Well I finally did it. I had quintuple heart bypass surgery on November 16, 2011.
The doctor’s first told me that I needed this surgery in August of 2008. Who me? The meditator, the consciousness explorer … the guy who had done multiple fasts, ate sprouts, and used to drink wheatgrass juice? The guy who used to do ten aerobics classes a week?
I was convinced that I could beat this through natural means.
How did I handle this? Easy. I went into denial. When all else fails, pretend that the problem doesn’t exist.
I’m blessed that I wasn’t dead wrong.
How did I find out in the first place?
My inguinal (crotch) hernia started becoming a problem in the spring of 2008. My medicare insurance started on August 1, 2008.
Having researched for the least invasive type of hernia surgery (tension free mesh technique), I found a San Diego, California, surgeon who would meet my requirements. So I rushed into my August 1 doctor appointment. Yes, he agreed. I needed hernia surgery.
All I had to do was get clearance from a cardiologist (heart specialist). It seems that surgeons don’t want their patient to have a heart attack during their surgery.
So I went to the referred heart specialist who ran and EKG on me. He referred me to another heart specialist who used a giant, fancy camera to look at my innards. He referred me to a team of medical professionals who did a catheter test on me. They ran a tube from my groin area up the heart area and injected a dye that allowed them to see the blockages of arteries near my heart.
After a short while people started showing up to look at my pictures on the fancy display. Nobody said anything. One after another they simply showed up and studied my pictures. Apparently I was the featured entertainer of the day.
After that parade ended, the main heart doctor showed up and told me that I needed to have open heart surgery to bypass my blocked arteries. He said my blockages were something like sixty, seventy, and ninety percent in three arteries.
This proclamation was rather sobering. Shortly after the diagnosis I broke out into a severe skin rash over much of my body. My opinion was that the diagnosis caused me to break out into the rash. Later a doctor told me that the contrast (the dye injected into me to show the blockages in the arteries) caused an allergic reaction.
The next day I went for a follow-up appointment with a heart specialist who confirmed my need for heart bypass surgery. I felt that my surgery was a way for him to buy a swimming pool for his mansion.
Judgmental? Who me?
The doctor informed me that he couldn’t perform the surgery while I had the skin rash. There could be a danger of infection.
I felt very grateful for the skin rash. I didn’t want to get the surgery. This was a great excuse.
I dutifully checked into the emergency room to get a quick appointment for my skin handling. The nurse was compassionate. However, there was another parade of intern doctors who came to study my skin rash. Nobody really helped me. They scheduled me for an appointment the next day with another group of doctors. I accepted the appointment and cancelled it later.
I never returned.
Time passes. It is now 2011.
My primary care doctor threatened to take away my driver’s license unless I went back to see a cardiologist. He said I might have a heart attack while driving and plow into a group of innocent pedestrians on a sidewalk. I handled that by never returning to that primary care doctor.
However, that was a wakeup call. I started an internet search for a San Diego heart specialist who had a holistic approach. I wanted a medical doctor who had an appreciation for alternative medicine.
I was quickly losing hope of every finding such a person. However, my persistence paid off. I felt extremely blessed to find a heart doctor who I later called an angel.
Before she saw my earlier test results, she thought that it would be possible to avoid the open heart surgery. A couple days later, after the test results reached her office, her assistant called me in for an appointment. It was time for another catheter test. That test confirmed the results of the earlier test.
So my beloved cardiolgist told me the truth. It was not what I wanted to hear. I needed open heart surgery. However, I did not jump on board with that. I still had hopes of handling the situation with my natural remedies.
Burying My Head in the Sand
I had my own way of burying my head in the sand. It was the sand of illusion. I still believe that the natural remedies could help in the long run. But the flame was rapidly burning the fuse on my bomb. Somthing had to be done quickly.
Yet I waited.
The hernia kept getting worse. My inguinal (crotch) hernia was getting huge. Then I got constipated. The pain was so intense that I could hardly get out of bed.
I managed to arrange an emergency appointment with a hernia surgeon. He had a very abrupt personality and very little in the way of a healing presence. He assured me that he could fix the hernia – after I had the heart surgery.
The pain subsided – temporarily. Then there was another episode of constipation and extreme pain. I made an appointment with another hernia surgeon for a consultation. It was a major challenge just to get to his office. The pain was that bad.
This second hernia surgeon knew my beloved cardiologist. He called her cell phone when I was there. Unable to get a word in edgewise, he later told me that the heart surgery had to be done before I could get the hernia fixed. He mentioned that he was friends with the heart surgen who had an office in the same building.
Finally surrendering, I immediately made my way to the heart surgeon’s office and made an appointment for the first available surgery date. It was November 16, 2011.
This was the beginning of an amazing adventure filled with lessons that impacted every area of my life.
To be continued.