Friday, April 29, 2016

Doctor appointment

My doctor appointment went well today.  The pacemaker rep was there and ran a bunch of tests on my pacemaker and they all came out good.  The lead wire is still in place right where it should be and everything else checked out okay.  He says I still can't drive and I have to continue using the sling to remind me not to move my left arm any more than necessary.  But things are going very well.

I made a few phone calls to try to get those two warranty refund checks reissued but no one returned my calls so that will have to wait till Monday.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I went home Monday after all, but it was pretty late in the day by the time the doctor did the discharge papers.  They had a lot of emergencies on Monday and the doctor (and the nursing staff) were swamped.

So Linda and I got home Monday night and I still felt wonderful. My sister has been making sure I don't do anything strenuous and that I'm following all the recuperation instructions.

I go back to see the doctor tomorrow for my post-op checkup and I am sure it will go well.  I haven't felt this good in a long time so I feel pretty positive that he will say that it looks good.  And then I will have another five weeks of recuperation before I can get really active again.

Linda's car is still in Kansas being repaired from her "interaction" with that deer.  It might be done by Saturday and then I'm not sure when she'll be leaving ... Probably early next week.  She's got quite a few irons in the fire back in Missouri and shouldn't stay away too much longer.  I have sure appreciated her help, especially since I had to stay in the hospital much longer than anticipated.

She's been doing a lot of cooking here and fixing great meals.  And we've been watching a lot of old movies, especially Errol Flynn (my favorite actor).

Today I got two checks in the mail -- refunds from extended warranties we had on the two vehicles I traded in -- and the checks were made out to just Marshall so the banks won't let me deposit them.  So tomorrow I need to get that straightened out.

Monday, April 25, 2016

One more night

The doctor wants me to stay in hospital one more night to be sure the incision site is healing the way it should. And he wants me to have a few more antibiotic injections. So it looks like I will go home tomorrow.

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Good news

The pacemaker rep was just here to run some tests on my pacemaker and in her words, "The numbers look great." She consulted with my doctor and they reset the pacing rate from 70bpm to 60bpm.

The only troubling thing was that because the pacemaker has had issues and has been working harder than it should have been the estimated battery life is still showing only 1-1/2 years. But as good as I feel right now (and now that this surgery is becoming routine for me [ha]) I'll take it!!

As I was typing this the rep came back in and said she called her tech guys with regard to the battery life and they said it is possible that the battery will adjust itself as it adjusts to the wire being back where it is supposed to be and we may see the battery life improve over time. But I am incredibly happy that the wire is attached properly and I feel great.

I should be going home today and I have to be VERY CAREFUL for the first two weeks. My left arm is in an immobilizing sling and Linda will make sure I don't overdo it.

So I am just waiting for the doctor to discharge me.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Third time's a charm??

I had my third pacemaker surgery this morning. The surgeon had a pacemaker rep in the operating room with us and they kept me awake enough that I could communicate and do a few maneuvers when they asked me to.

The cardiologist said that there is a "flap" leading to the heart that he thinks may have been interfering with the screw that goes into the heart muscle and causing one of the pacemaker wires to dislodge and while he had the incision re-opened he would observe it. (At least this is my interpretation of what he said....)

When I got back to my hospital room I was awake and felt better than I have felt in weeks and I don't feel any erratic heartbeats so I am assuming that that means the surgery was a success.

Tomorrow I think the pacemaker rep will come and run a few tests that will determine where we stand. And I assume (hope) I will be discharged tomorrow.

Stay tuned....

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

What else can go wrong

They just ran some tests.

Pacemaker lead has come loose again and I am staying in the hospital and have more surgery scheduled for tomorrow. I am beginning to think I am jinxed.

My doctor seems to think I may be doing something to loosen the lead but I can't imagine what that would be.

I will be here a few more days.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Surgery is over

Got to hospital at 6:00AM. Surgery at 7:30. It went well. My doctor has a great sense of humor and so do all the hospital personnel. So there was a lot of giggling during the prep. For me, humor always calms me down so I went into la-la-land laughing.

Then I was taken to a room to recuperate and spend the night for observation. For six or seven hours my blood pressure was really low (83 over 50) and I got a lot of attention. But it is now normal again and except for a sore chest I am feeling pretty good.

My poor sister didn't make it to my house till about 9:30 last night so she was pretty tired but she got up at 4:30 to bring me here.

My left arm is in an immobilizing sling (the last time I got a very flimsy one) so along with that and my sister's eagle eye I should manage to not cause any problems with the pacemaker while everything is healing up.

That's it for now. Thanks for all the lovely messages.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gearing up for surgery

I'm trying to get myself mentally ready for this surgery -- can't wait till it's over.

My sister was driving here from Missouri and was due to get here last night (she was going to drive straight through, the whole 14 or 15 hours) but around 2AM she hit a deer at 75mph and it really did a number on her car.  She is all right, but the car isn't.  She said that was the second deer she hit - the first one was already dead but was on the highway.

