Tag Archives: aortic stenosis


Walking through a crowd one day

Being told the next

That there could have been major carnage

Is unsettling

Even if the pressure cooker bombs were inert

The intent was there

My aortic valve is another pressure cooker

Ready to explode

But it’s under surveillance too

So I smile as my blood is drawn

Enjoy a short wait in Medical Imaging before a chest X-Ray

I am not terrorized by failed plots

From without or within

I don’t believe in might have beens

Or populate alternative realities with fear and trepidation

I have enough trust left to appreciate policing

That forestalls bombs and heart attacks

Leaving me walking this path only a little shook up

By potential devastation




David Trudel      ©  2013



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Filed under Cardiology, Poetry

Pre Op Thoughts

I’d be going crazy if I was still living in some of those places

Like when I was an urban cliff dweller

Looking out at a forest of concrete and glass

Seeing forty thousand pairs of eyes looking back

Makes one a little squirrelly at the best of times

Let alone a few weeks before open heart surgery

Trying to wrap my head around that thought

So I appreciate my forest oasis at city’s edge

A small piece of ancient landscape left untouched

Where my feet can connect directly to bedrock

Resonating on a time scale of profundity

Where I can look out above treetops to the sky

Where I can consider the future from a far-seeing place

I play with alternate versions of the Chac Mool moment I’m on course for

A Stoic exercise of negative visualization

Asking what’s the worst that can happen

Then imagining how that would play out

In order to prepare a strategy of positivity

It’s strange since I don’t have any symptoms

I don’t feel sick

Quite the contrary, I feel better than I have for years

But I’m told a valve needs replacing

It’s a wonderful thing to be alive today, I think

In this world where medicine has become clairvoyant

Where heart valves can be manufactured and installed

Without missing a beat

Now I have a medical team

I am conveyed from one appointment to the next

Relentlessly lining up for ultrasounds and angiograms

Until the moment my chest will be opened and my heart repaired

My sternum will be wired back together

I’ll be stapled shut

There will be no heart attack in six months or a year

The only murmur I’ll hear will be the whisper of the sea

And the wind in the trees

Singing heart songs that I will listen to

With gratitude



David Trudel   ©  2013




Filed under Cardiology, Poetry


Have you experienced any shortness of breath?


No, while thinking sure

Every time a beautiful woman looks in my general direction

I’ve had my breath taken away enough

Enough to keep life interesting


I’ll take that as a no, he says

After my recitation of the home gym, walks and bike rides


Now I wonder

My fingertips seemed colder in those new gloves last winter

Was that a sign


Maybe there’s a bunch of shit I can blame on the faulty pump

Post op, that is


After that waking up moment

Through queasy fog

Time splinters rustling like wind chimes

Into the coming to in recovery

Where you realize you have more lines running into

And out of your body than there are lines on a gaff-rigged schooner

Pain, an explosion swaddled for now by morphine

Or something

But there

There, coiled like some viper biding their time

In the center of your chest

Through the haze you realize the battle has begun

So you deploy relentless optimism

Against enervated ennui

Every kind of discomfort imaginable

Until it gets better

Which it will and does

In time



David Trudel   ©  2013



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Filed under Cardiology, Poetry


Even the cardiac surgeon remarked on the irony

Must be a bit of a kick to the head

He said in the closest thing to empathy during that conversation

Filled with too many words like urgent and critical

Don’t get me wrong, I like my surgeons focused and intense

I can get sympathy from others

Still, when my struggle for fitness was so close to being won

It seems so wrong to be scheduled for heart surgery

So I nodded and smiled ironically back

Curtailing the impulse to blurt out something like fucking right

Because I’ve never felt better in close to forty years

But that was an illusion, like so many others I never saw through

Apparently feelings don’t come close to truth

Truth waits in ambush behind stethoscopes and cold eyes

Ready to knock you off whatever size horse you’re riding

Deftly as any plot twist in a serial adventure

To be continued

David Trudel  ©  2013

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Filed under Cardiology, Poetry

Upcoming surgery

I am writing to let you know that I have been diagnosed with a heart condition called aortic stenosis, which means my aortic valve isn’t functioning properly.  As a result, I’ll be undergoing surgery on July 22nd  to replace the faulty valve with a mechanical one.  I’ll be in hospital for about a week and full recovery takes about three months.


It’s likely that this was something I was born with and has gradually worsened over the years.  I haven’t experienced any symptoms and if my family physician hadn’t noticed a heart murmur and sent me for tests, the first sign of the disease may well have been a massive heart attack. Ironically, I have never felt better after losing so much weight over the past year or so, moving to a raw/vegan diet and exercising on an almost daily basis.


As much as I know that there will be pain and inconvenience involved through this process I am looking at it as a positive experience that will help to keep me around for many years to come. So rather than keeping quiet about it I’ve decided to let everyone know what I’m going through. I will try to keep the heartsick metaphors to a minimum on the poetry front, but no promises on that.







Filed under Passing Thoughts