Where have I been? I’m back. I have been resurrected. (See below.) I am resuming my blog.
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- Speaking of health, the brief note below, an earlier version of which was sent originally to family members, serves as today’s brief blog and explains in part why I was incommunicado;
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I Owe My Life to My Wife
I am not simply talking about the current and continuing care my wife provides. I am referring to the whole process since I became ill.
In early March, I suffered a cardiac arrest. Sudden heart arrest is not a heart attack. There were no warning signs. I just collapsed. That is, my heart stopped beating and blood was no longer being circulated by my heart to my brain and other organs. I was at the front door of our house beside my wife when I fell to the floor.
An estimated 95% of individuals with sudden cardiac arrest die within minutes, though some statistics are more optimistic. According to those figures, the average survival rate from a heart arrest outside a hospital is 10.6%, though only 8.3% survive with good neurological functions. That is because, when the arrest is witnessed, 1 in 3 victims survive.
My arrest was not only witnessed, but the person at the door who was talking to my wife had a friend waiting for him. That friend knew how to apply CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which he immediately did. Further, when my wife called 911, an ambulance happened to be only two blocks away. The paramedics were equipped with a defibrillator, applied an electric shock and restored the beat to my heart. Obviously, with every minute that passed, my chances of revival diminished greatly.
I, of course, had been totally unaware of what happened and only remember when I was operated on for 4.5 hours while a new pacemaker and defibrillator were installed. Effectively, my heart was rewired.
Since then, I have had no problems with my heart and my physical strength has gradually recovered. In fact, I received a perfect bill of health re my heart several weeks ago. My health problems were and remain elsewhere. I got a bladder infection from the catheter that was installed. The urine backed up and damaged my kidneys somewhat. Besides taking time to recover my strength, my time was spent mostly trying to recover from that infection and I ended up back in the hospital for almost a week. I am now awaiting another procedure at the end of this month which will recommend which operation should be tried to correct the problem with urination, though my kidneys are now okay. I am also rid of the discomfort and occasionally searing pain, so no pressure.
My most serious problem in recovery was being able to read and then write again. It really took three months. I am not fully there by any means, but I am determined to resume my blog. I hope you find my dispatches of some value.
Finally!!! We knew you could not be dead but we missed you. Lucky you weren’t conscious for the cardioversion. I was last August. The good thing is that it is so brief and it works so beautifully. Describable as being hit by a cannon ball in full flight. We are lucky. Stay well. Cornelia
Cornelia J. Baines MD, MSc, FACE Professor Emerita, Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health, University of Toronto.
Welcome back Howard—missed you and your blogs
Welcome back. You were indeed fortunate, as are we that you are still around.
Stuart Schoenfeld Sociology, emeritus Glendon College,York University