When I was headed for 8th grade in 1957, I tried out for the football team. The first order of business was a physical. Turn your head. Cough. Turn the other way. Cough. Stethoscope on heart.
I don’t know if Dr Weaver broke the news on the spot or if I received it later, but the verdict was that I could not play football because I had an immature heart. (We won’t discuss all the other immature areas.)
The immature heart dogged me for years without resolution. In fact, whenever I got a physical, I would tell the physician about my immature heart and he would report
that he heard nothing.
One physician speculated that Dr Weaver figured I was too small to play football and the best way to ease me out of the situation was to use a medical excuse. Given my lack of athletic ability and low threshold for pain, I suspect I wouldn’t have lasted much beyond the first hit.
But in 2006 when I was getting my annual physical, my doctor said she heard something and sent me to a cardiologist. Lo and behold, the cardiologist determined that I had aortic stenosis, a fusing of the aortic valves, and that one day I would need surgery to correct the situation.
There are two ways you can get aortic stenosis. It can occur if you get rheumatic fever, which I’ve never had. Or you can be born that way. Given that my father and eldest sister had the same condition (and she died in surgery), I could say the condition ran in the family.
And so surgery looms. It’s scheduled for Oct 31 at Geisinger.
Technically, not my heart but generally it looks as though Dr Weaver was on to something. Bless him.
The Week in Pictures: April 21, 2017 - Photos by The New York Times and by photographers from around the world.
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