By chance I discover that the various manifestations of anxiety related to heart surgery have a name: Skumin Syndrome. Feelings of vulnerability, doubt that the new valve functions correctly, negative visualization of this alien metal in the much-vaunted seat of the soul. It's no more nor less than Skumin Syndrome.
I'm humiliated to have worries so common they've been noted, analyzed, catalogued and given a name. I've never been one to follow trends. Square-toed shoes. Ruffled swags at the window. Songs by Pitbull. Why start now?
If 79.6% of patients, following heart surgery, have trouble sleeping, damn it, I mean to sleep soundly! I hope to regard the soon-to-be non-organic components of my heart with... well, I'll aim for forbearance. Not sure if I can summon up actual affection. I will not sneak my finger to my wrist to check my pulse repeatedly; obsess on the rhythm of my heart; dash into pharmacies to test my blood pressure. I will trust that the surgeon has well and truly repaired my dysfunctional valves with snazzy foreign metal implants. (I should probably stop thinking of them as foreign.)
I still don't have a surgery date and begin to suspect that I won't have my new heart for Xmas. I'm appalled to imagine how many people have hearts more frail than mine--since they apparently need surgery more quickly than I do. Do they all have Skumin Syndrome?
I am ever-grateful that I write fiction because that's the best way to keep my mind occupied. None of my characters need heart surgery which means--while I'm working on my novel--that I completely forget that I do.