Archive for March, 2016

Update on Life

Sorry for the inactivity.  This might clear some things up on why.  I’ve struggled about whether to post this or not.  I’m writing it mostly for me, as a sort of therapy, but I think that there may be some things in here that may help some people with some things.  I’m probably going to be boring, stupid, paranoid, and a lot of other bad things.  Hopefully I can balance it with a bit of insight and some positive thoughts.

I’ve been having some health issues.  I have a theory about health issues.  Every health issue is a major health issue to the person that is having it.  Minor surgery is something that happens to someone else.  Major surgery is any surgery that I have.  It’s just the way people are, I guess.  With the exception of family and close friends, no one gives it more than a quick prayer or some nice wishes.  People just don’t realize how bad some people have it, health-wise.  But when it comes knocking on your door, it’s a game changer.

Things have been knocking on my door in that area for a few years.  I like to still think of myself as kid.  I’ve never had issues with a second childhood.  I never left the first one behind.  So, when my heart and head started telling me that I’m not a young man anymore, I tried to shut the door and keep them out of my life.  About 2 weeks ago, they kicked down the door and moved right into the spare bedroom of my house.  I can’t get rid of them.  I woke up 2 weeks ago today in full atrial fibrillation.  It happens to me, a lot lately.  My doctors have been treating me with drugs that slow my heart rate and drop my blood pressure.  My heart rate is almost always between 58 and 60.  My blood pressure is usually on the low end of normal.  When I get the afib, my blood pressure shoots up and my heart rate changes constantly between 110 and 200.  Some people get it and it doesn’t bother them.  I’m not one of the lucky ones.  I can feel it coming, and it stops me in my tracks.  I’m usually looking for a place to go flat about every half hour, but eventually it stops, usually when I go to sleep.  That Saturday it didn’t stop.  I woke up with it Sunday and again Monday.  So I’m at about 50 hours straight when it finally goes away.   I feel like the dogs dragged me through the dog door, and we don’t have a dog door.  I woke up Tuesday morning feeling tired, but not really bad.  I went outside and raked some leaves for about a half hour, came in to the house, and sat down with Velma.  About five minutes later, I went to take my blood pressure and my upper body went numb.  I couldn’t feel anything for about 30 seconds.  When the feeling came back, it was like someone was shoving electrical needles through my whole body.  My vision got dim, and I was seeing bright flashes in the corners of my eyes.  I  usually just try to hang in when weird stuff happens, but my first words to Velma were ‘dial the 9 and the 1 and get ready for the other 1 if it gets worse.’  I managed to get to the bed and I finally got some feeling back, but it was obviously not right.  I jumped in the shower and got dressed and went down to Parkview Medical Center.  It took them about 30 seconds to figure out that I wasn’t right, and before I could even figure out what was going on, I had an IV in my arm and EKG leads all over me.  I heard the words that I dreaded most.  Acute stroke.  Don’t be too offended, but my first thought was, and I quote, “Fuck me!”.  I’ve seen that shit.  Now I’m praying.  I know I say some bad things about religion, but I am able to separate religion from God, and I find myself praying a lot.  Thanks to Sister Caroline, because she taught me to be an altar boy, and those lessons in praying came in really handy that day.  They kept me in the ER for a pretty short time before they transferred me to the Cardiac floor.  This is Tuesday afternoon sometime.  Days and times got confusing for me.  I was never in the hospital for more than a day or two before, and I ended up there for 8 out of 10 days, so it really got confusing.

