It’s been a month and what do I do now?

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.

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1 comment
  1. Jan said:

    Again, Mr. Impatient. Give it a little time because…gasp…you’re not as young as you were and you will heal and get better slower. But of course you know that. Make your plans for the future with no regard to ill health and then follow them. Your health will either let you or not. In other words, don’t worry about what hasn’t happened!!! Plan positively and you will probably be able to follow those plans. I still want to visit Erbil, damn it!

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