Friday, July 23, 2010

July 24, 2010 - Where to Begin


Oh, my. Time sure flies when you're in a daze. I'm not even sure where to start with the updates. In one sense, there's been a lot going on; in another sense, I've not actually done much at all.

Okay, I'll try to keep this short and not too tedious. Back in May, I started having more and more chest pain (for anyone who doesn't know, I had a fatal heart attack back in 2004, and another, less severe one, in 2008, but I'd been doing pretty much okay.) By May 24, it was pretty severe; I could barely walk from the bedroom to the bathroom without needing a nitro tablet for the pain. I called my cardiologist, who told me to go to the ER and get evaluated. I wasn't having another heart attack, but they did admit me for an angiogram and a few other tests. It was found that the blockages we knew were there had gotten worse and while I hadn't yet had another attack, I was definitely heading for one. So, they sent me home to wait for the anti-clotting meds to clear my system and scheduled a triple bypass for June 15. I was pretty much told to not DO anything. Just rest and stay calm.

So, Cj took over most of the stuff around the Shady Rest and, with the help of the furry nursing staff of the Rest, taking care of me too. Me, I just mostly waited. We lost George on June 2, but I told you about that. I went back to the hospital on June 7, by ambulance at 2:30 AM and stayed until the 9th, while they adjusted my meds to get the angina, and my heart rate, back under control. When I got home, all the critters were delighted to see me, as they always are, but Sherman was particularly effusive. He was also in a panic when I started to get out of bed that night, intending only to go to the bathroom. He crawled into my lap, whining, refusing to let me up, terrified I was going to go away in the middle of the night again like I'd done the last night I was at home. I finally convinced him he could come to the bathroom with me and make sure I came back and he did. He didn't calm until we were both back in bed and he was cuddled close to my side.

Finally, the day came, June 15, and bright and early, Cj took me back to the hospital. We were there by 5:45 AM (AM!! Us!) and by 8:00 AM, I was off to surgery. I'm a bit fuzzy on what happened after that, for several hours (well, okay, to be honest, I'm completely blank on everything from "I'm just going to give you something to relax you" until I woke up in CCU four hours later...and a little vague on the whole rest of the day...) Cj tells me the surgery took a tad over three and a half hours, and that I was very entertaining to talk to when I first started to come to. They ended up only doing a double bypass, as one of the clogged arteries was just too small to do safely. I shouldn't really notice the difference.

So, on Wednesday, I was already doing so well they moved me down to the cardiac step-down unit and started pestering me to walk. They also started waking me up at 4:00 AM just to weigh me, again at 5:00 AM for one pill, vitals at 6:00 AM, then wondering at breakfast time why I seemed a little cranky and did I want a pain pill? If you aren't crazy when you get to the hospital, you will be by the time you escape. They finally let me go on the following Monday, and I happily returned home to the loving care of Cj and the critters.

I had all kinds of plans for all the free time I was seeing ahead - I had at least five weeks before I'd be allowed to work again, and I figured I could get some writing done - work on my herbal notes, keep up with the blog. Yeah. Right. Between underestimating how much pain there'd be, especially at first, and the concentration-killing effects of the pain killers and being way off normal schedule, I was definitely over-optimistic. I did get a good bit of reading done, while I hung out in bed with my swollen leg propped up (for reasons no one really understands, the leg from which they harvest the vein for the bypass usually hurts worse and causes more problems than the chest incision, which, if you're interested, is about 9 inches long and not too gruesome at all, or the split sternum underneath, now held together with glue and wire until the bone knits back together.

Of course, summer is still the season of pet rescue events, and there was a BIG one on July 10, The Mars (as in Mars, Inc., makers of wonderful candies like M&Ms and pet foods like Pedigree and Whiskas) Adoption Day. The Mars folks volunteered their time and space, hosting a bunch of area rescues and shelters. Vendors and entertainment are limited, so the focus is on people looking for animals to adopt, and animals needing adoption. Mars even sponsored $40 toward every single adoption fee! Nearly two dozen pets found new forever homes that day, including our own, beloved Sherman. Sherman, after getting his adoption day picture taken and picking up his newly-adopted-pet food goodie packet (a HUGE amount of food and treats, donated by Mars), trotted happily home with his delighted new Forever Parents... me and Cj. We'd been talking about adopting this charming, smart and exceedingly cool dog anyway, and his faithful, gentle care and worry while I was sick and recovering clinched the deal. The fee donation from Mars didn't hurt any either, but it only sped up the inevitable.

So, this adventure, this chapter in the annals of the Shady Rest is about to come to a close. I still have some sore spots, swollen spots, raw places that aren't quite closed, but overall, I'm a bit ahead of schedule on recovery. I feel better than I have in months, maybe years, now that there's blood flowing to places it hasn't been in quite a while. I even felt well enough to attend and thoroughly enjoy my 30th High School reunion last week. (I think I'm the first in the bunch to acquire a bypass scar...) I'll rest a little more this weekend, then head back to work on Monday.

I have to give Alicia, my office manager, coworker and friend, huge thanks - I left work one day in mid-May, not feeling too well, and haven't been back since. With no warning and no help, she had to take over all my work in addition to her own. I hope she knows I'd do the same for her, though I hope for her sake I never have to. She's good people.

Y'all take care now.

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