She Who Must Be Obeyed is in hospital as I write this. Over the last week what appeared to She and I as effects of a cold turned out to be among of the symptoms of congestive heart failure.
She's hard to get to the doctors' and by the time she finally did, she was completely out of breath simply walking up stairs. This from a woman who walked miles with me this summer and previously was a recreational cyclist champing at the bit to go-go-go!
An explanation I heard from a physician's assistant who did her emergency room workup: chronic hypertension strained the mitral heart valve which produced the situation. On emergency room examination, her systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers were triple-digit, something like 150/125. It's a wonder she didn't stroke out right there! In retrospect the symptoms I observed over the weekend along with those uncovered by medical tests and those She finally disclosed were all checklist matches for congestive heart failure … including that oh-so-obvious hacking cough that kept us both awake at night.
So today She, resting at hospital in improved condition, will get a heart catheterization so surgeons can determine the condition of the arteries and what sort of damage the valve(s) has suffered. Then, perhaps as early as tomorrow, it's major surgery for either valve repair or replacement. Sometimes, heck, often I'd love to put a good bit of distance between me and Cleveland, Ohio. Times like this, however, make me a little happier to be near… She is being treated at the world-renowned, prestigious and expensive Cleveland Clinic Heart Center. Having excellent medical insurance is a very good thing — I won't have to wind up stealing food from our cat when all is said and done. Not having access to treatment of this caliber? Well, you can probably tell where I'd come down on the national health coverage debate.
Though She has a phone in the room, She's been feeling completely out of contact without email. To help her with what will quickly become a boring stay and to put her back in touch, I picked out an "early Christmas gift." After visiting her last night I stopped in at a nearby Best Buy store and purchased an Asus Eee-PC "netbook" — miniature notebook computer. She'll get to use it today and then, depending upon when surgery takes place, go "offline" for a day or two. During her five days or so in hospital for recovery, I'm certain she'll get some good use out of the sweet little Eee-PC; I know I've had fun setting it up for her.
Heart surgery? A heck of a way to earn a nice little gift!