We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This

Descending Aorta

The Dacron version is a actually a boring whitish color.

For the second year in a row, we celebrated our wedding anniversary in Houston.  The actual (35th!) anniversary was on Sunday, but we celebrated on Monday because we spent Sunday getting here.

This is not because either of us have developed a special fondness for Houston since our anniversary visit last year; rather, it’s more of the same: tomorrow, I will undergo hours of surgery, this time to replace my descending aortic valve with a fine piece of Dacron tubing. Although I am assured that the probability of success is very high, the negative side-effects, should they occur, are bracingly grim, including a 2% chance of paralysis.

Even in the best case, I’m likely to be sedated for a couple of days, and if experience is a guide, it may be several more days before I’m tracking at all well. Poor Caroline will have to navigate a series of rationed visiting hours in the revival room (bright lights in your face!) until I’m well enough to go to a regular hospital room.

The good news is that if all goes well, the medics assure me they will have now run out of aorta to replace: I have a metal aortic valve that was implanted in 2010 after my very fortunate survival from an emergency aortic dissection. Last year they did the arch, along with an “elephant trunk” to connect to the next piece; now they are doing the rest of it. That said, “there’s always the carotids,” as one humor-impaired medic joked when I first asked if there would be any aorta left to tinker with.

You might think – indeed, ordinarily I might think – that my life plans should include avoiding Houston as much as possible in the future.  Weirdly, though, I may be coming back to Houston regularly even if I remain in good health. David, my older son, will be starting as an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston this fall, and I gather I may be invited to visit him. I’ll look forward to that – except for on our anniversary.

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2 Responses to We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This

  1. Jane Moscowitz says:

    best to you!

  2. Just me says:

    Congratulations on your son’s new venture. Good luck on your procedure.

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