So the other day I had a phone appointment with my Cardiothorasic surgeon, regarding my upcoming heart surgery. You know, the long-delayed, much-anticipated but also somewhat feared heart surgery. The one that will fix the Atrial Septum Defect (ASD) I was apparently born with (and have lived with, unknowingly, for the last 51 years), as well as the Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB) I have been suffering with for a while.

It’s kind of a Big Deal™.

Anyway, we had a phone appointment, because Pandemic, which was really good, overall. Of course, this was during the afternoon, and I work Nights, so of course I was sleeping when he called. But that was okay, because I had already been called by his nurse earlier in the day, and the nurse for my General Practitioner regarding some other random shit (she literally called to ask me my weight. Literally. And also to tell me to go get some bloodwork done, which was fine).

Basically, I hadn’t been sleeping well before my Surgeon called, anyway. I didn’t sleep at all afterwards, though.

He started out the conversation with “Hey, let’s do this thing!” (meaning the heart surgery). I really love his enthusiasm for carving on people, it’s kind of infectious, but also… odd and a bit creepy. Nevertheless, I was half asleep at the time, so that only struck me in hindsight. At the time of the call, I got pretty pumped about the idea, to be honest!

It has been the better part of a year in coming, after all.

Anyway, turns out that Neurology found no serious problems with my brain, at least nothing that would prevent this surgery, and that’s awesome. The only impediment remaining was a sign-off from Dental, but of course, this was a pretty big issue.

With the Pandemic, the company providing my medical and dental care kind of stopped doing “elective” procedures… You know, like ASD surgeries and the root scaling my Dentist wanted done, before he would sign off for said ASD surgery. But now we’re doing those surgeries and (to a lesser extent) those dental procedures, so my Surgeon set me to the task of climbing all over Dental’s ass, to get my scaling appointments rescheduled.

Well, I’m more of a Lover than a Fighter, so instead… I wrote a polite email. Seriously, it was very, very polite. Then I set about playing some “Animal Crossing”, because, well… I was awake, so…

Turns out, being polite rather than a scathing asshole, worked in my favor this time! A dentist read my email almost immediately, checked my records and (relatively) recent x-rays, then called me up. She determined that I was just fine to have the surgery now, and the scaling could wait until I am cleared by Cardiology to have further dental work done, maybe six months or so after the surgery.

So, I’m signed off. Officially.


By this time, it was already after-hours, so I just sent an email to my Surgeon, telling him that I was cleared by Dental. Now comes the scheduling of preliminary appointments, for meeting with the Anesthesiologist, learning from Cardiology how to be a good little heart patient, and… eventually… for the actual surgery.

No, I don’t know why we haven’t at least done some of this online, during all this downtime. But anyway…

Then comes the paperwork to be cleared for time off under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA), to get paid for said time off as short-term disability, and to get all this sent off to my boss, so it can be stamped, stapled, and filed in triplicate in five different places. But really, that’s all mostly my company’s problem, once I fill out a few forms.

And I don’t know if you know this about me, but I can fill out forms. I fill the fuck out of forms, all night long! Plus, my Lead has done all of this in the past, so I’ll get walked through the process, and it should be a breeze.

So, what does any of this have to do with you? Frankly, nothing. I’m just stoked that we’ve finally jumped the last, major hurdle, and the goal is in sight!

Of course, that goal involves major open heart surgery, and months of painful recovery time to follow.


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