Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving causes me to reflect on just how much I have be be grateful for. When I was a teen I despised my parents much of the time. They were so strict and I felt that I was a wild bird who wanted to fly but all they could do was clip my wings. They were hard on me. When I screwed up I didn't get a sympathetic lecture on how everyone screws up. I got punished. I couldn't wait to get out of their house which is how I ended up marrying someone when I was just 17. The man was a college graduate who owned his own business and was highly intelligent. My father was relieved that I would have security. It blinded him to the fact that I was not mature enough to make a decision like that. It blinded him to the parts of the man's past that he lied about (which included his age.) Shortly after the marriage I called my Dad and asked him if I could move back home. He said no, that I would adjust. I did a lot of crazy things that year trying to cope with my feelings. It has only been in recent years that I realize my Dad couldn't understand how I felt. He once told me that love was a feeling but at a point it became a decision. Many years later you wouldn't have those feelings and you would have to honor your decision. He was really upset when I got divorced and he refused to help me in any way. He said some hurtful things at times and I just left telling him that I didn't want to hear it. I understand now that he was very worried about my health issues and financial future. He wanted me to be able to get anything I needed (not wanted but needed.) After he met and came to know Rob he learned to love him and sometimes he would just do very nice things for me. He finally got it. I am so grateful for the time that Dad and I finally understood each other. I forgive him for the times he failed me, as he forgave me for the same. This will be our first Thanksgiving without him and it's hard.

I am so grateful for my son. He battled leukemia at 16 for three and a half years. He is okay now. He is a mother hen calling me once or twice daily to check in on me. At times it gets on my nerves but there is nothing like having a child show they love you. He is also very verbal about that. He is a kind, caring and generous person.

I am most grateful for Rob. He uses every day he gets off work getting me to doctor's appointments or hospital admissions. He's the one who sees me when I fall apart and gently picks up the pieces. He is always empathetic and helps me in whatever ways he can. That to me is love. Always putting the needs of another over your own. I feel badly at times so whenever I can I try to spoil him a little. There is nothing I could ever do to repay Rob for all he has done for me. When you become ill you lose most of your friends. They just call less and less and back away. I few a few people who have hung in there with me but it's Rob who I truly count on. When I was younger I thought that my friends were more important than family. My view on that has changed a bit. They share the loss of a parent with you and your history. My siblings matter much more to me now than they used to, especially my sister. She will be here tomorrow with my mother, son, husband and I. Dad's presence will be missed but he is at peace. That's another thing I am grateful for. His death softened my mother and we are in a much better place than we have been in before.

I am also so grateful for the wonderful doctors who have gone the extra mile for me this year: Dr. Gilbert, Dr. Hirshfeld and Dr. Gopal and even a few others. Without the intervention of Dr. Gilbert who met me when I was in critical condition, I wouldn't still be here. I battle on for more Thanksgivings, more Christmases and more times just to feel loved. Life is so wonderful. Each day is a new adventure, a chance to meet a new friend and to remember those from the past. I wish I could give everyone I know a cup of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours.

Rob, myself and Tom at a wedding Sept. 2011

These are the people that keep me keeping on

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Saga Continues

On Monday I went back to Philly to see the cardiologist there. I also had an echo done. Without going into a lot of details the bottom line is that I still have pulmonary hypertension. It's hardly improved as a result of the surgery (although thankfully the valves are working perfectly.) The doctors and I had hoped that was the cause. Sadly, it wasn't and the problem persists. My heart will not be able to sustain the pressure without something happening ( I could not bring myself to ask just what might happen. That is so unlike me but I could tell by the doctor's demeanor that this was very serious.) As a result of the echo results, I need another heart catherization. I need a cardiologist brought on board (number 3) who knows all about the drugs used to get the pressure down and hopefully manage the problem. To say I'm depressed is an understatement. It's all I can do to drag myself out of bed and to cardiac rehab. I also have a small amount of fluid IN my right lung. Usually it is outside of the lung. This means if I come in contact with bacteria of certain types it might become pneumonia. I am trying to veg out and not let this overtake my thoughts.

I am having my mother, sister and son here with us for Thanksgiving. I am insisting that I do this because I welcome the distraction. The doctors office just called and wanted to schedule the procedure but I told them that the doctor first had to decide if he wanted me in the hospital when the new drugs are administered or it would be a one day procedure. In any event, the artery is cut and you have to be really low key for weeks. Not sure if I will be able to continue with cardiac rehab then.

That's just the news. It's rainy and dismal here today as it was yesterday. Just what I needed. I just need a few days to process all of this and get myself back to the place where I normally am knowing that I have overcome many obstacles in the past. I'm tough but that doesn't mean I don't have fears and feelings. I will get through this.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Too Much Going On

I don't know where to begin. The past two weeks have been filled with going to cardiac rehab when I am able to, doctor visits, lab visits and a three night home sleep test. The stomach/intestinal issues that started two weeks ago are still with me unfortunately. I have not had a meal or anything other than bland food since then. The stomach medicine works well in controlling the acid that was out of control prior to me taking it. Much better than previcid. If I feel nausea I have the Zofran which I have to take. My lung doctor had told me I would be hearing from a company which would be sending me a three night sleep study. This is a result of the surgery and weight loss possibly eliminating or lessening my sleep apnea. I sleep with a machine every night for it. Oxygen is bled into the machine and I get quality sleep. Losing over thirty pounds and/or heart surgery can change the severity of the apnea so a new test was necessary to determine what setting the machine should be on. Normally one goes to a sleep center (which I did last Fall.) Mine was like a nice hotel room and other than them constantly waking me to have me try different masks, it wasn't a bad experience. The home test takes three nights and if you have to go to the bathroom you have to release yourself from the machine. You are sleeping with something under your nose yet partially covering your mouth, a tube around your center and a finger oxygen monitor. You are closely tethered to the electrical unit and if you move the wrong way it talks to you which wakes you up. Not an ideal way to sleep. I was so ill Saturday night that I had to give up but then I managed to do it Sunday night. They need you to sleep at least four hours per night for the test. Today UPS is slated to come pick the box up and return it to the company. I have accumulated so many pieces of medical equipment the past two years. A huge liquid oxygen unit sits in my living room.

Last week I learned that an acquaintance from many years ago (a former pastor) had a valve replacement surgery. He was doing well and left the hospital and passed away last week. Rob lost an elderly aunt and my neighbor's mother (who lives with her) lost her partner of twenty-five years. My grandmother always said you lose people in threes.

There is much going on with trying to figure out our finances here. Rob is working a lot of overtime these days. Losing an income is hard. Had I been fired I would have been able to get unemployment for up to two years but because I am unable to work physically, I'm not eligible. I am trying to straighten up today. Trying to think of something for Rob for dinner. Something I have here. Time to search the freezer I guess.
Have a good week.