A Forum to Share the Medical Experiences of Our Aging Classmates
Depression Among Seniors: Victoria Times Colonist 30 March 2014
Cataract Surgery: WIH: 15 Aug 12
Link to Wheels for Wellness: 13 Dec 11
Link to discussion on Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Bill Badger: 16 Aug 11
"Better yet, a current photo from each member of the team and we'll set up a 'Then and Now' page .... WIH"
So, here is one to get things started:
Thanks for your work at keeping us together.
Doug Gilpin: 15 Aug 10
Just a note to bring the guys up to date on some recent events in my life.
Last March we were in Hilton Head, actively playing tennis, biking, golfing etc. On my return I experienced shortness of breath while playing tennis, and over the next week this worsened. I went to Credit Valley ER and spent the next four days in hospital having tests, but with no diagnosis except to find that my heart was OK, but that I had a lot of fluid buildup in my chest and abdomen. By mid-may I couldn't really do any activity (to my relief my liver was OK). Finally, a very sharp internist told me to go to a firm of cardiologists and stay there until they had the answer. After an hour on an echo cardio machine, a terrific doctor gave me the diagnosis: the sac around my heart, the pericardium, had acquired the consistency of leather, and the heart, though in good shape, couldn't expand during its relaxation phase. He had me in the hospital the next day, had checked the fluid for cancer, TB, etc, and I had an angiogram within a couple of days that confirmed the diagnosis and the fact that the heart itself was in great shape. No one had seen this condition before, but knew that the pericardium wasn't necessary to sustain life. At least that was the theory.
The cardiologist contacted one of the best heart surgeons in Canada, arranged an appointment, and we met with him on June 1, a delightful man, at St. Michael's Hosp, who had done this pericardium surgery before and was very reassuring. (The surgery is an open heart operation)
I had the surgery on June 25. He reported that my pericardium was 12 mm thick instead of the normal 2mm. Guess my RMC experience hardened my heart. Anyway, I survived but the surgery requires sawing the sternum and spreading the rib cage to allow access to the heart; This is pretty routine, but recovery from this procedure is the biggest issue. Afterwards I really couldn't do anything, including sleep much, but my breathing was immediately improved and now, seven weeks after the surgery, is back to normal and I am very active and comfortable. The sternum takes 12 weeks to heal fully, after which normal activities (golf, tennis etc. will be OK.) I lost a lot of weight (Now weigh 145 lbs vs my usual 170, but at one point the excess fluid had me at 187 lbs. I'm very skinny, but have the unusual challenge of gaining weight.
That's about it: The pericardium theory seems to be accurate, i.e. we don't really need it, and I was lucky to have excellent doctors and my wife, Mary, had a huge job to do in the early weeks following the operation. I can drive a car again (concern re airbag deployment reopening the split sternum) and most things are the way they should be,
Regards to all,