Posted by: guinness222 | May 31, 2017

Ok, here I am , now 1:30 AM on a Tuesday night, ,……lying awake in a hospital!!!

Maybe a bit melodramatic for a title, But,….allow me to continue, This was a scheduled trip, for a basic surgical procedure, called a Right Carotid enderectomy., What the hell is that you ask? Basically it means my right carotid artery, located in your neck, had become 99% obstructed with plaque. It’s a sort of white gummy substance which you usually get from high fat and any junk food you eat,……OR as I was told as a “hereditary condition”

. Since I gave up the “Golden Arches”and all the other Fast Foods Iused to eat, tried too eat a South Beach type “meditereanean diet” for several months after trying it subsequent to my open heart triple  bypass in 2010, which was triggered after the discovery of a similar condition in my left carotid artery (thank you God for the little heads up notice from one of those “Life line screenings” offered by most Churches, Elks, Eagles, etc which screens you for “$139” for several different potentials major heart situations.

Being the oldest living member of the Corcoran/Doherty clans I am hereby judging it as hereditary,…..because I got the title of Patriarch about 10 years ago at the tender age of 62 and here I am 72 today, waiting for my 50ieth Wedding Anniversary to the same beautiful woman, the love o[ my life on June 10th 2017.

As the old expression goes “never been sick a day in my life”, her as well, other than childbirth of our three children and one “female operation” about 25 years ago.

I tend to wander from the title a bit now back to our story.

As I said the “open heart triple bypass heart surgery”, (euphemistically known as a “CABG” or Coranary Artery Bypass Graft) , times three in my case, with the “oh shit I could drop dead in a heartbeat” realization I entered the arena of the battle to live on to haunt you with more blogs! No details here but write if you want to know them.

Three months later I  was just about healed from that when the original little problem found, of a “98-99% clogged and otherwise, obstructed LEFT carotid artery” so we took care of that. Subsequent Ultrasound follow ups on both surgeries yielded several blocked arteries in my legs,…….so I became the poster boy for additional day surgeries to a total of seven of them! I guess you could sarcastically, call it my “hobby” . So, as usual here I am,….again. Most o[f my leg surgeries were like dry cleaners, “in by 8am and  out by 5pm”.  And only about one full day of recovery at home before back to a normal life.

But all joking aside every little one of my dozen “little operations” was a potentially life ending situation, even the little “in by 8 and out by 5″ had risks” so I’ve had a lot of time to think, reflect and consider my humble life thus far! The technical term for my little “situation” is called “artheriosclerosis”, in the old days it had a common term of “hardening  of the arteries” and was sometimes referred to also as a “drinkers disease”. But as medical science pro[gressed we learned more about it including the fact that it was the evil little thing called “plaque” that caused a pretty damning death sentence for those who had it! But lo, and behold science developed better ways for Doctors to recognize it, and better ways to “manage or control” it to provide longer life to patients, AND , as I am the poster child for better education, on point, earlier catching it, and numerous ways to provide surgical solutions for it. BUT make no mistake every time it pops up again there is only one way to handle it,……surgery!

Tonight as I lay here on my first day of “complete bed rest” for the third or so time. But the telltale little aspects of this trip were all around me. Having a “basic blood test” no earlier than four days before the surgery, (and on the week before the three day Memorial /Day weekend this ear)! There were five vials taken , where usually it was three. A bright red  bracelet fixed to you with instructions that if it were tampered with or removed the surgery would be cancelled and the test the scheduling the prerequisite “risk Signoffs” would have to done again as well.

Then came Tuesday, the day appointedThe sign in and registration paperwork took a little’ longer , instead of the surgery in the “Cath Lab” or cardiac surgical wing operation area. It was scheduled in the main “Surgical” area. Instead of a single “IV” line they.time they placed two, one in each arm, the young anesthesiologist Doctor stopped by. Reviewed al the paperwork, Them told the nurse doing the IV lines that she would be doing a third line called a.n “Atrterial Line” which provides a direct line to be able to inject directly, and quickly, into the heart itself, and in some cases the individual four chambers of the heart separately! (Only had that done one other time when they did my Triple Bypass Open Heart Surgery!

There was a whole team of Doctors, Nurses, assistants etc. Ready to go! MY Doctor showed up all ready to go in fresh ‘scrubs’ said he reviewed and sign-off On every page in the hundred  “Surgery Signoff and verificat’ion book”necessary to make it happen. He gave ,e a big smile and told me this should only take about twenty minutes to arrange and prepare me in the operating room,  and a 20 minutes to check all the equipment and  to arrange me, for the surgery, and check out all the equipment again. About an hour for the operation itself, and then a half hour closing me up and cleaning up all the paperwork, an changing into clean scrubs for the next operation for the day.. They would take me back to the “recovery room” for “a while” they take me to a private room for a full day and one night of  “complete bed rest, dinner and a night of rest” and hold me until the next day!

So now it’s 1am, 12 hours after the “procedure”, here I am, wide awake writing this report for all of you. By the way why am I awake?  When they operated  they put about a three inch incision behind your ear where the mastoid process, (Kind so a soft bone) is, down into your neck where the carotid artery resides. There is a split in the artery at that point which is typically where the blood flow splits, one side goes straight into the brain itself, while the other half goes to the face. The face side is one of the indicators as to which Carotid artery is effected, left or right  in the stroke. If you have a stroke  it can manifest itself in muscles of the face not working such as  only one side of the mouth can smile, muscles controlling speech, etc. The one that goes into the brain can create paralysis, loss to speech. As well as cause immediate, or shortly subsequent DEATH. The most likely time for it to manifest itself that way is within a very smalll window of time (3 to 24 hours) immediately after the operation, hence complete bedrest for a day and a half , IN the hospital under close observation,… here I am!

Wide awake and writing to you folks, because strokes are instant, virtually no warnong, can be instantly fatal and happen every day.

My. Advicee learn the warning signs for yourself,  and someone else near and dear, or just a perfect strange in the grocery store on a bus, or walking in front of you on the way to or from work tomorrow, drops. They are simple signs non-technical and the BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY is you can SAVE a life, but the window; is very small. Make the effort to ‘find out abou;t them, learn them, and remember t.hem.

My selfish reason is that I could be the guy walking in front of you on the way to work, one of your own relatives over for a holiday meal or celebration,………you can make the difference and save someone ,…….in less time than it takes to eat a Double Cheeseburger1

THANK YOU in advance!


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