Sooooo, since I am a great worrywart (she was so CALM), all I could think of was her stranded out on I-70 in the middle of Kansas. I got online and helped her find the nearest Chevrolet dealer to where she was so that she could start making calls at 8:30 this morning and she said she would just snooze in the car in the meantime (as if she had a choice).  She says she will probably have to rent a car (let's hope Enterprise's promise of bringing the car to you is a promise they keep) and leave her car somewhere to be fixed and we'll just drive back to Kansas next week to pick it up and return the rental car.  But it wasn't really possible to go back to sleep after that.

I am assuming she will be here in time for my hospital fun, but I am more interested in her being safe and doing what she needs to do.  Stay tuned for more of this soap opera.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Coco

Coco Mullins
1/21/2001 - 4/17/2016

Coco had a seizure at 4:30 this morning (that was so scary). I had him at the vet by 5:30. It would have been sooner except there was a lot of snow to deal with.

When we got there, the convulsions had ended but he was disoriented and it was very clear that it was time. The vet (Community Pet Hospital in Thornton) was wonderful and kept me and Coco calm. I am so grateful that this happened at a time when I could be the last person that Coco saw or smelled. He went to sleep with me holding him. Couldn't ask for more.

I am having surgery on Friday and my sister will be here. It would have been awful if this all happened under her watch and while I was in the hospital.

I am having him cremated and I will spread his ashes along with Marshall's in Ohio sometime this spring.

Now I'm back home and I can spend the day crying. Another chapter of my life is over with.

When I got home, my very sensitive and loving cat, Okie, demanded to be on my lap and he actually gave me kisses. Animals have a sixth sense, don't they?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Doctor visit

 Well, it turns out I definitely need another surgery to re-attach one of the leads and to put new batteries in.  If I can remember everything he said, here it is:

He said that the pacemaker is definitely NOT causing the little shocks/jolts I've been feeling.  When I asked for other possibilities, he said it could be nerves or it could be some long name having to do with the diaphragm.  I guess I need to do a little research.

He said that the left lead is working perfectly, it's the right one that's displaced.

He also said that the pacemaker is constantly "pacing" which is not ideal.  Most pacemakers sit back quietly and wait until needed and then kick in, but that mine never sits back quietly, it is always pacing at 100%.  I assume that is because of the loose lead but I could not think of all the questions to ask him until I got out to the car (of course)

Because the pacemaker is pacing at 100%, it is using battery power pretty quickly, so a battery that should last 8 to 10 years is only estimated to last 1.5 years.  If I did nothing at this point, I would be going in for surgery every year.

Now, with regard to the surgery, he said it is not an emergency but should be sooner rather than later.  He needs 5 or 6 days lead time in order for me to stop the Warfarin well before the surgery. I am to call his office whenever I have a time frame in mind.  I will be in the hospital overnight and then will have the same recuperation instructions as I had before:  one week to 10 days with my left arm in a sling and no driving, no lifting, etc.  And then 5 to 6 weeks of taking it easy.

On another note, Coco had a minor emergency on Friday.  He collapsed and couldn't get up.  I rushed him to the vet and by the time we got there he was okay again (as okay as he's going to get, I guess).  He is now on a muscle relaxer, steroids and painkillers, along with a few other things.  They make him tired and he sleeps a lot but he does not appear to be in any pain so I will just watch him closely and get all the cuddle time I can get.  It's so sad.  But I won't let him suffer.  He still eats, drinks, and gets excited about treats so that's good.

By the way, if I haven't mentioned this, Marshall's headstone is now done and has been placed at the burial plot that his sister Audrey procured.  We are starting to consider when we will spread his ashes at his headstone -- we are thinking we will do it in May or June.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Whirlwind Week

Coco and I went down to Westcliffe on Sunday for a few days to take care of some things. The new solar batteries have not been installed yet so the power situation was a little dicey. The generator is fixed, though, and it just needed a starter. That was a relief.

There were several things around the house that needed fixing -- it is amazing how a house that isn't being lived in can have so many little problems -- so I spent some time figuring out how to fix things.

On Monday I took Marshall's truck (with the help of a neighbor) to the dealership -- they had told me they would buy it back -- and since I could not keep up with two vehicles I decided to take them up on it. But when we got there with the truck and with my car, the salesman suggested I might trade in both vehicles and get a new car. That was very appealing because my car had nothing but bad memories. Marshall and I had gotten that car just to transport him back and forth to his ugly appointments and every time we were in the car he was in pain.

So they gave me a good deal and after a long day at the dealership, I left with a new car and my car payment was cut down to 1/3 of what it was.

I had dinner with friends Monday night and then Tuesday morning Coco and I headed back to Thornton. Coco was pretty sick all day Tuesday. I hope it was just because of the different surroundings and he was missing "home."

Then today Marshall's cousin from Chicago was in town and I met him for a delicious dinner at Shanahan's [as in Mike Shanahan] Steak House.

Tomorrow is my weekly doctor visit to get my blood INR checked. Also I need to talk to them about the pacemaker. It is giving me little electrical jolts that don't feel right.

I called the ophthalmologist and he can't see me until June, but I went ahead and made the appointment anyway.

I also made an appointment with a primary care doctor so I can get a local medical relationship going.

And I'm still not totally unpacked from my move. I just can't get motivated.

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