Tournament Status + My Heart

friday, with the obligatory foam heart

Good to be back in my home office and typing on a full key board!  For my full gory story read on; but first check out the Florida tournament status.

Florida Tournaments

Here is current information from Wendall Walkers’ excellent tennis blog:

Kudo’s to Scott Thornton and the city Recreation Services of Bradenton, Florida, for figuring out how to conduct their SSGP event, this week.  Between 90-100 entries, finishing up tomorrow. 📣👍☺🎾  Here’s a link for you to see who played:

https://playtennis.usta.com/Competitions/teamjuniortennis/Tournaments/Overview/a244ce85-2214-4258-8bd2-e88133f33644

– As you know, the Cat II at the St.Pete CC (scheduled for the week of Feb 22) has been cancelled. 🙁

Good news, 😊 there will be one more SSGP Men’s Level 5 tournament, Feb 17-22, at the Innisbrook Resort, just 20 minutes north of the heart of Clearwater, Florida.  This is about a mile west of U.S. Hwy19.  There are many motels and restaurants and businesses in the area. Joe Mattingly is the Tennis Director, and he has done a great job at the resort.  When he learned that there was an open week, he jumped in and made it happen.  This is their first time entry into this Florida West Coast Series.  Thank you Joe!  Here is a link to get to this tournament information and registration:

https://playtennis.usta.com/Tournaments?level-category=adult&location=34684,%20FL&date-range[]=&date-range[]=2021-02-17T00:00:00.000Z

My Story … here is the daily step by step (if you really are interested!)

Thursday

  • Dropped off at NCH downtown at 5:30 for a 7:30 bypass operation with Dr. Solomon (who I really like … still!)
  • Ended up with a TRIPLE bypass (in between Evert’s double and Fred’s quadruple)… Widow Maker was 100% blocked, the right one was 70%, and “while he was in there,” he replaced a third that would have caused future problems.
  • Aortic Aneurysm?? One of my three potential problems going in (needing a pacemaker being the third).  Dr. Solomon said, “I held your heart in my hand and looked at it; and there is no need to do anything about it.”

Friday

  • Spent the night in the ICU/recovery room (waiting for a room to open up upstairs).
  • Talked tennis with a Doc there and he claimed he is a “40-year old, 5.0 player from Ecuador”; so I took his card and shared his information with one of the best players I know down here.
  • A room opened up and I was wheeled up to it.
  • Estimate: total of five to seven days in the hospital
  • First walk: down the hall, with walker, tubes coming out of me all over and the nurse by my side

Saturday

  • No good sleep, zero appetite.
  • But three walks around the halls with walker

Sunday

  • My surgeon’s partner looked at my portable pacemaker yesterday and lowered the number to 40 beats a minute.  I asked my nurse what the afternoon report showed on my pacemaker print out; and she said that I dipped several times below the 40 and “I am out of rhythm and in a-fib“.
  • The conversation now is whether to do a pacemaker now or at a future date. I am concerned about the additional recovery time (six weeks of not raising my left arm). Dr. Sharma came in to visit with me and my family at 8 AM this morning. We discussed the pros and cons of doing the pacemaker now, later or if at all.
  • He feels the ideal would be to check back in a month or so to see what the heart rate base line is.  I would still have some overlap of recovery time
  • The surgeon came back in the afternoon and said that one of the three remaining tubes could be removed, which they did.  We will wait and see what the next couple days bring in regards to healing and heart rate before deciding on next steps.

Monday

  • Morning meeting with surgeon, Dr. Solomon…
  • Taking the last tubes out today!
  • If I can walk a total of five laps around the corridor, I will be able to go home tomorrow!
  • I go home without any external pacemaker. He believes Dr. Sharma is right to wait one month to the heart heals before they do a pacemaker.
  • I can get the Covid vaccine within two weeks of the operation (if I can get a slot)

Tuesday

  • They did take out the last of my tubes and – of course—I did the five laps; so I am authorized to flee with only five days of their poking and prodding me!
  • I was ready to go; but they had to do “one more blood test” to set my blood thinner level, which they finally did about 1:30 p.m. and I was on my way home!

Wednesday/Thursday

  • Have to walk four times per day and be up to a total of 2 miles/ day by the time I see the surgeon on February 12.  So got myself an Apple  watch, and am tracking.
  • Home care nurse comes to the house + they set up a blue-tooth enabled medical review that I do and send to them every morning (Blood pressure, pulse, oxygen, weight, etc.)
  • I will not be allowed to even swing a tennis racquet for two months, due to the torque that places on my cracked sternum.

Now?

  • The bad news, I now know what it will probably feel like being a 98 year old in a nursing home. (everything is in slow motion and a major activity)
  • The good news, I will be able to get out of THIS nursing home in a few weeks.
  • More good news, earlier I had written that retelling Evert and Fred’s stories will probably save at least one life … and I think it was mine.
  • PS my resting pulse now has been almost double at 55-65… pacemaker still??
  • And special thanks to my two sons, who came to town and were great helps to DeDe and me. (Pity poor DeDe for the next two months!)

New cardiologist?

So I am in the market for a followup cardiologist. Two have been recommended by friends: Dr. Richard Prewitt (Pelican Bay tennis player) and Dr. Julian Javier (son of Cincy red player).  Any others you would recommend???

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!

29 thoughts on “Tournament Status + My Heart

  1. All sounds good George. I’ll be leaving MD to come back down on Monday. If you were up here everything would be frozen by the time you finished your walk. Keep up the good work. Your heart pillow is twice the size mine was. Not sure what that means:). I can hear you saying it’s because you have such a big heart:)!!

