A treasure chest
I’ve always been concerned with how people perceive me, more than I ever should be. I’m not talking about outer appearances – mostly I mean seeking approval from others which is impossible half the time anyway. I continually watch what I say, how it may be taken, and a truckload of other crap that I shouldn’t even bother with. I’m well aware this trait is a complete waste of time and energy, but it’s a curse that I’ve never been able to completely harness. Maybe someday.
Acts of kindness, compassion and generosity which are shown at ‘less than favorable’ times in your life can and should be seen as a huge blessing. Things such as receiving a sympathy card when a loved one has passed away, being brought a prepared dish that someone made just for you – even a personal phone call can be equally as significant. In this day and age, if someone thinks enough of you to pick up the phone and call you – you’re special. Know that you actually have meaning and worth to them.
Each and every act of kindness and concern I was shown during the past few weeks humbled me. It was, in fact, overwhelmingly humbling. If knowing that people are thinking kind thoughts about you isn’t humbling to us as an individual, then I’d be stumped as to what is. It’s just that black and white to me.
My dear mother called me a couple times each day, so worried. Even now, I so wish I could have kept that worry from her. My dad and daughter were very concerned. Keith’s sweet sister called me every day, too. Keith was, of course, an invaluable help with everything. I received many phone calls, visits, texts and emails from various friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and blogging buddies. Another coworker had chocolate strawberries shipped to my house. The day I came back to work, three pressmen in our shop had bought flowers and had a sign sitting on my desk welcoming me back.
Humbling, I tell you. Looking back on it brings tears to my eyes just writing about it. So I got to thinking… maybe I really should try harder not to worry about what people think of me. I feel the love.
My Soda Addiction
I love soft drinks. Not just any soft drinks – in particular Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. As bad as I hate to admit, I consume an overwhelming amount of them. I’ll go so far as to say it’s a big part of my daily life. Because I adore both brands equally, I consume each in equal amounts – adding to my list of many quirks.
For many years, it’s been my morning coffee, my ‘get through the morning’ pacifier, my lunch drink, ditto the afternoon pacifier and into the evening. If my stockpile goes below two 6-packs of bottles (I prefer cans though lately bottles have been more economical) I get anxious and start thinking about natural catastrophes and being caught without them. It’s a must to have them cold – if my current one dips above what I consider to be cold enough, it makes a temporary trip to the freezer and out comes a new one. POOF! Cold once again. Life is good.
I’m starting to classify this as one of many addictions I may have in life.
After being told for years that I need to cut back, I believe I’ve been in denial. In my experience, denial often spawns rebellion. I’ve ignored the old ‘put a rusty nail in a glass of coke and watch it eat the rust off’ and ‘pour a glass of coke on battery acid to eat the acid off’ fables. Well, I guess they’re not really fables.
This weekend, I came down with my very first bladder infection. I can report that it’s debut was not welcomed. The doc prescribed me some kick-butt antibods and after weathering the storm I’m feeling better now. I can only assume that since I’ve never had one, could it possibly have to do with the massive amounts of soda I consume every day? I’ve been almost three days without soft drinks, aside from an unconscious order of one for Mexican dinner out night last night (it really was habit – I didn’t even realize it until the waiter sat it down in front of me). I’m not even missing them that much. But I can still feel residual traces running through my veins – it’s gonna take awhile. When all is said and done, I still want to be able to enjoy one every now and then.
Does anyone else have a soft drink addiction?
I don’t usually wear my glasses except to watch tv, I simply find them to be a pain. Wednesday I got contacts. My vision is a bit unusual, at least to me it is. Most people I talk to can’t see up close. My close-up vision is great, it’s distance that’s been a problem for me for a while. The ability to drive down the road and actually see street signs, names of buildings and leaves on the trees – it’s almost as though I’ve been given a new gift.
The eye doctor suggested monovision. Since I don’t require any close-up correction (yet) this consists of wearing only one contact that treats my primary eye for distance, while the other eye remains contact-less to maintain the close-up vision. Not only could I not comprehend the sense in this,
I felt like I couldn’t I didn’t want to do it. I ended up wearing both contacts and life seemed grand – until I looked down at my phone. I couldn’t see a thing, even to return a text!
