Well, this year is sure shaping up to be different. I worked the first two weeks, thought I caught the flu, and ended up having bacterial endocarditis on my mitral valve. After debating with the doctors about the relative merits of immediate surgery versus getting my blood sterile, I decided to put off surgery until I got cleaned up.

Unfortunately the infection did so much damage to the valve, including rupturing a chordae tendinae, that surgery became necessary. So, on March 11, I checked into Appleton Medical Center for a mitral valve replacement. Surgery took place on Monday, March 12, from 7:30AM to about 1:30PM. After a short recovery period, they discharged me on Friday, March 16. The replacement valve is a St. Jude Medical valve, which makes me sound sort of like the crocodile in Peter Pan. A person with good hearing can hear it from about 6 feet!

I am still at home recovering as of this writing (25 Mar) and expect to be back in the swing of things by mid-April, God willing. Dad took a handful of digital pictures of the ordeal, which he graciously shared with me. If you are interested in looking at them you may follow this link.

6 April 2001 - Well, another twist to the saga came. Wednesday, March 28th, I ended up in the emergency room with tachycardia. They found about 750cc of fluid in my pericardium, which they surgically removed on March 30th at 7:30AM. They sent me to CCU from ICU on the 31st, about noon, and discharged me on April 2 about noon. They say that I must have had a clot in my pericardium after the first surgery, and that the hygroscopic characteristics of the clot drew lots of fluid into the pericardium. They did a variant of a pericardial window on me. We'll see how far this puts me back. I figure about a week.


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last update: Friday, April 06, 2001 13:34:46 -0500 by Dan Steves