Sunday, October 17, 2010

Suprise at Mayo Clinic

While I was at the Mayo Clinic doing my heart evaluation, I agreed to meet meet up with an HCM'r and her niece. Since they did not have any email access & I didn't want to give out my cell phone, we agreed the previous week to meet at the Grand Piano @ 5:00 on Thursday.
If your not aware, the Mayo really several tall buildings, each added in a different decade. Tying the latest additions is a beautiful light filled atrium that rises 3-4 stories and is windows on one side and elevators on the back side. They have several Grand Pianos throughout the facility and the main one is in this lobby area & its not uncommon to have someone sit down & play. They also hire someone who plays standards & all the old folk gather around & sing along.
Anyways - Being 5 o'clock, the building was emptying out & doctors, nurses, and researchers were leaving. I sat down & waited for my new friend to show up. Her niece walked up to me and introduced herself and said that Mary would be a while longer. We talked & learned a bit more about each other and this large burly guy in green scrubs walks up and asks if he can play - SURE! Please do! we both said, and he played very well indeed. His first piece was Moonlight Sonata and as he was playing the second number, I glanced over and happened to notice that his scrubs were riding low and the back of his top was cresting his muffin-top. And there it was - A purple thong!
I guess my expression got the most of me as the niece noticed my eyes bugging out or some other clue that prevents me from becoming a professional poker player. She did a quick 180 and notice the same visual assault and commented that the colors clashed. It was difficult to keep from laughing, but we agreed he could wear anything he liked, as long as he played as well as he did.
I'll post more on my visit on my next posting.

Mayo - The results

So I met with the Good Doctor O, and I also did the Mayo cardio gauntlet. You have to train for this like a marathon - 6-8 tests in 7 hours (lost count) in the glass Hab-i-trail that is the Mayo Clinic.

So I'm down 20 lbs from my Myectomy in 08, I've also shrunk in height. Stats on Echo look excellent. Echo took 1 hour & 20 min. Another 30 to verify results. (they run less than a half hour at Cedars Sinai in LA). They now look at Strain, which is a new thing for us HCM'r. Not sure if this is new at other centers, but its the first time I saw it. They take a measurement of the heart muscle (inside & ext diameter) then model the thickness. Then they document the muscle as it flexes during the pump. They then measure selected areas and record how this area (vertical & horizontal) flexes. Now that they have a base map of these sections they can compare how these areas do over time. If the flexes less, there is more thickening and scar tissue. Dr. Ommen explained that they can actually see minute HCM traits before they become more apparent with traditional echo - but they need a baseline to begin with. Again, Its the reason to come to a research center for cutting-edge care.

I also did the exercise test and didn't do as well as I'd have liked. Couple of issues affected it. I have a horrible cold, a bad knee, and a paralyzed diaphragm. That coupled with beta blockers, and ICD and I performed at about 75% of normal non-HCM guy my age. So I got the usual lecture on Cholesterol (I'm normal - but my LDL is elevated), Need to lose more weight (no surprise), and need to get back in the gym (since my syncope in Aug I've not gone).

Good news - No surgery ! The Watchman device is overkill. Not an issue with me since my last documented Afib run in '08 and we're going to go off beta blockers slowly & see how I do. I'm currently on 150 a day (75 am, 50 pm) and were going to just 75 a day for 3 weeks and see, if things go well, then down to 25 and wait again. So now that I know if safe for me to go, I'm going back to the gym, Going to lose another 20 & get off those BB & see if I can do any better on my next visit. Its good to have goals.

There's a prince visiting and the place was abuzz, and this one tech, with the sweetest mid-western twang said to me when I commented on him - "Ya know, he's treated no differently than you, we just accommodate his security entourage - thats it, your just as special to us, don't ya know"

I needed that on this birthday!