You know, I’m tired. But I guess sometimes tired beats the alternative. As my father used to say that halitosis is better than no breath at all. I guess what I should have said is I’m tired today. After another long, un-comfortable day in the hospital having the arteries in my legs drilled out, it has left me exhausted. I know, why the hell would you have the arteries in your leg drilled out, is this something you had done on purpose or was it an accident?
Well, here’s how it goes. Long version.
I’m a longtime survivor of cardiac problems dating back to 1976 when I had my first heart attack at the age of 32 while playing tennis. It seems the cardiac events run in cycles of 10/11 years for me. After the first heart attack, I was put on medications and that staved off another sever problem until 1987 when I had a 5 way bypass. After that, another 10 or 12 years before a stent was necessary to relieve newly developed angina. After that I developed heart palpitations and underwent several cardiac ablations that eventually lead to a defibrillator being implanted to take over the duty of heart rhythm management.
These hi-lites don’t include the numerous stress test and nuclear procedures (radio active dyes) necessary to justify more costly procedures to follow. Just when you think that everything that can be done has been done, here comes a new one.
A few months ago on a visit to my doctor of electrophysiology, he asked about the amount of exercise that I got. I told him (proudly) about riding a recumbent bike that my son and I had built together. He said “no, no, how much exercise do you get, running, walking, circuit machines, etc”. He went on to explain how these other forms of exercise help maintain bone density and the benefits of staying strong as we age. I admitted to the Dr. that I hadn’t been to the gym in a number of years and I didn’t walk or run because of pain in my calves and shins. He said “well we can fix that, I’ll make you an appointment”. Hmmmmmm, I’ve heard that before.
A few days later I had a visit with my now new cardiologist followed by some test and a return trip to the cardiologist for the results. He explained how you get calcium buildup in the arteries of your leg the same as the arteries around the heart. The treatment for this is similar as the treatment for the arteries around your heart, well almost the same.
A couple of weeks later I was in a very cold operating room listening to the whirl of a drill vibrating inside my right leg at 20,000 rpm. This drill was being guided by my cardiologist through the artery as it cleaned out calcium deposits that had built up over the 68 years of my life. After that, he used a balloon to pry open a few other places (painful) then sent me back to my room for a few hours recovery and then on my way home.
Yesterday I’m back at the hospital at 6:00 am to do the same procedure on my left leg. By 8:00 am I am back in the same cold operating room starting the same procedure on my left leg. After an hour I hear the doctor say that they should pull out, he couldn’t get it started. It being, entry into the artery of my leg. I was awake enough to hear what he was saying but not awake enough to give my opinion of this situation. At this point I think the guy that oversees the use of the drill is consulted and entry into the closed artery is underway. The left leg took a bit longer than the right leg. In all, almost 4 hours. But the procedure was successful and by 7:30 pm I was on my way home.
Yes, I agree with you. Modern medicine helps us continue with an active life which would not be possible without the treatments like the one I describe above. I need to point out that the symptoms associated with the legs are not unlike angina that I had when having a heart attack. The lack of blood flow to a muscle in need of oxygen hurts. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. The pain in your leg may be an early warning that there is a problem somewhere else.
Well, this event is now over. In a few days I’ll be allowed to ride my bike again and according to the weatherchannel.com it looks like next week will be a beautiful week in East Texas. I look forward to improved performance with my rebuilt legs and my new to me Vision R40 SWB recumbent. Wouldn’t this be like putting a 4 barrel on your engine so it would breath better? Or maybe a 4 barrel on a Briggs & Stratton won’t help.
Get a checkup. You’ll be glad you did.