(Last full-length picture of me in shorts--5-6 years ago!)
I don't remember the first time I had to stop completely walking to the Gateway Theatre as the pain in my calves was just too much! Each time I walked to or from the theatre I had to make stops because of the pain though it lasted very briefly and I could walk again but, eventually, it was taking too much time and pain to walk the mile.
Since 2001 I had been going to see Dr. Arison every 6 months and he would make me come back the following week to have a scan taken of my legs and then would call me the following Saturday to say everything looked the same. Every 6 months he would ask me about how far I was walking before I felt pain and he would say that I should just walk through the pain! (I won't say what my reaction to that was!) Little by little, it would be less and less until 5 weeks ago, I decided to actually count how many steps I was taking before the pain hit and I was really surprised that it was only 200 steps! I knew I had an appointment with him on August 10 and decided to wait until then to discuss it.
I told him what happened with my counting of steps, my finding it a chore to walk down to Karen Bay, not feeling any pain except when I was walking, even in my apartment, along with panting for breath when I walked, especially walking upstairs. He had a trainee with him and he had her take all the vitals and at times I wasn't sure whether he was talking to me or her but finally after all that was done he started talking directly to me saying that he didn't think it was the aorta valve, which I had brought up, and that when I went to see my primary doctor in September he could check it out.
Dr. Arison then said I had 4 choices starting with losing some weight--he had noticed I gained weight since I first started to see him 19 years before though he knew I had lost 16 pounds that January. The second choice was to start walking every day and no matter how bad the pain to just keep walking as soon as I stopped and the pain went away. The third choice was to go into both legs and either replace the stent(s) or move them around to get the blood flowing more freely. The last choice was to do nothing and he said eventually that would mean amputation either of one or both legs. He said that wasn't to scare me but to let me know what was ahead. He added that if either or both legs experienced pain when I was just sitting or when I was sleeping or increased to such a point that I felt I couldn't walk anymore that I should call him immediately.
What struck me as odd was that for the first time he said nothing about doing a scan and why I didn't ask him the reason I still don't know! He said that choices number 3 and 4 were ones he didn't want to do and wouldn't do number 3 because of what was going on in the hospitals in South Florida right now and at my age it was even more of a risk. Regarding number 4 it was not an option as far as he was concerned. Obviously that narrowed my choices down to number 1 and/or number 2.
I have been walking every day down to Karen Bay and back to my apartment at 2 in the afternoon and sometimes in the late evening. It is not really enough steps but it is a start. I am also aiming to walk back and forth to the Gateway Theatre whether it opens again or not. I have started to lose the extra pounds I have gained aiming for a half to a pound a week with a number in mind that I want to weigh when I go see my primary doctor on September 23.
When you look at me doing whatever I do whether walking or not you would never suspect that I have PAD, COPD, diabetes, a valve replacement, Afib, now and then attacks of gout, ED, etc., and take 15 meds a day but thanks to them and the squad of doctors taking care of me at the age of 84 I really don't have a complaint in the world. Okay, so I don't like the color of my legs or all the 'bruise' marks I show on my arms and upper torso due to the blood thinner but that is all ego and I can live with that--more often than not!!
All I have to do is get up every morning---well, late morning--and I am a happy guy!