I told myself for a few years that I was just fine. I was short of breath climbing stairs because I needed to exercise more and lose some weight. I joined a community center gym and started walking on their track. I noticed that every time I walked more than a lap my jaw would start to hurt. I looked for answers on the web and in fitness magazines. I talked to a coach at the gym and they told me to drink more water. I drank water and kept on walking. I wasn't big on doctors so I didn't go much. My entire life I had heard from them, "Did you anyone tell you you have a murmur? It's nothing to worry about." I stopped doing a lot of things that I love to do, but it was just one here or there and I chalked it up to being busy and not having time to hike or golf.
I said before that I don't like doctors and I don't go to them, typical guy. I woke up one day and looked in the mirror to see a guy with butter yellow skin and lemony eyes staring back at me. I knew I had to go and see a the doctor. She took one look at me and sent me for tests. An hour later she told me that I needed to have my gall bladder out and sent me to the hospital. The hospitalist agreed that I needed the surgery but informed me that nothing would happen without the approval of a cardiologist and I was admitted.
Several days and tests later I was antsy to go home and get back to work. I asked the cardiologist to approve the surgery and/or send me home. It was then that she asked me if I had ever heard my own heartbeat. She placed her stethiscope on me and had me listen to her heart. It sounded just as expected, steady, strong and regular. She then put it on my chest and wow. My own heart sounded like a bag of sand being dragged across the floor. SHHHHHH Boom, SHHHHHHH Boom. She said she would not send me home because she did not believe that if I left I would ever make it back.
I will cut the story off here, but remember I waited a long time. I denied that I had an issue. I barely made it in for help. Please do not be like me. Don't deny yourself the chance to make things right and risk missing that last chance. Doctors Ommen and Schaff are incredible people with schedules that are packed. People come from all over the world to be care for by these brilliant men and their teams of doctors. They don't operate for fun or because they need the billing. They operate to save lives. I am truly thankful that my life intersected with theirs for a short time.
By the way, the incision in my chest never hurt. I felt at least 100% better every day.