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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Here I am, about 7 weeks post-surgery. I am getting better which is good. My surgery was a failure, which isn’t so good. I’ve seen all 3 of my doctors now (GP, Cardiologist, Surgeon) and there is a future. A little murky but I have a decent understanding of what’s going on.

My Cardiologist told me he had never heard of a case where a surgeon opened up a patient and then saw that he (or she) couldn’t do the operation. Mine was the first time he ever heard of that happening. He feels I’m coming along well and he sees no reason why I can’t exit the country but I should wait another month or two. Wait for what, I don’t know. But he’s a good man. I asked him if I could ever be better and he said that medicine changes all the time, so you never know. So in his opinion, this is it for me.

I saw the surgeon today and it was a brief meeting. He listed to my heart and looked pleased. He explained exactly what happened during the surgery and why he did, what he did. It all made sense to me. He says it takes 3 months to feel better after heart surgery so I have no idea why all the pamphlets they give out say it takes 1 to 3 months to recover. They should say 3 months and if you’re better in a month, good for you. So I’m on target.

I asked the surgeon for his prognosis of my condition. I told him this was nothing I would hold him too, I just wanted his opinion. He feels that the next five years should be fine. If the mitral valve starts to take on heavy calcification then he would insert a balloon through my heart to the mitral valve to help it open and close. Interesting. So I’m not going to give it much thought for now. My new (13 years old) heart arteries still look good and he thinks they could last 40 years. So I’ll just live my life and try not to worry about things. Of course, the thought of a 3rd heart surgery just thrills me! Not!!

I asked the surgeon about leaving town and he said, “sure, why not”? So I am going with his opinion and I’m blowing this joint shortly.

I’m bored and it’s getting cold. I’ve been in full job hunt mode for several weeks now. This is not the best time of year to be job hunting but there are a few out there. I had an interview in Toronto for a job in China but I didn’t get the job. It paid well so I was disappointed. Then I had another China interview here in Toronto but they’re not deciding for a month or so. I have no idea why they are interviewing now but to hell with them.

There have been some decent jobs popping up and I’ve had the Skype interviews. The job I really want is in Morocco but they haven’t decided yet. I have a firm offer which isn’t as good as Morocco but as they say, a bird in the hand and all that.

It just might be Hong Kong. They want me to start December 1st and it would be teaching the younger grades in high school. You have to go to the Gulf countries to work at a University and make a decent salary. No thank you, 1 year in Oman was enough. So it looks like high school for me. Who knows, I might enjoy it.

No one at this school speaks Chinese and English so they’ve been using a computer translation program to communicate. My interview was through email. It’s all very strange but they’ve been flexible on some things that started out as a firm no on their part. Hong Kong is China, but it’s not. It will be something different. If the Morocco job doesn’t appear tomorrow morning, it looks like I’m off to Hong Kong. I want to be a part of it all in old Hong Kong.

Shujie likes the idea of Hong Kong as she’s never been there. She will have to make up her mind soon whether to leave soon or wait until August. I would like her to come now but it’s up to her. She has her minimum wage job but I think she likes going to work. That’s the problem with following me around; there isn’t always a job.

There is no winter in Hong Kong and the heat in the summer isn’t deadly. I’d be gone in less than 2 weeks, which seems awfully fast to me. But the pay is good and I might like the job. And there is no age 60 and you’re out like in Mainland China. My mother is going to flip when I tell her.

Other than that, I don’t have much to say because I don’t have much of a life. On Sunday night I’m going to see “Book of Mormon” so that’s exciting. I’m not cold all the time anymore, just sometimes, which is an improvement. The thing I keep learning over and over is you never know what’s around the corner. Maybe my story will change tomorrow but Hong Kong isn’t so bad, is it?

