My Mom

Posted on April 24, 2009. Filed under: family, First Life, Health, Mom's Surgery, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m condensing this post from a few emails I’ve sent round, so this will be a chronological record of how the information has come to me and such.

Wednesday, April 22nd, Mom went in for a scheduled round of surgery.

There was a laundry list of stuff to do:

repair or replace both the mitral and tricuspid valve
replace the aortic valve (same as me)
Maze Procedure/Ablation to try to kick her out of the 4 years running atrial fibrillation she’s been in
replace the “jumper cables” on her pacemaker (iPod)
a bypass (dunno where sorry) as it was occluded 80%

The surgery ran maybe an hour longer than the projected 6 – 7 hours due to the amount of scar tissue encountered (from previous surgeries), they didn’t do anything to the mitral valve as it was only leaking 1 on a scale of 1 – 4, but otherwise it went well, the surgeons were pleased.

That’s the good news.

However, she won’t wake up. The CAT scan and EEG’s don’t show a stroke. They’ll repeat the same tests tomorrow (Fri 4/24) which will show if there was one today (Thurs 4/23). As I’ve been running a low grade temp this week I can’t go down there even. Marissa is there of course, staying downtown, losing her damn mind. As much difficulty has I have w/my mom I sure don’t want this.

I know that if she’s at all conscious of this, which I don’t think she is, as there are hardly any arousal signs on the EEG according to Gregg, but if she is, she’s fighting like hell. Stubborn and not giving up on life would be two core descriptors of my mom. Still this is awful.

I don’t know much more because when I talk to Marissa, she’s wound so much tighter than usual, I’m afraid to ask her anything and stress her more. It’s just not worth the added stress for her. I know she’s bird dogging the Drs.

So, I”m a lil stressed, frustrated and anxious, waiting for a few calls a day from Marissa or Gregg w/status updates.

I’ll let you guys know more when I know more.

***************************

Just got off the phone w/Marissa (mid-morning Friday 4/24).

She’s waiting for the full team of Drs to make their rounds, they’ve not yet done the CAT scan today yet either, so we don’t know a lot more.

Her sodium is high, they’re working to bring that down, and for some reason her right leg was spasming all night long on and off, got kinda beat up flopping off the bed when Marissa or the nurse couldn’t catch it.

Marissa finally took a Xanax and got about 3 hours sleep. She’s not yet been to the hotel room, she canceled it. I think after the Neurologist comes by she may run home for a shower and change of clothes.

So far today my temp has held steady at normal so if I can hang in there for 24 hrs. I’ll be headed downtown too.

Feel free to call or text my cell at any point.
I’m keeping Skype up so they can reach me there too or call out clearly.
(If you don’t have those contact numbers, email me or comment below and I’ll send it to you “on the side”.)

I’ll send more info when I know more, thanks.

************************

Here’s the latest (a/o about noon Friday 4/24):

Her EEG shows signs of seizure-like activity in the right hemisphere, consistent with a stroke.

Her vitals are still solid.

No idea at this time the extent of damage or the duration of the seizures.

She’s on anti-seizure meds.

The EEG was discontinued at noon instead of 3 pm as they’d already gotten the information noted above that they needed. Some time after noon they’ll perform another CAT scan.

Marissa is on her way home for a shower and clean up and change of clothes, will turn around and head back afterward.

A stroke is one thing Mom was particularly scared of having happen, this will piss her off to no end, which I hope will work in her favor in recovery.

That’s all I know right now. Thanks guys.

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Going Home Tomorrow!

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Linkage & W(a/o)nderings | Tags: , , , , |

Tomorrow, at a yet to be determined time, I’ll be heading back to the land of decent net connections, true low fat, high flavor food and my beloved squooshy couch!

Saw the cardiologist today and got the go-ahead to depart. The team at the rehab/nursing facility were also comfy w/me leaving as long as he approved.

Did find out one semi-scary but “whew!” thing at the cardiologist’s today though. Apparently I’m one of those rare folks that reacts funny to the anti-arrhythmia drug Amioderone (or whatever it’s called). He said, and I quote “Your ekg scared the bejeesus out of me.”. Seems that it makes my electrical impulses go nutty in such a way that I could go into cardiac arrest. That’s why he took me off it after 3 days.

Frankly I”m glad he didn’t tell us about it till now, Pops and I would have both probably arrested then. Love my cardiologist. Dude’s all over it and does things so nicely.

I”ll still be NOT driving for another 3 weeks or so, still being very careful about moving around, not carrying much weight and all, but I will be going to a nearby facility for more rehab work and exercise. There’s one not too far from the house that even has water stuffs so I can go easy on the knees while I walk!

First and foremost I’m delighted to have the ticking time bomb in my chest fixed. That was a bit of background noise to everything I did or didn’t do from the moment we found out about it. My blood pressure is a little lower now, I”m guessing because I am not backwashing through the deformed valve, nor the distended aorta. Yea Dr. team & a lil choice traife!

I am looking foreward to being able to eventually work and walk a little harder than before, to being able to swim again, bike again and just in general move about with less difficulty. That’s the real reason for the gastric surgery, which lead to the cardiac surgery. Well then there’s the modeling career.

