What’s Happening With The Old Ticker?

I have talked in my first post about losing my leg during open heart surgery and the fact that I have a heart condition.
However, I haven’t really done much to explain about it other than say what it’s called. So think of this as a short, informative post, a mini-infopost if you like, in between the main ones.

I was born with my condition, although due to my GP’s declaring it was baby colic (persistent crying), it was not picked up immediately. It was only because my parents were so insistent it was something much worse, despite being declared neurotic, that I was eventually sent to Inverness Raigmore Hospital for tests. That was when they found out I wasn’t simply crying for attention but in fact had a serious medical issue. Truncus Arteriosus.

Our hearts have two vessels that carry blood out of them.
There is the pulmonary artery which carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs, where it picks up that good old, life sustaining oxygen, before going back to the heart.
Then there is the aorta which is the blood vessel that carries the now oxygen rich blood out of the heart to the rest of the body, feeding all the bits that need it, skin, kidneys etc, etc, etc… sometimes even the brain.
One type of Truncus Arteriosus (mine), is when these two blood vessels are incorrectly fused at the point of exit from the heart, meaning that the blood without oxygen and the blood full of it mix.
This is not good.

I was sent straight to Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children (The Sick Kids) where, at just sixteen weeks old, I underwent my first open heart surgery.
The doctors, the miracle workers, completed the operation to correct the issue and saved my life.
There was, unfortunately, a price to be paid.
In order to split the blood vessels they had to be compromised. The pulmonary artery and its valve were left narrowed, a condition called Pulmonary Stenosis. This is the trade off, amongst other complications, which to this day I continue to live with.
It is for now, short of a heart transplant, an incurable problem that needs to be managed over the course of my life.

Throughout my childhood I didn’t have a full knowledge of my problem, only that I had one. For that I will be forever grateful to my parents.
I knew there was something wrong with my heart, but I didn’t know it was supposed to stop me being a normal, lunatic child, so it didn’t.

I would learn more about it as I got older and then eventually, at seventeen, I would end up paying another steep price for my life.

But I will cover all that eventually in the blog. All you need to know for now is that I have my life, and a good one at that. I have a wonderful, caring family, the most amazing, sarcastic, ‘one leg joke’ telling friends and my beyond perfect wife.
Most importantly though, I can watch the horror on peoples faces as I twist my leg all the way around in the middle of a public area. (Not right now though, lockdown and all that).

The above is a very simplified explanation of my type of the condition.
For those who desire a deeper understanding… Google.

Did I say “mini” at the beginning of this post??? 😀

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4 thoughts on “What’s Happening With The Old Ticker?

  1. I can’t imagine what that must have felt like after being told you had such major surgery at an incredibly young age.

    1. I think even at the point I was told I didn’t really have a proper grasp of what it meant. Which I’m actually glad about because it allowed the realisation of what was going on with my heart to come slowly, over a period of a few years, rather than hit me all at once.

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