As the gurney was being rolled out of the cardiac cath prep area, there were enthusiastic encouragements of “good luck, Tom Selleck” and “hope you are out of here soon, Tom Selleck”. These pleasantries were coming from the nurses, technicians, and even, yes, even the anesthesiologist! I turned around and smiled, then said “Hey you guys, cut it out. I have to live with him!” . . .
. . . and live with him I do, with all the gratitude one can have for the bullet we just dodged, the miracle of medicine, and a remarkable medical team.
“Tom Selleck” in this case is my very own Tom. He was the patient on the gurney, being transferred to a regular room at a local hospital this past Wednesday, in good spirits and happy to be alive.
Tom has been dealing with a complicated and serious eye condition for the past several years. The condition is one that has resulted from being a Type I (Juvenile) diabetic for 45 years. We will talk more about this on our companion blog, Brittle, in time. For now, however, I will bring it all forward with how this condition led to Wednesday’s gurney ride.
A vitrectomy was scheduled for November 19th; a delicate operation on the eye. Tom’s retinal specialist required that he get clearance from his internist, who is also his endocrinologist, for the surgery. An appointment was made, blood work-up and EKG performed, an we made plans for the next month’s recuperation period. A blip in the EKG and Tom’s long-term diabetes necessitated a stress test. On Tuesday, the stress test showed abnormalities. He was immediately seen by a cardiologist, and an angiogram was scheduled for the next day.
Any procedure is risky, dear reader. It is more so with a Type I diabetic. Tom is on an insulin pump, which is the means by which insulin in controlled. The pump is attached by a small needle to his abdomen, with a long tube (like an IV connection) and a small device, the pump, attached to a belt or pocket.
Need I tell you how friendly a hospital gown is for anyone, let alone someone with any type of life device? They ended up taping the pump to the palm of his hand.
Then, there is the actual administration of insulin during any surgery or procedure.
Well, my Tom is much craftier that Jesse Stone, much swifter than Magnum, PI, and tougher than New York City police chief Frank Reagan. He set the nurses straight on what he needed done and how often he needed his sugar levels checked. Before long, the cardiologist came in, papers were signed, and off my dear husband went for a look-see into his arteries.
A little more than an hour later, my hospital issued pager went off, alerting me that the procedure was over. Tom was coming back to his room, and was doing great. He had several blockages necessitating the implantation of two stents .
What surprised us all the most that one artery was clogged by 82%, the other 99%!
Tom has always eaten well, is very active, maintains healthy weight, and has near perfect cholesterol, especially LDL. He showed no symptoms associated with these sort of blockages. No pain. It was a miracle that these arterial blockages were found in the way that they were – and a miracle that he had not suffered a heart attack.
We cannot begin to express how grateful we are that preparation for eye surgery brought Tom to a stress test – and a renewed lease on life. Nor can we express our gratitude for good doctors making timely calls. Tom has recovered fabulously, the route the cardiologist took was through a small prick in his wrist, making recovery easier. We’ll talk some more about neuropathy and how we have now learned that it can also impair the chest on Brittle in a day so. Right now, Tom Selleck and I are going out for a short, brisk walk down the Cutoff.
I feel like saying amen; for this, dear reader, has become a bit of prayer in its writing.