Monday, March 21, 2011

starting over

It's been almost six months since I last posted anything here, and that was an entry re-directing my regular readers to a journal I'm keeping about my wild ride through Medical Wonderland.

Does anybody keep blogs any more, or are we all using social media like Facebook? I don't know, but I think I'll resurrect this to give me a place to rant and rave about issues other than my medical situation and see who notices. I'll need to stay away from politics, though, to avoid giving myself a heart attack. At the moment, I'm looking forward to a trip to Boston to help celebrate a grandson's first birthday and our anniversary. Daughter Megan is also celebrating a birthday but she's in Seattle and we'll have to use Skype or extrasensory perception to get her involved in our party.

It's a sad commentary on the State of Florida that none of our kids are likely to move back to Florida, and our governor and state legislature are doing their best to make it all even worse. Oops, there I go on a political topic. Ugh. I can feel the bad taste in my mouth already. It's time to think positive thoughts, like maybe the prospect of seeing FSU win the NCAA basketball tournament. FSU went to the finals against UCLA on March 25, 1972, and lost by a close margin - a date that lives in our memory because it was our wedding night, and of course we had to stay up to see the conclusion of the game. Our marriage has had a much happier history than FSU's basketball program!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

whoa, hoss, not so fast

I'm going to keep this short. Today I learned that my lymphoma has reared its ugly head again. This will require two more chemo treatments in October, then more vital organ testing in November, and admission to Moffitt Cancer Center in mid-December if all goes well, not on November 9.

My heart surgery delayed my admission in August, as initially planned, but that surgery was necessary. Some good news is that (if all goes well) I will be back home in five weeks, not ten weeks as I understood earlier.

This my last use of this blog to post updates about my medical situation. Go to for the rest of the story. That's an easier place for people to interact by leaving messages, and I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recovered, more or less

It's been six and a half weeks since my by-pass surgery and I'm mostly healed, thank God. It ony hurts when I sneeze. I've started cardio exercises where they connect me to a wireless EKG and monitor my heart rate as I "work out," for lack of a better term. The last session included twelve minutes on a treadmill (boring), twelve minutes on a stationary bicycle (even more boring), and some very limited exercises with four-pound (!) dumbells, followed by some stretching. There's a man who brings a CD with hit songs from the Fifties that they play on the sound system, the stuff they'd play for slow waltzes at a sock hop. (I wonder if kids today know what a "sock hop" was?) I'm going to make a CD with some rock and roll suitable for exercising by old guys like me. One of the nurses begged me to do so, so I will.

Last week, the highlight for me was a "procedure" by a urologist to try and save what's left of my left kidney. I will spare you the details, gentle reader, but if you Google "kidney" and "stent," you'll get the idea. I spent last weekend cursing the urologist and swore that I'd call him on Monday to demand it be removed, but by Monday it had settled down from agonizing to merely irritating and now it's tolerable, even without pain pills. I just hope it works.

Next week I'll go to Moffitt in Tampa for three days of testing. In early November I'll check into their facility for the serious stuff. I will keep you posted!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Recovering, slowly (cont'd)

I spent six days in the hospital after my surgery, each day marking a very slow return to "normal." The first few days were marked by little signs of progress - getting out of bed and into a chair, inhaling through an "incentive spirometer" to re-inflate the lungs, going for a short walk, going for a longer walk, and so on. I noticed that some of the nurses are very pretty, which I take as a good sign. I'm getting very tired of being awakened every hour for checking of vital signs and being rousted out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to be weighed.

I got home on Sunday, Aug. 15, thanking God and the magical mysteries of modern medical science and several excellent doctors! Had to sleep upright in an easy chair for nearly two weeks. Sleep is interrupted by having to get up and pee every 1.5 hours, thanks in part to doc's instructions to drink two liters of water a day. I'm getting steadier on my feet and quit using the walker several days ago. I saw my cardiologist last Friday and got an "attaboy" and a "sounds good." If he's happy, I'm delirious.

Watching the Rays play baseball lately is NOT good for a heart patient; they've been losing or winning by a single run in games that go down to the wire.

I am grateful for Facebook, where I've reconnected with friends going all the way back to elementary school. Many of them have been very supportive for the past three weeks and I love them all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recovering, slowly

My trip to the hospital, three weeks ago, left me feeling like I'd been run over by a cement mixer, but beginning the second day after the surgery, every day has been just a little better than the day before.

The night of the surgery I was in La-La Land thanks to heavy-duty anesthetics and pain killers, but I was conscious enough to know I'd had five by-passes. The next night was a trip through hell because of the drainage tubes in my chest that prevented me from lying comfortably, and a rapid and irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation). I just knew I was lying across a two-by-four and that was causing the a-fib. I finally got to sleep some time after 3:30 a.m.

The next day, the second day after surgery, they removed the drainage tubes and things got much, much better. In fact, every day since has been better than the day before! I started walking while in the hospital and practiced inhaling through a gizmo with a blue "float" to expand my lungs back to normal and avoid pneumonia.


Sunday, August 08, 2010


Well, I came in Thursday for an angioplasty and maybe a stent. But, no stent. Instead, they said I need bypass surgery. So I've been cooling my heels in a private room in the cardiac surgery unit, which will be my recovery room after the operation tomorrow, playing with my laptop, iPod Touch, cell phone, and Kindle, thinking positive thoughts. My friends on Facebook, which include more than a hundred real friends and relatives, have sent me all sorts of positive vibes.

When my father was the same age I am now, he had bypass surgery in the same hospital where I am now. That was in 1978. He did well and he lived another 17 years after that, to see his granchildren grow from infants to soccer players. I'll never forget the night before his surgery. I was scared to death but he was as calm as he could be. He didn't fear death and he had utmost confidence in the doctors. The doctors know even more today than they did then, and this hospital is rated among the top 100 in the country for heart surgery. I don't fear death, I also have confidence in the doctors, and all I really want is to get it over with!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

finally, a little progress

I got word yesterday that my "procedure" (angioplasty, balloon, stent, Roto Rooter, whatever) is scheduled for Thursday, two weeks later than it would have happened if I didn't have to wait so long for my platelets to come back up AND if my cardiologist hadn't been out of town. That's good. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel six months ago but it was only a 40-watt light bulb and somebody's moved it several times. You've heard the expression, "waiting for the other shoe to drop?" I've heard two or three shoes drop and I'm waiting for the next one. In theory, I don't like the idea of what they are about to do to me, but in reality I'm just going to take a couple of books and maybe my laptop and ride it out. In Thursday, home Friday, seems to be the plan. More later . . .