Humanity & Blessings – November 21, 2019

This is a two-pronged message which is both personal and universal. First: We are all more human than otherwise and thus vulnerable. Second: We should all count our blessings, give thanks.

Last month I had the good fortune, in retrospect, to have the same cardiothoracic surgeon who saved my life more than a decade ago do so once again. After contracting a heart infection, i.e. endocarditis, my aortic valve began to malfunction. In 2008 the valve was replaced during a hospitalization at California Pacific Medical Center. Some years went by during which time my cardiac function was periodically monitored. Over time the pig valve which had been implanted began to fail as well. Rather than put things off I opted to undergo open heart surgery once again, only this time at El Camino Hospital. Last month a team led by Dr. Vincent Gaudiani replaced the defective aortic valve and reconstructed my ascending aorta. I am now more bionic than ever. I am doing amazingly well with long walks and bicycling having resumed as regular activities. I plan to be back conducting evaluations at the Center in December.

Like you I am human, mortal and vulnerable. Like me you have things to be grateful for. I know this Thanksgiving I will be counting my blessings when I am with family and friends.

Let me end by wishing you good health, and absent such, excellent healthcare. My advice to patients, family and friends is simple. “Be your own best advocate. Trust your doctor or get a new one.” 

By the way, the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated! 

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