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.

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