Just checking to see if you’re paying attention!

hahaha

I’m glad I came here, but very happy to be going home. Thank you all for your visitsand support and thoughts and help and notes and flowers and calls and emails and all that good stuff. I consider you all part of the team of folks helping me get better.

I’ll be blogging from home soon!

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Countdown to Surgery

Posted on February 16, 2009. Filed under: computers, DJing, First Life, Friends, Health, RadioRadio, Real Life, Second Life, voice | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Early this Thursday morning, I”ll make like lobster and be cracked open to repair a congenital defect in my aorta, and replace the subsequent damage to the valve as well. I should be in ICU for about 24 hours, then 4 – 6 more days in the hospital, with an estimated 2 week stay at an aftercare facility across the street from the hospital.

I’ve got a few folks that are gonna be there with me while I’m being operated on, the loan of a laptop upon which I’m writing this post and the support of all of you lovely folks to help me along. Mostly I anticipate the dopey state of the last surgery, where I remember a few moments of the whole thing but mostly I think I stared at the tv without much comprehension. Aaah the joys of hydrocodone & other tasty opiates!

I’m told I’ll have internet connectivity there, and this lappie so I”ll be able to post here, on Plurk, FaceBook, etc. as well as email. I suspect this will keep me from being bored quite nicely. I’ll be on hiatus from DJing while away, so I’ll be tuning in to RadioRadio quite a bit I suspect, to while away the hours and listen to the killer live sets!

As with last year’s surgery, right now I’m preoccupied with preparations, remembering to pack what I need/want, trying to leave the house in decent shape for when I return, that mundane stuff. Again, I really like my surgeon, my cardiologist does too, so that eases a lot of tension. He’s a pro, does this all the time and does the bleeding edge procedures few can. This will all happen at the same hospital that did the gastric bypass, and I’m hoping to see some of the same great folks that took such great care of me last time around.

Those of you in SL, Trinity will have the early reports on how things are going, until I’m out of ICU. Jonathan and Robert are expecting to be there with me that day as well for the rest of you to check in with on Thursday & Friday.

Can’t think of anything else to add here, so that’s it for now. Thanks again to Amanda and Jim for the loaner lappie that’s performing quite nicely!

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We Have A Date!

Posted on January 10, 2009. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ok, it’s been a while, so let me sum up (yes I’m quoting Inigo M.).

First and foremost, I’m doing well, still steadily dropping poundage, my poor, arthritic knees are feeling better most of the time, and when they’re not, it’s less of a pain (literal and figurative) than it used to be. My mobility is much better overall. It is so nice.

I’m progressively wearing clothes I’ve not worn in nearly a decade or longer (or ever in some cases), so it’s like getting a new wardrobe as I go along. Very cool stuff, that. I am, as I was warned I’d be, cold a lot of the time, less insulation and lower blood pressure equals freezing my butt off a lot. I take it as a sign of success and put on more layers. Still surprises me, but it’s not so bad it’s an issue really. Just something to note along the way.

The date. February 19th I’ll go under the knife again. Actually I just passed the year mark on the Gastric Bypass the 8th of January, so that’s cool too. For those that don’t know, the next procedure is to fix an aneurysm in my aorta, at the arch as it comes out of my heart. This was discovered in the pre-surgical testing in 2007, however at that weight, no one was willing to take the risk of doing the surgery then, but now, over 140 lbs or so lighter, I’m much less a risky proposition. As my surgeon put it, “if you’re gonna have one of these, that’s the place (of the aneurysm) to have it”. He’s done hundreds of this procedure, and is very confident that this will go well. I like him, he makes me and Pops feel pretty good about such a big deal type operation.

Yes this is a chest cracker. Yes I’m expecting the recovery to “suck hard”. Yes I’ll have a lil zipper scar down my sternum. After the last meeting with the surgeon I’m feeling much less anxiety about this than beforehand, and like the surgery last year, I’m trusting the doctor to do his job and I’m concentrating on my job, the recovery and life mgmt. afterwards. The long term stuff, that’s the hard part in my book. Besides I have enough friends and family freaking out about this for me as well. For some reason that seems to make it easier for me to be calm about it.

So that’s the big update!

My blogging instinct has been re-directed (mis-directed) to the time I spend over on Plurk (http://www.plurk.com/MadameMaracas), micro-blogging daily. If you’ve not yet heard of Plurk but have heard of Twitter (http://twitter.com/MadameMaracas), it is very similar, but threaded conversations on a timeline vs. solo posts in reverse chronological order. I’m “on” Twitter too but really I rarely watch that page, I have it so folks I know there can ping me with DM’s (Direct Messages, private, only you and the recipient can see posts).

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Knees – What IS wrong with them?

Posted on March 4, 2008. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , |

Went to a new Dr. today, an osteo. sports medicine kinda dude that does bleeding edge knee surgeries and replacements and all that stuff.  They asked me a lotta knee history and health history questions, took some X-ray snaps of my knees and then we had a nice sit down chat.

