Update on Louise at three months post-surgery

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I just sent this out by e-mail to friends of Louise:

I last wrote an update more than a month ago. In that update, I said that three weeks after very successful surgery, Louise's heart rate increased and the rhythm became irregular. The heart rate was slowed by new medication but the arrhythmia continued. Louise was very fatigued.

Now three months after surgery, the situation hasn't greatly changed. We had our final appointment with the surgeon, Dr. David, last week. His opinion is that the surgery was very successful, stopping the atrial fibrillation and repairing the leaking valve. He says that Louise's heart is in fine shape. He doesn't believe that her fatigue is related to the arrhythmia. Nevertheless we plan to consult a specialist in arrhythmias, recommended by Dr. David and also by Louise's cardiologist.

Louise accepts this situation and is working to overcome the fatigue. She is learning to pace herself and not push too hard. She realizes that she is very lucky to have had the surgery; without it she was facing congestive heart failure in the coming years because of the atrial fibrillation.

For some time now, Louise has been able to do all the household tasks she used to do, principally cooking all the meals. We are eating better than when I was the cook. (But, graciously, she still lets me do the dishes.)

Our joint goal for the summer is to recover our fitness. For me this means more workouts at the Y; for Louise more walks. We plan to start making short trips and visits. For months, our only trips have been to doctors. I'm also very keen to return to work on my mother's biography. By July, I will have completed two years of German and hope that I will be able to read some of my mother's early letters.

It's an appropriate time for us to think of renewal. Next weekend we celebrate our 40th anniversary. We're not in shape for a party, but just today we went to the Canadian Craft shop across the street and bought a beautiful large Inuit sculpture as our mutual anniversary present.

I expect this is the last of my updates. Louise and I thank all of you for your concern, encouragement, and friendship.


-- Anonymous, May 30, 2004

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