Enough about me for now.  That was some boring background.  This next part may help you if you ever find yourself in this situation.  I have very mixed feelings about the medical profession right now.  Very strong feelings.  I hope I don’t offend anyone too much.  The people on the front lines in that profession are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever come across.  The nurses, the CNAs, the lab techs, the housekeepers, the cooks, the people that deliver the food, the people that move you from one place to another, the xray techs, the MRI and CT Scan people.  The EKG and EEG people.  Saints.  They take such good care of you that you’re almost embarrassed to have them waiting on you hand and foot.  I probably missed someone.  They did anything they could to make me more comfortable and less anxious in a horrible situation.  The only people in the entire situation that dropped the ball are some of my physicians.  Not all.  Some.  I had two ‘hospitalists’ that I spoke to often.  I don’t have a primary care doctor now, so these guys were my go to guys.  I’m not mentioning any names, because I don’t want to color someone’s opinion one way or another, but these two guys were great.  I ended up also seeing a neurologist, because it was eventually determined that I had a seizure and not a stroke.  Prayers work.  The neurologist was quick and to the point, but he gave me the information that I needed.  Now for my wonderful cardiologists.  I’ve been seeing a cardiologist for my afib issues for almost a year and a half.  He put me on a drug to slow my heart.  A year later, he put me on a second drug to slow my heart down.  I was in to see him 6 weeks ago.  He knows me.  I was in the hospital for a total of 7 inpatient days and one day more in the ER.  He was in the hospital for 5 of those days.  I saw him walk past my room 3 or 4 times.  He never so much as looked in.  In fact, I got discharged after 5 days, went back in less than 24 hours later, stayed another 2, got shocked 4 times to try to get my heart in rhythm or started or whatever they did to me, and I never saw a cardiologist until 2 hours before they sent me home for the 2nd time and it wasn’t my cardiologist.  He told me to get a followup as soon as I can, and this sorry prick scheduled me for April 19th.  39 days after my discharge, for a heart related issue that put me in the hospital for a week.  I’m glad it wasn’t anything serious, because I may not see the sumbitch for a year.  I’d say he dropped the ball, but that would be giving him credit for even picking it up in the first place.  Take this as a lesson.  Try to know your doctors.  If they turn out to be uncaring assholes, find another one.  I’m trying right now.

I’m going to slip some Bojon wisdom and values in here, given that this place is kind of about all things good and Bojon.  Be a good patient.  I learned from my Grandma Medved and my mom.  I watched them go through some ugly stuff in hospitals, and they endured it with a smile for the people taking care of them.  My mom would be in the hospital for a week, and when she’d come home, she’d be crocheting blankets for the nurses.  I try to be that way to honor them.  I smile, I thank them after they shove a needle in my arm.  I thank everyone from the guy that brings the newspaper to the people that wake you up at 3 in the morning to take blood.  I couldn’t do their jobs.  I’m not cut out for it.  They put up with enough shit from bad patients, so make their life easier, and I’m pretty sure that they treat you better.  I had an old man in the bed next to me for a day and a half.  He was a gigantic prick to everyone.  I’m pretty sure my food didn’t have spit in it, and I know those lab guys stuck him pretty good a few times ‘by mistake’.  Don’t be that guy.

Pray.  A lot.  Pray for yourself.  It’s ok.  Pray for the people that are standing by your bedside with worried looks.  Your family and friends go through some major stuff watching their loved one in a hospital bed with tubes and wires all over the place.  Pray for the people taking care of you.  I want God guiding the hand of the person sticking things in me.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Pick someone and ask for a favor.  I ask Michael the Archangel to wrap his strong hands around my heart and protect it until it gets better.  It has a calming effect on me, kind of like he really does.  I’m not a great person, but I know where to ask.  Maybe if I get through this it will make me a better person.  One thing I can guarantee is that I will forever be a different person.

I got out of the hospital after 5 days, on Saturday afternoon.  I was kind of unsteady, but I put that on laying in bed for 5 days, 3 of which they would not let me stand at all.  I slept pretty well, and got up in the morning in full afib again.  My blood pressure meter wouldn’t even take a good reading is was so bad.  I resisted my family, like a dumbass, got mean and bitchy, started several problems with my loved ones, and eventually came to my senses and went back to the ER.  That was my first mistake.  I probably should have opted for staying home and chasing everyone away for a day.  They did the usual stuff.  IV, and a medicine to slow my heart.  Mind you, I already take two separate medicines to slow my heart, and now they’re using a 3rd.  My usual rate is under 60. and I’m in the 120’s to 180’s again.  No problem, says the doctor.  One dose of this IV medicine will fix you up.  Half hour later, I’m hitting 200.  I did mention to them that having shrieking alarms going off doesn’t have much of a calming effect when you’re trying to get your heart slowed down.  No problem, says the doctor.  We can still give you 2 more doses of that wonder medicine.  Two hours later, I’m past the 4th dose of the 3 that I can get and they’re rolling in the cart with the paddles.  I’ve been trying to avoid this one since I found out about the possibility.  We’ve all seen the shows on TV with the ER doctor and the paddles, and the schmuck bouncing off of the table when they turn on the juice.  I was about to be that schmuck, only bigger.

