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I receive a stent in an artery to my heart


For more than a year now, I have walked my Fox Terrier dog, Do Do, for about three quarters of a mile in the neighborhood every morning. I start on the front porch of my home at 1702 Glenwood Avenue North in Minneapolis and follow a circular path through Harrison park, down 5th street to Logan Avenue north, down Logan to Glenwood, and then a block east to return home. Do Do is usually ahead of me on a leash, pulling to go faster.

My route is always the same. After proceeding through Harrison park, I pass by a small brown stone building used for maintenance near the park headquarters, a house on the corner of Logan and 5th where a pair of black boots sits near the door behind a clay pot, a tree on Logan marked by a green X (it is slated to be cut down ) and then around the corner at Glenwood and Logan where Milda’s restaurant is located. My house is at the other end of the block.

I mention this routine because it played a part in bringing my recent heart problems to light. In the last several months, I started to have a pain in the middle of my chest about half way through my walk. It was not severe - just enough to cause discomfort while I was walking - and would subside after I paused for a minute or two.

Eventually my wife convinced me that it would be good to see a doctor. We made an appointment at the cardiac unit of Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). The doctors decided that they needed to operate.

I was admitted to the hospital in downtown Minneapolis in the morning of Thursday, August 10, 2017. After being sedated and put in a gown with various wires and monitors attached to my arms and legs. I underwent the operation at 8:39 a.m.

The plan was for a probe to enter an artery in my right arm and then go up the artery to my heart to assess the situation. It was decided that I needed a stent to keep the artery open. This stent was a small circular metal piece implanted near my heart which allowed the blood to flow unimpeded.

The operation proceeded without incident on Thursday. I was then sent to a recovery area in the hospital where I stayed overnight and through much of the following day.

Louis Kohl, the doctor who performed the operation, stopped by with two sheets of paper with images showing how my heart looked before and after the operation. He said that, beforehand, I had 95 percent blockage in that artery.

In short, a heart attack might have been inevitable had I not received the stent. But now the artery was completely open. The sheets refer to “95% sterosis” in the “LAD” (left artery descending) which extends rightward from the heart. I give thanks to my dog that his daily walk brought this situation to light, prompting treatment.

It has now been two weeks since I had the operation. I have continued the daily walks through the park without incident. The difference is that I am now on four medications - Atorvastain, Clopidogrel, Plavix, and baby aspirin - to address my medical condition. My wife insists that I take them religiously.

I have also entered a rehab program to build up my strength. The first full session was this morning. I work at various cycling machines while nurses monitor my condition and have blood drawn. They are scheduled twice a week starting at 7 a.m. and last for an hour. From the clinic I have a spectacular view of the US Bank stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play their games (and where next year’s Superbowl will be held).

In summary, I have gone from receiving no medical treatment whatsoever in the earlier part of this year to being a full-fledged customer of the medical profession. It’s part of the downward spiral in my health experienced since the beginning of 2017. But I seem for now, at least, to be out of danger.