Fast Forward To Scripps 2018

Leon Hammack

From my visit with Dr. Jeff Tyner in the Fall of 2015 through the Spring of 2018, everything seemed to move along swimmingly, or so I thought.

In the Spring of 2018 my cardiologist in Yuma, I relocated my cardiologist from Fresno to the city where I was living, relayed to me that there appears to be some indications in the latest echocardiogram that warrant a closer look. He wanted to send me to the local hospital for testing. I had decided that I was about to fire him because he appeared to be practicing in the 1950’s! So with new curiosity I decided that I would take all of my tests over to Dr. Tyner at Scripps La Jolla to have him take a close look at these echos.

It was really good to re-establish contact with Dr. Tyner and to get his expertise again on my tests. After he scrutinized the different material that I brought to his office, he concluded that he could tell that the aortic valve is beginning to degrade, but not enough to schedule surgery yet.

Whew!!!! I am buying more time!

He informed me that instead of making the trip over to La Jolla when I was tested again, I could just have my cardiologist send them to him for his review. That is when I relayed to Tyner that I was about to fire my cardiologist and I want to establish a cardiologist within the Scripps campus. I asked him if he had any recommendations? (I had already done my research and had a list of five doctors I was considering.) He paused a moment and asked me if it mattered if the cardiologist was male or female? I replied that it did not. I just want the best cardiologist here!

He then said that was good and that he will work on getting me an appointment with Christina. I looked into my notebook and found. Dr. Christina Adams and asked if that was the doctor that he had in mind? He nodded affirmatively and replied that he was pleased that I had done my homework!

In about 3 weeks I got an appointment with Dr. Adams, so I hopped in my car and headed over to La Jolla for the consult with her. She is a very pleasant, extremely competent, and kind physician. She went over all of my meds, she looked at Dr. Tyner’s comments, and she came up with the plan. As she walked me out of the office towards the front door, she reassured me not to worry about my aortic valve. She continued saying just let her and Dr. Tyner worry about those medical needs! As I walked out to my car, I told myself that is exactly what I need to do.

Six months later, November 20, 2018, I returned to her office for and echocardiogram, consult, and review of the echo. After the completion of the echo I had about and hour till I saw. Dr. Adams so I grabbed a little light lunch in the basement cafeteria. Up in the office, Dr. Adams enters the room, we again run through my meds, and she talks a bit about my aortic valve. She indicated that the valve regurgitation has worsened and things are beginning to degrade, but leave the worrying to her and Dr. Tyner. She further added to enjoy the upcoming holidays with my family, and that she would see me in 6 months, in May.

In May I return to Scripps for another echocardiogram and consult with Dr. Adams. This time there was something different about Dr. Adams and how she entered the room. It was at this time that she indicated to me that surgery is just on the horizon. The aortic regurgitation. has worsened and the ventricle wall has began to thicken. That really knocked that crap out of my happy-go-lucky attitude that I was exhibiting! My stomach immediately knotted up and began twisting like wringing out a bath towel! After I gulped once or twice I asked her does that mean that I need the surgery ASAP? Her reply was that I didn’t need to cancel my annual summer RV trip to Oregon. However, I need to be keenly aware of any chest pain, swelling of the ankles, and or shortness of breath. If any one of those conditions presents itself, load up the ol RV, get on back home, and give her a call!

Well, the summer of 2019 went extremely smooth!

Once I returned back home, got all my stuff offloaded from the RV and put away in my house, it was time to go back to Scripps in San Diego for yet another echocardiogram and consult with Dr. Adams.

This visit was an eye opener! After reviewing the echo she again asked me when was the best time to do the aortic valve replacement surgery? I had all summer to think about the answer that I gave her. After I found my tongue, grabbed my chin from the floor, I looked at her and told her November 21st. My heart was dieseling, my stomach was knotted up, and I had a hard time controlling my emotions as my words came out!

She said to me since you are going to need a chest x-ray pre-surgery, and it was within 30 days of my surgery date choice, would I be willing to go down and get that done since I am already in San Diego? I thought that was a good idea. She called down and reserved an appointment for me. Additionally, she told me that she would arrange a pre-surgery consult with Dr. Tyner.

All of the sudden I realized that I am not bulletproof anymore,

I don’t go all in but I’ll take the gamble
And I don’t burn both ends of the candle anymore
I take the corners, slower and steady
This chip on my shoulder, it ain’t so heavy anymore

We still fly like gypsies
Just a little closer to the ground
And we still love our whiskey
But now it’s just a little watered down

More to come!

TIL NEXT TIME, KEEP THE SHINY SIDE UP!

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