catching up

Well, yesterday Stanley went in for his MRA, which is an MRI on the arteries. Or something like that. Took 40 minutes! He said the hardest part was not being able to move or cough—and that the worst part was listening to a Stamford-area oldies radio station on really crappy headphones. The results are being sent to his cardiologist on Tuesday. Stanley says the MRI was ordered to get a definitive diagnosis of whether or not he has a blockage. Hmm. I thought the doc said he wanted the MRA to get a good map of what’s going on. At any rate, we’ve tapped into our network to find out the consensus on the surgeon and on the cardio unit at Bridgeport Hospital, and the word coming back is all good, particularly about the surgeon. Much to my relief.

Maureen recommended that we read No More Knife Guys in AARP Magazine, which we did, quite carefully. In a nutshell, the article talks about how American cardiologists are quick to recommend bypass surgery as a first resort, without trying other courses of treatment first such as diet and exercise and medicine. I wish we had known about Stanley’s valve stenosis a year ago, when replacing the valve wasn’t so urgent. Then we would have learned of the blockage (or, alleged blockage, as Stanley seems to hope for) in plenty of time to try the lifestyle change/medicine approach to see if the bypass surgery could be avoided. As it is now, the valve job is urgent and maybe the risk of not doing the bypass and trying the lifestyle/medicine approach is greater than just going ahead with the bypass. Because, if the non-surgical approach doesn’t work, he would need surgery again in a short time. There’s no way that would be a good thing, I think.

For me, and probably for Stanley as well, the hardest thing to deal with is the shock. Three weeks ago, Stanley was, we thought, perfectly healthy. Active, never smoked (though he grew up with smokers), hasn’t had a drink in nearly 30 years, eats whatever he wants and never gains weight, damn him ... to someone who will die if he doesn’t get fixed as soon as possible. Talk about your world turning upside-down.

We also found out that you just never know what’s going on. His overall cholesterol level is high, LDL is high—but not that high. But his HDL is very high (this is good), and his blood sugar is fine. Blood pressure is ok too. So I’m wondering where this blockage in the artery is coming from. He doesn’t know if he was tested for that, um, c-reactive protein (CRP), and he doesn’t know what his triglyceride level is. I suspect we will be finding this out fairly quickly. I’m just very curious about WHY the blockage happened and how we can avoid any more of them. (Yes, we’ve gone heart-healthy diet. He even tossed some Stew Leonard’s cookies ... !)

My brother Scott’s step-son, Chris, had a sudden, shocking thing happen to him that landed him in the hospital with tubes stuck into his chest. He collapsed at work with spontaneous pneumothorax, where his lung collapsed for no apparent reason. He’s tall and very skinny, and apparently this happens to tall very skinny guys. He was in the hospital about a week but fortunately his lung has reinflated and he should make a complete recovery. That was totally out of the blue.

On to other things ...

I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago. Amber, good friend and former colleague, had her baby on January 6th: Aiden Luis Otero. I think he’s a gorgeous baby (he has his daddy Lou’s dark hair!), one of very few newborn babies who doesn’t look like a wizened little monkey (c’mon, admit it—most newborns are funny looking!) I’m looking forward to meeting him.

Aiden and Amber, January 6, 2005

Jamie sent me this picture of Kristine and Bailey more than a month ago—I love it. (Hey, Jamie, send more photos!)


Kristine cuddling with Bailey

Mom and Dad seem to be enjoying Panama City Beach—when I spoke to them a couple of days ago they said they are winning (slightly) more than losing at bingo. Dad promised to send more photos (let Mom take one of you, hey Dad!)—he sent this one of Mom during a break at bingo. He’s a pretty good photog, I think (he sent me a great one he took of Stanley at the Golden Anniversary party).


Alice at bingo, Panama City Beach, Dec 2004

There, I feel better that I finally got these pics posted. Now to go do some more housework (which I’m enjoying in a weird kinda way. I feel less stressed when the house looks tidy. I don’t know why.)

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