Long story short, I’ve been forced into monovision. They tell me it’ll take 2-3 weeks for my eyes to adjust and start playing together nicely again. I really hope this happens soon, because right now I’m struggling to focus on anything. In my line of work seeing up close is a must, and I refuse to go buy a pair of readers. I feel that’s contradictory to my reasoning for contacts – I want to ditch the glasses.
Even though I understand the concept, just wearing one contact makes me feel like I’m only doing half a job – or like I’m incomplete. It’s a weird feeling!
Sense and Sensibility
Once again I’ve let time get the best of me, and I miss writing something. Anything. At almost noon on a Saturday morning with housework and errands poking me on the shoulder, I’m reminded one again of that time thing. About two weeks or so ago, I wrote a quick post on my thoughts of crime and mental instability in the world – but never got around to posting it. I guess a day in which time is pressing hard on me is as good a day as any.
I’ve only read a little bit on the case of Jared Lee Loughner, the man who went on the mass killing spree in Toucson, AZ back in January. As of current, he has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial for his crimes.
When I first heard of this ruling, I admit my initial reaction was that the world needed rid of this worthless piece of garbage – I was very angry. I had to stop for a minute, take a step back and look hard at the situation. If this man really is mentally incompetent, how could I hold any animosity towards him for that? If it’s truly something mental that dictated his actions, something he himself could not control – how on earth could I blame him?
There are so many psychological issues we have to deal with in the world now. Have these ultra-complex issues actually existed the entire time, of which our medical technology is just now scratching the surface? There’s so much out there in the world now that we don’t understand, things we’ll probably never understand. The human brain is the most intensely complex organ in our body. From mild, moderate to severe – mental instabilities weigh more in our society now than ever before.
During a routine visit to my MD recently, even he admitted there just wasn’t enough medical staff dedicated to the many branches of mental illness that we now know to exist. He said because of this, he and his other colleagues are continually having to ‘up their game’ on their education. This is where we are in the world today – not enough professional help, nor understanding of illnesses or imbalances.
When someone who does a wrong or injustice to another, the human in us wants that person to be held accountable. Unless you are specifically trained in the field, it’s difficult or impossible to recognize a mental illness. Simply said, there are many people committing crimes who are not capable of willfully controlling their actions. All you have to do is watch the world news, heck I’ll take a step back and say local news, to see all the senseless crimes being committed.
I must continually remind myself to tote an extra bit of compassion around just for this cause, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s a tough thing to do.
You’re never too old to be taught a lesson. In my forty-three years, I have never been bitten by an animal. Never. I’ve been bitten by plenty of insects, and I can even throw a boyfriend or two in the mix. But never an actual animal bite.
So am I just good like that? Absolutely not – I’m just lucky and trust me I know this. The past couple of days have been a heartache for my mother and I.
An adolescent stray calico cat had taken up residence in mom’s yard for about three days. Let me say first that if I were a stray, I’d go to my mother’s back yard to live. Her yard is literally a Utopia – add the fact that she loves animals and it’s a win-win for the stray. Both of us were trying to find the cat which she called Callie a home. Two days ago, I dropped by her house to see her on the way home from work. Sure enough, the little thing jumped right up in my lap the moment I went outside and sat down. It was obvious by how tame she was that someone had likely dumped her out. Oh how I hate that – our pets should not be disposable.
For the next 20 minutes or so, I continued petting her as she nuzzled her head and made biscuits like cats do. Mom even got a movie of her doing this, she just melted our hearts. Lo and behold, for whatever reason something spooked her – and within less than a second she had bitten my hand and was back down on the ground. She got me good, too – all four incisors made puncture wounds. It took until later that night to get the bleeding to subside.
Since the cat was a stray, Mom had to make the dreaded decision of letting animal control take custody of her, where she’ll be held in quarantine for ten days to monitor for rabies. With us both being animal lovers, it’s really taken it’s toll on us. Mom had already gotten attached to the little thing. As for myself – I feel very responsible for what will likely be certain death for the cat. I’m told I shouldn’t, but so far it’s not something I’ve been able to shake off.
