This is the impromptu drawing a doctor did for us after Cliff's heart catheterazition, on the back of a piece of paper that was lying near the bed. It shows a 20% blockage, a 40%, a 60%, a 70%, and two 90% ones. The doctor told us he wouldn't feel safe even letting Cliff drive home, with so many blockages.
And to think we woke up that morning planning on Cliff having a walk on a treadmill and being pronounced fit as a fiddle (after all, he was walking daily and doing pushups); then we'd eat out, and get home in time for him to go to work.
Here's the doctor who drew the picture, explaining all those problems to Cliff.
In researching coronary artery bypass surgery, I come across tidbits like this:
" Twenty to 30% of bypass patients will need a second procedure within 10 years."
"What are the long-term results after CABG surgery? 5-10% of vein grafts become blocked within the first 2 weeks after CABG surgery due to blood clotting. Blood clots form in the grafts usually because of small arteries beyond the insertion site of the graft causing sluggish blood run off. Another 10% of vein grafts close off between 2 weeks and 1 year after CABG surgery. Use of aspirin to thin the blood has been shown to reduce these later closings by 50%. Grafts become narrowed after the first 5 years as cells stick to the inner lining and multiply, causing formation of scar tissue (intimal fibrosis) and actual atherosclerosis. After 10 years, only 2/3 of vein grafts are open and 1/2 of these have at least moderate narrowings."
"Repeat CABG surgery is occasionally necessary and is done for the same indications as the first surgery. Repeat CABG surgical mortality is 5 to 10% and it is less effective at relieving angina than the initial operation."
I'm optimistic about Cliff's health. I've kicked salt out of my kitchen to such an extent that my blood pressure is lower than it's been in years. But when I see statistics like these, I realize I must cherish each day I spend with my husband. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
Isn't that right, Carlene and Sue and Lona?