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Sunday, July 28, 2013

OT: An update on John

For those who have been kindly inquiring about John's health and about the latest with his heart issues, I thought I'd post an update. I haven't mentioned things with him lately, because I don't want to bog my readers down with too many details, or make this blog too dreary. So I will update now and then, just to catch y'all up. That sound OK?

I'll try to make a long and complicated story somewhat short. Essentially, John has three choices when it comes to his malfunctioning mitral valve: 

1. He can have it replaced with a hetero graft, better known as a pig valve. The plus on those is that they aren't rejected as often. The minus -- they don't last a lifetime. In another 12 years or so, John would need another transplant.

2. An artificial valve. The plus? They last forever. Minus? They are rejected more often, and the patient has to take blood thinners for the rest of his/her life. Which essentially turns them into a bleeder. Not ideal.

3. Mitral valve repair, in which a highly skilled doctor goes in and repairs/rebuilds the valve, instead of replacing it. Plus? No new part for the body to adjust to. Minus? Depending on the extent of the damage, they don't last as long as a replacement. For minor damage, they're ideal. But there are five levels of heart valve damage.

John is a four-and-a-half.

Also, his HMO is fighting him tooth and nail, because they'd much rather do the easier replacement job than the trickier (and more expensive) repair job. 

So John is in the middle of tests, consultations, second opinions, and dealing with the bureaucracy that is his HMO. It's a lengthy and stressful process. As it happens, he can't have heart surgery right now anyway. He is also in the middle of some necessary dental procedures, and his heart doctors have told him to have all dental work done before he even thinks about scheduling anything heart-wise. Tooth infections are notorious for spreading to heart patients. And John is infection prone. Always has been. Even a small growth he had cut off his ankle a couple of weeks ago got infected.

How is he? Holding up amazingly well, all things considered. He still exercises more than most people half his age. He still bikes on the weekends, albeit not the distances he used to. His arteries are as clear as a newborn's, his blood pressure is low. 

Of course, he is chronically tired. That's pretty much his state of being these days, because his heart has to work so hard to compensate for the valve, and it exhausts him. Last night after a nice dinner out, he fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 while we were watching TV, and stayed asleep until after midnight, when I shut off the TV and woke him so that he could get ready for bed. Yup... we're like a very old couple, these days. But that's just the way it has to be.

He still makes me laugh until I'm doubled over. He's still beautiful to look at. He frets about the scar he'll have from the surgery; I won't care a bit. I just want him to be well, to feel good.

At the end of next month, we will be together for 17 years. This weekend in the car, I had classical music on and he was humming along with the piece. Then he said, "Sweetie, did you ever think you'd have a boyfriend who appreciates classical music?" I answered, "I never thought I'd have a boyfriend, period." It's true. I never thought I'd have anyone in my life this long. 

Relationships can be tricky, and people can fool you sometimes. Especially in the kinky realm, where there's a lot of instant intimacy, and mistaking intensity of play for love. I am definitely not the most secure person in the world, but I know this much is true: When John leaves me, it will not be because his heart stopped loving me. It will be because his heart stopped beating. For this reason, I want to keep him very much alive.

Perhaps I reveal too much. Perhaps I lay my own heart bare too openly. But I don't know how to be any other way. I don't think I'm going to develop a heavy armor at this stage of my life. Some may think my sarcasm serves as my armor. It does in a way... but trust me, that only goes so far. So people can choose to exploit my vulnerability, or they can choose to be kind. Please be kind.

That's all, kids. I promise I'll be back on topic soon.


  1. Thank you for sharing the details. We are thinking of you and John and know that you are seriously in our thoughts often. Please let us know if there's anything we can do. We are a hop, skip and a jump away.

  2. Sometimes facing the ordeal and trying to come to a resolution is the hardest part--these days are some of the hardest part of this whole episode.

    Didn't think you were capable of having a boyfriend? Sweetie, you're not only capable of having a boyfriend, you're capable of having a GREAT boyfriend on a long term basis. I'm so glad you have each other.

  3. My thoughts are with John. And you.

    I am inspired by his courage and constant sense of humor. When I spoke with him at SL, he never spoke of his ailment. He was funny and interesting.

