Archive | March, 2014

You Always Remember The Things You Don’t Expect

9 Mar

I decided to take the advice of a “young” friend with an old soul. 

I took the plunge and went to a “real” yoga studio. Humble Monkey. I had gone to a few yoga classes at the gym I belonged to, but they seemed impersonal and “competitive”. I’d injured myself the few times I’d gone to the classes due to my competitive nature. So, I never went back.

Since my ablation, I’m on limited exercise until my follow up. Except walking and yoga. 

I went to the “restorative” yoga class this morning. I had no idea what the difference was, or that there was one, for different yoga classes. 

I met the yogi for the class, Leslie. She was about my age, she asked the general questions. I explained my situation. She said she thought this class would be perfect. It was. The “students” remained pretty much supine for the whole class. Mostly breathing, “intention”, and stretching. 

I remained non competitive with myself. I wasn’t expecting that. 

I decided, with the extra energy I’d received, that I’d go to the drive through car wash across the street. The old 4Runner looked nice and sparkly after she got all waxed and wiped. I decided I should vacuum a bit, and wipe down the inside. As I moved to the passenger side to wipe her down, I noticed this:

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Yep, not quite a sheet metal screw, but enough of a worry to send me to Discount Tire. 

The tire held up for the 2 mile drive. When I got there, the screw was gone. BUT WAIT! It seems that this tire had WAY too much wear on it. The other 3 were in pretty bad shape too. Yeah, I have the records, they weren’t selling me a bill of goods. There was close to 50,000 miles on those other 3 tires. So, I bought 4. Four new Cooper Tires. BUT WAIT! There was a rebate attached to my tires! $70.00. So WITHOUT the rebate, I still managed to get FOUR new tires for less money than I had paid for FOUR new tires in 2010. PLUS the rebate. These tires should get me to 200,000 miles on my little FABULOUS 4RUNNER! Damn I love that girl! vehicle.

I stopped for gas on my way home. I decided to see if my lottery tickets were winners, I mean, I’ve been pretty lucky all day! “We’re In The Money” started chiming. DING, DING, DING!!! $4.00 !! 

I think those are some pretty nice memories for a Saturday in March!

So, I realized today, that not everyone is out to screw me. I have a tendency to be jaded. I think it’s because it’s a lot easier on MY spirit anyway, to think everyone is out to get me. That way, if I’m “had”, I knew it was coming. No one got over on me. I want to change that. Not that I’ll ever be a Pollyanna, but I need to change my kaliedescopic lens. Let in a little more light, look at some brighter colors, change the direction in which it’s pointed.

Oh, and the yoga class was free. Now if I just had a margarita, life would be pretty close to perfect!

 

 

Pharmaceutical Grade Drugs Are Wonderful!

5 Mar

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“There’s no sensation to compare with this, suspended animation – a sense of bliss.”

Pink Floyd, Learning To Fly, Primarily written by David Gilmour, 1987, per Wikipedia

 

 

I was going to begin this “chapter” yesterday before the cryo ablation. But, in all honesty, I was so damn nervous, all I wanted to do was throw up. All I could think about was:

Scared Deb:”Deb, you haven’t had an “episode” in a month, it’s just idiotic to go through with this. You will probably never have another episode, just have some coffee and do something fun today.”

OTHER Deb: “Yeah, what about that little short run of tach I had a few weeks ago, I had to cough hard and long before it went away. What if it happens mid  5 hour flight over the ocean, and it doesn’t go away on it’s own. Do we really want to endure that? Huh, what then?”

Scared Deb: “Well, you got me there. I still think there’s time to make a run for it. What if something goes wrong and we’re on a pacemaker the rest of our lives? What if we aren’t able to care for Larry if he needs it, what if we let him down? What if we die? What if, what if????”

Other Deb: “Then so be it. That bridge isn’t anywhere in sight. So we can’t cross it yet. Maybe not at all. Shut up and go to your “brave place” scared girl.”

I took Kichee dog for a very short walk.

Larry drove to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. I will always call it just “Good Sam”. It’s a pretty good size campus, for Phoenix. Sprawling is a good descriptor.

We wait in line to wait in line for registration. My Fight or Flight senses are kicking in. My urinary bladder shrinks to the size of a walnut, and I feel like I’ve drank a 12 pack and a gallon of water even though I’ve been NPO (nothing by mouth) for over 12 hours.