Mom went through so much crap yesterday just to get to the right source – that’s a perk of living in a big city, everything is automated with call-backs. Cops here don’t even come out to car break-ins anymore to take a report. We both had to meet with animal control to file the report and let them see the bite. Today, I’ve already gotten two calls from city workers at the health department ensuring I took the right steps. I held my breath as I answered what I recognize to be ‘city prefix numbers’ – afraid it might be a positive on the rabies, or at the least a call to come in for the shots. I felt compelled to immediately insert a line about having my own doctor who was aware of the situation (done as I hear this little voice screaming inside my head… ‘nooo, you can’t make me!!’).
My most recently learned lesson… don’t pet strays.
Oil and water really DON’T mix…
When I came into work yesterday, I found out a coworker had an ‘incident’ in the kitchen over the weekend for which he was awarded several severe burns. After a couple days of coworkers hounding him about possible infection, he’s finally making a trip to the doctor today. The large area on his arm appears to be third-degree.
The short story goes something like this. He left a pot heating on the stove filled with oil, no less – and walked upstairs and forgot about it until the smoke alarms started blaring. He ran back down to the kitchen and saw the flames, panicked, and threw a pail of water on the flames. Of course the water reacted much like gasoline when tossed on top of the grease fire, blowing the fire back at him. It severely burned the back of his forearm, his neck, and side of his face. He is extremely lucky to have gotten away with the burns he has, and that it wasn’t more severe.
In hindsight, he said he should have taken an extra second and stepped back to assess the situation. He stressed the importance to us of having a couple of extinguishers available, and checking the working condition of them regularly. It sure got me thinking – even after all the fire training we’ve had here at work, I can see me doing exactly what he did under duress. That is until now! When you come face to face with the results of a poor decision like that, it really packs a punch in the ole’ kisser.
In an emergency situation, it’s all too easy to make that snap decision you’ll regret – something I think we can compare to life itself. I know one thing, I don’t think I’ll be throwing water on a grease fire anytime soon.
The following information gathered via http://www.ehow.com
How to Put Out a Grease Fire
Don’t be caught unprepared when cooking in the kitchen. If you are working with grease or oil, it is critical that you know what to do in the event it catches fire. Should you ever find yourself faced with a grease fire in your kitchen, follow these steps to ensure that it is extinguished quickly and safely.
- Place a metal lid over the flame. Do not use glass since the heat from the fire can cause it to break.
- Smother the fire with a liberal amount of baking soda if it is relatively small and contained. Try finding a lid if possible. Because it requires so much baking soda to extinguish a fire, a lid is faster and generally more effective than baking soda.
- Spray the fire with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher. Use this method if it is your only option, because it will ruin food and contaminate kitchen dishes and utensils.
- Use a Class K wet chemical fire extinguisher if it is available. Though more effective for extinguishing large grease fires, these are generally found only in commercial settings.
- Call 911 immediately if the fire is not quickly extinguished or if it grows too large to be controlled. Leave immediately if you feel threatened or endangered in any way!!
Working power, not necessarily in that order.
Though not from lack of trying, I’m unable to throw this virus or whatever it is. This is one time I didn’t go running to the doctor after a day or two of an obviously kickass whatever-it-is set in. It’s now officially a day over two weeks and I’m still left with a chest full of something – the difference is that everything has tightened up now. No good. I decided yesterday to made a doc appointment for this afternoon, so I’ll see what’s going on then. At this point anything will be an improvement!
I am Bon… I am Frontierwoman, hear me roar. I’ve had no power since about 1am this morning. The piedmont had winds up to 90mph wisk through the area last night, and currently over 250M people and 30 schools are without power. Stop lights are out everywhere, power lines are down and traffic is mayhem. Trying to get ready for work by candlelight this morning was hilarious — honestly I think I’d have done better in the dark.
Seriously, it’s the little things. Like power. And working in peace. Well, maybe those aren’t such little things…
Thirteen years ago
Every January 6th, many memories come flooding back of you, my dear deceased stepdad.
They called you Big O. You were a sailor, businessman, trucker, husband, dad, pawpaw, and friend. I’m not the only one these memories revisit so very often, there are of course others – your wife, your granddaughter, son-in-law and all of your children and grandchildren alike.
You were a man like no other; generous, loving and strong. You see, God really did break the mold when he made you. I’ve never seen a person who loved people in general so much – you just never met a stranger. Nothing pleased you more than to make someone laugh or smile. You were known to go up and put a strong arm around an unknown and give them a jovial ‘shake’ when you thought they might be having a bad day. Only once in a while would it make the person uncomfortable, but I like to think it made the day better for most.
My, how you loved Dale Earnhardt Sr. – and to say you were passionate about your racing was an understatement. At the time, the infamous Daytona 500 was the one big win that had always eluded your driver – and of course you always took a lot of heat for this. I want you to know the following month after you died, Earnhardt drove his car to victory in his very first Daytona 500 win. It was a very emotional day down here to say the least – but a bright spot nonetheless. Sadly, three years later Earnhardt lost his own life in turn 4 at that very track. There wasn’t any bigger fan of Earnhardt as was you. You and he even looked so much alike it was uncanny – I like to think you’ve both met up by now. I can just see you walking together… with your hand on Earnhardt’s shoulder, telling him your stories.
Many different occasions you’d see a girl or lady with their midriff showing, perhaps even bearing a belly-ring. I remember how you loved that opportunity to go up to these females, put an arm around them and say in your southern drawl “I’ll bet that you like sailors, don’t ya?” I can’t remember a time where the female didn’t look stunned, finally responding with a grin and a “Why?” to which you would say “Because you’re showing off your naval base!!”. You’d always laugh heartily and then flash that big Earnhardt smile. Actually, it was Earnhardt that had your smile. 🙂
I could write page after page about your character and the huge impact you had on not only my life but virtually everyone you came into contact with… but it would be further emotionally draining today and… long. I believe, though, that somehow you had an idea of how much everyone loved you. Your guidance, perseverance and faith in me greatly shaped my character. And, you would be so proud of the relationship I have with both my mom and dad today.
That fateful January 6th day of ’98 was to be your last. You had a massive heart attack that morning and went to be with Jesus. I have no doubt in my mind that’s where you are now… not a single doubt.
On the 13th anniversary of your sunset Big O, know that you’re still missed just as terribly today as you were in those moments right after your departure. So enjoy yourself up there, tell Mammaw hey for me – and we’ll being seeing ya…
Here’s to my health, and all that.
I’ve had much rest this past holiday season. The joy has been tremendous and the stress very minimal. However, even a beautiful post-holiday beach vacation to bring in the New Year isn’t enough to keep the blood pressure level in check for ole’ Bon. Apparently the second med that was added a couple of weeks ago was an Epic Fail. In lieu of waiting for that one month follow-up visit, I called Doc up yesterday morning. After another failed attempt on acquiring correct triage information between 4-5 phone conversations throughout the day, the last of the conversations went something like this.
Medical Assistant: Dr. Yadada has faxed in a new prescription that’s waiting for you at Your-Pharmacy, USA – you are to immediately quit your current bp meds and replace with this new ‘combination’ prescription.
Bon: What, a combination? So he said to cease taking the blah-blah? Wait – does this new ‘combination’ rx contain a beta-blocker, like the blah-blah I’ve been on for thirteen years?
Medical Assistant: I’m not sure.
Bon: I don’t think Dr. Yadada would just pull me off a beta-blocker which I’ve been on for thirteen years that’s pertinent to my survival. Just the last visit, he told me I’ll be on this one for the rest of my life. Think you could double-check with him?
Medical Assistant: Hmm… from what he said I’m thinking he meant come off of all your prior bp meds and immediately replace with this new one that’s a combo.
Bon: *Shock* Well, what’s the name of it, I’ll see if I can look it up.
Medical Assistant: I don’t really (really??) have access to that, as I don’t work in clinical.
(NOTE: ‘I don’t work in clinical’ most likely translates to ‘I don’t know what the f**k I’m talking about medically’. The title Medical Assistant assigned to her by yours truly is more than likely a very generous title.)
Bon: Look lady. One day off the beta-blocker could literally mean a stroke or worse for me. This is my LIFE we’re talking about here. I don’t want to hear what ‘you’re thinking’. I want to know what HE’S thinking.
Medical Assistant: Okay Ms. (cough-cough) Bitch, I’ll see if I can reach him again and verify if not all, which rx you are to replace with the new one.
You can probably guess the outcome. I was to remain on my beta-blocker and the new ‘combination’ one was once again an addition. It took the remainder of the day for me to calm down from this little ditty. With competent souls like this getting paid to look after your healthfare, will someone please tell me who the heck needs enemies?
BP (no gas here)
Been feeling junky for the past few days, mainly my throat. Since I wanted to make sure I was well for Christmas I decided to pay a visit to the doc yesterday after work. I’m glad I did.
My blood pressure was once again off the charts, and it turns out it was high the last time I was there too. Yesterday it was 151/100, and I had been there for a while so it’s not like I’d just walked in out of a traffic jam. Stage 2 hypertension is not something I feel I should have since I’ve been managed by a beta blocker many years now, but I guess it happens. Sooo, now I get to be on two medicines for bp. I’m just glad it was caught.
My ever-wise daughter: “Oh my gosh, Mom! You have GOT to be more peaceful and calm down. You need to try some relaxation techniques. Meditate. It really does work! Just sit in candle light and do some really deep breathing for 10 minutes every night. You can’t keep being so wound up!”
I got a quick visual of myself getting stuck in a pretzel position, and it struck a funny bone in me. Then I got to thinking maybe she’s actually onto something. Honestly, I know she is. Stop being so wound up. Don’t sweat the petty things. Don’t pet the sweaty things. Yeah, that’s it! Here’s an old dog trying to learn a new trick again… I’ll be sure let ya know how that works out for me.
She is finally at peace. Born Mary Elizabeth Anania, her sunrise was July 3, 1949; sunset, December 7, 2010. Elizabeth passed away on a Tuesday at her home in Chapel Hill, NC after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer.
Although I might not have agreed with some of her political stances, I admire and respect the lady for reasons different than what one may expect.
- Her family meant everything to her. Through the years she managed a very elegant balance between her home life with her husband and children, her professional career as an attorney, then later becoming her husband’s chief policy advisor during a presidential bid.
- Her courageousness and perseverance was inspiring to all who have fought a disease and those who continue to fight.
- She maintained such grace and poise after their oldest son Wade was killed in a car crash (age 17) in 1996. I cannot imagine what strength it must take to go on after the death of one of your own children.
- She lived her private life on a public stage. Yeah, I’m gonna go there. The level of humiliation she must have endured after her husbands indiscretions came to light had to have been gut wrenching. I simply can’t think of any other term to describe it.
In September 2006, Edwards released a book, Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, focusing on the death of her son and her illness. In May 2009, she released a second book, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities, further detailing her illness, the deaths of her father and son, the effect of these events on her marriage, her husband’s infidelity, and the general state of health care in America.
On December 6, 2010, Elizabeth’s family announced that she had stopped cancer treatment after her doctors advised her that further treatment would be ‘unproductive’. The cancer had metastasized to her liver, and she had been advised she had several weeks to live. Her family members, including her estranged husband John, were with her. It was on this day she posted her last message on Facebook:
You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.
Elizabeth always felt that Wade was an angel, and that one day she would be able to see him again. Somehow I feel you’ve already found Wade, dear Elizabeth. May you rest in peace now.
Factual source: Wikipedia
About two and a half years ago, I lost twenty pounds. I found that success really can be achieved the good old-fashioned way – via eating healthy and exercising my tail off. I worked extremely hard for every pound, and kept it off for a year. I felt better than I ever had felt before – my blood pressure had leveled out and I was even trying to talk my doctor into weaning me off the beta blocker I’ve been on since age 32. Over the past year and a half, I’ve gained twenty five pounds (there should be a heavy black font for that because the bold one just doesn’t cut it). Twenty-five pounds. That’s the equivalent of ‘all that and a bag o’ chips’. No excuses.
Once again, I’ve taken on the difficult task of eating right and exercising – although it’s taken me twenty-five pounds to get to this point. What makes it so difficult to re-acquire that motivation, and why did I lose it in the first place? Anyway, I think I might’ve found it again and only hope it isn’t temporary. I dusted the cobwebs off my treadmill and have since put a couple of miles on it. I weighed in early this morning and was happy to see that I’ve lost two pounds – yay me! Now to just keep it going. I’ve done this once – but something in me relaxed, or something… exercising came to an abrupt halt and my eating habits turned from healthy to down right horrible. Failing so miserably in my endeavor makes me feel awful about myself. I’ve simply GOT to be successful at this, and keep it off this time.
The keys for me are a) weekend management and b) not feeling cheated. If I feel cheated, I’ve proven time and again that I’ll rebel. This is actually the perfect time of year to head to the mountains for a hike… hey, great idea. We survived last nights tornadic storms, and the forecast for the weekend looks optimal…
As of last night, Dad’s surgery is supposed to take place some time today. He’s been hospitalized again ever since last Thursday after a brief night of hell at home. I’m hoping they can go ahead and get this thing taken care of so he can get back home, recover, and go back to living his life. He told me last night that he knows this whole thing has been a mess – to which I replied it certainly isn’t his fault. That’s the kind of man he is though, always worried about inconveniencing others.
My aunt (Dad’s sister) is on her way up to Durham this morning to be with him post-surgery and get him back home, as he could be released as soon as tomorrow. I always feel like they release you too soon. Now I know I’m no doctor, but I’ve seen this happen far too many times to even count. People being released that can’t even walk, change their dressing, etc. – sometimes resulting in even more emergency care. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it’s all about insurance and the money part. In any case, my thoughts and prayers will be with him today and I’ll be sure to give an update as soon as I know something!
Everyone here has been so kind with your thoughts and prayers, and I want you to know it means the world to me – and to Dad. 🙂
What a mess. Poor Dad is back to being transported to the Durham VA hospital. Yesterday the Charlotte hospital had released him to go home when they learned he wouldn’t be getting the surgery done with them, and when Durham learned of the release (and also of his life vest continually attempting to go off and shock the ever-loving #%*! out of him) they advised him he was not safe at home and instead needed to be there.
I’m hoping to get a phone call from him when he gets to his destination, poor fella’s gotta be wore slap out since I heard he hasn’t slept since Wednesday night. Preliminary schedule for surgery is still late in the week next week, and we’re all hoping that date’ll improve. I know he so appreciates the prayers.
Dad was supposed to have surgery this morning at 10:30. A lot happened yesterday that changed that.
It started with a phone call from the cardiovascular VA hospital in Durham. Now, I’m not gonna call out any names of hospitals that have most currently been involved with his care, but the cardiovascular team that is familiar with him in Durham were livid about a few things. For one, a more risky (to say the least) procedure was scheduled for this morning – one that could’ve ended up in open-heart surgery. Secondly, Durham could not believe that his defibrillator had been deactivated since Monday, and he was not fitted with a life vest (I wasn’t aware of what one was until yesterday). A life vest in medical terminology is basically a defibrillator within a vest. The question was asked, ‘but he’s in a hospital and being monitored – if anything happened, they’d be right there anyway’. Durham’s response was, ‘by the time a team got into his room with the proper equipment, a minimum of 2.5-3 minutes would have passed – would you really want to chance that time lapse?’ Guess I never thought about it like that…
Needless to say, Dad made the decision to go to Durham instead. The two teams (Durham and Charlotte) disagreed on his options, and in the end Durham was able to offer him more options as to the types of procedures for this most delicate position he’s in. They were going to transport him by ambulance the 3+ hour trip – but the surgery couldn’t be scheduled immediately so that wasn’t needed. The Charlotte hospital released him to go home (with life vest in tow) to await the surgery scheduling in Durham. Until then, I’m sure he’s glad to be home for a brief time – and I’m willing to bet his little dog Pedro most certainly agrees.
My sweet Daddy is in the hospital again. He called me at work yesterday, and when my coworker said “it’s your father on the phone” I immediately knew something was up since he never calls me at work.
Several years back, we almost lost him. In fact, did lose him twice on the operating table, and God brought him back. Okay, I’ll give props to the doctors too – but their handiwork was lead solely and completely by our Lord’s will. Period.
It all started out with having a bad heart for years. Then came the respiratory ailments, which escalated into pneumonia then finally a terrible abscess in one of his lungs. The docs tried for months on end to clear it up to no avail – finally the decision was made to remove most of the lung. He was so very sick by this point, they didn’t give a good prognosis for the outcome of the operation. It was, in fact, grim. He came through the operation with multiple complications and they ended up having to go BACK in months later and get the rest of the lung. It frustrated me that he had to go through all that twice, the second time harder because it was a second go-round – I still wonder why it just wasn’t all done at one time. The recovery time it took for him amazed me, he’s just a trooper and loves life so much that nothing seems to keep him down.
In between all this, the heart issue had to be addressed as well. Dad was given a pacemaker/defibrillator amidst all the lung issues. I don’t know if any of you are aware of what’s called “Ejection Fraction” (Ef). This is the medical terminology that refers to the fraction of blood pumped out of ventricles with each heart beat. Your heart circulates blood through two separate systems. The two chambers on top (atriums) are the receiving stations for your blood. The two lower chambers (ventricles) are pumping stations. When the left ventricle contracts, forcing blood out into the body, it’s called “ejection” since it is “ejecting” the blood out into your arteries. Since the big pumper on the lower left is the one that pushes blood throughout your body, that is where they usually measure heart function – the left ventricle. That’s the “ejection” part. The “fraction” part is because that pumping chamber (the left ventricle) never quite manages to pump out all the blood inside it – there’s always a little bit left behind that lies around waiting for the next contraction. The amount your left ventricle does pump out per beat is called the “ejection fraction”. It’s X% (the amount pumped out) of the total amount of blood in the ventricle per heart beat. If your heart pumps out 55% or more of the blood in your left ventricle on each beat, you have good heart function. When it falls below 55%, you’re slipping. My Dad’s was 15%. Believe it or not, it can improve over time. If I remember correctly, at the last reading he had gotten back up to 25%, maybe even higher – my memory eludes me so I’ll have to ask him.
Back to the pacemaker/defibrillator. Most of us are aware of the pacemaker’s purpose, which is to regulate the heartbeat. You can adjust the pacemaker so that it can be suitable for either the top or bottom heart chambers or both, depending on what type of pacemaker it is and the needs of the patient. It also will only work if it is needed, it doesn’t work all the time. An implanted defibrillator is a larger device. It is there to prevent death from a cardiac arrest. The device shocks the heart if it needs to be shocked, because of a life-threatening rhythm disturbance from the lower chambers of the heart. It can correct this rhythm. Because it has a pacemaker built into it, a defibrillator also has the capability of stimulating the heart like a pacemaker, to help stop fast rhythms, at times, and to prevent the heart from getting too slow. Okay, I know I’m being long-winded on this (pardon the pun).
When Dad originally had the device implanted, it wasn’t long at all (2007) before they made the startling discovery that his was one of Medtronics pacemaker/defibrillator devices that had bad ‘leads’ in it. Sure enough, it was only discovered after the device went on a rampage and violently ‘shocked’ Dad continually for almost 24 full hours. I cannot imagine the trauma of enduring this. They ended up replacing the leads, I believe, shortly after this happened.
You can view a short video here on the history of the malfunctioning leads. Pretty darned interesting. Medtronics Defibrillator Video on bad leads
The reason he’s back in the hospital? The hospital called him back yesterday morning, and said the leads are once again malfunctioning… and for him to get to the hospital asap. Right now, they’re unsure which gameplan they’re going to take – currently two different procedures are being decided on. The outcome will depend on several factors, decided by the test results from later today.
