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?). 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tez! I am about bursting with joy at the sight of a blog post from you! You have made my day, week and possibly month. It is like my birthday, Christmas and every other holiday rolled into one to get the gift of your words again. I'm so sorry to hear of your health woes. It sounds like your doctor is leaving nothing to chance. My dad had heart problems back in the mid-1970's and was one of the first to get a bypass. It is really a common thing for people who have heart surgery to be depressed. I don't understand the relation between heart and mind except in the virtual sense of both governing emotions. It's wonderful that you have reduced Igor to the size of a pea. Now if you can eliiminate the pain completely, you will feel like a new person.

    Between all the medical tests and procedures, you have really been through the ringer in the past year and a half. Trying to prolong your life instead of living it is time consuming. :-) I hope you can do more of the things that make life worthwhile like writing and laughing. At least those are 2 of my favorite things! I forsee many more years of life ahead for you. As my mom used to say, "You don't get out of life that easy!" Greg has gotten the flu shot, the pneumonia shot and shingles shot. I can't stand the thought of it so have passed. You have to do what you feel is right for your own body.

    I'm glad you've got such great kids and that you've had the talk with them about what you want at the end. However, you are so far from the end that you don't even realize. You are making plans which is the best sign. You have hope and interest in continuing to breath and see what's next. If I was wearing a hat, it would be off to you! Sending many healing thoughts that you continue to improve and write many more blog posts. Love you!