Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I now have a diagnosis. I am in a mild state of "diastolic heart failure." Google and Wiki it. I have the kind that will put too much fluid around my lungs (not in them unless it gets really bad) and makes it difficult to breathe and difficult for the oxygenated blood to get back into the ventricle. For now should be controllable with beta blockers, diuretics and anti-coagulants. Getting old is not for sissies.

They say that the musculature governing the relaxation fill stroke (diastole) has gotten stiff from one or more causes that may never be clear. In my case I did not treat a modest high blood pressure for years (130s-140s). This is a possible contender for cause. Nothing is certain. The stiffness does not permit full loads in one or the other ventricle so that blood from the lungs does not reach good capacity prior to the stroke that drives the blood onward to the body. Thus if I work the body hard enough I will tire out much faster than people with healthy hearts will.


  1. Sorry to hear this. You should ask the doctor to check your renal function as well. Have a creatinine and GFR done, these will show how your kidneys are function. Untreated hypertension can destroy your kidneys. Good luck.

  2. Lilith, I am ahead of you. And the bp is not untreated. The cardio doc only had to slightly modify the beta blockers. I have been on three of them since 2009. The reason this heart problem was difficult to understand is because the beta blockers were already in place.

  3. It seems so often we hear about the retrospect, the could have's. It's odd, isn't it, that if we lived so carefully we might have averted certain things. But the net is so large, retrospect clearer than foresight, and our bodies not made for forever. Or perhaps as Chopra suggests, they could moreso be, if we could let go of the false construct of linear time. I don't know. It's so natural and yet seems so unnatural in many ways, for it is us, you, me inside of these waning bodies.

    I hope you are granted enough foresight to live healthily as long as you wish. Me, too. How 'bout that?


  4. (((Erin)))

    It is futile to rate these life decisions. We almost never have enough information to properly judge our own situations let alone someone else's. We make a faulty decision and it fails under the rating system but indeed meets the actual destiny perfectly.

    From the spiritual angle, we often assert that we are right where we are supposed to be, or are at this moments secure in God's Hands or some such.

    It is very hard to live any other way on the planet than to assume we are of good will and intention doing the best we can do, or if not then there are fairly simple correctives to make. When called on to make sweeping life changes, it is rare to succeed. Most of us cannot make radical changes without coming undone in ways that really hurt. So we rarely do that.

    That is why recovery from alcoholism has such a low rate of success, for example.

  5. I'm sorry Christopher. Jeeze. I found out two days ago I have PVC, which aids my feelings of anxiety. On the flip...anxiety exacerbates PVC. It's not nearly as serious as yours...but can cause black outs. I feel betrayed, being the idiot health nut that I am. Damn murphy's law. Damn heart. Prayers to you...keep on ticking.

  6. First, Annie, I will assume you mean premature ventricular contraction, not what pvc stands for in my world, polyvinyl chloride. :D If it was pipe and filled with sand, and swung just right, I guess you would get a blackout. PVC is fairly common pipe material.

    Now...that's outta my system...

    They don't even bring exercise up to me about this stuff, only diet. That's because the marching orders I have are, activity as tolerated. I am actually doing better right now than I have been in months, which only means I was having the trouble without having identified heart symptoms.

    All of these expectations of diet and exercise and for that matter drugs and surgeries, all of these are statistical outcomes which means no guarantees. Even a 90% means that one in ten will not have the expected outcome. I guarantee you that exercise outcomes are not better than the 90th percentile.

  7. hey, you know what? air canada has a seat sale; whitehorse-portland $299
    it's a one way ticket.....

    :) you know i am teasing, still...


  8. Poor sweet heart. But you know more about it now, and that's usually a good thing. Do the best you can for yourself, and know you are living a fuller, more loving life than many ever do. Much love.

  9. Wow, two of my favorite people...Katrin, you would not do well here, I think :)

    Lucy, I guess that's true, though I probably measure not by the people who look at me, but by the people (and they are legion) to whom I can look to.

  10. although it's better to know than not know about one's internal landscape(i suppose!!) the sheer immensity and complexity and intertwined-ness of everything is still daunting... and somewhat amazing.

    i hear you loud and clear on the consequences of alcoholism.... i have dodged lots of bullets on the consequences front through nothing but luck .... and my higher power...

    good to hear that you are moving toward feeling better.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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