Seeq-ing Answers after 31 years!

Technology just might never cease to amaze me.

I’ve had three open heart surgeries.  An artificial valve that is no more than 15mm across “ticks” inside my chest every second of every day.  This St. Jude’s Mitral Valve was placed there very carefully by Dr. Frank Midgley & his team at the Children’s National Medical Center 31 years ago today, October 30, 1985.  I’ve been ticking ever since!

What I have not been as of late, however, is regular!  My heart has been racing, ticking loudly and forcibly for a few months now.  It’s been taken for a good ride this past year between moving, a wedding and honeymooning across the pond and walking literally all over the great City of London.

Arriving home on Thursday evening and suspecting just a little flutter on the trans-Atlantic flight, I could really hear it ticking in overdrive on Friday and took myself to the local Emergency Room.  Needless to say, I have been frequenting cardiologists offices ever since.  Seeing the Adult Congenital Specialist at Johns Hopkins was a real eye-opener for me and my mother (a nurse) alike.  I am an amazing case, one they all love to study a little more every time.

To track my abnormal rhythms, I was asked by my latest Cardiologist, Dr. Joann Urqhart (new to my care team as my adult cardiologist recently retired) to wear the Medtronic SEEQ wireless wearable heart rate and rhythm monitor.  About the size of an iPhone, I stuck this on my upper left chest for one month’s time.  Changing it every Friday, I had four total, and was able to do all activities of daily living with it on.  Once the month was completed, I boxed it all back up and sent it back to Medtronic.  Days later, a report arrived in a FedEx envelope on my door with a whopping 81 pages (double sided) of EKG strips.  See, I had to push the sensor on the monitor every time the ticker was out-of-whack and a kind soul who was looking at my continuous EKG all this time, would call me to collect my symptoms and find out what I was doing at the time of out-of-whack-ness.  Ross and I became fast friends, as he seemed to call and check in on me the most.  Turns out he graduated from my husband’s high school a few years before he did.  Small world!

Anyway, as if Election Day isn’t doomsday enough, or enough to make my heart skip some beats with excitement, the day after I am trekking to Hopkins again for an echo cardiogram and meeting with the Adult Congenital Heart Specialist again, Dr. Thomas Traill, lucky man soon received a copy of all 81 pages and is probably still reviewing them tonight.

We shall see what the future holds, but until then, I’m going to keep on tickin’ – 31 years later & counting!

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My Ticker!

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Born with a broken heart…

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Teachable Moment

Those who know and love me know a teacher I am not, but those same folks never thought I’d sport the title of “step-mom” either, but alas – as a step-mom today I spied with my little eyes a teachable moment and went for it … all the way & all in!

We went as a family to vote early at the local rec center. Having already made mine count by voting absentee, I stood in the periphery and watched the process. Technical difficulties and a minuscule tear in page two (yes, the ballot is front and back of two legal sheets of paper) made someone have to go “re do” his ballot and so the youngest and I stood together between the scanner and the door.

A family of four, clearly first time voters, placed their ballots into the scanner one page at a time and the poll worker stood beside ensuring that they saw the flag, meaning their ballot was cast and counted. I froze, thankful for what I was, what we were, witnessing.

After receiving their stickers, the voters cooed over how cute she was in her cheer uniform and hot pink breast cancer awareness hair ribbon. Once they walked out I leaned right in between her cheek and shoulder and whispered in her ear:

“Do you notice anything about what is happening?”

“Yeah, they’re voting for Hillary!” She proclaims.

“Shhhh! No, not that, what else?”

“No. I don’t notice anything else?!” (Like, “what’s wrong with you, yes they are?!”)

“What do you notice about that nice man next to the machine?”

“He’s tall?!” (Like, “where are you going with this?!”)

“What else?”

“He’s brown?” I personally noticed his J. Hopkins name tag, but ok.

“What’s he saying to the people?”

“There you go (handing out the coveted “I Voted!” sticker) and thank you!”

Exactly.

And there it was – – – I should have teared up, but instead I just said:

“Not that long ago people like him didn’t get to vote, and now he’s thanking all of these people for voting” – and she stops me excitedly, “for a woman!?!”

YES!

Whew! Poor thing thinks Hillary is the only thing on that two page, double sided legal sized ballot! I’ll take it!

Personally, I wanted to know that everything we discussed sank in so once her dad finished she says, “Dad, guess what I know about that brown man?!”

OK -let’s leave! Now.

“In the olden days…” she began.

I had said “not that long ago” but, ok, she’s 9 3/4!

Teachable. 

My history major and women’s studies minor heart is happy today. More on the ticker in the next post.

#GetOutTheVote #IWillVote #MarylandWillVote #VoteEarly #EveryVoteCounts #StrongerTogether

 

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