Thursday, November 29, 2018

Today, I am thankful for doctors, life science researchers, and medical innovations. 
This story started innocently enough. My husband was complaining of pain in his right shoulder when he was riding his bike for more than 10 minutes. Then he started having frequent headaches. Eventually, I gave up on the idea that he will go to the doctor on his own (men!) and scheduled a health checkup for him. His test numbers all came back better than usual, but he mentioned his shoulder pain and the fact that his brother got a triple bypass at 55 during his intake interview. Luckily, our primary care physician was paying attention and sent him for stress test EKG.
Well, EKG results were concerning enough for a cardiologist appointment. A cardiologist recommended a more invasive cardiac catheterization. We were very nervous at that point, because suddenly my husband turned from a fairly healthy 50 year old man to someone who needs to have a cardiac test and possibly more.
Unfortunately, it was more. During the procedure, it turned out that all his three arteries were 90% blocked. Fortunately, his cardiac surgeon decided to go for angioplasty with stent placement. In total he needed 4 stents in the places of severe blockages. The surgeon was able to insert three on Tuesday, and my husband needs to go back for one more stent in a couple of weeks. The good news is that the intervention was done just in time to avoid an extensive and expensive bypass surgery. With stent procedure he was held overnight for observation and was released home the very next day.
If you think about this, it's almost miraculous - to be able to operate on heart arteries through a tiny incision in the wrist and repair arteries that were so severely damaged. After all, stents are in wide use for only about 20 years and the ones that are more collapse-free are even more recent. I am very grateful that my husband was one of many whose life was saved through this medical innovation. Of course, we are not out of the woods yet. He needs to go back for his (hopefully) last stent and he will have to take medication to control his high cholesterol. He was vehemently opposed to take statin drugs, but a close look at his arteries showed that he has a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol levels and the plague, unfortunately, did accumulate in his body. But... he is actually much safer today than he was in the beginning of this week, he is home, and tomorrow he is going to go to work as usual. For all that I am immensely grateful.

Your Turn

How did your family experience medical innovations?


CRC said...

My husband's mother recently underwent the same procedure but was fortunate to leave without stents. She has a lot of heart damage due to diabetes and other pre-exiting conditions, but her physicians were very positive about the procedure and felt the findings were better than expected. She's quite lucky. While we often seek natural remedies for everyday things like environmental allergies, colds, aches and pains, we are thankful to have access to the latest innovations in western medicine, medical research and technology when we need it!

MaryAnne said...

I am so glad you made him that appointment! Medical intervention saved my life as a toddler with cancer, saved my dad's life when he had a heart attack, and helps him cope with Parkinson's Disease today.

Min Erva said...

Thank goodness he is okay! Yes, modern medicine is something to be thankful for!

Kacey said...

So sorry that your family has been dealing with this but so glad that he is ok! My dad was a cardiologist; who died of a massive heart attack at 56. They symptoms can be very very subtle. So glad that he had them checked out!

Ticia said...

Wow! What an amazing story!
My boys are only here because of older medical innovations, but the medications that kept me from delivering them early, the treatments for preeclampsia, and the C-section are pretty amazing now.