    Big Hug,

  4. True happiness in a relationship is rare. Our best to you both for another 17 years.

    BTW, never seen it put so concisely - mistaking intensity of play for love. There is a book in there.

  5. Erica, All spanko's are with you for your concern about your boyfriend John. I am sure between the both of you, the right choice will be made concerning his HEART. Yes, the LOVE OF LIFE that YOU and JOHN has had for each other for over 17 years, speaks volumes. XXX Luv ya.

  6. Thanks for the update, Erica. Give my regards to John. His whit and scene insight have steered me though many a party--even if his sense of direction is....well, I will refrain from comment:P


  7. My thoughts and love go out to both of you. When the stress mounts up at times and you feel afraid and alone, please remember that you have a cluster of friends and positive energy surrounding you, like a soft, warm afghan on a cold evening. And those of us in the LA area can step in to help, if/when needed, any time.


  8. Craig -- thank you.

    Mick -- you're very kind.

    joey -- he liked you too. :-)

    OBB -- it's true. I've done it many times, myself.

    Six -- I hope so.

    Jada -- yes, we will both refrain there. :-)

    Pam -- thank you for the reminder. Introverts forget that sort of thing.

  9. Thank you for letting us know how John is doing. We are all here for you two and if I was in your neck of the woods, I would be there for you. Though I'm up here, I'm still there for you and John with good thoughts coming your way.

  10. Bobbie Jo -- thank you. I will take all good thoughts offered. :-)

  11. Hi Erica -- Thanks so much for letting me know,how John is doing.I am so glad you updated about him :-) You both are ALWAYS in my thoughts.I may be far away,but if you need anything just ask,I would be happy to help,in anyway I can :-) Much Love and hugs from naughty girl Jade

  12. I was happy to read the update on John's status. Sometimes too much info can be daunting, but please believe as active as John is, he WILL flourish after the chosen procedure has been performed.

    Good thoughts to you both!

  13. hang in there, and thanks for the update.

  14. Hi Erica,

    Thanks for the update. I'm sending lots of healing thoughts John's way. For what it's worth, my dad, who is 93, had his heart valve replaced (bovine, not pig, because he told the surgeon that he's kosher) in Sept. 2002. (He had a quadruple bypass during the same surgery.)He's had a number of cardiac and age related issues since then but he came though the surgery just fine. Obviously, there's risks in every surgical procedure but I'm sure that John will have a similar outcome (minus my dad's other issues). Hang in there. (Easier said than done I know.)

    Mike (long time reader and very occasional poster.)

  15. Jade -- thank you, dear.

    Kelly -- oh, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with when he finally gets that damn thing fixed. :-)

    SS -- hey, stranger. Thanks.

    Mike -- wow...quadruple bypass AND valve replacement? Your dad is a champ! Thank you for sharing with me.

  16. Erica,

    Thank you for the up date. My thoughts are with you both.


  17. Ronnie -- I appreciate that. :-)

  18. Hope all is well.....

  19. Ron -- we're hanging in. :-)

  20. I am only reading this now, Erica. I really hope that soomn from now, John will have undergone repair that will keep you together for another 2 times 17 years, and will radiate positive energy towards you to that end.
    Thanks for sharing, and reaching out to us. PLease don´t apologize for what essentialy is friendship.

  21. MrJ -- thank you. He has a lot more to do before he'll be ready for the surgery itself, but we are working toward it. I appreciate the positive energy!

  22. I hope John gets things figured out and chooses the best option for him. My dad had a valve replacement surgery last year after dialysis messed up his heart. He had to fix the heart before he could get a kidney transplant. Talk about a Catch 22, fixing a problem that was caused by what you've been doing to stay alive. It is scary but all was fine. He got the artificial one. If you sit close to him and it's really quiet you hear it tick. Yeah, it causes some Peter Pan jokes. ;-)

  23. Lea -- so sorry about your dad; that must have been a scary time. John will work this all out in time, I think. Sometimes I think I'm more worried than he is, but then again, he knows how to hide his feelings, while I don't.