As I think all 2.5 of you know, I had an Event back in June. Father’s day, to be exact. My heart tried decided it had had enough of this shit, and tried to make a run for it.
While I was in the ICU, I had a long line of specialists coming through, which would have been amusing if I wasn’t trying to not die. At one point, I had two separate cardiologists; but apparently they arm wrestled out in the hall, and I think the loser wound up with me on their roster.
My cardiologist is kind of an interesting guy. Younger than I am, but I’d guess that’s not unusual in his line; but he’s also kind of a straight-edge guy when it comes to diet and sodium. I suspect he may be vegetarian, or vegan; he scoffed once when I admitted eating a brat at a party “It IS possible to live without eating brats”…
When he first came into my ICU room, he read me the riot act, or at least as much of it as you can reasonably read to a guy who was nearly dead just a few hours prior.
“eat right! Stop eating crap!”
“Get some damn exercise!”
“Take this seriously!”
“Stop eating meat!”
—hey, Doc, how’s a 60% hit rate on that stuff sound to you?
During the stay, they did an echocardiogram on my traitor heart. It was at a low function; Dr. Cardio didn’t know whether it was permanent or just what he called a ‘stunning’ due to the Event. But it was low enough that they called in for a defibrillation vest for me to wear. Which I was VERY excited about, as you may imagine; it was to be a stopgap measure in case my heart made another break for it, and if the heart function didn’t come back, they would consider installing an on-board internal defib. Which I was ALSO excited about.
So they kept me for an extra day, so they could do a second echocardiogram, to see how much recovery that bastard was making. And I found it remarkable and kind of amusing that after the hard-ass reaming he had given me the day after my GODDAM HEART ATTACK, Dr. Cardio pretty much ran back to my room, arriving in a virtual tie with the other cardiologist, to tell me that my traitor heart had rebounded enough so that the defib vest was not necessary. Not that my heart was healthy, you understand, but healthy ENOUGH. I had recovered enough to be amused at how excited they were…
In recognition, I bought these very beautiful coasters from Think Geek:
And, because of the zombie thing (now that I think of it, I am a double-zombie. Died once online, then came back; pretty much died once IRL, came back. Double zombies are indestructible!) I also got these brane coaster:
Both of them are so pretty when you stack them the right way.
So, I went through Cardiac Rehab Therapy where they further yelled at me. Most often heard was “…for the rest of your LIFE” with a bit of ominous overtone, suggesting if I do not follow the guidelines, my life will be short as well… But I got out, with a more controlled BP and heart rate, and some lost weight. Went back to Taekwondo, joined a goddam gym. Started cooking more food for myself, and eating WAY more greens. Stopped going to fast food joints so often. Asking for salt-free entrees when we do eat out. Letting the dog walk me.
SO. After much work on stabilizing my medication process and insulin regime, I went back to Dr. Cardio today for a follow up echocardiogram.
I’m going to sidebar here and say that the techs, support staff, and actually everyone I’ve interacted with in the healthcare adventure have been great. Perhaps it is because Wife Sublime’s insurance is pretty good, and paying for all of this (estimates for this year are ±$120,000) but also because I feel, like Dr. Cardio said, very much grateful to be here at all; so much to be thankful for this holiday season – I sent that in to Driftglass and Blue Girl for their Thanksgiving show.
After much time with a machine with MUCh noisy fans, and a nice lady pressing a vice into parts of my chest very hard, with lubrication (those of you who have had babies know what I mean) and a completely unnecessary IV to make things prettier on the screen, I met with….Dr. Cardio’s Nurse Practitioner. I liked her.
one more sidebar. the tech doing my echo, said she had to call for someone to do an IV, because she hasn’t been trained for one. She said that she has though about going for it, but didn’t figure she needed it enough. When the tech came up from the lab to do the iV, she told the tech that she should come down for a day and practice doing them. When the IV lady left, I said, “I guess your bluff has been called”
Anyways, I am getting around to the big result. Hey, friends, if I said this up front, you wouldn’t have read all this pretty writing, would you? I KNOW MY AUDIENCE.
So after all of this, the nurse-practitioner told me my BP was still moderately high. We need to monitor this. I have always been surprised that my blood pressure doesn’t just shoot those damn needles out of my arms.
And so then Dr. Cardio comes in. He wastes no time, saying that after all of this–
–my heart is back to normal operation, recovering more-or-less fully from the Event.
After that, we discuss the need to keep on keeping on with the exercise and better diet and losing weight and the rest of it–“FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!” which I told him was funny, because I have heard that from pretty much every health professional I’ve talked to since June, and then explained that I have approached all of it with a sense of humor that apparently results from knowing one of the most critical organs in your body hates you.
He then asked for me to bleed for them, so they could check things like cholesterol and I also asked him to check my A1C.
I remember a column from Dave Barry, where he talked about being “subjected to the horrors of modern medicine”. after having spent half of the last year being intimately involved with modern medicine, I have to say you are full of shit, Barry. At every level, the folks I have worked with have been massively concerned with my comfort. After half a year of insulin injections (not to mention a long history of blood donations) I have little fear of needles; but every time, they say “little pinch”. I told the nurse when I got my vaccines lately, that she should say “on 3. ONE TWO (stick the needle) Three.” My doctors are tremendous. I have a wonderful Eye doctor.. My primary is new, but I am liking him. My cardiologist has won me over because he is so thrilled for every positive aspect.
As Dr. Cardio has suggested, I have much to be thankful for. So here we go: First and foremost, Wife Sublime who made sure I lived through the Worst Night Ever. Young zombie who seemed to be uncomfortable when watching me nearly die. The Mekons, for being the best ever when I saw them after nearly biting it. Summerfest, for making me remember why they hell I want to continue living.
And you guys. Because blurting out into the Internarfles is an important thing, and sometimes I hear back from the echoes….
I kind of figure I love pretty much any one of you twisted freaks who respond to me.
Actually, I should not be harsh. I kind of love everybody.