living, per se

I find per se to be the most liberating phrase in the English language. O.K., I know it’s Latin, my fellow chicken-wingers. To be absolutely certain of the meaning, I looked it up. If I’m gonna be living my life per se, then I better know what it means….in and of itself, intrinsically.

You’re saying per se doesn’t do it for you? Allow me to explain.

Some of you remember the blog post about the adventure I had while being diagnosed with a heart ailment.
You can refresh your memory HERE.

not my actual chest

The Cliff Notes version:
Last Christmas my heart morphed into an uncontainable herd of sweaty, wild-eyed mustangs.

When the mustangs weren’t kicking up their heels, my chest cavity became a holding pen for an anvil. I had a breathless episode one day-next thing I know I’m attached to a finicky Holter Monitor. Blah, blah, blah, blahty-blah-blah. The cardiologist prescribed a beta blocker. Said ‘Take it the rest of your life’ and ‘see you in 3 years’.

I took the meds…I was a good patient. The meds relieved most of my symptoms…I think. Can’t really remember too much because I slept through most of it. A mild-mannered pony replaced the remuda of mustangs, but now my legs became two heavy boat anchors and every movement was a chore.

In the midst of this drama, the Texan and I were taking care of our sweet moms in hospice (they were next door neighbors) and they subsequently died within about 3 weeks of each another. One day while cleaning out some of Mom’s things from the nursing home, I ran across her blood pressure monitor. One of those nifty cuff things to help you monitor your blood pressure at home. I slapped it on my wrist and discovered I wasn’t alive. Really. Put it on the Texan….alive. Put it on me….ready for a body bag.

This set me to pondering, Is something else wrong? Did I need a second opinion? I mustered all of my energy, made a phone call to the Cooper Clinic and folded my boat anchor legs into an airplane seat and got myself to Dallas, Texas.

If you don’t know about the COOPER CLINIC, you should. You can read about it, but suffice it to say it is the leading preventative medicine clinic in the country. Dr. Kenneth Cooper founded it….he coined the term ‘aerobic’ exercise. Went there a couple of years back and passed with flying colors. Perhaps their internists and cardiologists could enlighten me?

Anyhoo (this is all getting really long), after going through their battery of tests, including their infamous ‘stress test’ (where they put you on a treadmill and try to make you literally DIE while monitoring all essential bodily functions) I had some answers.

My internist consulted with the cardiologist and here’s the MONEY quote: I have reviewed the echocardiogram which has essentially normal readings with only what appears to be fairly trivial and common regurgitation of both mitral and tricuspid valves. This is a common finding and does not necessarily represent pathology per se.

The doc explained many…ahem…older folks have some amount of trivial leakage around the heart valves and it is not a pathology, per se. Why were there wild mustangs making a home pasture in my chest occasionally? He wasn’t sure, but he was sure the arrythmia was not life-threatening or heart attack-inducing. Could it be…could it be…stress, perhaps?? Oh and by the by, quit taking the beta-blocker. It’s making your blood pressure too low.

Hells Bells!! Per se is now my favorite word. Per se, per se, per se-hey-hey! Had a burial at sea for my two boat anchors. I’m squeezing all the joy and life out of every per se day. Getting ready for my per se grandson! Playing more ball with my per se wiener dog!

I’m exercising and enjoying myself every damned per se day. No mustangs in this chest…only a faithful Quarter Horse by my side. Haven’t even experienced as much as a chest pony-kick since my second opinion. Hal-le-freakin’-lu-YAH!!

Does this mean I’m a fat worry-wart hypochondriac? Uh….yeah, probably. But, I think it mainly means I’m human and I can live with that.

Hoping you find the per se in YOUR day!
Exuberant love to all.