It turns out that I’m arthritic.  Didn’t expect that.  The good news is my knees aren’t ground into little bitty shards of bone and stuff.  That’s not the difficulty.  It’s just that the cartilage is worn, unevenly, but in the expected way and I’m nearly out of cushioning on one side of each knee joint.  So they hurt, so they feel wrong, so what do we do?

Well, surgery is an option, but a last ditch, we’ve tried everything else choice.  That was my thought and his as well.  Considering he’s a surgeon, ya gotta love that he’s not pushing to slice and dice.  Nor was he keen on putting me in a brace.  First thing was he figured I’d have a cosmetic objection to it.  Hell I didn’t care about wearing braces, either time, except that they cut up my mouth and hurt like hell when being adjusted but damn I love the results!   After I made that clear, which he loved, then he pointed out that they tend to abrade the skin, and would give me sores, esp. since I’m still dealing w/some leg swelling issues.  So that part I can see.  I asked about a soft brace.  “They make nice knee warmers.”   Yes, that’s what he said. LOL

Ok, so medicines?  They kill the pain, don’t work forever and don’t fix the issue.  So where we’re gonna start, once we get insurance clearance, is an injection, once a week for 3 weeks running, of something called Euflexxa.  From the brochure it sounds like liquid cartilage and a nice grease, lube and oil job in one.   Again, a very reasonable option.

My dad found this guy on the web, he’s from the same hospital as did my surgery and yet again, great personable staff, attentive, incisive, intelligent folks in the office, top to bottom.  One of the nurses even subs in with my gastric surgeon, she was very happy to hear that he’d done my surgery (I hear nothing but knowing nods and high praise at the mention of his name).  I’m really happy that my knee isn’t bone meal and that there are non-invasive options to explore.  I kinda wish a soft brace would do something for me too, but we see how this stuff goes.

Otherwise I’m doing well, trying new foods and so far the only thing that gives me issue, other than stuff that’s too sweet is STILL carrots.  I can deal with that, been doing so all my life.  Went to the grocery store today, got a mess of stuff, but I need to go back.  I’ve been not cooking so long I need basics and seasonings and stuff still.  Bought all I thought I could carry in one trip from the car (just barely) and tomorrow I’ll go get the other 1/2 of what I need.

When most of what you consume is fluidy and soft, your groceries get very heavy very fast I must say.  Got some salmon, had the butcher cut it to size and individually wrap them for me so they’ll be fool proof.  Also I’ll give ‘nanners (bananas) a shot too.  I think I might end up blending them with some of the “canned” (it’s not in a can but same concept, just fresher) fruit and yogurt.

OH !!  We stopped for lunch before the appointment, so I had my first onion, pickle, hamburger and cheese today without incident.  Yes it was McD’s.  No bun, no ketchup (don’t usually put that on any how and it’s prolly too sweet for me), and I cut it up on a plate with fork and knife to be sure no eating errors.  All went down and stayed down just fine.  It was yummy too.  Weird ordering just the sandwich, no fries and no beloved Diet Coke.  Took me twice as long as Pops to eat just my burger as it did for him w/fries and soda.  This stuff still cracks me up, but it is good.  I feel pretty confident that my tummy will twinge if I shouldn’t eat something even before I get it in my mouth and so far, that’s been the rule.

If anyone had told me this would be this easy or smooth before surgery, frankly I’d not have believed them.  I suspect my case may be very, very atypical.  Nothing I read about Gastric Bypass showed the patients dealing with stuff this easily.  My only issue is the occasional chewing (or lack of sufficient)  error.  That and my knees, which hopefully will begin to be resolved and I can get my meteoric weight loss rolling along again.  I’m still losing but much much much slower I think than to be expected with proper exercise.  Soon.

All in all, it’s very good news and a yet continued bright outlook.  Yea the proverbial shoe may drop, but until then I”ll enjoy it as it is.

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    • MadameMaracas is heartbroken, so terribly devastated, the surgeon, Dr. Alan Yasko, that gave me my brand new knee this winter, died of a pulmonary embolism. August 24, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas Happy Birthday MatthewAnthony ! May your day be filled with joy and the coming year only get better, day by day! August 22, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas Sorry for the neglect folks, I'm moving to a new facility today, we see what kinda connectivity I have there, if at all. August 20, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Lost connectivity, possibly for an hour or so for the seeming midnight reset. I am fine, full of dilaulid, feeling no pain. no pai August 19, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Getting ready for surgery today, slated to be carved open @ about 11.30am. Pops & Marissa are here taking great care of me. <via phone> August 16, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas you're a big ole pussy cat, need to out go out in a ball love and feeling, generating more with time. August 14, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Been standing up, turning to sit in a chair, short, shuffling steps! NO THIGH PAIN! <via phone> August 12, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Packing room up atm, waiting for transport to surgery w/ Pops & Marissa. Marissa will update here.. <via phone> August 9, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says I have been moved to a different room on the same floor. A single room. ping 4 new # <via phone> August 7, 2010 MadameMaracas
    • MadameMaracas says Guess who just spent an hour out of her room NOT for tests, feeling more normal than in over a month? <via phone> August 6, 2010 MadameMaracas

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