I started this Biloxi Shuckers fan blog at the beginning of June, made a few posts, and then just a little over a month ago I went missing, seemingly falling off the face of the earth, not to be heard from until now. What happened? Well I will tell ya, since you deserve an explanation, but it ain’t pretty.
About the time of my last post, I spent one Saturday afternoon doing yard work, getting in a good work out, but afterward it didn’t seem my heart ever wanted to calm down. After a couple hours it was still beating hard, and I was throwing more and more PVC’s (Google it). This alarmed my RN wife, so she hauled me to a walk-in clinic, who in turn sent me on to a cardiologist. At the cardiologist I got an EKG, stress test and echo-cardiogram. All was fine EXCEPT for the echo: that test showed my ascending aorta – the main pipe leading up out of my heart, was greatly enlarged, more than twice the size it should be, and way beyond the point where replacement is called for. I had a CT scan to confirm I indeed essentially had a water balloon leading out of my heart, and then all effort was focused on arranging for surgery to get it fixed.
In fairly short order we made contact with surgeons at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, one of which (Dr. J Michael Duncan) took my case, and bottom line I had open heart surgery on July 9.
Instead of a normal aorta leading out of the top of the heart:
I had one that was greatly enlarged, and so had to be replaced:
Dr. Duncan put one of these bad boys in me:
When it is quiet, you can hear the mechanical valve clicking open and shut.
If you remember the actor John Ritter from Three’s Company, a ruptured aorta is what killed him, and I believe it is also what took Lucille Ball. More importantly for me, however, is that I greatly suspect this is what killed my father, when he was literally only two years older that I am now. The cardiologist whose care I was under in Houston – Dr. Roberto “Lufy” Lufshanowski (an utterly charming man) – said that my aorta could have ruptured “at any time”, and that would have been a very bad day.
So now I am home recuperating from the surgery. Awfully sore, but with some good meds to take. They say I shouldn’t go back to work for another month or so. Well, that gives me time to follow some Biloxi Shuckers baseball, doesn’t it?
I have several topics I have been waiting to write about, and as I have the strength I will produce and post them: MGM Park “West” Paws, Discounts for Military Members, Barry Lyons (Finally), player performances and more. If you have any ideas please feel free to submit. As I said in my first post the goal of this fan blog is not to compete with the local media or the official team sources, but to be a fan forum where we can cover topics that the regular media either doesn’t have the space or (justifiable) inclination to cover.
And no more medical posts!
James Duke, 24 July 2015