Frosted Window View ~ haibun

Frosted Window View

Distracted by all manner of things in the non-digital realm during this past week, from health to, well, health, I missed the deadline for Pure Haiku’s translucence theme.

My poem “Hold That Thought” (10 January 2020) was in regard to an incident I had a couple of months back, with minor symptoms that may have been a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke. In early January, I had an echocardiogram and a scan of my carotid arteries. The latter showed minor plaque buildup without any obstruction to blood flow, but my doctor now has me on 81mg aspirin as a precaution.

The echo showed that I have an atrial septal aneurysm (ASA). The incidence in the general adult population is about 2%. This aneurysm is not the same as the extreme circumstance of a weakened blood vessel. The wall between the upper chambers of my heart bulges to one side, a condition that I’ve likely had for all of my life. I just had to wait until my sixties to find out that it exists. Since it also has the potential to cause a stroke, my doctor referred me for an additional echocardiogram.

A transesophageal echocardiogram is just what it sounds like. Yesterday, I was sedated, and a device was placed down my esophagus to get a much closer echo of my heart. Rather than a technician, as with my first echo, this procedure was performed by a cardiologist. The results showed that, in addition to the ASA, I have an atrial septal defect, an opening in the septum separating the upper chambers of my heart. It’s a condition common to 30% of the population, often with no ill effect. There is no urgency to the situation, but I’ll receive more information from my primary in the next few days. I’ll be seeing a neurologist in September, so I suspect any decisions will be delayed until then. The cardiologist was less concerned by the results than my primary care physician was by the initial prospect. In fact, he didn’t see any issues with my level of activity. Time will tell.

Imagine how different life would be if our skin and tissue were translucent and medical diagnoses were as simple as peering into our bodies.

sparrow clings to perch
snow swirling around feeder
frosted window view

24 thoughts on “Frosted Window View ~ haibun

  1. I can see that all those tests would keep one distracted from writing. Our bodies are most mysterious, even when functioning well.
    Modern medicine is making more and more of our parts “visible” … just wish they could do so painlessly w/o anesthetics … I’d be first in line to get “seen” out of curiosity. But we’re all stuck with limited views of self and loved ones.
    Like your sparrow capture – appears to be waiting for clarity – I guess we’re all waiting for that.


    • It took me 60 minutes to come out of a 15 minute procedure, and apparently I was awake for much of that recovery – I’m still learning about some of the things I said. I was told there would be me amnesia. I just didn’t think I would lose conversations – apparently that particular clarity is not meant to be mine.


  2. Hard to click “Like” for this one Ken, but thanks for sharing.
    I’ve gotten some really worthwhile work out of my own medical issues/experiences, and always take full advantage (as best I can). I always arrive waaaay earlier than necessary for appointments as I’ve discovered that waiting rooms, for me at least, are highly inspirational.
    Check these out, for example:
    And (most recently) :

    Hang in there, Brother. And keep a journal handy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ken, your update is appreciated. Is it my imagination or are you the sparrow in the haiku? Learning what is going on inside has probably got to be a mixture of relief and anxiety. I’m glad you have a cache of specialists working with you.


  4. So sorry to hear you had to go through this Ken. Some people use acupuncture or meditation instead of anaesthetics, depending on the procedure involved, and it’s worth exploring what is possible in case there’s ever a need for further testing. The frosted window view is a very fitting metaphor and it sounds as if going back out in the kayak will be a lovely thing to do 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Xenia. Fortunately, it wasn’t a stressful procedure. Lidocaine spray on the back of my throat was all I got, and a throat lozenge later in the day was all I needed, but Versed (midazolam) was used for sedation, and I was told I might not remember the procedure, even if I had responded to questions about comfort. Not remembering a conversation that occurred as I woke was a surprise for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry you’re going through this, Ken. I would be terribly distracted. I’m glad the cardiologist doesn’t think you need to restrict your activities, and that none of your doctors appear to think your situation is urgent. I wish we had those sensor things they have on Star Trek where they just wave them up and down your body to tell you what’s wrong, and then they wave more devices around you to cure it!.:)
    I’m sorry you missed the Pure Haiku deadline–because your haiku is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Medicine can be both a blessing and an objectifying experience. I’m glad you are staying afloat and that so far worst fears are not being confirmed. I truly enjoy your concluding paragraph and haiku.


  7. Glad to hear everything is not as crazy as it sounds, Ken. Don’t you just love it when the primary sounds the alarm and then you go the the specialist and they go, eh! Even if they find so new, odd business.
    That versed will get you every time. Be well.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pat. Reading my results through the patient portal, it sounds as though the cardiologist modified his assessment. I’m currently on hold for the neurologist, for what I guess I could be called a third opinion. Meanwhile, I’m told I can continue normal activities, so that’s a good sign. I’ve been out kayaking twice since then.


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