Friday, February 24, 2012

YaHoo, I am Good To Go

Had my two-week checkup with the Medtronics factory rep and my cardiologist. Well, it seems since I left the hospital I have only used J&J 9.4% of the time for the last 2 weeks in the upper chamber and less than one percent in the lower chamber - 90% of the time my heart has worked on its own. My son said that now that the stress and worry of wondering when I was going to have a fainting experience, is out of my mind I can relax. It's terrible what any kind of stress can do to you. No adjustments to the pacemaker were necessary.

One of the other many things J&J reports is how much "activity" I have done - ahhhhhhh, in the last two weeks it's only been 2 hours worth. Yaaaaak. So I asked my cardio what are my limits and he said the only limit is not to raise my left arm higher than my shoulder for the next 4 weeks - I can live with that. Let's see, I can finish painting the bathroom walls with one arm (ceiling may have to wait), sew up the new curtains, do some spring yard cleaning, clean out my truck, make the kids pillowcases for hospitals, do some work on the trailer - that ought to raise my "activity" hours before my next report in a month.

Now to just get through this bronchitis . . . . .

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Felt J&J Kicking In

Around 10:15 p.m. Saturday night, I was in my recliner reading a book, when all of a sudden I felt my old flush feeling that I would get when the heart would (as I now know) quit working - it's kind of like when you tromp down on the accelerator of your vehicle hard and there is that hesitation before it takes off (at least on older vehicles, it use to do that!) - a hesitation before the heart responded. I immediately started reading my pulse and it was pretty slow at first, then I could feel it picking up speed. Think I counted 60 beats in that minute. Five minutes later I was back up to my usual 73 beats per minute. Now I have a question to ask my cardiologist: Do these sudden starts to the heart muscles cause "wear & tear" eventually?

Thursday I am having lunch with a few of my former work associates; and, then Friday daughter will drive me to my appointment with the cardiologist and J&J's (pacemaker) manufacturer rep to check everything out and make adjustments to J&J. I have been keeping a log of feelings and events to coincide with what they will ask me from the reading.

J&J's battery lifespan is anywhere from 7 to 12 years I am told, depending on how often it needs to give a jolt; my visits for checkups start out frequently and then lessen as time goes on. Each time the battery is checked and when it gets close to the end of its life, then it's time for another pm. I received my "CareLink" (sending J&J's checkups via telephone) the other day and they start out as once a month, then at 6 months I'll call every 3 months to send a report, and so on.

I use to think pm's were for "old" people; but, reading the online support group's comments and answers to questions, there are a lot of teenagers, 20-30 year olds with pm's and a number that are on their 3rd, 4th and even 5th pm. Like anything new one gets into, there is a lot of learning.

Friday, February 17, 2012

J&J and I Are Doing Good Today

I woke up feeling GREAT this morning compared to the other mornings this past week. So far no huffing and puffing episodes, nor increased heart beats per minute. I don't feel tired either. I think my pacemaker just wanted a name that includes it as a part of me - hence J&J (first initial of kids names).

I even drove down to our local grocery store to get some deli lunch and gallon milk for housemate. Then stopped off at our new little bakery in town, but it was lunch time, crowded but did glance at what is available. Want to check out their available coffees sometime.

Sun is out and it's almost 60ยบ, so think will grab my book and sit out on the porch for awhile and read.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's Been A Week Since My New Body Addition

I have joined an online pacemaker support group and one of the first things a lot of folks said to do is to "name" your pacemaker; so, I am naming mine "J&J" - which are the first initials of my kids names. So when I say "J&J" readers will know who I am talking about. Oh, I'll prompt each posting, so don't worry about forgetting "what/who" J&J is.

Well, it's been quite a week of learning. I am slowly getting use to the idea that I might not pass out/faint when sitting or laying down fast. I said "slowly". I've had a couple of incidents when I thought it was going to happen by just moving - not like I was dodging a bullet or jumping out of the way of a speeding car - just a simple move, like turning around and taking 5 or 6 steps. It was like a top-of-the-head flash feeling and I held myself up in the doorway. My heart had a slightly higher heart rate. That was the first part of the week.

The last couple of days it's has been getting up from sitting for awhile or doing a simple chore like loading the washing machine, no lightheadness, but my heart rate jumps up to 80 beats per minute from around 70 and wowwie the breathing increases too. J&J is set to give me a kick when the heart beats get down to 60 and a normal rate of 70. I am exhausted today.

