Return to Columbia-Presbyterian for Pre-Marathon Echo and Checkup

This morning I left Long Island and headed into the city for an echo cardiogram at Columbia-Presbyterian hospital. The closer it gets to November 2nd (the 1 year anniversary date of my open heart surgery), the more melancholy I feel. The colder weather, the change of seasons, and Halloween approaching all remind me vividly of what I was going through at this time last year. When I think about how frightened and anxious I was, I'm relieved it's over and everything turned out okay.

On arrival I recognized the same enormous poster of a Yankees player hanging in front of the Millstein Building of Columbia Presbyterian; reminding passers-by of the patient roster, and elite status of the hospital. A sense of calm and serenity overcame me when I arrived. It was odd and hard to explain, but now I know what my friend Ken meant back when he referred to his own open heart surgery as a "bittersweet" time. He had the same surgery a couple years before me and he was a big support when I was diagnosed with the same condition. When he speaks about his open heart surgery he glows, and I used to find it weird. Now I can understand his perspective perfectly. It's easy to comprehend for anyone who's been through a major surgery. Everything becomes overwhelming and larger than life; so much so that you have no choice but to let go and let God. You associate feelings of complete serenity when reflecting back. It's as if you and the earth and God were one for that moment in time; and you made it to see another day.
As I was standing at the check-in desk in the lobby of the hospital, my mind began to wander. I gazed at the coffee bar and remembered Nicole and I making a quick stop there at 5am on the morning of my surgery; two terrified soul mates, fearing the unknown.
This morning my surgeon, Dr. Allan Stewart is doing an echo to check my heart muscle and the integrity of my aortic valve before the marathon. Later this afternoon I am going back to the island to see my cardiologist Dr. Walsh. Both doctors will check me out and make sure "the machine" is well oiled with no problems to be concerned about on race day.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


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