One of the author’s my children always enjoyed was Tomie dePaola. If’ you and your children have never read any of his books, you’ve definitely should. His books often have an old wise woman as one of the characters along with a young boy. I think my personal favorite was “Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup.”
For example, let’s examine my husband’s situation. Two of his issues involved his Aortic and Mitral valves. The diagnosis was that both of these valves would need to be replaced. Upon research (which was supported by various physicians) when replacing heart valves, patients have two options: mechanical and tissue valves. A tissue valve would only last about 15 years which would mean that my husband would have to go through open heart surgery again….at a much older age. The mechanical valve would last for the rest of his life but he would need to be on a blood thinner, like Warfarin, forever as well. Neither of these options appealed to my husband.
After thoroughly researching valve treatment options, via Google, it was discovered that there are surgeons at Cleveland Clinic who do valve repair. Well, this is what we wanted….no warfarin and no needing to replace a valve in 15 years!
Get Second Opinions
Once we gathered all our information about valve repairs, we met with the Cardiac Surgeon that our Cardiologist referred us to. He was a wonderful man who spent over 45 minutes chatting with us about our options and what he could do for us. This surgeon didn’t have the skills to repair the Aortic valve but could repair the Mitral valve. He did, however, state that second opinions are invaluable, especially with major surgery, and gave us the name of Dr. Svensson at the Cleveland Clinic regarding valve repair. To make a long story short, this second opinion was worth it. My husband was able to get both valves repaired and is on his road to recovery
Learn About Your Hospital and Go to the Best if Possible
When you are having a major operation, if you can get there, go for the best. To learn about the top hospitals in different medical areas, check out U.S. News and World Report. Each year they rank hospitals and you can read a bit about their top 50. The Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Hospital has been ranked #1 worldwide since 1995 and the care we received was amazing. They even only send you one bill. Yup! You heard me correctly! None of those bills from nowhere from someone you have no idea read a slide, took an x-ray, or other item. Just one bill!
I can’t say it enough. Don’t short change yourself when it comes to selecting your medical care. At one of my “caregiver classes” at Cleveland Clinic, I learned that approximate 30% of their heart surgeries are re-dos. Yup, fixing others’ mistakes. I was even chatting with another care giver and her husband had just had his Mitral valve repaired at another hospital (I won’t reveal the name) in November 2013. Turned out that the surgery was botched and after a host of medical complications, her husband was at the Cleveland Clinic in March 2014 (just 4 months after his first open heart surgery) to have his issues fixed.
So, please, educate yourself and your loved one when a medical situation presents itself. Also, educate yourself. Be proactive in your health care decisions. You and your loved ones are worth it.