The incision area is healing up very nice, in fact it hardly hurts at all. The swelling is going down and I can kind of tell where J&J is. I got my telephone transmission gizmo thingie today and will call in the morning to let them know I have it. I get to send the heart monitor telephone transmission gizmo thingie back after one use. And, I can return the heart monitor marker next week, when I visit my doctor. They will be refurbished to be used again.

I have an appointment on the 24th for adjustment, but am going to call the doc's office tomorrow morning and ask what is J&J doing; or, what Iam doing or not doing. So meanwhile, I get up very slowly . . .

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thank You to Everyone

I really, truly appreciate all the comments and support I have received.

I really didn't realize how serious this was until I arrived at the hospital in Hutchinson Ks and was shortly taken into the preparation area. I was given the nickname of "Emily, among the walking dead". Apparently, when the monitor reading was looked at, it showed I had moments of inactivity of the heart (some days 2 or 3 times in a couple of days), in other word I had flat-lined a bunch. They kept asking me if I had fainted because of how long some of them had lasted. Nope. I knew something was going on 'cause I had a lot of the feelings of starting to hyperventilate.

Had many of the heart-vascular staff that I had had when the heart monitor was installed the week earlier. We had a joyful time joking and kidding with each other. Great people at the Promise Hospital. Unfortunately, my cardiologist was not available to do surgery, but his partner Dr Hagley was called in. I liked him almost as well as my regular cardiologist, Dr M. Janif.

I have a dual chamber pace maker that works with both upper and lower heart chambers. It was checked this morning before leaving the hospital and it's working, a greater percentage "charging" the lower chamber. Still not ready to check out to see if will faint when laying or sitting down too fast. Left shoulder hurts too much anyway. Gonna be a slow two weeks before I see my cardio and can quit wearing this arm sling.

Guess, the bathroom painting project and moving the bedroom furniture around will take a break for a few weeks. Daughter Juno and I both slept for 4+ hours this afternoon after getting home. She stayed in my room last night on a cot. Was so thankful she was able to take time off from work and a big thank you to her bosses for letting her.

Thank you again everyone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Pace Maker to the Rescue

I mentioned a medical situation in a previous posting. Well, been having too many fainting spells. A heart monitor was inserted in my chest a week ago Wednesday and I sent in my first report this morning to the heart center in Hutchinson ( had to wait for the communication mechanism to arrive here - did last night). Not more than 30 minutes later, got a call from the cardiologists office and they wanted me in Hutchinson ASAP to have a pace maker inserted - no Monday or Tuesday, TODAY. The pauses are too long.

So daughter is taking the afternoon off and driving me down to Hutchinson. I will be staying over night and be back home tomorrow, Saturday.

Now, I will have a new kinship with all the other pacemaker folks out there. Be back later to report how I am doing. Thanks ahead of time for all your thoughts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Southern Fried Cabbage meets the Southwest

I am experimenting with my fried cabbage. It's good and I love it but today I wanted to "add" something to it. So I added some Hatch green chile and cilantro. Need a lot more green chile and a bit more cilantro. Hmmmm, maybe next time might add some salsa!

We had snow yesterday and last night - around an inch. Streets and sidewalks were warm enough to melt off the snow.

Been working on the bathroom with getting ready for painting and have a coat of primer on two walls and a light yellow on the same two walls. Ceiling is ready for painting but am waiting on that until I get the other two walls done. Not in any hurry. Hey, that's what's nice about retirement. Haven't found a border paper yet that I like, but since that is the last thing I'll do I have plenty of time to keep searching.

Time to start getting stuff ready for income tax. In glancing thru everything, looks like no tax owed; but, the bad part no refund either. Haven't even looked at the state forms yet. Usually, I have to take part of my federal refund to pay my state IOU.

And, it looks like with the rains we had before the snow, that I didn't get all the leak fixed around the trailer's ceiling fan vent. Well, this time it won't take me long to get to the source of the leak - just some nice weather, open Eggie up and take the fan apart again.

I keep reading my friends blogs and stay up with the various Casita trailer folks I know and how they are traveling around, spending time in the beautiful southern AZ deserts, meeting at Quartzsite, boondocking out in the California deserts - and here I sit. Waaawaawaa.

Won't be much traveling for me this year and maybe next. Besides wanting to get the house fixing up done, am having some medical expenditures that I will tell about later - maybe in the next month or two. Want to report the positive outlook of the whole situation.