OT: An update on John
For those who have been kindly inquiring about John’s health and about the latest with his heart issues, I thought I’d post an update. I haven’t mentioned things with him lately, because I don’t want to bog my readers down with too many details, or make this blog too dreary. So I will update now and then, just to catch y’all up. That sound OK?
I’ll try to make a long and complicated story somewhat short. Essentially, John has three choices when it comes to his malfunctioning mitral valve:
1. He can have it replaced with a hetero graft, better known as a pig valve. The plus on those is that they aren’t rejected as often. The minus — they don’t last a lifetime. In another 12 years or so, John would need another transplant.
2. An artificial valve. The plus? They last forever. Minus? They are rejected more often, and the patient has to take blood thinners for the rest of his/her life. Which essentially turns them into a bleeder. Not ideal.
3. Mitral valve repair, in which a highly skilled doctor goes in and repairs/rebuilds the valve, instead of replacing it. Plus? No new part for the body to adjust to. Minus? Depending on the extent of the damage, they don’t last as long as a replacement. For minor damage, they’re ideal. But there are five levels of heart valve damage.
John is a four-and-a-half.
Also, his HMO is fighting him tooth and nail, because they’d much rather do the easier replacement job than the trickier (and more expensive) repair job.
So John is in the middle of tests, consultations, second opinions, and dealing with the bureaucracy that is his HMO. It’s a lengthy and stressful process. As it happens, he can’t have heart surgery right now anyway. He is also in the middle of some necessary dental procedures, and his heart doctors have told him to have all dental work done before he even thinks about scheduling anything heart-wise. Tooth infections are notorious for spreading to heart patients. And John is infection prone. Always has been. Even a small growth he had cut off his ankle a couple of weeks ago got infected.
How is he? Holding up amazingly well, all things considered. He still exercises more than most people half his age. He still bikes on the weekends, albeit not the distances he used to. His arteries are as clear as a newborn’s, his blood pressure is low.
Of course, he is chronically tired. That’s pretty much his state of being these days, because his heart has to work so hard to compensate for the valve, and it exhausts him. Last night after a nice dinner out, he fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 while we were watching TV, and stayed asleep until after midnight, when I shut off the TV and woke him so that he could get ready for bed. Yup… we’re like a very old couple, these days. But that’s just the way it has to be.
He still makes me laugh until I’m doubled over. He’s still beautiful to look at. He frets about the scar he’ll have from the surgery; I won’t care a bit. I just want him to be well, to feel good.
At the end of next month, we will be together for 17 years. This weekend in the car, I had classical music on and he was humming along with the piece. Then he said, “Sweetie, did you ever think you’d have a boyfriend who appreciates classical music?” I answered, “I never thought I’d have a boyfriend, period.” It’s true. I never thought I’d have anyone in my life this long.
Relationships can be tricky, and people can fool you sometimes. Especially in the kinky realm, where there’s a lot of instant intimacy, and mistaking intensity of play for love. I am definitely not the most secure person in the world, but I know this much is true: When John leaves me, it will not be because his heart stopped loving me. It will be because his heart stopped beating. For this reason, I want to keep him very much alive.
Perhaps I reveal too much. Perhaps I lay my own heart bare too openly. But I don’t know how to be any other way. I don’t think I’m going to develop a heavy armor at this stage of my life. Some may think my sarcasm serves as my armor. It does in a way… but trust me, that only goes so far. So people can choose to exploit my vulnerability, or they can choose to be kind. Please be kind.
That’s all, kids. I promise I’ll be back on topic soon.