Healthy exterior can hide terrible surprise
May 7, 2007
This is to all the people who think they are in good shape and healthy. This letter is a wake-up call for you. It seems there are stories coming out of the woodwork about athletes and avid sports people having heart surgeries. I’m one of those people and I would like to thank Dr. Chapman and his whole crew for saving my life. I’m an avid skier, motorcyclist and soon again to be a cyclist after I recuperate. I was in the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center long enough to learn nurses names and all about their lives. These people are the most professional and caring people I have ever met. There are several articles out right now about the Dr. Chapman clan. You should try to read them. They are very moving. If you have any irregular heart beats or slight chest pain once in a while, go get checked out. I was getting a physical for the Woodfords Fire Department when Doc Harvey found my horrid murmur. This man also went above and beyond what I thought was normal. Doc Harvey also sped things up so I would get into surgery sooner. You see, I had an aortic aneurysm which was ready to burst at any time.
Athletic people are susceptible to this disorder as much as the rest are. The whole insurance issue right now is really tough for a lot of us. My wife and I are always cutting things out of our lives so we can keep our coverage. One may need to cut out times at the bar or eating out to save some. The list is fairly long on what can be cut back on. We almost let my coverage expire to keep the wife’s going. Thankfully Carol’s brother loaned us some money to keep it going.
At 43 years old, I hope it is the most traumatic thing I ever have to go through. Once again I can’t stress enough that everyone should go get checked. Sometimes there are mobile clinics that will listen to your chest and maybe give you an EKG. This whole situation had nothing to do with diet or the amount of exercise. This is mostly a hereditary disorder so pick your parents well. Roughly 500,000 people die each year of heart disease. Millions don’t know they have something brewing. The common thought is that you are too young. Many people are learning they have this in their late 30s to mid 40s. One may think it’s upper stomach gas or something like that but, that might not be the case. Irregular heart beats, slight chest pain, fast heart rate suddenly and a loss of energy are your warning signs. If you have a virus or chest cold don’t do the old fashioned thing of trying to exercise it away. This can have a huge stress on your ticker.
Speaking of the ticker hits home now because I now tick. The mechanical valve is quite the heart rate monitor. If you do have this disorder and it does burst, you might only make it to the hospital in time to perish in the emergency room. This could have easily happened to me. Like I said earlier, this is not about diet, my pipes are totally clear.
In my mind, Dr. Chapman is a rock star in the field of surgery, and his crew of great people, his trusty band. Lisa Hoffman and Julie Hansen did the best subcuticular suture I’ve ever seen. They really take pride in their work and really care about the patients well being. Thanking them enough is hard to do because when you’re doing a lot better, they don’t want to see you again. This is a good thing. Keep on saving them Doc.
Dave Von Derau is a Woodfords resident.