Trip to the hospital

June 28, 2015

I have written about my episodes. Had a particularly hard one. Chest pain much worse. Got a sharp pain in left arm, which turned to numbness with total loss of strength in hand.
With a little coaxing and ear pulling Vi got me to the hospital. By the time we got there I could already tell the session/episode was ending. They did monitor my heart rate in the 130’s. Blood pressure I think was 72/50. I guess it is good they got that on file as within minutes everything was back to normal and I felt fine.
I was obviously not any sort of priority and understandably. We sat there for well over 3 hours and were still told by front desk they had no idea how much longer wait would be.
I could tell cardiologists were very busy just seeing the people around me and hearing the numbers of times EKG was being paged. I have had enough of my episodes that when it ends, it is over and I am fine until the next one hits and that could be minutes, hours or days. Did I think I needed to take up the time of the Docs in the ERwhen there were those that needed there attention. Don’t think so.
Went to the triage desk. Told them I was fine and going home. They weren’t thrilled but removed the IV and home we came.

Me: Stubborn as a Mule

June 26, 2015

Every once in a while a though will hit me. I will hear or read something that inspires a thought for a post. I come on here and start a post but only type a sentence or two with the gist of the idea. I save it as a draft with the idea I will come back later and complete the post. It may be weeks, months or years before I do get back to it and usually by then “memory guy” lives up to the title and what ever idea I had is gone.
Looking through them last evening and I can across a couple that I do have some memory of. Possibly I remember as they sort of stroke the male ego a little.
Some time back I was in the hospital, possibly a heart attack, I don’t remember.
From the note I left myself here, I remember the gist of a conversation I had with a nurse. Now I can’t remember the lead in, but, Our conversation went something like this:
Nurse: you have the courage of a lion.
Me: huh?
Nurse: a lion has the curiosity to know what is going on around him. Then fearlessly faces it head on. Much like how you are dealing with your whole situation.
Me: (surprised but flattered) huh, thank you. I am sure my chest puffed out a little.
Nurse: you have the internal and external strength of that lion, no matter what you just power your way through it moving ahead.
Me: feeling really flattered, well thank you. I am sure my chest was puffed out to the almost bursting level.
Nurse: and you are like a mule.
Me: a mule?????
Nurse: too determined or to stubborn to give in to anything thrown at you.
Me: a mule, ahh, hmm, well thank you. Chest deflating a little.

I know there was more to the conversation that I just don’t remember. I read the note I had left myself and got a chuckle out of the mule thing.

Coming to terms with dying

June 25, 2015

I put up a post yesterday. I started with a topic in mind then with my typical rambling style went off on a tangent in a totally different direction. It is true there is so much happening in the world that is beyond my ability to grasp even in the slightest way.
Where I was going with the post is I have come to the realization, I am totally confusing myself. That being my reaction to the new symptoms I have been experiencing over the past 1 1/2 years or so. It took meditation and a lot of soul searching to come to this realization. When I can see and understand something I am able to deal with it much more easily.
For years now I have been, I suppose you could say “living on the edge of death”. By that I simply mean my reality is, I don’t know if I will be here even this afternoon. When I go to sleep at night, I don’t know if I will wake up in the morning. Now it is true that in fact that does apply to each and everyone of us. While that is reality for everyone, most live in denial. Any such thoughts are surreal about an event that will happen years down the line. Definitely no time soon.
You hear the words, you are dying, come out of your doctor’s mouth and there is an immediate big change. The surreal suddenly becomes very real. It took me time to reach a level Of acceptance. With that acceptance came a level of internal peace. I can’t say I have ever reached the point of being totally OK with the idea and don’t imagine I ever will. I did though reach the point of acceptance that OK, this sucks. There is nothing I can do about it so let’s make the best of each day.
I have been amazingly blessed to have survived 5 heart attacks. It has been made clear because of the condition of my heart #6 is looming on the horizon. When that one hits, down I will go and will not be getting up. Should likely be quick bang and it is over with. That is what I have been expecting, that is what I had come to terms with in my mind. Relative little discomfort followed with a quick end. I suppose it could be said I was accepting under my terms and conditions being the relative little discomfort followed by the quick end.
About 2 years ago that all changed with the onset of the AFlutter and AFib. With that the relative little discomfort levels suddenly ramped up considerably from what it had been. I admit I struggle with this not only physically but mentally. This was beyond the terms of my acceptance level. Things are not going according to my plan of how it should all go.
I have written of my episodes. According to my plan none of this should be happening . Especially as this is a whole new heart issue, has nothing to do with the heart failure or that looming heart attack. It is just a new and uncomfortable condition.
Slowly I am learning to deal with. But, It has slowly came to me. Things in life don’t always go according to my plan. There is a much bigger picture to consider, things happen according to God’s plan. I sure wish He would whisper in my ear what that plan is. One day I will find out.
I have prayed many times, placing myself in God’s hands, asking that His will be done in my life. I pray that God’s will be done in my life and this happens. Obviously His plan and my plan are not in sync. I do know God is actively at work in my life. Knowing this some how makes it easier to come to terms with all that is happening.

