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Thinking about Patience/Patients

by Fred Cederholm

Forbes graphic on comparative surgery costs

I’ve been thinking about patience/patients. Actually I’ve been thinking about the events of the past and coming week. I hope you are all sitting down as I am about to share some real eye openers with you. The Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcies will continue to dominate the airwaves and page one News stories... as will the proposed appointment of Judge Sotomayer, America’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice. There will be major coverage of North Korea’s saber rattling and verbal abrogation of the temporary “peace” which has kept troops stationed there “ON ALERT” for some SIXTY years. Such events and stories would normally have been “the be all and end all of my attention and focus.” Now... they hardly matter one iota – at least to me anyway. I am NOT hanging on the words of Treasury Secretary Geithner’s statements to the communist Chinese bankers (to keep them buying and holding our debt). I am instead hanging on the words of Dr. Flynn, Dr. Enakova, and (particularly) Dr. Myers of Swedish American Hospital in Rockford.

You see I spent a significant chunk of last week eliminating extraneous body fluids and receiving a battery of tests. I had been becoming increasing short of breath. It was not the lingering bronchitis and chest cold which had plagued me for weeks. I was pretty much over that, and NO, I didn’t develop one of the high profile Mexican flu cases! This was new, it was related to water retention in the abdominal area, and it was getting worse! Between Friday, May 22nd and Wednesday (thanks to the diuretic lasix) I removed 14 pounds of water from my midsection. Shortly after an ultrasound of my heart around Wednesday Noon, I was admitted to Swedish American’s New Heart Hospital. The attention, testing, and lasix induced fluid elimination intensified. Between 5 PM on wednesday and 3:15 AM on Thursday I eliminated another 15 pounds of water weight. Thursday added another 5 pound to the cumulative talley. As did Friday and Saturday --- in total well over 40 pounds of extra fluid is history. I actually look pretty good.

We knew the “what” behind the shortness of breath – major fluid retention, but there was still as yet no definitive “why” behind that – at least not until the results of Friday’s angiogram of my heart became known. Fred is going to need “a valve job.” When the right chamber of my heart ba-boom-booms, 100% of the blood needed by my lungs, kidney’s, etc. leaves just fine... problem is... because the valve wasn’t closing/sealing... 65% + was backwashing back into the heart chambers. Effectively, my heart was not functioning at even half capacity right now.

This condition had gone along silently for probably a very long time. As the backwash increased my heart worked extra to compensate until it finally reached the point of “NO MAS” or “NO MORE.” This appears to have finally hit a few weeks back. I am scheduled to open heart surgery at Swedish American on this coming Wednesday. For the Automotive minded, TH*NK of this as a valve job, a ring job, and a NASCAR carburetor “blueprinting” back to the original specifications. Dr. Flynn, Dr. Enakova, and (particularly) Dr. Myers of Swedish American Hospital in Rockford and their staffs have been amazing in answering all my questions. I have had so many! The facilities at Swedish American literally boggle the mind. We are so fortunate around here to have such a premier heart hospital in our back yard. The team’s have assured me that I am actually in “phenomenally good shape for someone in my shape.” I should end up in better condition than I’ve enjoyed in years... possibly even decades.

Thank you for showing patience in this rambling directed exclusively at me the patient. The purge was very therapeutic, and did me lot of good. Trust me... I have NO intension of “waking up dead...” or “waking up on the other side” when I come out from the anesthetic sometime on Wednesday. I’ll return to my normal rants, raves and commentary... shortly. Thursday will begin a long regime of exercise and physical therapy. If you happen to TH*NK of me (fondly) on Wednesday... I’d really like that. If you chose to say a little prayer for me as well... so much the better! (And, may the Almighty GOD Bless You for that!)

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2008 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on June 1, 2009.