Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finally getting some serenity…..


Well finally things are starting to get back to normal over here on the plains. Hubby and I brought my father in law Woody home from the hospital yesterday. He spent 8 days in there! He had some complications with his bladder. I will let him tell his story though. I am sure it will be posted soon at his site when he is feeling up to writing again….from …. GoodOldBeans

   He has his marching orders from the hospital and you know how that can be! Routines to set up with pill regiments and such. Hospitals can really wear you out! I am frankly quite sick of the hospital routine myself but glad Woody is home safe and sound. Alice is doing good but we must not forget to check on her too. The loved ones who are at home waiting for the sick to get better have it hard as well. This is not easy for them either. She’s a tough gal though and this is not her first rodeo. I will be checking on them both later on. We could still use your prayers all around though….can’t hurt!

   I ended up back in the ER once more….oh yes I did! I just cannot get enough of that place… the drama and the trauma of it all I guess?….NOT!! I woke up the other morning at 6:00 and my upper lip was about 10 times the size!! My tongue was tingling too. It was as if I had been at the dentist and I was  shot up with Novocain. Long story short, I am on Benadryl and Claritin,  and I now have my own personal Epi-Pen that I carry in my purse with the rest of my drugs!! What the **** is going on you ask?? Geez….I really don’t know. I am having an allergic reaction to something…..I can only guess at this point and I think I have figured it out. Have you ever eaten Chinese rice crackers? Here’s a photo….



   I had some of this before xmas and just before I got the allergy this time. Before xmas I ended up with an allergy on my bottom lip and a rash. I thought it was something else….my new sneakers….now I don’t think it was that. This is new for me. I am allergic to Neoprene and nickel and cobalt and apparently now some ingredient in this mix. I have kept the package and will be tested at some time with the ingredients on the back. It’s too bad, because I love this mix and I also love the wasabi peas that come in them from time to time. That’s life…..I can’t fret about something I have no control over.   The swelling has gone for the most part. It left my lips and went into my face. Hubby looked at me the next day and said “your face has morphed!” Oh goodie….I needed to be morphed! My father in law Woody has pictures of me and I am hoping he keeps them off the blogs!!….or I may have to seek him out and snap his neck when he’s not looking! It was not a pretty sight. I looked like I had the lips of a love child of Mick Jagger and Angelina Jolie. Botox, without paying for it! Trust me….it was NOT a good look for me. I will take my thin upper lip any day over that!

So, after all that excitement, we are settling down and trying to just get back to normal over here….whatever normal happens to be? A setting on a dryer perhaps??? I am looking for the calm, anywhere I can find it. image

Prayer helps. It’s been hard on my husband. Me…then his dad….he’s exhausted, but things are looking up and God is taking care of us all. We are marching forward and trying to step back into life slowly….One Day At A Time.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Heartfelt Updates……



   I just thought I would pop in quickly and let everyone know I am ok. I am so appreciative to you all for checking in on me like you have. It’s been a tough month or two for my entire family. I am doing much better. I had a couple of set backs that turned out to be minor and more fear factor than problems. My heart attack left me feeling very vulnerable. Any little squeak or squawk I felt, was subject to debate. After some reassurance from my new doctor, I am now on the mend, physically and mentally. In short, the heart attack changed my life, but first it scared the be Jesus out of me! Next week I go back to work and I also start Cardiac Rehab at the end of the week. I am so looking forward to all of it. There was a time a couple of weeks ago that I could not stand just sitting around this house. Now I am quite comfy doing that. I have made two nice pillows and am working on a third. My home has been my sanctuary….where I was able to heal and be comfortable too. Then it happened…….

   Just as we were starting to get a little too comfy, we got a call from my mother in law and good friend Alice….last Tuesday. My father in law Woody, whose blog is GoodOldBeans , was in the hospital. It started out with chest pains and pains in both his arms. He has been having this for a while off and on. He went in for a stress test and they decided to keep him overnight. They did an echocardiogram and all sorts of tests….they never did the stress test. Long story short, he had some dye injected into his heart area and they found out he was 80% blocked in one artery and 90% blocked in another! He had an angioplasty with 3 and 1/2 stents. It was surreal. He ended up on the same floor as I was on and in a room right next to mine and had the same nurses and on and on. While visiting him, I ran into some of them. He is still in the hospital as I write this entry. He had some minor complications that I will let him write to you all about when he is better and able to blog about it. We have all been praying for him and he has been a trouper. Alice is doing good too….she’s a tough lady. I feel bad for my husband….going through this with me and then with his dad. I think it has kind of worn him out but he is a very faithful man and stays close to God. Hubby and his brother Joe are in the hospital with Woody right now. They brought him in an apple laptop to play with while he is recuperating! So….we have been busy once again. I will be visiting you all as soon as I can. :)

