A Diamond In The Heart

My own medical report  By. Alan Graham.

 

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If you had a heart attack in the 1950s, the average doctor was ill equipped treat it. Back then, doctors knew very little about how to treat heart attacks and as a consequence, could do very little to save patients lives.
My Coronado practitioner Dr. James Mushovic, (Merlin) once told me ” All we did back then was make them as comfortable as possible by leaving them in a darkened room surrounded by ice packs, short of that, it was pretty much wait and see if they recovered, or not
Today we are lucky to live in a time where futuristic advances in heart surgery and treatment are beyond amazing.

It is 10 am on Saturday morning and a group of San Diego’s finest heart specialist are in video conference. What follows is a discussion/lecture concerning the newest advances in surgery such as atrial fibrillation (AFib) from cardiovascular surgeons and other heart specialists. AFib symptoms, diagnosis and advanced treatment options, including minimally invasive procedures designed to reduce the high risk of stroke associated with the condition. The old school heart surgeons are now a thing of the past, light years away in fact.


I had a heart attack in 2006 and was lucky enough to be in the care of Dr. Bruce Kimura  a Coronado heart specialist. At that time my old country doctor, James Mushovic, told me that Dr. Kimura was the best he had ever seen and that I could not be in better hands. He was part of the respected Dr. Paul Phillips’ team, and as Dr. Mushovic had predicted, he would become on of the top heart specialists in the country.

Fast forward to today, and I find myself in need of a serious tune up to my 1944 model ailing heart.  When I told Dr William B. Davis my country doctor  for seen years, without a word he wrote a referral for Dr Ali Salmi, and the San diego Heart and Vascular Associates saying  “This team is Nuli Secondi” (second to none.)

Enter Dr. Ali Salami, another brilliant heart surgeon, who is now part of the same team. The procedure was flawless, with a top team of professionals  preparing me, I felt like a VIP.  

After my having an angiogram, Dr Salami found that the main artery had a 90% blockage; and when he tried to implant a stent, the blockage was impossible to penerate without “heavy equipment”.  (I had awful visions of being assaulted by a forty-foot drill operated by the angry visage of my dead mother-in-law.)

 Dr. (Mr. Cool) Salami assured me matter of factly that it would be “a piece of cake.” He has cause to be so confident because of a sterling track record of successful procedures with advanced breakthrough technologies. 

With my fears now assuaged, I am comfortable knowing I am in the hands of the very best healthcare team anywhere in the world.

The reality is, however, potentially rather grim especially at my age, 72 years old. The chances of cardiac arrest under anesthetic is very possible. In the face of this, I have requested that a DNR  (do not resuscitate) be in place before surgery. I jokingly say “I do not want to come out of surgery talking like Rain Man”

I have visited with my priest and  received three oils: the Oil of Catechumens (“Oleum Catechumenorum” or “Oleum Sanctorum“), the Oil of the Infirm (“Oleum Infirmorum“), and Holy Chrism (“Sacrum Chrisma“). So I am now in  state of peaceful bliss and have made peace within myself through my faith in God and the support of some very special people who love me as much as I do them. May God bless us all.

Today I received a phone call from a dear sweet friend Alvaro. He had called to tell me he was praying for me and wished me “God speed.” After whining on in the most fatalistic tone about not wanting to be resuscitated should things go wrong during surgery, Alvaro simply said, ” Well, you should think about living until you are 90 or 100 years old.”

His tone was matter of fact. No nonsense, good, old-fashioned FAITH was his message, and it hit me like a ton of bricks how I was rather pessimistic about life when I should be celebrating every waking hour.

When I hung up, I felt  wonderfully happy and absolutely renewed, and now I see things in a very different way thanks to some wise words from a very wise young man.  Thank you, Alvaro.

The main right ventricle to my heart is so calcified that it cannot be penetrated by the normal use of a wire, so you all know the drill (another silly joke). Sometime in the next week or so, I will undergo a complex procedure with a special device for drilling at at angle using a razorback diamond drill hence, A Diamond In The Heart. and to make it even more interesting the operation will be done at a brand new facility UCSD Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center in La Jolla, CA.

When things could not look more rosy, enter Dr. Ehtisham Mahmud, an Irishman (obvious Irish joke) who is Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center-Medicine, and Director of Interventional Cardiology. He is board-certified in cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiology, and has extensive experience in complex coronary, renal, lower extremity and carotid interventions.

Under Dr. Mahmud’s leadership, the Interventional Cardiology program is among the largest academic interventional programs in the western United States. Dr. Mahmud directs the interventional clinical trials center; his research interests include investigational pharmacotherapies and devices used in cardiovascular interventions.

Dr. Mahmud completed fellowships in coronary and peripheral vascular interventions at Emory University in Atlanta and cardiovascular medicine at UC San Diego. He completed his internal medicine residency at UC San Diego and earned his medical degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Dr. Mahmud is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Society of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions. He has been voted one of the top physicians in San Diego by the San Diego county medical society and among the top 1 percent of interventional cardiologists in the nation by US News and World Report.

Dr. Mahmud is a Professor of Medicine at UCSD and Director, Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory and Interventional Cardiology at UCSD Medical Center. He has been honored with the Laennec Society Young Clinician Award from the American Heart Association and chosen as one of America’s Top Physicians each year from 2003 through 2009 by the Consumer Research Council. He is a Fellow of the Society of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a Fellow of the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions, and a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

UPDATE:

The Dynamic Dou Dr Sharmi Mahmud and Dr Ali Salami, have just charted a new map of every single river and stream in the entire Amazon, and at the very same moment drilled out every single one of my calcified arteries and I feel like a new man. 

After the procedure, Dr. Mahmud came to visit me, and as we chatted, it occurred to me that because the operation was so successful I felt compelled to tell him that he and Dr. Salami were so very good at this that they more than likely could get a job at any hospital. Dr Mahmud stared at me for a minute, then he said he would talk to Dr Salami, and perhaps they should both go for an interview together. I do hope they follow up because we need all the heart surgeons we can get.

Dr. Ehtisham Mahmud 

Dr. William B. Davis

Dr. Paul Philips

Dr Ali Salami

Dr Bruce Kimura

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As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft. – H.L. Mencken
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