  2. The glass is half full George. Sounds like you’re behaving yourself. Keep at it mate.
    Spring is round the corner. Wishing you a speedy recovery & a good year ahead.
    Howard

  3. Whew, George. Congratulations on keeping your mind focused and open, your heart in the right place! I didn’t know about your cracked sternum…

    I talked to my primary care physician about preventative steps I might take… he mentioned a stress test was the approach that came to mind. Can you give me a reference(s) to your Tennis Page where you reviewed Evert’s and Fred ‘s situations and the feedback.

    Hope it is good sailing for you going forward, George!
    Thanks for all the disclosure.

  4. Great to hear you are improving!! Take your time. This info is significant for all senior players. We all often teach what we need to know.
    May all your bounces be good ones!
    Joe

  5. Mary and I are glad to hear that you are progressing well. I use David Axline at Naples Heart Institute. I like him well enough. He is all business.
    He wears a bow tie so he must be smarter than the rest of them.

    George. Dan Heine loves the guy! Thanks. George

  6. Well done, George. We all know you’ll take every step possible to recover and be back on the courts as soon as you can. Best wishes, joel

  7. George, I am so glad to hear that you are done with the operation and on the road to full recovery.

    I think you made the right decision about the pacemaker. The heartbeat irregularities sound like they may not be severe enough to warrant it at all, so the only reason to have done that operation now would be for convenience. But you are a star athlete, and not some “normal” older guy. And your considerations about avoiding increased recovery time, interference with your left arm, etc. are all very rational at this point in time.

    Anyway, get well fast, my friend.

  8. Glad you are on the road to recovery. See you in October and expect to hit with you finally after a lot of years at Newk’s.

  9. Sounds like you made it through a very tough ordeal, however, glad to see you are heading back to a healthy future. I go to Dr. Bruce Gelinas, NCH Heart Institute, and Board Certified in Cardiovascular Disease. With his office located off Immokalee, I have been going to him for 2 years and think he is excellent. My wife goes to one of the senior MDs of NCH Heart Institute, Dr. Silvio Travalia, at the downtown NCH offices.

    Doug. Thanks. I will add him to my search list. George

  10. George, so relieved that you are okay and I suspect you will set the world’s record for recovery. I think such an important factor is sure immensely positive attitude. You KNEW you were going to fly through this and you did. The three of you will undoubtedly save many people with “OPEN ” minds to have everything checked. Knowing you , you will be playing ping pong somewhere in the recovery center soon. Good luck!

    Dave. Great idea! Thanks. George

  11. George,

    Very happy to hear you are doing well. Keep your spirits up. You will be hitting tennis balls before you know it.

  12. Hey George,
    Glad you are doing well.
    You will be back on the court before you know it.
    Take Care,
    Jody Stagg
    New Orleans

  13. George: Pleased to hear you are mending well….can’t keep a tough New Englander down!
    The cardiologist who did my catheterization last year was Dr. Ariel De La Rosa. He had been highly recommend by my concierge doctor, and I liked him. By coincidence, he had studied under my cardiologist in Houston, who was recognized as one of the City’s best. Only interfaced with him twice, but found him to be a good listener.

    Ray. Thanks. George

  14. Hi George, I can’t ever remember seeing you in the horizontal position! You’re fortunate to be in in an area with extensive medical resources, along with fellow tennis warriors to provide any info and support. So all the best, and I’m sure you’ll figure out the best path forward for your tennis interests.

  15. george. glad you are still alive! were coming down monday for 2 months. i hope we get to hit!

  16. Thank you for the detailed recovery report, George! A lot of people were pulling for you as you can observe from all of the comments. We will all benefit from the cardiac information you have passed on. From now on all aces and no double faults!

  17. Maintain your positive winning perspective George. I’m sure you’ll be playing mental tennis until you can be back on the court. Kick back and enjoy the Aussie Open. In two months or so you’ll be happy and appreciative to feel that sweet spot again.

  18. George, Your pro-active approach turned out to be a blessing. I know you will keep your positive attitude and continue to improve. Don’t know any specific cardiologist in your area but will around my physicians over here and get back to you. Good luck and we will be praying for your quick and complete recovery.

    Larry. Did you know Julian Javier, JR? Thanks george

  19. George,

    Thanks for your consistent posts about tennis and the health of our tennis friends. I am happy that the operation was a success and as said earlier, your positive attitude is a huge asset for you!

    I really appreciate your consistent communications and conversations about senior tennis. It appears that your communication skills helped save your life. This is quite a story and I’m thrilled that is going well for you!

    All the best to you during these tough times! Keep the faith!

    With gratitude,

    Laury

  20. George,

    Thanks for the update, it’s very encouraging to hear how well your surgery went. Your overall conditioning prior to surgery will really help you get back on your feet and onto the court more quickly.
    I look forward to meeting you in person this year. Take care.

  21. George-
    I like your doc’s careful and thoughtful approach….no need to rush into anything right now.
    Keep at it.

  22. George,
    It sounds like you being proactive really went a long way in leading you away from more serious complications. Like a real offensive player, that’s the way to “attack” the situation.

    Cheryl and I will pray for your speedy recovery.

  23. George. What a journey you’ve been on and to share it with guys our age gives them so much insight as to what they should expect. Some of us have had that journey and it really reminds us of how fortunate we are to live in a Country that provides such advanced medical treatment and most important to know and play with or against those same men who have gone on that journey and when healed have returned to their favorite pasture, the clay court. Gary Pederson

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