Where things are now …

Posted on May 11, 2009. Filed under: First Life, Health, Real Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ok, so today, hopefully Mom will finally get to move out of ICU into a regular room. That is a big step toward getting her rehab moving along, both just the regular post-cardiac surgery rehab and whatever extra stuff needs to be done to deal with the additional obstacles she’s needed to overcome to get to this point.

Yesterday, Sunday May 10, I was able to get downtown for a quick visit. My Aunt Rhoda & Uncle Noel were also visiting, down from Mpls Mn. As we could only have 2 visitors at a time in the room, I kept my visit extra brief to allow them to maximize their Mom. She was totally alert, expressive, speaking in a very faint (esp. over all the machines and hospital noise) rasp, making it more a case of lip reading. Thankfully Marissa’s quite good at it, as I was not quite so quick on the lip uptake.

I brought a Mother’s day card, which brought a genuine grin to her face, as did other commentary. She was able to show off her latest “tricks”, tapping her fingers one at a time to her thumb, even with her left hand. Folks she did it as fast as anyone would do it. She even has mastered giving THE finger. She can haz self expression! She said that she felt it was important. I couldn’t agree more. No one can mess with her w/out them knowing where she stands on what they’re doing.

She is able to move her arms much more accurately now, scratch her nose, handle suctioning out her own mouth when she coughs, ringing the buzzer if she needs help too. These are the skills that matter greatly in her next step of recovery.

After that short visit, I went out to spend a few minutes with Rhoda & Noel, as Mom needed a lil nap. After that, they went in for a bit, got punted when the nurses had to do some stuff, so I got in a nice lil fragmented visit with them as well, double plus good!

Afterward, I went to the hospital garage to drive home. And then the real adventure to the day began.

Zippy wouldn’t start. Key turns, lights on, solenoid clicks, but nothing. Called the garage office, as they offer free jumps. Still nothing. Called Pops and he came down w/some tools to see if it was the battery posts being corroded again, but that didn’t work either.

So then we went through the multi phone call process of finding a tow company that would come down on Mother’s Day Sunday, with a truck that was under 7 feet tall to take Zippy to a nearby garage for repair. The tow guy had to back Zippy out of the space in neutral to get him in the aisle so he could lift Zippy up on the forks. No power brakes made it a lil more difficult than usual, but not too bad. Thankfully the garage manager and I had been communicating all through this, so he let us all out w/out paying extra, that saved us prolly 50 bucks right there (my dad’s truck, the tow truck and extra fees for the extra time I was there).

The repair garage, which is open till midnight (cabs came and went while I was there, as you can imagine), was bare bones, well stocked and looked good to my eyes. To those of you that don’t know, for about 5 years we, and I do mean we, as the funds for my college and Marissa’s went into the business, owned a Milex auto shop. Spent my tweens and some of my teens in a garage on the weekends. Anyhow, it was the starter motor as I suspected, well as we all did. They drove up to a part shop on the far north side, actually I think right in my neighborhood, and once they got back had it installed in about 20 minutes. Zippy started right up.

So a simple trip downtown cost an extra $325.00, but in the big picture, Mom’s doing better, Marissa’s doing better, I know Rhoda’s feeling better having been here to see Mom w/her own eyes, and Zippy’s better and ready to roll. I prefer issues that can be resolved, vs. ones you can’t do jack stuffing about, even if it makes a 2 – 3 hour trip turn into a 9 hour adventure.

I don’t call myself the Master of Disaster w/out reason I tell ya.

**please see the previous post and comment section for background on what lead up to Mom’s current condition**

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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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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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    • 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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