After registration, it’s off to another waiting area to wait for outpatient services: I get the fashionable “one size fits all” gown with the double tie in the back, snap sleeves and “front pocket” for any cardiac monitor or, I suppose, a pack of smokes. They offer me neither. The nurses are extremely funny and efficient. One likes the smell of my hair. NO I have not been given drugs YET! Although I wonder about HER! The other is reminiscing about her time spent at the “real” trauma hospital that my husband works at, St. Jo’s. It’s all good for me, it keeps my inner “frightened” child back in the corner.

Next comes the “pre op” EKG. The guy comments that he’s “counting the days”. I wonder out loud :”To the Apocolypse?”

EKG guy:”No, until I’m done here.”

Me:”Oh, are you terminal?”

EKG guy:”Haha. Aren’t YOU the funny one? No, I’m leaving medicine for a career in broadcasting. I’ve been in medicine all of my life.”

Me:”Oh, for 5 years huh?”

EKG guy:”No, I’m 34.”

I think to myself, I remember that age. I’d been in my “career” 4 years, and was living in Hawaii. Hmm, how it all goes so quickly.

Next comes Jake, the Murse. Male Nurse. He has a “sleeve” along his left arm, short hair and odd sideburns, but seems to know his stuff. That’s all I care about. That and my “drug tender” is Allie. Dr. Wilber Su at the helm, Nic is the projectionist, and a factory rep for Medtronic Hall (the makers of the device that will deliver the “cryo balloon”, is the first mate.

As Jake wheels me down the hall, my husband in tow, as that little scared girl pushes her way from the corner trying to take center stage. I keep pushing her away. It’s not working very well. We get to the Cath Lab, Jake asks me to walk over to the “table” where I’ll be spending another few hours.

Allie and Nic begin placing leads and, what I swear they have dipped in buckets of ice water, patches on my back and chest that will guide Dr. Su through the channels and rocky crags of my heart. (I’m sure there are some “hard hearted Hannah” areas in there.) At this point the “scared little girl” is in the spotlight screaming her solo performance. Allie starts the I.V. and gives me drugs. The last thing I remember is giggling at what I believe was the c-arm X-ray melting into the white tile ceiling. Hence the picture at the beginning of this blog.

I do recall a rather unpleasant pressure/poking sensation in my right groin that was quickly overcome by a sensation of complete bliss. No, I’m not a masochist.

I woke up in recovery with my husband patiently waiting for me. I’m not sure where I am, what odyssey I’ve been on, or how long I’ve been at sea. No recollection of what has been done, or for how long. Only a small piece of gauze trapped by a piece of clear plastic lying over my right groin. A red mark across the right side of my upper chest and a feeling of wanting to sleep some more are the only signs that things were a bit different today than yesterday.

“Most of all, I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy.” 

The above, a quote from the character Red Reddington, played by James Spader, in The Blacklist. I believe it was from an episode in November 2013. I think we can all, as adults in this fast paced, too- much- to- do- and -not- enough- time world can identify.

Sleep as if you were given a large adult dose of Fentanyl and Versed my friends. It is truly, a state of bliss.

Speed Bumps Abound

2 Mar

So, January started off the year rather mundane. I had had a “bout” with SVT (SupraVentricularTachycardia) in November, I hadn’t had an “event” in almost 10 years, and figured it had moved out of my heart for “better digs”. I “self converted” after about an hour. (Rather than being “medicinally converted” or “electrically shocked”. I DID go to my cardiologist, Tri Nguyen, and he placed me on a 30 day “event” monitor. NOTHING! Except an “athletic” heart rate. I found this out on January 27th.

On Friday, January 31st, I had gone up to PCCU to do a bedside exam on a patient. The nurse, Brenda, was just about to remove a bloody dressing from the patients neck when it hit me. I calmly (I doubt), asked her to step outside the room, I then placed her fingers on my carotid artery. She quickly moved me to an area where I could sit, slapped a  5 lead EKG monitor on me, called the Emergency Department to advise them that there would be an “Employee” arriving via wheelchair with a “cardiac situation”. Well, at least now I had some hard “evidence” of this elusive little bugger. I had a rate of 150 beats per minute.  I found myself in the care of a nurse named Michael, I’d seen him several times while I was caring for his patients in the E.D., he had a look of concern, but not panic, and efficiently went about the tasks of starting an I.V. and drawing the appropriate lab work, getting all of the questions answered while keeping me calm as my heart was trying it’s best to beat its way out of my chest.

