There’s a history of heart disease in the family, as my father and both his brothers died from it. The cardiologist’s original idea was to place a stent to clear out my clogged arteries without undertaking anything more invasive, but a camera probe showed the arteries could not support that alternative and that, in fact, I could have suffered a massive heart attack at any point. Keeping me under intensive care at Kaiser San Francisco for several days, until the dissolution of blood-thinning medication I had been taking, permitted them to undertake a triple bypass operation last Wednesday June 29th, and I came home this afternoon.
René Gerónimo Favaloro (pictured above), who worked at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, was a pioneer in arterial bypass treatment, and his Fundacion Favaloro, in downtown in Buenos Aires, is probably Latin America’s foremost cardiological research institute and teaching hospital. Unfortunately, Favaloro himself never lived to see the success of the procedure, as he killed himself with a gunshot wound to the heart in 2002 – when the depths of Argentina’s worst economic crisis ever must have made that success seem ever more remote.
Dr. Favaloro’s procedure, though, should make it possible for me continue updating and improving my Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile and Patagonia, with a minor inconvenience: the wire that now holds my healing sternum together may set off airport metal detectors. That’s a small enough price to pay for another two decades or so on the planet.