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My Darling Bride: Chapter 28


The next day, I take off the paper gown and slip my bra and blouse back on. I’ve just gotten settled into the chair inside the doctor’s office when Dr. Shultz, my cardiac surgeon, comes in. Around forty, he’s balding and thin, with a kind face. He’s holding papers in his hand, results from this latest EKG, I presume.

It’s not my first visit here since my surgery. I did my postop appointment here and another follow-up. After my heart did something weird at the beach, I came back in for more tests, blood work, a urinalysis, x-rays, an echocardiogram, and a stress test.

He takes a seat across from me, and I clench my hands. “As previously discussed, we used cryothermal energy to make several precise modifications to your heart tissue in the left atrium. These cuts formed a web of lines that became scar tissue. This scarring works to block the irregular electrical signals from your heart. The ones we placed in the first procedure weren’t adequate. It has improved your diagnosis, this is true, but there’s a few places we missed. This isn’t uncommon. Only about fifty to seventy percent of mini mazes are completely successful.”

I nod, chewing on my bottom lip as the news sinks in. I swallow. “So what’s next?”

“We could try medications, but they didn’t work before.”


“Several patients require a second mini maze, which are more successful. I don’t recommend that you wait. Every day you experience an episode weakens your heart. At this time you’ve only had a few brief episodes, but you don’t want to remain in an A-fib status for longer than forty-eight hours. We want you around for a long time, Emmy.”

“Yes.” My brain races with what needs to be done to get ready for surgery. I’ll need to prepare Babs and Jane at the store. And Graham? He’s got football season approaching. The last thing he’ll want is an invalid wife. Not that it matters.

I study my hands in my lap, twisting them.

“A second procedure has a higher success rate, so that is what we’ll focus on, yes?” He pauses. “Are you all right, Emmy? Do you feel light headed?”

I glance up. “No. I’m fine. Just other things going on in my life.”

“I understand. It’s not the news you wanted to hear. You do need to avoid stress. Is that possible right now?”

Ha. “I’ll try.”

“Like before, we’ll make three to six keyhole-shaped incisions on either side of your chest, around your ribs and under your breast area. We’ll insert the device through those holes to reach your heart. Your heart will never stop beating.”

“I remember.” It was a fear of mine that it might stop and never pick back up.

“The surgery will take about three hours, and then we’ll put you in ICU for monitoring. If all looks well, you’ll get a regular room and can be discharged in three days. Your risks are bleeding, infection, stroke, pneumonia, heart attack.”

“Last time, I went back to work after a few days at home. Did I mess it up somehow?”

He frowns. “No, but you shouldn’t have. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for the anesthesia to completely wear off. I suggest you wait and see how you feel, but at least wait a week before you go to work. The nurse will give you a list of things you shouldn’t do, such as lifting, care of the incisions, et cetera. She’ll also get your surgery scheduled, all right?”

“How many of these can I have? If this one doesn’t work?”

“Some people have several over their lifetime. We’ll get it right this time, Emmy.” He comes over and pats me on the shoulder to reassure me, but that dread from earlier has settled deep in my bones. The bad premonition I had came true yesterday: Graham and I are over.


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