Peter Cavanaugh

My summer vacation - Part II

In a previous episode of “For Your Consideration” - Sierra Star columnist Peter Cavanaugh recounted his abundant lack of enthusiasm when suddenly confronted with an unscheduled four-day hospital stay while vacationing with Eileen in their hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. This was precipitated by a combination of COPD driven pneumonia and a newly experienced “Atrial Flutter.” It felt like a naughty butterfly was stuck in his heart.

Treatment provided, the Cavanaughs then flew home to Oakhurst. Unfriendly skies charged more for their one-way return than the entire prepaid round-trip fare. It was compassionate conservatism - also known as gratuitous greed. The airline’s CEO made only $18.7 million dollars last year in salary and bonuses, best in the industry. Ka-ching.

“Chandrasekar Palaniswamy” - Definition:

Guaranteed tiebreaker in National Spelling Bee Championship.

Difficult reciting backwards while eating peanut butter crackers.

The name of a brilliant young Fresno electrophysicist who performed a successful three-hour catheter ablation procedure on Cavanaugh two weeks ago when the butterfly flutter returned, suddenly accompanied by atrial fibrillation. These are separate, although related situations. The flutter rate was around a speedy 150 beats per minute, while fibrillation was estimated at 450 beats. This is at the high end of frequency. I’m amazed I didn’t fly off into space.

I had a hard time breathing. The reemergence of “Smokehurst” didn’t help. Deadwood kept disappearing. Dr. Palaniswamy was confident we had great chances for extended success. He was correct, as was primary cardiologist, Dr. Michael Gen. He’s kept me around longer than I deserve. Dr. Palaniswamy was Dr. Gen’s idea.

Things kicked off with a Transesophageal Echocardiogram taking pictures inside the heart, immediately followed by the introduction of thin, flexible wires called “electrode catheters” moved ever so gently in an extensive electrophysiology study (EPS). An electrical map of the heart was created - determining the type and location of arrhythmia experienced. Finally, defined “problem cells” were destroyed with ultrasound.

From start to finish, I was never scared a bit and hardly felt a thing.

A delightful anesthetic cocktail provided at various intervals consisted of four separate drugs expertly applied. I’ve been telling everyone in amazement it was like one single, unbroken, uninterrupted thought no longer than seconds in duration. “I wonder how long it will take – wait. I’m awake.”

I spent two days of my “Ablation Vacation” in a lovely private room at Fresno Heart and Surgery Hospital. The staff was excellent and couldn’t have been more accommodating. A visiting friend even said he wouldn’t mind living there.

Next Monday is Sept. 11, 2017. For the 15th year, Sierra Tel Patriot Day will be held starting at 9 a.m., this time again scheduled at Yosemite High School’s Badger Stadium. The Commander of the California Air National Guard, Brigadier Gen. Clay L. Garrison, will be keynote speaker. Gen. Garrison is responsible for mission readiness across a wide spectrum of programs and more than 4,500 military and civilian personnel in California.

Eileen and I attend Patriot Day every year. It is a joy to be with others in our little mountain community in faithful remembrance of those we’ve left behind; recognizing unity, celebrating freedom, and renewing commitment to shared goals, critical values and points of national pride.

“Remember the hours after Sept. 11, 2001 when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.”

- Sen. John Kerry.

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