Sunday, November 13, 2022

Happy Birthday Blogamathing!

 Four months?

I know, I know.

But, I been busy.

See, my last published post came from July 22, during an insomnia stretch that was possibly related to a health problem that got discovered in August.

I took a vacation week in August, and I scheduled a doctor's appointment for a checkup, and to check on a little chest congestion.  Well, the day that my appointment was scheduled, I got a call that the office would be unable to accommodate my appointment due to a large number of staff out with Covid.

Later that day, I was asked if I would  like to take an appointment at the clinic owned by the same parent company in Cleveland (the town where I work).  I said sure.

I went, and when they took my blood pressure, it was through the roof.

"Are you being treated for high blood pressure?" they asked.  I replied in the negative, since every checkup prior to this had it in the acceptable range...the last couple of years it had crept up to the high end of that spectrum, and I was expecting to have to go onto meds at some point.  They checked the pressure again, and it was high enough that they had to send me to the hospital.  There at the clinic, they did an EKG.  The doctor announced then "You're in AFIB."

I got to ride in an ambulance.  Against my protests, I had to be ridden out on a gurney.

Let me say this:  I felt fine.  A little chest congestion that I thought had been related to seasonal allergies.  I'd had intermittent insomnia, which  I'd later learn might have been part of the problem.  Blood pressure not low enough to let me sleep...

But in the ambulance I rode to Tennova Hospital in Cleveland.

I can't remember if I called Shyam from the clinic or from the Emergency Room.  I know that it was from the ER that I called my Mom and my sister.

Things that I'd heard, but didn't understand until I experienced it first hand:  Emergency Rooms are a mess right now.  Understaffed.  Overworked.  I had to do the bulk of my exams in public, in front of God and everybody.  Embarrassing, but then, everybody is there for something, so modesty be damned.

After 6 hours in the hallway, I would make it to an exam room, which would be my home for the next 30 hours or so.  There, I slept little.  I was wired from here to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I had to figure out how to pee while maintaining a modicum of decency (i.e. without doing it all over myself or my makeshift bed).  Let me mention that last parenthetical phrase....I was still on one of those deluxe hospital gurneys.  It would become an issue by the end of the second's not much different than a sleeper sofa.  I had a metal bar underneath my ass that was making it more and more uncomfortable.

It was while I was in the exam room that they gave me full diagnosis: Atrial Fibrulation, and a weakened heart.  Their priority was to get my blood pressure manageable and stave off as many of the stroke factors as they could.  I was put on diuretics (which made the aforementioned peeing something of an issue).  I was put on blood thinners and blood pressure meds.

At the end of the second night, I was moved to a real hospital room.  Shyam had just left staying with me, and was talking to the head nurse, who informed her that I'd be in an actual room when she came back tomorrow.

It was actually just a couple minutes later that they showed up to move me, which was an adventure in and of itself.  The orderly who moved me wasn't able to take his normal route, as they were waxing the floors in the area he normally would travel.  As such, we had to go through a waiting area, which was floors with textured tiles.  Did I mention that my ass was sore?  Because it was.  So sore that traveling across the bumpy tile was unpleasant.  Against my orderly's wishes, I asked to walk, and explained why.  He was against it, but I didn't care.  I walked the last 60 feet to the elevators, and rode side saddle all the way to my room.  The nurses there started giving him a hard time, and I told them not to....I hope he didn't get into trouble because of me.

I would spend Wednesday night and Thursday night in room 431 of Tennova Medical Center in Cleveland.  You know, the one that overlooks the intersection of 25th St. and Keith Street?  Yeah...I could see the Big Lots!!!!

My numbers got progressively better.  My cardiologist (Dr. Marcus Alston) explained that we'd take the next while figuring out if the problem was structural (a defect), mechanical (a blockage), or electrical (a rhythm problem).

I got home with a new handful of medication to take and a shit-ton of doctors' appointments to make.  It wasn't at doctor's orders, but I've made a couple lifestyle and dietary changes since my hospital stay.  I've lost more than 40 pounds since August.  Mom's been pushing pretty hard since then to get me to join the Y to swim or do some other regular exercise.  It's something that I may do after the end of the year.  Work continues to be minor gripe...the week after I got out of the hospital, my dumb ass ended up working a 6-day week.  There have been a lot of those this year.


September saw the heart-catheterization.  That was my first medical procedure much more involved than a dental visit, or getting a cut sewn up.  That one ended up having to shave my groin just in case they had to go in I would comment under anesthesia to Shyam "a lot of people saw my junk today...."

The heart cath went a lot more easily than I'd anticipated.  And the news was overwhelmingly veins look to be in excellent shape....

That good news paved the road to a cardioversion, where they shock my heart to see if they can get it back into rhythm.

I'll write that part here soon.  Maybe February?  It;s happened, and spoiler: it worked.  But I'll write more on that later this week (not February, one hopes).....


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