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I had surgery 1 month ago. I am not fully recovered and I might be wrong, but I believe this surgery was a total waste of time. It had to be done so they could actually see what was going on (don’t trust all tests), and I’m left with basically no further surgeries and just playing this out with a weakened heart. Are we talking 5 years or 55 years? Who knows? Prognosis’s are for the birds. Someone who has had congestive heart failure (that’s me with my hand up) was thought to have a 5-year life expectancy. However things change every day. There really are no pills and no surgery for me now. I finally learned exactly why they couldn’t replace my mitral valve. I might have been told before, but my memory is recovering mush.

It seems there is so much calcification that it’s like a cement wall in there so you can’t suture anything in. Makes sense to me. The jackhammer they would need to bring down the cement wall is too big so as we say a lot in this house, “it is what it is”. I saw my GP yesterday and discussed a bunch of things with her. I see the cardiologist next week and the surgeon in 3 weeks and I’ll be asking the same questions. I’m pretty confident I know what’s up (although I’d be happy to be wrong) and I’m broken and can’t be fixed. I don’t have a lot of goals in life and in fact it’s just one. I must outlive my mother. Parents should not outlive children and even though I believe that when you’re dead, that’s it, being Jewish probably means I’ll still be around after death to feel guilty.

I asked my GP (as I will ask other doctors) if there is any “real” reason why I can’t go back to my travelling life and when you cut through everything the answer is there really is no reason why not. Doctors in North America basically believe that they offer the best care and they are the best and you’re losing out if you go somewhere else. However, that’s not exactly reality. I had nothing taken out of me, and I had nothing put into me, so I’m basically the same warm-hearted and fuzzy loveable guy I was before the surgery. I can take care of myself as well or as poorly as I want wherever I am. I just need to adjust what I think I can do and not try and do things I’m not capable of doing so there goes the Mt. Everest trek.

I gotta get out of this place. I’m bored and the thought of several more months here makes me a touch suicidal. I’m actually looking for work. I had an online interview to work in Khartoum, Sudan. That would be ultra-cool but I think I want some semi-decent money. I have an interview Monday here in Toronto with a school that runs a program in China that pays well. I would take that. We could save money. What’s funny is that if I go to China (or wherever), I go by myself and Shujie stays in Toronto. The Toronto guy lives in China, and the Chinese lass lives in Toronto. She can stick with her lousy job (she’ll learn a lot about this place) and she’ll have to do things for herself (which she most capably can), but tends to leave it up to me. However, and most important, she needs the time in Canada so the next Permanent Resident renewal will show enough time in Canada. I don’t want to go without her but I’m hoping I get the well-paying job. It will be good for us. If this job doesn’t work out, I’ll keep looking. My mother will be upset and I don’t want to do that, but my mental health needs to be tip top.

The mental health is quite important because after more than 30 years of serious illnesses and surgeries, I’m suffering depression. It’s quite common for heart surgery patients to go through depression afterwards, but I’m never been depressed from illness or surgery in my life. I think my wacky mind always thought when I was sick that I was getting all my illnesses out at a young age, and then when I was older there would be no problems. Sometimes I’m not the brightest guy. I need to have some element of joy and excitement in my life. I love my family, but I need things for just me. Call me selfish but I see it as self-preservation.

I am getting better and I think my breathing should be back to where it was before the surgery within the month. Maybe it will be better but I’m not hanging my hat on that. I have pain but that is surgical recovery. Try having your sternum opened twice and tell me about it. I’m getting around okay but no driving yet. I have to wait to see the surgeon to get the all clear on that. I hate this apartment. The furniture is uncomfortable and the people above us our too noisy. I keep telling myself it’s temporary but that doesn’t help much. It could be worse as I could need open-heart surgery. Oh, sorry, did that.

So things are at a “we’ll see” stage. They might change quickly or they might not. I hope to be on my way somewhere by the end of the year. But as we all know, the future is not ours to see. You just try and tough it out every day (don’t we all), it’s just I’m more aware of “toughing it out” than ever before.