“We’re going to shock your heart back into rhythm, but we’re going to give you a wonderful anesthetic first”.  If you ever hear those words, just fucking run.  Please.  It would be on my conscience if one person that reads this actually lets them do this to you.  They give you a speech.  This won’t hurt a bit.  The medicine will make you feel like you’re having a nice warm, fuzzy dream with kittens and bunnies and you won’t remember a thing.  And then someone whispered ‘some people have a reaction to the medicine, but it doesn’t last long.’  I had a reaction.  It will last the rest of my life.  They stuck two electrodes about the size of a clothes iron on me, one on my chest, one on my back.  My wife, my sister Julie, my daughter Jennifer and my son in law Mike were there with me.  They made them leave the room.  I’m glad.  They put the anesthesia into my IV.  The doctor asked me if I felt anything and I said no.  A few seconds later, he asked again and I said ‘kind of like nitrous oxide…………….ohhh….times 100………Oh God!’.  I can still hear my voice.  It wasn’t like this little whimpering ‘oh god’.  It was like Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments.  It was truly Biblical in a sense, like someone just showed me everything and I wasn’t ready to see it.  It came from a place inside of me that I didn’t even know I had.  I got sucked into this white light, and the noise was coming from inside of my cells.  It was so loud that I truly thought I was going to explode, and then it all kind of came to a point.  The noise stopped, I stopped, and I remember just barely being to whimper another ‘oh God’, but this one wasn’t really that impressive.  More like, ‘oh God, this is it and I’m no where close to ready’.  I started to hear voices, and they sounded anxious.  One of them said ‘stay with us, just stay with us.’, and I just kind of clung to that voice.  All of this time, I had no vision.  Just white.  And slowly after, or maybe it was a month, time didn’t seem to matter, I started to see dark shapes in the white, and I kind of started to remember where I was.  I felt a hand on my cheek, and I couldn’t really see or hear, but the minute I felt the touch, I knew it was Velma, and I knew it was ok.  Her touch was like being touched by an Angel.  Right then, I had one of the greatest and probably worst experiences I’ve had in a long time.  For about 5 seconds, I could feel every part of my body.  I had absolutely no pain.  Not one ache, nothing.  5 seconds of something that I truly hadn’t felt for over 40 years.  No pain.  It was an incredible feeling, and I’m glad I got to remember, but I’m also sad because I remembered something that can’t really happen anymore.  But hey, you gotta take what you can get.

Enough bad and weird.  I woke up.  And I got funny.  My lips felt about 4 times their normal size, but that didn’t matter.  I wanted to talk!  I had all of this stuff in my mind, and every thought I had was incredibly stupid.  I knew it was stupid, and yet, I just blurted it out.  The nurse is laughing her ass off, and I kind of had a feeling that my sister was recording me.  She didn’t disappoint!  She has some of it on her phone.  I tried watching it, but after 10 seconds I had her shut it off.  I’m not quite ready to see it, but if you get the chance, it has to be worthy of YouTube.  I remember having a craving for cheese enchiladas.  My sister told me  that it smelled like barbecue in the room.  It turns out that they were going to shock me no more than 2 times, but they ended up doing it 4 times.  I thought that I’d smell like klobasi, but it was more like carne asada.  I’ve still got burn marks on my back and chest that look like someone ironed my shirt while I still had it on.  But I lived.  I’m grateful.  I’ll never sign the papers for that treatment again.  Oh, did I mention the fact that it didn’t work?  When they told me that I’d gone through that for nothing, I kind of thought about Mom and Grandma Bear, and before I knew it, I was laying there laughing my ass off.  What else could you do?  I’m ok now.  Just waiting, kind of apprehensive, but I’m going to get back in gear on Monday and start doing some light yard work.  I’ve learned something from Dirty Harry.  A man has to know his limitations.  I’ve learned mine.  Don’t forget to pray.  Not for me.  For anyone in this situation.  I’m learning from my niece Sarah.  I get up every day and pray for everyone that’s sick and suffering, hoping that they get some relief and comfort.  I hate to say it, but I never thought of it until I was the one that needed it, but I won’t forget to do it ever again.  Anyone of us could be there in a moment.  Oh, yeah.  Long live Bojon Town!