I am becoming increasingly anxious about my medical condition, which has been diagnosed as aortic stenosis, or to us laymen – a dodgy heart valve. My worries started when I realised that despite a mountain of blood pressure reducing drugs, my BP was still quite high – just before the time when my next twice-daily dose was due to be taken. During most of the intervening period, the BP was impressively low, but it concerned me that only a few hours later, it was back up again. This didn’t seem to be quite as it should be to my, admittedly non-medical, brain.
So I started to do some more research to try and assess the severity of my condition and how long will it be before I really need to get serious about having an operation.
The first thing I have established is that heart valve replacement is inevitable. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ as there is simply no alternative treatment. I also learned that the longer I leave it, the more damage I will do to my heart and the higher the risk of me suddenly becoming the ‘late -Mobi’.
With this in mind, I made another attempt to get hold of the results of the cardiogram test I had last December at Bumrungrad to try to see how bad my condition is, and this time I was lucky, as the nice man on the phone emailed me copies of all the reports within an hour of my enquiry.
I have tried to understand the various ‘Doppler Measurements & Calculations’, and I confess that most of them are still a mystery to me, but I have been able to establish that certain key readings concerning my aortic valve have deteriorated since the previous test was done in June 2010. The Doctor’s summary report states my condition as being ‘moderate to severe’ which is none too encouraging.
On the positive front, the readings that I was able to decipher do not appear to be as bad as those quoted in clinical papers that I have studied, although they are by no means very encouraging.
I am also concerned about taking too much daily exercise; I now learn that too much exercise can cause heart failure, as exercise puts the heart under more pressure because of the impaired valve. I also better understand why I was feeling so tired, breathless, feint and generally shitty when I first started to take exercise a few months back. They are all symptoms of aortic stenosis – not just because I was unfit. Anyway, given that most of these symptoms have either reduced or disappeared completely, I think I will continue with my daily walks, but ensure that I do not overdo it, as I have done on a few recent occasions.
But, as a medical expert has told me in unequivocal terms, the bottom line is that I need surgery, sooner rather than later. I am going to Bangkok next week, (Wednesday), and try see a specialist at Rajawithi Hospital, a government hospital, which I am told is the number one hospital in Thailand for heart surgery.
I will have to join the queue and it may take a while to be seen (I may even have to return 2 or 3 times) but eventually I will get to see the consultant who will schedule me for surgery, if he decides that I need it.
This might all take a few weeks, maybe a month or more, but the advantages of going this route are two-fold. As stated, Rajawithi has the best surgeons, provide the best after care and have the lowest mortality rate, and, equally important, it will be a lot cheaper than going to one of the private hospitals.
So wish me luck and I will duly report on progress.
“An angel reaching for the sky”
Last year Amy, and this year Whitney…what is it with these singers? They seem to have it all, but in the end they turn out to be mere mortals, like the rest of us imperfect citizens of Planet Earth.
I am sure that there will be millions upon millions of words written in tribute to Whitney over the coming days and weeks and endless speculations – even conspiracy theories – on how she died, why she died and whether it needed to have happened or could it have been prevented.
Even barely two hours after her death, Twitter has already gone viral…
So I will just confine my own uttering to state that for a long period of my life – most of it during my ‘Insurance Years’ in the UK – Whitney was always there, with her incredible voice and her towering ballads that couldn’t fail to move and inspire even the hardest of hearts.
What a God-given talent! What a waste of a beautiful person who I believe still had much to give, despite the ravages of recent years.
My own tribute to Whitney is not a Whitney song, but that hauntingly evocative song which was written by Brian May as a tribute Freddie Mercury, but has since become an anthem for the ‘good who die young.’
If you have a few minutes to spare , please click on the link below and listen to this incredible song – and for goodness sake, GIVE IT SOME WELLY! …but keep a tissue to hand….
One by one
Only the Good die young
They’re only flyin’ too close to the sun
Cryin’ for nothing
Cryin’ for no-one
No-one but you…
R.I.P. Whitney; from one recovering addict, to one who never quite made it.
Bits and Bobs
I regretfully note that I was spot on when I predicted in a recent blog that the recent Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UN Security council were effectively giving the Syrian regime a ‘licence to kill.’
I believe that history will record that the two-nation veto, used for unquestionably political and self-serving purposes, was one of the most despicable acts carried out by so-called responsible world states in the past thirty years. The continuing suffering and death to the people of Homs and elsewhere are testament to this gargantuan error of judgement.
I had to chuckle recently when I read that in her Saturday talk show, P.M. Yingluck admitted that severe flooding may recur and that participation from all related bodies is crucial to ease the situation. She went on to say: “her government will help locals in flood-prone areas to adapt themselves to a new lifestyle, for example, by introducing them to jobs in water-related fields.”
The mind boggles…. scenes of the movie ‘Waterworld’, where the entire planet was permanently flooded, immediately spring to mind. Is the lovely Miss Yingluck telling us that these folk will be living in a world perpetually surrounded by water and that they had better get used to it and adapt? It certainly seemed so….
A Concert for George…
Thanks to Roger,one of my readers, I learned about this excellent concert that was staged as a tribute to George Harrison at the Albert Hall in London, exactly a year after his untimely death. It has to be one of the truly great live concerts of all time and stars a veritable ‘who’s who’ of great musicians: Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, Malcom Abbs, Gary Brooker, Jules Holland, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and so many others.
And what about Joe Brown? Where has he been for the past 40 years? and what a performer! – especially his amazingly emotional closing song, complete with ukulele solo…
Not to forget the opening section of Indian music, written by Ravi Shanklar, (plus a small piece by George himself), played by the most extraordinary and wonderful collection of Indian and western musicians and singers. It totally blew my mind away and set me up for the incredible western music concert that followed, featuring George’s own eclectic output of original, wonderful songs.
It is said that the main Beatles song producing partnership of Lennon/McCartney was so good and so prolific that George’s songs rarely made it onto their albums. This may have been true, but when they did, my God, were they ‘good-uns’!
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ with a soaring Clapton solo stands out, but for me, the high point of the night was when Paul McCartney started playing a ‘honky tonk’ version of ‘Something’ on yet another ukulele, (George’s favourite instrument), and after a minute or so, it somehow morphed into the full orchestral version in all its majestic glory – truly one of the greatest love songs ever written… ‘Something in the way she moves’….
BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot…