Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Surgery Cancelled, Last Second

I had on the cute gown, knee hi white socks and some very funny red socks with grippers on top and bottom. If you fall on your face they can't drag you down the hall because your socks would hold you still. We literally sat in the outpatient room for at least 2 hours if not more, surgery was nearly there, the surgeon was in and said things looked good, two previous surgeries needed their gallbladders out so that took a bit longer.

I inquired about the stress test as I had had no information from any of the tests, everything seemed OK, but there was this one thing. Hmmm. get the anesthesiologist. He reads carefully, again things look Ok but for one phrase. He said this should have caused a conference with a cardiologist and that he would rather err on the side of caution and have a cardiologist see me, no surgery for me. He also said that the second day after surgery is the most stressful day for the heart and he wouldn't want to do the surgery and then me have a heart attack in two days. Me neither. I was disappointed, but I also have to be relieved. Safety first. Now I am home. No appointment yet, already been through my last times of having a blizzard, or a pizza or whatever, drinking the diet coke that is to be a no no for at least a year, maybe forever. Anticlimactic, and yet faced with mortality once again. There is a spot on my heart where blood does not flow under stress, does flow as stress is relieved. It is called ischemia something. I googled it, it may be a blockage, it may be the site of a silent heart attack. Kinda scary. My sister reminded me that, although I never smoked I lived with smokers for a long time. Parents, Husband. I have figured 36 years at least in a house with smoke.

When Mom had her knee replacement, she passed whatever heart tests she was given, then two days later after the surgery, she needed a quadruple bypass. A sharp eyed nurse saw her lightly wave her hand over her chest and said "why did you do that?" Very soon, Mom was recovering from knee surgery and bypass surgery. I have seen the two day thing with my own eyes so I don't doubt it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

14 Hours on Ice and not Dead

My pre-op meeting was rushed as they tried to cram in the info as fast as they could before the weather hit. I was out on the icy sidewalk and parking lot, gently trying to get to my car without landing on my head again.By 2p.m. I was scraped clean and on the road. It was obvious for several blocks that I-465 was already at a standstill, so I made a decision to try to wend my way through the west side of Indy to get to SR40. I took a left on High School Road, a road I am familiar with that crosses 40 at some point, but I came to a fork in the road and forked right, which was wrong. Without intending to, I found myself on an interstate headed northwest and no way to get off. Unmarked, icy, cars already in the ditch, semi's sliding this way and that. I crept/crawled for quite some time until I saw another familiar road name, Unknown to me, this road was not complete. I eased my way up the ramp keeping two wheels on the gravel. When I got close enough to the sideways semi, I crossed behind him and once again crept along with 2 wheels in gravel. The top of the ramp appeared to be sending cars sideways and backwards so I turned right and went down a hill until it looked clean enough to do a u-turn to go the direction I needed to go. Traffic began to build up in front of me, I saw an unknown road bumper to bumper t-ing into another road, bumper to bumper. I slowly and tenderly kept far enough to the right to keep two wheels on gravel and grass for traction, this eventually put me on the inside of another traveller who thought I was being a smart ass, really I wasn't, we were all going 3 MPH or less, I was just a bit more stable. at some point I merged onto the solid ice with everyone else. I was able to get on the next road which was 136, once again I am headed for champaign instead of Terre Haute. I see a 4 way stop up ahead, bumper to bumper and at this crossroad was a gas station with the area of the pumps under cover, a blessing. I stopped, filled up the tank and got some directions from the cashier whose goal was to keep me out of the mess on 136 and on to 40, she sent me through a subdivision and as I turned onto the road she sent me to I saw another wreck ahead. I tried to find another way, I tried to come back and got lost in a subdivision of culdesacs deadends, I was trying to get back to the station to just sit and rest. It is still daylight. I have been on the road for hours. I have made it to Brownsburg, a place I have heard of but never been. Eventually, slowly and carefully staying at about 2mph I came to a road the cashier had indicated, I had somehow, with my horrible sense of directions, gotten around the wreck that had been blocking my way and I headed east. I wish I had thought to count cars and trucks in ditches along my way, but I had to concentrate on my own wheels, the times I slid, no one else was near, whew. I try to time stop signs to not come to a complete stop and rarely ever hit the accelerator. All the while, it is 32* and freezing rain. I slowly arrive at a brightly lit town, I think it is Plainfield and join the traffic on the highway, I quickly realize this is not plainfield and I am headed in the wrong direction. I scout the sidelines and make my way into a nearly empty parking lot with at least one traffic light exit, no cars on the lot, one restaurant open, but too icy to try to go in, it is nearing dark, I called home to tell Larry where I was so he could tell me where I was! and how to get out of there. I turned right on the highway then left into another mall lot and to another light and back in the direction from which I had come. I got to good old Dan Jones Road! Hooray. it was a lot farther to Plainfield than I thought at 2, 3 or 4 MPH but at last I am at highway 40, familiar ground and I know where I am. I head west, after very few mile and two more hours, a police car came down the eastbound lane yelling at us in the westbound to go back and take shelter. OK, I did, It was a lot easier going back than it was heading west, the roads were definitely clearing as the temp had risen to 41*. I went to a Denny's near I-70 ordered a breakfast, rested, then went to find a room, wrong strategy. no rooms, all those other people heading back with me got there first.
Nothing else left to do but head on home. I made god time for at least 15 miles until I hit the stopped traffic and from then on it was stop for an hour move 20 feet. After about 3 hours I began to wonder how an overweight 61 year old woman with very bad knees was going to go to the bathroom.....shouldn't have had that refill at Denny's. Possibly 12 hours into this stupid trip, I made it to the Greencastle intersection, bathroom, bad coffee, 2a.m. From then on the road was clear enough to do 2o and sometimes even 30mph, but that felt very frightening. I rolled in and flopped on the couch at 4:07a.m. after leaving on a normally 2 hour drive 14 hours earlier. I slept and the next day I was on the ragged edge of tears most of the day. We had a two hour 15 minute drive ahead of us to join our daughters for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. DH drove, bless him. There were possibly more than a hundred cars and trucks in various ditches on my way home and I am grateful to have not ended up one of those people. I wrote this detailed and certainly boring rendition of this trip before the details faded from my exhausted memory, and I am sitting in front of an open door letting the warm breezes of December 27 blow through my living room.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Cardiolite Stress Test

I had my cardiolite stress test today, chemical stress, not treadmill. The facility, the techs, the nurses were great and the experience was all good. I do keep sighing right now and maybe I'd like a little nap. That is not any different than usual. This is my last physical hurdle between me and the bariatric surgery. Pre-op classes are tomorrow and that is all day. Here is how it goes, you get a needle put in the back of your hand to send medications through and receive a little something. Painless needle stick, great job. You lie on what appears to be an awfully narrow, slightly-curved table. They have a really nice pyramid pillow to go under your knees that is great for 6 footers, set the timer, and the first set of nuclear images are taken. That takes 12 minutes, return to waiting room. Go back later to get an injection that contains isotopes. Enter another room with a bigger table, a couple of treadmills and 2 super nice nurses who watch the EKG and inject you with whatever it is that stresses your heart, little by little. My scalp tingled, eventually my stomach hurt a bit, and I felt like I had really worked out, then they let off of that, put in the reversal meds, gently get you up and let you go get a sip of coffee! Again you lie down on the narrow table that really fits just right, have another set of pictures taken for 8 minutes. and then you are released and you feel like nothing happened to you at all.

The coincidence part that was so good for me was that when the nurse verified that this was pre-op I said yes, I am getting bariatric surgery. I (as it happens) am having the same surgeon and hospital as her husband. He was well over 400 pounds with horrible sleep apnea and knees that were set for replacement they were so bad.
He is 4 years out from his surgery, followed the post op directions to the letter and has lost over half his body weight. He still has his original knees and is doing great. If I hadn't said what kind of surgery I was having, I wouldn't have heard that story and I am glad I heard it.

Now I really want to know how my heart checked out because of Mom and my youngest sister. I would also like to have a little nap.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's a Cold and Icy Day

Our corporation did something unheard of, it cancelled at 7:30a.m. Usually if it isn't done by 6a.m. it won't be done. We were on a two hour delay and the roads in town are pretty horrible. The only reason I wasn't already out the door (we are expected to be on time) is that I was going to wait for a bit of daylight so I could see where I was sliding. Do you think the airbag in a 99 still works? Now I am sitting her dressed for school but shoeless and my jammies are calling me. Even hot chocolate is calling me. I don't have that much but it may also be my last.

Things are going swimmingly for my roux n Y coming up in a couple of weeks, my physical life is going to change. I am looking forward to rejoining my exercise class, to having less and less pain in my knees and to having certain numbers drop, like BP, cholesterol, and the blood sugar that has been creeping up slowly for a few years.

I hope this finds law daughter safe at home with the soon to be 4 year old tucked away from ice as I believe they had more than we did, they are really on the plains where the cold winds blow. brr, a chill to think of it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Figured It Out

Last spring I had a diagnosis on my foot and the surgery was too extreme for me to do right then. Yesterday, when I was talking about volunteering at a therapeutic riding program for a couple of summers, I suddenly realized why it was my left foot, which I thought was injury free, that is so smushed. I was a sidewalker and the guy riding was a young adult who had been hit head on by a truck as he was riding a motorcycle and his recovery was unexpected. Riding therapy was helping him regain some physical abilities. As I stood ready to help him off the horse, he simply slid?fell from the horse onto my left arch with the full force of his 200lbs. Ouch. As I was retelling this story, I suddenly understood the damage in my left foot. Oh, how could I have forgotten the pain of that day? Now the need for screws, grafts, and what not comes clear, it isn't just limping from an old injury and being too heavy, there was a direct assault on the foot.