Category Archives: Heart Attack

The Yukon River of the Heart


For the tenth time in as many years,  in late October of 2014 I found myself on the way to the Mayo Clinic.

On almost all of these previous visits, no intervention was made — I was usually told that my heart, in spite of the fact that lost half its efficiency in pumping blood after the heart attack, was in “excellent functional condition.” (Note: When the Mayo Clinic tells you that you are OK, this is much more reassuring that when friends do.)

The warm-hearted Dr. Lopez looked at the test results from my stress echocardiogram, and said, “There is a 70% chance that you have a blockage in a major artery. If we do an angiogram we will know more.” (In an angiogram, a catheter is threaded through the groin — or the wrist — to the heart, and dye is released.)   So angiogram number six was set in motion.

I was found to have a 90% blockage in the right coronary artery, the Alaska equivalent of the Yukon River for the heart. A stent was put in to widen the artery.  Within hours I was feeling better than I had felt in months; the Yukon River was flowing again.

Once again a dream — this time of the landslide blocking a large river — had accurately diagnosed my condition.

And, for the fourth time, medical technology has saved by life….

It is good to be alive and breathing in this miraculous world.

Previous: Reassurances

Reassurance is not Reassuring

  The correct answer for someone with chronic illness is, of course, b) It gets pitch black. Over and over again as I was dealing with the symptomatic realities of heart issues — anxiety, depression, arrhythmias, angina, loss of hope — well-meaning friends and family members would try to reassure me that everything would be OK.…Continue Reading


While the work on the Red Egg was being completed, other developments were also on the rise. While loading stones into the truck early September, I had felt a tightness in my chest when lifting the heavier stones; this felt like what I had heard was called exercise induced angina. In mid-September, I had walked…Continue Reading