   I spoke with my friend Kathleen from Rural Maine Life not long ago. What a great lady!!! We plan on getting together sometime soon! I can’t wait to meet her in person. She sent me the most wonderful card with an announcement regarding a prayerful healing Novena being said for me, starting in February!! Isn’t that something??? I was honored by that. I hope you are all well and enjoying the new year. You are in my heart….even though I cannot get there lately to visit you for long. See you soon and please say a quick prayer for Woody and Alice.:):)


Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Wonder Of It All……


  Having a heart attack, has left me with many unsettled feelings. Unsettled?….is that the word I am looking for? What does unsettled mean…..

Main Entry:

Part of Speech:

bothered, upset


active, agitated, antsy*, anxious, busy, changeable, changeful, changing, complex, complicated, confused, disorderly, disturbed, explosive, fidgety, fluid, flustered, inconstant, insecure, kinetic, mobile, mutable, on edge, perilous, perturbed, precarious, rattled, restive, restless, shaken, shaky, shifting, shook up, tense, thrown, ticklish, troubled, unbalanced, uncertain, uneasy, unnerved, unpeaceful, unpredictable, unquiet, unrestful, unstable, unsteady, variable, wavering, wobbling  

Well there you have it….apparently “unsettled” WAS the right word, because I can relate to all of those words, with the exception of tickled maybe? My unsettledness…is that a word?…is really about fear I think. I am out of my element. I am having to do everything a little bit slower and that’s hard for me. The other day, I cleaned my whole house. I took my time doing it. I felt pretty good. Afterwards, I had a feeling that it was probably not a great idea. I guess I was right…..

   I went to see my primary care physician on Friday for the first time since my heart attack on December 26th. I was told that I am doing too much and I need to consider the fact that I had a heart attack and just how serious that is. I was told not to lift anything more than 10 pounds for two weeks. My God, my dog weighs close to 20! Added to that order, was no work for 2 weeks. On January 2nd and the 4th, I had some heart issues, that I shared with the doctor. She was  concerned, so I am now wearing a portable EKG monitor, until Sunday afternoon…..a total of 48 hours. I cannot have a shower for two days!! Yuck! I let them know I was allergic to the EKG buttons I wore in the hospital. Not a problem, says the man that hooked me up with the portable….we have hypoallergenic ones! Oh goody. To make sure I was not allergic to the hypo’s, he put one of them on my arm for 1 minute!!! ONE FREAKING MINUTE!! I told him it was not long enough. The allergy did not kick in at the hospital for at least 24 hours!! Oh no….he says…MOST people will show a reaction within that minute! Yah right. So….as you may have guessed, I am at the 27 hour mark right now and would really like to tear my skin off, where every one of those EKG buttons are touching my skin!! I am going to try and forget about it and see if I can last until 1:00 tomorrow without ripping them off!! Wish me luck.

image Hey…on a happy note, I have not smoked one cigarette in 14 days!! Can you believe it? That’s probably the longest I have ever gone in my life other than when I was pregnant….yay for me!! Whoooohoooo! Pretty soon I will be starting rehab. I think I will be trotting slowly on the treadmill and riding a bike and walking some…..not quite sure though. I am looking forward to that. I am so grateful for so much. People have just been so kind and thoughtful and loving. My husband came home from work the other night with this HUGE fruit basket….well it had tons of fruit, some yellow Gerber daisies, and a lovely card in it. The card was from all the women he works with. They had ALL written something personal to me….get well wishes and prayers… nice. My mother and father in law stopped by with a bunch of soda and a nice roasted chicken breast, that I made a chicken pie out of the next day. Yes, I’m still cooking, I have to do something! I have gotten many get well cards and emails from lots of folks and the phone has finally stopped ringing after 2 weeks! I am a very lucky girl and I finally come to the realization that I am not Wonder Woman….heck…Wonder Woman wasn’t even Wonder Woman was she?? I am not invincible and I have to follow doctor’s orders whether I like it or not….there…I said it….now I just have to do it. In the long run, it will all be ok. Family and friends are always there for me. My husband is telling me to stop trying to go to work with him and just settle for the fact that I will be home for 2 more weeks. Try to enjoy it he says to me!! So…..I guess I will. The guilt is slipping away…’s melting…..melting….melting……………


Friday, January 1, 2010

What An Experience Part II….

