We have a date!

Greetings. This morning Cathy and I met with the surgeon who will be performing my open-heart surgery to discuss a few remaining options and some of the details surrounding the procedure. Here are some new bit of info from this meeting.

First and perhaps most importantly, we finally have a date for the surgery: Wednesday, February 6. This is a bit later than I originally thought it would be, but in fact I think this date is just right. It gives me a full month to get my head down at GVSU and complete a number of important Assistant Chair-related tasks that need to get done. The biggest of these is merit review for departmental faculty -- it's a lot of work, and I'm happy that I can do it now instead of find someone to pawn it off onto. Then, when February rolls around, I'll check out of work and go on FMLA for eight weeks. Eight weeks from February 6 happens to coincide with GVSU's Spring Break, so I'll come back after that break and spend the last month of the semester finishing off anything that needs finishing off.

Second, we made the decision this morning to have a bio-prosthetic heart valve put in, instead of a mechanical valve. While the mechanical valve would last longer (20-30 years) and while I thought the idea of being a cyborg was kind of cool, having the mechanical valve would require me to go on blood thinners for the rest of my life. The whole point of having the valve replaced is to get me back to the place where I can fully enjoy the kinds of outdoor physical activities I love to do. Being in a position where, for instance, if I fell off my bike I could die from internal bleeding because of the blood thinner, doesn't really mesh with that goal.

What's next:

  • I'm back in the office for the month of January, like I said, to do a heads-down sprint of Assistant Chair activities before FMLA. I am not teaching this semester --- I only had one class, and this has been taken over by a colleague --- so my entire focus will be on administrative projects and finishing up research projects from my sabbatical that I had already intended to finish this semester.
  • I go in on January 31 for a pre-operation meeting to get educated on what exactly is going to happen during and after the procedure. Also there is a chance that the surgeon can do the procedure with a much smaller incision on my chest than normal --- like, 4 inches instead of 10 inches --- and a shorter recovery time. Some time during the week of 1/31 I will go in for a CT scan to determine if this can be done.

One more thing --- The tweets and emails of support that I have gotten from you all, sometimes from people I don't even know, have been overwhelming. Although this is a serious event, there's a lot of good that comes from something like this because you can see all the good connections you can make with other people. It means a lot, and thank you for it.

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