Over a year after his initial diagnosis, Shaun finally got some substantially good news about his heart this week. His second echocardiogram from six months ago showed an ejection fraction of 30%, up significantly from his original 15-20%. Still, though, according to the experts, anything below 35% is in the red zone, meaning essentially holy-shit-how-are-you-still-walking-upright? and would require the implantation of a defibrillator.
We were pretty much braced for that step. I mean, he would then be part robot (sweet), and I wouldn't have to break the glass on any AED machines, because he'd have that power within his own chest. But it made me a little queasy, somehow, because it's not as if we could forget, ever, about his extremely poorly named illness once he had a medical device implanted just under his skin.
So yesterday, hanging out in the Heart Place Waiting Room (which is not what it's called but whatever) with the white haired ladies and guys on oxygen tanks, I tried to take deep breaths. It's okay. It's better than having him drop dead in front of me. It'll be a cool party trick when I yell "Clear!" periodically.
The doctor raised his eyebrow as he checked Shaun's latest test results (a MUGA test, this time, which is more precise and also, apparently, more radioactive). I hate raised eyebrows. Shaun and I held hands, and we were both sure the news was going to be bad. Instead, he said "You're at 39%..." What? You mean 29%, right? Or 19%? Nope. "...which means you're not eligible for a defibrillator." What? Really? I mean, maybe we'll regret this sometime, when the robots rise up and an implant would've spared him, but for now? 39 is my most favorite number of all time.
He'll keep working, watching his sodium, exercising, and taking his medications. 39% is just above the red zone, after all. But I feel like we dodged a bullet, at least for now, and I'm so, so glad.