   I was whisked very quickly into a back room where my clothes were torn off, a Johnnie was put on, an IV was inserted into my arm, I was hooked up to an EKG machine, given an aspirin and asked many questions. Any family history?…do I have high blood pressure, diabetes, do I smoke, what am I allergic to, and on and on. I was very scared I think now looking back on the whole ordeal. I do remember asking my husband to call my kids and the rest of the family….and I guess I said I didn’t want to die. I was taken pretty quickly to a room where they prepped me for an angioplasty. They numbed my groin area on my right side and I am sure gave me some kind of pain meds. My cardiologist inserted a catheter into my right femoral artery. That catheter had a medicated stent that was injected into my RCA (right coronary artery) in my heart. That RCA, was 99% blocked.  Here’s a great site that shows the different arteries in the heart.

   Once the medicated stent was put in, the next step for the doctors, was to put pressure on my groin. That particular artery they went through, is a major artery, that is also a bleeder. Three different people in the operating room took turns putting pressure on that artery for minutes at a time, until the bleeding stopped. The stent comes with a collagen plug at the artery opening.

   I was taken to the ICU on the 9th floor. I think they gave me something to sleep for awhile. The next critical action nurses were telling me was to not that right leg or my head. At this point my kids are showing up and the phone is ringing off the hook and I am getting animated. Keep that leg still and the head too!!….the nurses kept telling me. Well…..eventually I began to bleed and they had to put pressure on it again. They decided to put a rolled up blanket across my head to keep me from lifting it….that worked.

   I spent Saturday and Sunday night in ICU and was then transferred down the hall to a bigger room with my own bathroom….oh God it was nice to not have a portable cupboard toilet! I also had a really nice roommate named Ruby who was having a triple bi-pass on Wednesday. They released me on Tuesday afternoon, the day before my 55th birthday. Here is the results of what happened to me and where i am at now.

   I had a heart attack with some damage to my heart. I am now on 4 different medications.

1. Plavix…..75 mg. once a day and that is an anit-platelet drug.

2. Toprol xl 25 mg….once a day and this is a beta blocker.

3. Simvastatin 40 mg. once a day and this lowers cholesterol.

4. Aspirin 325 mg. once a day….thins the blood.

   Heart disease has many risk factors. They are:

1. Diabetes

2. High blood pressure

3. Obesity

4. High cholesterol

5. Family history

6. Smoking

7. Age and menopause in women

These were my risk factors…..

1. My older brother had a double bypass 11 years ago, so family history.

2. I’m a smoker

3. I’ve always struggled with my weight…so obesity.

4. Probably my age and I am menopausal.

   I was told by all the doctors and most nurses, that my smoking was probably the biggest contributor to my heart attack!! Wow. I had a nicotine patch on in the hospital for a couple of days. I decided I did not want to have it anymore. The doc said “take it off and throw it away!”… I did. He looked at me and said “are you going to smoke again?”……I said “no, never.” He said….. “Debbie, you’re my hero….and ANYONE who quits smoking is MY hero.” That was pretty cool and I now am a non smoker….after 30 plus years of smoking ….I can hardly believe it. This was a huge wake up call for me. I learned many lessons from this ordeal. One was to never doubt the love my husband has for me….he was AMAZING. He slept in a chair with his clothes on right next to me every night. He was there for me in every way. He brought Obie (our jack Russell, who has diabetes) to my daughters house in Portland. He would leave the hospital, twice a day and go there, to give Obie, his insulin shots, and feed him and then come back to me. He held my hand and walked me around the unit when I was feeling up to it, and when I got released, picked up all my medications, bought two of those plastic Sunday through Saturday pill cases, filled them up for me for the week I was in and the following week! I never had to worry about a thing….it was already done by him…..laundry, dishes, the animals being fed, groceries, work, anything….he did it and still is doing it as I recover. I love that man….more than I can say.

   Things I learned…..

That I have many friends and family members that love me very much. The nurses were getting upset because the phone would not stop ringing and my visitors were many.

I am ok without a cigarette.

I am probably not afraid to die now but I certainly don’t want to yet!

My health is very important so I need to eat right and exercise…what a concept for me! Exercise!?

Life is short, slow down and enjoy it…savor it.

I don’t have to be everything to everyone. If I don’t take care of me, I have no me!

God is good and he sure knows how to get your attention when he needs to!! I think I got slapped up side the head on this one!

I am such a lucky woman. I have a second chance at life, with a loving husband and family right behind me….what more could I have asked for? Please, if you are a smoker, quit today…you can do it if I can…trust me…anyone who knows me…knew it would take a miracle to make me quit and it did. God gave me a second chance and I’m taking it.

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