A straight, white, Christian male is superior: to who???

June 22, 2015

With age comes wisdom, phooey. The only thing that seems to becoming clearer in my own head head is how little I am able to understand about the world around me. The more I try to understand the more confused I get.
In my mind ALL of the people in this world, irregardless of anything, fall into one of 3 categories. 90% of all people are just regular, honest, hardworking folks. Trying their best to raise their families and trying to just get through their day dealing with their own issues. About 5% are what I call Earth Angels.
These are those that step up to help another in need, be the person in need family or even a total stranger. That leaves the remaining 5% that are just plain jerks. I see the lines separating those groups as being very fluid, in that depending on the situation or circumstance we each can drift into each of those groupings.
Now there are things I am proud of. I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to have Irish and English blood in my veins. I am a straight, white guy. Now that is a fact I am neither proud nor ashamed of. That is just who I am and I never give it any thought. I see myself as just an average guy, admittedly a confused white guy.
I am confused. I happened to be born into a white, Christian based family, so that makes me special??? How??
I am confused. What possible difference could a persons skin colour make? I was just out on the step admiring the beauty of Vi’s flower beds. There are dozens of different colours. Each different colour adding to the overall beauty. It just wouldn’t be the same should it be limited to say just white flowers?
I am confused. Personally, I have a very Christian based belief system in place. I rely on it and lean on it heavily to keep me going. That is clear in my own mind. Here is where I am confused. Hey I actually googled this. Christianity is the largest religion in the world with approx. 1/3 of the world population is Christian. What surprised me was that it is made up of 33,000+ denominations. As a group, Christians, myself included can’t agree on the “one right way” to worship. I mean 33,000+ denominations. If within “our own Christian group” we can’t decide on the “right way to worship”. How can we be judgemental of others?
Wow, really went off on a tangent here. Started off with the idea of written about how I was confusing myself with some of my thoughts and reactions with my current medical situation. Have to get to that another day.
Just thinking there is one person in this world I am superior to. That is me, myself. I know I am a better person than the one I so often show to the world

Individual Privacy

June 16, 2015

Haven’t been on line much of late. Energy level is near zero. Spend virtually my entire day in or on the bed. Thank goodness for TV in the bedroom. Constant rapid heart beat causes extreme fatigue. Low blood pressure, light headed, dizziness. The ablation, designed to improve quality of life seemed to have had the opposite affect. It was done on the right side of the heart which some how seems to have made the left side act up. Breathing has been an issue for years but that difficulty seems to have been ramped up considerably.
I am tired of my health issues being the many focus of everything. Struggling to come to acceptance of my new level of physical activity. Been in this situation before and know I can deal with it.
Hey, I am a hockey fan. Have cheered for the Black Hawks since I was a kid. Last night they won the Stanley Cup. Now that makes me happy.
One of my greatest enjoyment is early in the morning just sitting at the table sipping my coffee and reading the paper. After I read an article, I often like to sit back and think about it. I know there are 2 sides to every story. I try to imagine myself being on the other side of the story. I look to see if I can get even a glimmer of understanding of the rational or thinking of who ever committed the crime or what ever the story is about. Can I imagine a set of circumstances that would lead me to do the same. It is just a silly game I play. The vast majority of the time I just end up shaking my head, nope can’t get my head anywhere close to even the slightest understanding.
Here is an example of what is banging around in my head today.
There seems to be a big issue about personal privacy. By this I mean what the Goverment is entitled to know about us. In the war on terror, it has apparently been made easier for the security agencies to “spy” on us, by tapping our phones, reading email etc.. Bluntly, I don’t care. I can’t imagine why any police or government agency would ever want or see the need to listen to our phone conversations. But, go for it, just don’t care. If you have nothing to hide why would you care.
I would go as far as saying, so much of this is just designed to protect the bad guys. I would even be in favour of setting up some sort of national DNA data bank, containing the DNA of absolutely everyone. If that was available to police how many more bad guys would be caught. Why would the average person care if their DNA was on file?
That’s in my head today. Let me know what you think.
I find playing these mind games is a good distraction from other thoughts that can creep into my head

