Anyone who exhales a second of "See, what you’re dealing with now is KARMA! Ha, you really are a Greek Tragedy!" needs a big ol’ hug. Not from me, but surely, they need more love in their life. The people who wish poor health on anyone and question if it’s okay to wish or say such mean things should really stop to consider why they have room or energy in their lives to devote to wishing harm on others–or to snickering in schadenfreude, almost rejoicing (while apologizing) in the delight of someone else’s pain. You obviously don’t know what it is to experience pain, real, to-the-bone pain. And I hope you never do.
To everyone else, thank you so much for the wishes, the emails, the comments. They help. Phil has been reading them, and amazingly, Phil’s friends have been reading them, calling me to say, "the comments on your site really made me feel hopeful and better about the whole situation, since I have no experience with cardio stuff." So thank you. Even the latest readers, the ones who heard me, breathlessly, join on the radio today, LIVE on NPR, Talk of the Nation, who already have reached out with well wishes. I did my best to keep on topic, but I was obviously distracted about the latest…
So, here it is: They did not operate today. Instead, they made us transfer hospitals from St. David’s to Seton Medical. Why, exactly? "Oh, because at St. David’s we don’t do heart transplants." How did the word "transplant" come into play? I thought we were talking old-man contraptions with a cute little card you tuck in your wallet that gives you front-of-the-line access at the airport. "Well, we need to do a heart biopsy, and the ones who do that are the doctors who handle transplants." So Phil giddy-upped onto a gurney and took a ride in the wambulance, while I made my way out of the visitor parking maze cursing like a fishwife in heat.
His surgery has been postponed. The heart transplant doctor needed to speak with us about the biopsy before actually scheduling it… to see if we actually wanted to go through with it. "Look, I don’t like what I’m seeing here," she said warmly, "but I’m also not just going in there until you know the risks. So, in a transplant patient, to do a biopsy of the heart to see if they’re rejecting it, isn’t a big deal, but with you, Phil, the risk is five-fold. And it’s by no means a simple, little procedure. If you want, I can go in there and biopsy, but when I do that, the heart can tear and make a hole, which, well, isn’t good. See, the heart is like fajitas."
No, please tell me you didn’t just say that.
"You know how a flank steak can just tear? Well, essentially, I’m going in there and taking bites out of your heart. I’m telling you all of this because you need to know the risks, and some people would rather not have the biopsies. They’d rather not know what’s going on."
Why, exactly are biopsies needed? "Because given all you have: atrial-fibrillation, complete (stage three) heart block, and most concerning in all of this a very low velocity and very erratic heart trace, something is wrong and very abnormal. Something bigger is probably going on. Now usually, you have symptoms. You come in complaining about your gallbladder or something, and we narrow it down to the heart, but everything about this situation is, well, something we’ve never seen before."
All I can think when I hear this is: Lucas. They said the same exact things about Lucas. They were sure I must have licked a cat while pregnant, that I feasted on uncooked pork, that I gave my son (but not his twin sister sharing the womb) toxoplasmosis. They were wrong. He didn’t have toxoplasmosis or any other disease, and the cyst in his spine eventually disappeared on its own, without surgery. But this, this is different. Phil’s father died of heart complications at age thirty-two. We’re told it wasn’t genetic, but really, who knows? I have a very hard time believing there’s no link. Technology wasn’t what it is today.
"If we do the biopsy, hopefully we’ll be able to rule out certain heart diseases, namely infiltrated cardiomyopothy, amyloidosis, myocarditis, but other things as well. The bad thing with doing a biopsy, aside from the risks involved with tearing is that sometimes a biopsy yields nothing." Meaning, the disease/problem areas aren’t everywhere on the heart, so she can biopsy a part that’s healthy/normal, so biopsies come back normal, even if there’s a major problem. "Another thing to consider," she said, "is you might not like the results. I might tell you that you have something that cannot be cured, that even a transplant won’t fix. And some people don’t want that kind of knowledge, so they elect not to do the biopsy. I’ll let you two talk it over." We didn’t need to. "I want to know," Phil said. The biopsy is scheduled for 9AM tomorrow, August 1. I don’t pray, really. It almost feels like jinxing things. But…
Phil just turned to me and said, "Stephanie, I just have to say it. One thing I’m scared about is that I’m going to die tomorrow." And that’s when I brought myself to pray. I believe in the power of it. It worked for Lucas. Thank you, in advance, for all your prayers, even from those of you who don’t pray, who aren’t religious, who don’t really believe. Thank you for keeping Phil in your thoughts. This bites the big fat hairy moose cock, for sure.