In April I noticed that it was becoming more and more difficult to perform my usual routine–such as it was. And so after a consult with my excellent cardiologist, Dr. V.J. Shah, I was referred to the good folks at Loyola Medical Center who proceeded to do a complete (and then some) workup on my heart situation. Turned out my bad aortic valve quickly needed replacing and so, on Sept. 21, the heart boys and girls in Maywood did just that.
Now I’m home recovering with a spiffy new heart valve that seems to be chugging away just fine, which is good as far as it goes. The unfortunate part is that I feel like I was literally run over by a truck. So it’s going to be awhile before I get back into the full swing of things, historically speaking.
It is interesting, though, contemplating what options my ancestors had when they came up against a bad heart valve. Because there weren’t any options. Until relatively recently, historically speaking, the option was to start picking out a nicely detailed monument for the cemetery lot.
That was true of other health issues as well. Take getting a sliver in your finger for instance. In late May 1920, the Kendall County Record’s Oswego correspondent reported that:
Three weeks ago John G. Bower ran a sliver into his hand and supposedly extracted it. Such was not the true state of affairs and medical aid was summoned to find that blood poisoning had set in, His condition grew steadily worse and death came Monday, May 24. Mr. Bower was born near Oswego July 5, 1855 His early manhood was spent on a farm with his wife and two children. Some years ago he rented his farm and moved to Oswego where he purchased a home and for some time followed the carpenter trade. The last few years he spent as a shoe merchant.
Nowadays, providing a person is lucky enough to have Medicare and some sort of private insurance, there are all kinds of fixes available for virtually every healthcare problem. The problem is, of course, if you don’t have access to either Medicare or private insurance. Then, the options are pretty much the same as my great-grandparents had. Well-made cemetery stones are fine as far as they go, but they’re no substitute for being alive to watch the sun rise one more day, see my grand-twins gambol about the yard, or be around to answer someone’s historical question down at the museum.
Anyway, I made it through surgery and if the boredom of recovery doesn’t kill me, posting should get back to normal sooner or later. Or whatever passes for normal around this historical joint…