Reluctance to go to the hospital

June 1, 2015

Things have changed quite a bit over the past several months. I have written about my almost nightly episodes. It has reached the point where on 5 separate occasions I have actually fainted/passed out with them. Now I have never actually fainted or passed out before. I am not sure if the epileptic seizures count. But they were different in that I would just be doing what ever and the next thing I knew I was down on the ground with no warning or idea how I got there.
These are different. It hits me like a sudden wave. It feels like my head is swimming and that my body has lost all strength and down I go. First 2 I hit the floor pretty hard. Human’s are so adaptable. I realized, when that wave hits in a matter of maybe 2 or 3 seconds I am going down. Once I am down my head is just swimming, I can’t focus and am not sure how clearly I am thinking. I have zero strength, can’t do anything. Thankfully this is short term maybe a minute, my head clears and the body returns to normal. Within 3 or 4 minutes, I am fine.
My point with this is I learned that I have that initial 2 or 3 seconds of warning time as the thinking ability fades away. I have learned to quickly drop to my hands and knees or at least grab on to something to help break the fall. Now I am sure this is blood pressure related as, as soon as I am able, I check my blood pressure and it will be something like 70/48 with my heart just racing. I have also learned that at that point, just lay down for 10 minutes or so and everything returns to normal.
Now seeing this obviously causes Vi great concern and she is in a panic to get me to the hospital. She gets quite annoyed when I refuse to go. Now, I do have my reasons.
Firstly, I know these episodes are short. By the time we could physically get to the hospital everything will have settled back to normal. What could they do but monitor me for 3 or 4 hours and send me home. I would be tying up an uncomfortable hospital bed needleessly. Would definitely be more comfortable at home.
Now my awareness of/fear of taking up a bed needlessly is based on a couple of experiences. Several years back, I went to the hospital with all the classic heart attack symptoms chest pain, breathing issues, sweating, left arm the whole thing. At the ER you have to present to triage where you are assessed. When I present I am always immediately rushed into the back. As I arrive I see the triage nurse is just finishing with a patient. I take the closest chair as I am going to jump the line and present next. Now I don’t even know where he came from but suddenly some guy jumped in front of me. Now my first reaction was to get upset, thinking of potentially how serious my condition was. My first inclination was to rush up and demand to be seen first as I as there first, never mind all the others in line that I was jumping in front of. I grudgingly sat back down thinking, this better be quick and quick it was. In almost no time they had him wheeled back into the ER with even the triage nurse going with him. I took the spot at the triage desk and within a minute a different nurse appeared. I was quickly assessed and also wheeled in the back. Being wheeled down the hall it was obvious there was a lot of activity in one room. Passing the room I looked in and could see it was the gentleman that had cut in front of me. I was put in the next room. I wasn’t even on to my bed when a code blue was called. People came running from everywhere all going into that next room. There was a lot of activity for 20-30 minutes then everything stopped. Approx. 30 minutes later a stretcher went by carrying what appeared to be a sheet covered coffin. I shutter when I think of the guilt I would be carrying today if I had as my first inclination been to pesh my way forward demanding to be seem first. If I had and later learned he had died. How would I deal with that.
Second point that follows/haunts me at the thought of taking up a bed needlessly. There is actually a medical inquiry going on here in Winnipeg. There is a lot to this story but a lady named Heather Brennan was obviously prematurely discharged from hospital. She was sent home in a cab and collapsed in her doorway as she entered her home. Ambulance was called taking her back to the hospital where she passed away the next day. Formal inquiry is ongoing but it seems a lack of beds likely at least contributed to this.. Things strike closer to home when someone you know is involved. Heather was a friend and neighbour, living but two doors down the street from us. I was at home actually saw the ambulance take here.
Wow, a real ramble here today. Tired myself out.