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MY TICKING TIME BOMB - PART THREE
During 2013 and 2014 I was going back and forth with the Denver Health Cardio Team because I was refusing open heart surgery and finally they broke down and sent me over to the CU Research Center in Aurora. They wanted to see if I was a candidate for their new TAVR procedure. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
The TAVR eliminates open heart surgery as this procedure is done via the femoral arteries. When they first saw me they still did not have the procedure figured out where they could put a TAVR over top a deteriorating bovine valve and attach it to the heart.
This short video is an excellent visual example of how the TAVR is performed.
So as 2014 proceeded I kept advocating for the right of "self-determination" and on May 22nd Bart Windrum and I put on a presentation at the Mercury Cafe called "Choosing How to Die" and the video to the presentation is on Youtube here:
It was getting towards the end of 2014 and CU Research contacted me and asked me to come in for another evaluation because they finally had a procedure that should work now with a deteriorating bovine valve. Come to find out though it was still in the experimental phase and not quite yet approved by the FDA!
Then the company making the valves and paying for the research and operations said I did not meet "administrative protocol" and turned me down! The protocols were I was too young and strong for testing. (They were only using the oldest and most feeble of patients that could not survive open-heart surgery.)
My Medicaid Extension, (thankfully obtained via the ACA) would not cover this because it was not FDA approved yet.
February 2014 they had me come back again for some more intensive testing than they had done before on me. They put a wire in my neck that went into my heart and another wire in my wrist that also went to my heart and I had to be awake for this procedure.
They seemed worried and told me that they would see what they could do. Another week or so later they called me to say that they did a doctor's 'peer to peer' review and they are going to do the procedure regardless. It was scheduled for March 4th, 2015. Two days before then I thought I was going to die on the kitchen floor. I was cutting it very close again.
On March 5th, 26 hours after I was wheeled out of surgery and into the ICU, I was released from the hospital! Quite the amazing thing! My friend Mark picked me up at the curb of the hospital and we went directly to Aurora's best all-you-can-eat sushi place, Sushi Katsu.
The next time that I met with the doctors at CU they tell me that when they went into me with the wires, they saw that my bovine valve had deteriorated to the point where there were only two flaps left instead of three and they had never seen a deterioration that bad ever before. They were surprised that I was still alive!
Now that valve is no longer experimental, it's approved by the FDA and it is an available option these days. But one thing about them, they are only good for five years and then they hope to be able to pop another one over the existing one!
Well, for the last couple of months now I have been getting those same feelings that I got before as my aortic valve deteriorates and it is quite unnerving, to say the least.
I have decided that this is the last heart valve that I will have, as once you've had three, that is enough, thank you.
It is something that you don't want to continue looking forward to keep having to do. It was not so long ago when a person suffered through acute rheumatic fever, they died of heart failure early in life. With the advent of heart valve replacement surgery those people can live longer now, but what we patients are finding is that the rheumatic fever doesn't stop there. Later on, it seems to affect all your joints.
Add on a few decades of electrical, construction and mechanical work, much of it standing on a ladder with your arms reaching upwards as I did installing support structures for ceiling-mounted surgical microscopes will eventually put a hurting on your body.
As I was recovering from the TAVR, which did not take too long I learned that Bernie Sanders was going to run for President. I had already been a fan of Bernie for at least a decade previous and would listen to him regularly on the Thom Hartmann show every Friday for "Lunch With Bernie".
Going back to Part Two you saw that I spoke to Bernie on Hartmann's show not long before he announced that he was running for President as a Democrat.
It was June 2015 at Denver University that Bernie did his first rally in Denver and it was YUUUGE! The auditorium was packed,
as was the large open space in the building that holds the auditorium, plus the soccer field was set up to hold the overflow crowd. It all got filled to the maximum.
As soon as I found out about the event I signed up as a volunteer. I rode my bicycle to the event since at that time I was living not far away on South Broadway.
When the event was over and the volunteer work was finished, some of the volunteers including myself were trying to find out what's next? We were trying to get some answers from the Team Bernie people that were there packing up but they did not know when Bernie leadership would be coming back to Denver.
So about 30 volunteers were standing around trying to figure out what to do. That's when TC Bell jumped up on a short wall and announced to everyone that they all should write down his number and call him later about organizing in Denver for Bernie. I wrote down his number and within a couple of days, I gave him a call.
From that call on, things were about to change in Colorado as far as the Bernie Campaign 2015-2016 goes.
I will write more about this in following parts or chapters soon.
Part One: https://www.writespike.com/story/SfILCO3V0yDL/my-ticking-time-bomb-part-one
Part Two: https://www.writespike.com/story/eDiVdfgYWMDE/my-ticking-time-bomb-part-two
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