Like I said before, he’s a trooper and a champ! He’s been riding his new bike (tryke) for several months now and enjoying it immensley. He’ll get back on it and go back to life as usual before I know it. He’s honestly the biggest lover of life that I know, and loves our precious Lord so very dearly. Any and all prayers will be so appreciated. Many blessings to all!
Out of the darkness
A very bright spot happened yesterday. I received a phone call from my daughter, who couldn’t wait to let me know she’d landed the job she’s been interviewed on for the past several weeks. It’s a much coveted placement in one of the southeast’s leading healthcare systems, Carolinas Healthcare System (CHS). Getting her foot in the door in a sector of this large facility is a dream come true for her, as they are well-known for their advancement from within. Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) is the flagship facility of Carolinas HealthCare, and the division she will work in. As one of North Carolina’s largest hospitals, it serves as the regional referral center for western North Carolina and northern South Carolina.
To gain a career within a sector of the ‘Tree of Life’ facility has been her dream for some time now, starting well before her college graduation this past May. It’s truly a blessing that it came about a) without her having an inside source, and b) being so fresh out of college, even with having a bachelor’s in Psychology. We’re all aware of the shortage of jobs nowadays, not to mention how difficult it is for a fresh college grad to get their foot in, well anywhere.
While I admit that her being my own daughter might more than sway my opinion, one only has to experience the pure ‘effervescence’ she emits while in her presence. She’s like a burst of fresh spun air – and her personality just rocks. Heck, I’d have hired her too.
Effervescence… thanks, Dad! There’s no other word I can think of more fitting. Bet ya didn’t think I’d use that one, did ya? 🙂
It also comes at a very pertinent time in her life – next month she will be moving into her own brand new apartment and embarking upon a whole new ‘life on her own’. Only now, she also gets to embark upon a new career. So happy for my babygirl!
Signed, Proud Mama
What a beautiful weekend it’s been. Today K’s family is coming over to swim and cook out (his brother, sister, and their families). After that, I’ll have pretty much had my pool fix for a while.
Off to the grocery store since we exhausted what little supplies we had left yesterday. We’re even out of ketchup. No homemade anything by Bon today, there’s not enough time.
Yesterday was my clutz day. Ever have one of those days where everything you touch or make contact with results in some sort of accident or injury? That was my day yesterday. I’m hoping today will be different in that area – but since I’ve already stumped my toe at 9:30am, that hope is rapidly diminishing. Wish me luck – and remember, no news is good news.
May I please have a conclusive?
Well, I’ve gone and done it this time. How I did it is anyone’s guess. I’ve battled it for a little over a week now but instead of improving, said condition is deteriorating quickly. If I were to diagnose myself, I would say I have a pinched nerve in my lower neck / upper left back. But who am I?
I’ve said many times I will not go to a doctor for this because I know the first thing he’ll want is an MRI. Seeing things from an orthopedic surgeon’s view, I do understand the reasoning for an MRI. However, since my deductibles have risen on my insurance from 500 to 1,000, the amount of money they’ll require beforehand is completely undoable. Period. So no MRI. The pain at work today was excruciating, there is nothing at all I can do for relief – and so my hand was forced. I made the appointment.
The doctor I’m seeing has seen me before on a couple of occasions in past years, so I’m not a complete stranger there. I hope to get some sort of relief or ‘answer’… although my medical history is such that an actual diagnosis rarely never happens. Aside from a lone pregnancy test coming back positive 20+ years ago, everything medical in my life (I’m recounting as I write) has been inconclusive. Hell that should be my word of the day.
I hate complaining… furthermore I hate chronic complainers. They’re not only no fun to be around / work with / be friends of / have the misfortune of being your partner, but to me it gets stale real fast. No one wants to be around someone who is constantly moaning about their ailments, let’s face it. We want to be associated with ‘upbeat’ people. Ones who make us laugh, bring out the best in our own personalities. That person used to be me. Simply put – I’ve gotta get my life back.