Saturday, 18 July 2015

And The Beat Goes On, Tra La La La

What is the world coming to? These days you go to the doctor to get the results of a gastroscopy and come out two hour later with a diagnosis that you're heartless! Well, not exactly heartless, just that your heart is missing a beat or two and there is a lot of fraying in your aortic arch.

It seems my atrium have lost the ability to tic in rhythm with the toc. All they can manage is a kind of half-hearted quiver. This leaves the ventricles a bit bewitched, bothered, and bewildered and they don't know whether to pump, bump or grind. This causes the blood to pool and, as in any bemused crowd, stupid clots to form

My doc is a lovely, intelligent, clever diagnostician who likes to cover all eventualities so he gives me a whole tree's worth of prescriptions, a vaccine against pneumonia, an ECG, AND gets the nurse to syringe my ears! I tell him he needs to get out more. Like most doctors, he doesn't listen. He is on a mission to keep the Grim Reaper from my door and he doggedly pursues this with fervour. I, on the other hand, have made friends with my old pal Grim (we're already on a first name basis) and keep telling the doc that he doesn't have to work so hard to keep me alive. I tell him not to worry so much, death is just another phase of life and Grim and I are tight.

There are things worse than death and I fear those things far more. I have no fear of dying either. Why would I? I live in a society that will house, feed, medicate and look after me with as much care as possible. I won't be dumped on the street where I have to beg for a morsel of food or left to languish in some run down old people's home. The incidence of elder abuse is minimal compared to other western countries and the training for home care or residential care staff is of a high order. My children are kind and will make sure I am taken care of properly. As long as they don't decide they want to look after me themselves, things should be hunky-dory.

My kids and I have had many conversations about who will take care of me in my dotage. Having physical and psychological disabilities has meant that my health and well-being has always been part of family conversations. The idea of living with either of my children is not appealing. I love them to bits but I definitely don't want to have them as full-time carers, as much for their sake as mine. I am not a 'good' patient and would run either of them ragged, so to save their sanity they have been brainwashed from an early age to "put me in a home" when I can no longer look after myself. With luck and a fair wind, they will do as they're told with no guilt or regrets. As I keep telling them, I have lived my life, it's their turn now.

But I digress. The heart of this story is to tell you why it has taken me so long between sips at the trough of the blogging world. After oodles of medical tests and several visits to the emergency department, the medicos finally decided that I needed a stent in my aorta. Placing a stent in the aortic arch is not a common procedure so I had a few days in the ICU - ostensibly for my benefit, but I suspect it was to allow the surgeons to get up to speed by watching YouTube versions of the operation.  

All went well except they forgot to tell me the long-term side effects, which included constant pain, depression and circulation problems. The physical issues exacerbated the depression, which, as you can imagine, delighted Igor (name I gave my depression) in a lugubrious mealworm kind of way. He settled in for a long stay with the attendant problems of phone, noise and webby phobias. Hence the inability to write except for the occasional short comment on other blogs I read. 

It's been a hellish 18 months or so and whilst Igor is still around he is about the size of a pea, a pea that is about to be crushed between my thumb and finger. There are plans afoot that my best girl (daughter), my doc and I are organising that will reduce the pain and take the pressure off the pump in my chest. I'll tell you all about these plans in another blog post. For now, know that I am hale and hearty in my imagination and a super hero in my own lunch box (is that still a thing?).