I know when my brother-in-law will die. The date, the minute.
I know where.
In Cleveland. At the Cleveland Clinic. He will die for as long as the cardiac surgeon needs to replace one heart valve and repair two others. The longest amount of time a heart surgeon patient can be dead safely is six hours. Few cardiac surgeons can do that much heart mending within that schedule.
I will travel to Cleveland to hold my sister’s hand and cheer my brother-in-law on. I have little to do, but I am scared. And I don’t really want to know specifics. But that’s what I need to write about. I’m about to enroll in Heart 101 by writing here on this blog. I’m queasy at the sight of too much blood, but I’m going to watch surgeon videos.
My brother-in-law just turned fifty in May. He is a health nut, a workout freak, a doctor himself — a gifted chiropractor. I’m not sure he’d appreciate me writing here about him, so I’ll call him B., short for brother-in-law. I got a call early on the morning of July 4th. My sister — telling me her partner of twenty-four years was in the hospital with heart trouble. Everyone who knows B. was flummoxed — “Not B.!” was the most common response to the news of his heart trouble. Who knew it was congenital, something he’s suffered from since he was young?
Perhaps the worst culprit in this heart story is the mitral valve.
OK, that’s my start. I’m not sure where to from here. But I feel better having started.