Monday, July 9, 2007

M-m-m-my aorta

A family crisis seems to have blown over and I heard nothing of it until after it was more or less all said and done. Comes with the territory of being difficult to reach, I suppose.

A few years ago, my mother, who had been seeing a cardiologist for some time about related problems, experienced a bit of a crisis that resulted in her requiring open-heart surgery. The short version is that she had a small, leaking tear in her aortal wall, a congenital defect which could have left her dead in moments had she, say, fallen and hit the ground wrong. It was a long, scary experience for all of us, but in the end she was tough and resilient and she came out of it just fine. She's always treated herself a little more delicately since then; perhaps it's unnecessary, but I think it gave her a bit of a sense of frailty that she's never had.

Well, a couple days back, my uncle, her brother, went to the hospital for nonspecific back pain, and, after a long series of examinations in which they weren't able to figure out what was going on, they finally traced the source of some unidentified bleeding to - you guessed it - a leaky, split aorta. They immediately prepped him for open-heart, and he came through it remarkably well. He's as on the mend as one can be only a day or two after being sedated to technical death and split wide open, and he's a fit, healthy guy, so they expect a full, quick recovery.

Scary, yes. Definitely. I'm almost glad I found out about it after the fact so I didn't have to worry; I wouldn't have been able to be there for my grandparents and my mother even if I had known, living far away as I do.


At any rate, the same condition striking both siblings - one of which is, if you will recall, my mother - at close to the same age seems to me a bad omen for my own aortal integrity. At the least, if I one day pitch over dead for no apparent reason you will probably be able to guess why. I suppose this means that chances are fair that I can look forward to my very own bitchin' six-inch scar down my sternum some twenty or thirty years in my future.

No comments: