Pye has had more medical procedures done than most people of his age: triple heart bypass, artificial St. Jude's aortic heart valve, two artificial hips, carotid endarterectomy, artificial lower aorta, artificial upper femoral arteries, artificial plastic eye lenses, prosthetic hair and now a new, five-inch-long Dacron prosthetic y-shaped femoral artery graft. Here's what the right femoral looked like before surgery in an arteriogram taken at the University of Virginia hospital:
The fairly straight runs at the top and the bottom are regular-sized femoral arteries. The potato-shaped thing between them is the pseudo-aneurysm that UVA's Dr. Kern took out and replaced with a one-and-a-half inch wide, five-inch long Dacron tube.
The aneurysmal tissue is three and a half inches wide at its widest. It was ready to burst within two months and would have killed me within five minutes.
Here, below, I'm on an unusual call. Doc Kern and Mary and I were discussing my situation when the phone rang and it was my son, Char -- from IRAQ!
I said, "Char, let me put you on on hold for a bit while my surgeon discusses the case with us."
"NO!" yelled Kern. "Talk to your son!" he rushed out of the room.
The operation was done on Sep. 19, 2003.
By the way, Hurricane Isabel hit Charlottesville and the hospital just one day after the op. The hospital, like most of the city lost power. Essential services ran on generators. Air conditioning was not considered essential.
Mary went to high school at St. Anne's, a few blocks from the hospital. By wonderful luck, one of her high school and college friends, Vesta Gordon, a rare book broker, still lives nearby and took her in for the week. The three of us went out to lunch at a seafood place where I had a dozen raw oysters on the half shell -- a far cry from the deep-fried seafood I served as a short-order cook at "The Virginian" while working my way through school half a century previously.
In late 2004 Pye developed gout. Since gout is so common -- about 600,000 people in the U.S. have it and in France it is so widespread that there is a common expression: "chacun à son goût" (everybody's got gout).
For gout stuff click here.