By the time the lazy, giggly EKG girls (yes, 2 of them!) got the EKG leads on, and started the strip, I’d converted to about 115 bpm.

It’s interesting how you can actually feel your heart converting to a more natural rate. I still wasn’t at my “normal” rate, but I was getting there. By the time the doctor actually came into the room, I had converted to 85 bpm. That is still a bit tachycardic for me, but closer to “normal”.

Back to the nurse Brenda: I had left my cell phone downstairs in my department to charge, therefore I had no way to contact my husband via texting. So, not only had Brenda been amazing at getting me “hooked up”, she also got in touch with my husband who works at another hospital he arrived not too long after the EKG, cool, calm and collected, as usual. I swear, NOTHING phases this man!

After a few hours the Emergency Room, the  physician came back in, gave me a choice of medication, or not, and advised I follow up with my cardiologist. No Shit Sherlock! I mean, seriously! I’ve had the experience of working with this “doctor” in the past. Let’s just say, it’s the luck of the draw in the E.D., and luckily, someone in a serious situation had the “luck” of getting a doctor that graduated a bit higher in their class instead of the doctor that was seeing me.

I went home and “rested” the rest of the week end. Okay, I’ve been resting since January 31st! As the title of this “chapter” says: “speed bumps”,  plural.

I followed up with Tri, and then made an appointment with Dr. Seifert, one of the electrophysiologists that works in the hospital system that I do. I returned to work later that day, and, as my department and hospital are known for, there was quiet concern. As you’ve no doubt noted, my life is pretty much an open book. I felt comfortable letting my colleagues know of my situation. When I mentioned Dr. Seifert, one of the nurses said, “Oh, no! I mean, he’s great and everything, but go to MY guy. He did my ablation, and did a “cryo” instead of an RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation.” So, I made the appointment, “dropping” my friends name. I was put off for a week.  (Yeah, some friend!) Then amazingly, I got a phone call asking if I could be there in two days! I said “Of course!”

Side note: Radio Frequency uses heat to scar down tissue. Cryo uses freezing. RFA is “immediate”, Cryo, you have quite a few seconds to “re warm” and try another location.  I’m all for “second chances”!

I met with Dr. Wilber Su, Banner Good Samaritan, Cavanagh Heart Clinic, Phoenix, AZ.
He spent more than an “ample” amount of time with me explaining everything from the difference between cryo ablation and radio frequency ablation, to whether he thought (from my EKG) it was AV re entry, or another form of SVT. Ultimately, THAT would be decided during the “pre” ablation portion of my ablation.

The appointment for the procedure was made, and off I went. As a side note, Dr. Su’s staff, from the person on the phone to the woman making the calls to the insurance company are absolutely top notch. I never felt the need to “double” check them.

The Next Speed Bump:

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Next stop was my endodontist. I had a 6 month follow up from a “re do” of a root canal that was tricky and therefore “incomplete” 10 years in the past. Everything felt pretty good around that tooth “Number 4” as they called it. Evidently not. Long story short: I needed an apicoectomy, and PRONTO if I was going to have the ablation in the next few weeks. As I know, but not everyone does, having an infection in or around your teeth is one of the quickest ways to “grow veggies” on the valves in your heart. Trust me, that’s NOT something you EVER want! So, we scheduled the procedure for the next week. I have to tell ya’, I’ve never experienced anything that has had my stomach turn upside down like this one. Just the sound of my “gums” being torn away from the bone was giving me the “willies’, then the drilling, then the suturing. But, that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was two days later when the sutures started digging into the inside of my lip. Not just when I tried to eat. (Try keeping the food on one side of your mouth and not letting it get to the front side!) But when I talked. My gums, okay “gingiva” is still pretty tender and a bit numb, but the slashing from the sutures has healed!

So, everything is moving along. I have my ablation next week, with a few days to recover, mainly the healing of the entry site in my groin. Yes, I’ll keep you posted!