’s blog post is 1369. That is the coolest number, right now, to the cool cat writing this here blog post.  Why?  Because the 1369 Jazz Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was one of my favorite haunts in the 1980’s. And this post is very much about jazz cats and other cool cats.

Last night, this cool cat was reading her own medical record from the cool Mayo Clinic in jazzy Minnesota, where she had open heart surgery a scant nine days ago. She found a very cool  Cardiovascular Surgery Consult note in that medical record from a very cool cat named Lucinda Stroetz, assistant to the jazziest, coolest heart surgeon in the world, Dr. Joseph Dearani, who also plays jazz saxophone.

Here are the best excerpts from that pre-surgery note, written last week on September 20, 2016:

HISTORY OF PRESENT ILLNESS
Ms. Koplow is a delightful 63-year-old woman who was born with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries. She had congenital complete heart block and underwent pacemaker implantation November 22, 1963, with epicardial wires and underwent epicardial lead replacement in 1966; both via left thoracotomies. She has had multiple pacemaker revisions. An endocardial dual-chamber pacemaker was implanted in 1987, then a CRT ICD was implanted May 2015. Her echocardiogram now shows congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries, mild systemic ventricle enlargement (morphologic right ventricle), severe left atrioventricular valve regurgitation. Ms. Koplow had her first episode of congestive heart failure in July 2016 in the setting of pneumonia.

SOCIAL HISTORY
Ms. Koplow is a psychotherapist. She is accompanied by her boyfriend, Michael. She is a jazz enthusiast and singer.

Anesthesia: Please note Ms. Koplow reports severe nausea and vomiting following previous anesthetics. She is also a singer and is concerned about vocal cord irritation from the endotracheal tube.

She is a jazz music enthusiast and has requested Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny music in the operating room if appropriate.
Patient is ready to learn, no apparent learning barriers were identified; learning preferences include listening and visual aids.

Because I DO prefer listening and visual aids, here are my coolest photos from yesterday:

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That last cool photo shows the coolest gift in the world from fellow jazz-lover and extremely cool friend, Peggy.  I was hoping to create a video of that dancing-cool-cat speaker playing “The Schuyler Sisters” from Hamilton as I was singing along to the lyrics, but that was a little too arduous for this cool cat, as she continues to heal from open heart surgery.

Instead, I’ll just share this favorite tune from those cool jazz cats Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny:

Here’s one more cool photo, of three cool cats (including jazzy Jackie Chan!)

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Because gratitude is the coolest, here’s how I’m feeling towards all those who helped me create today’s cool post AND to you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

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Categories: heart surgery, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1366: Did you even have heart surgery?

Yesterday, the doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota kept asking me variants of today’s blog title:

Did you even have heart surgery?

I’m surprised they had to ask, because we’ve been planning this valve-replacement surgery for me since last May, and you would think the amazing staff at such an esteemed institution would know whether a patient actually had a scheduled  procedure, as I did on Wednesday.

Maybe they were asking whether I had really had heart surgery because:

  • my surgeon, Dr. Joseph Dearani, decided to discharge me considerably sooner than expected, last night,
  • my boyfriend Michael and I are flying back to our hometown of Boston today,
  • my very unusual heart was pumping even better than anybody had even dreamed it could, so soon after the trauma of open heart surgery, and/or
  • I look so friggin’ good.

I will answer the question in today’s title as follows:

Did you even have heart surgery?

Yes! And I am so grateful. 

Do these look like photos taken by somebody who had major heart surgery less than a week ago?





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This person who had heart surgery and her caring caregiver, Michael, will be flying over the territories shown in that last photo. If we hit any air turbulence, I’m sure I’ll know I had heart surgery, even if nobody else can tell.

Did you even read this blog post today? Please let me know, in a comment below.

Categories: adult congenital heart, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 90 Comments

Day 1360: Clean and ready

The title for today’s post comes from a sign I saw yesterday on an examining table at the Mayo Clinic.

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Yesterday, I was clean and ready to use the knowledge and advice of Dr. Carol Warnes, the expert on unusual hearts like mine.

This morning, after using a special anti-bacterial soap, I am clean and ready for my open heart surgery today.

My boyfriend Michael, who took the photo above,  is clean and ready for guest blog appearances here.

After I had my cardiac catherization yesterday, which showed that my arteries are clean and ready for today’s surgery, I met the amazing Dr. Joseph Dearani, the Mayo heart surgeon who will be replacing my leaky valve with a clean and ready to use  mechanical one. When I was ready to share with Dr. Dearani my knowledge that he plays jazz saxophone,  Dr. Dearani was ready to answer my question, “Who is your favorite jazz sax player?”  I was clean amazed that he named my favorite saxophone player — the late,  great Michael Brecker.  I asked Dr. Dearani if he would play Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny music in the operating room during my surgery, and he was cleanly ready to do that.

Are you clean and ready for my other photos from yesterday?

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That last photo shows the clean and ready waiting room near admissions, where I’ll check in today at 5:30 AM, after this  post is clean and ready to publish.

Are you clean and ready for using a tune  with Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny playing  clean and beautiful musical lines?

 

I am clean and ready to join Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny in expressing that readily beautiful sentiment: “Every day I thank you.”

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Day 1286: Take a break

Take a break, my dear readers, and ask yourself this question: Do you need to take a break from anything, as you’re reading this blog post?

I definitely need to take a break, from

I took a break, yesterday, from negative assumptions about cardiac  surgeons (based on some difficult past experiences), when I spoke on the phone to Dr. Joe Dearani from the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Dearani is going to break into my very unusual heart on September 21 to replace my severely leaky valve with a mechanical valve, so that my doctors and I can take a break from concerns about deterioration of my heart’s pumping ability. Dr. Dearani told me that he takes a break from work, sometimes, by visiting my hometown of Boston, because  a lot of his relatives live in the New England area.

After I spoke with Dr. Dearani,  I was able to take a break and truly relax, for the first time in quite a while.

Yesterday, I took short breaks throughout the day to take some take-a-break photos:

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I also took a break from wondering why this photo, from yesterday’s blog post, has gotten absolutely no comments from any of my readers:

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What music do you think would help us all take a break in this post?

Because I have not been able to take a break from my fascination with HamiltonI’m including this link to “Take a Break,” from that break-through musical.

I just took another  break to watch this on YouTube:

 

When I had my first heart surgery when I was 10 years old, I took a valuable break by watching “The Price is Right” in the hospital, a few days after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I  remember taking a break, all by myself, laughing until it hurt about the weird ugliness of the car they were giving away that day. (A Jaguar, no less, but what does a 10-year-old girl know about cool cars?)

Do you think you have time to take a break today and leave a comment for this post?

I would never take a break from expressing  gratitude to all those who help me create these posts and to you — of course! — for reading them.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

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