There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Friday, June 18, 2010

The evolution of a heart attack, by rosemary

Pay attention; this is important. It is a long post, but I hope just one person will read it through and realize they need to see a doctor.

In the beginning about 15 years ago it was high blood pressure. Then high cholesterol followed with triglycerides so far off the charts other lab values couldn't be read. A diet was followed and over the counter red yeast rice and niacin were added hoping to avoid those dreaded statin drugs. Lots of food label reading was done.

I felt good, was active and the cholesterol and triglycerides slowly went down.

Eventually.....I fell off the wagon and started eating things like pizza when I didn't feel like cooking. I could eat fettuccine and garlic bread three times a day.....I didn't but I could.

The first weird feeling happened in January or February; I didn't pay much attention. It was a weakness that ran across my chest to my shoulders and made my arms feel weak....it went away in a few seconds. No big deal. It happened several times after that but I didn't get nervous about it until I was in of all places....WallieWorld!!!  I had to sign their electronic check gadget and there it was...the feeling. I couldn't hold the pen and when I finally wrote my name it looked like a squiggle. So, I started keeping track of the weird feelings.....May 13th, May 19th and the next day too. I was going to make an appointment to see the doctor; really, I was.

Tuesday we decided to go to PetSmart with the three dogs. Wesley needs a harness and Mimi needs canned food. We left at 1. Right before I went downstairs I had "indigestion." I took a big drink of sprizzly water...felt a bit better. By the time we were about 20 miles out of town the indigestion got worse. It was in my right breast and went through to my back. I thought my gallbladder was spasmodic and pissed off. But, I couldn't take a deep breath, I was coughing, the indigestion was horrible, I was sweating and antsy in the truck seat. About half way to the store I told Steve to pull into the 66-Conoco station. I wanted a root beer. Yup, that would fix this icky feeling. As soon as I stepped out of the truck I knew something was really wrong. I went into the mini-mart, got the soda and by the time I got back to the truck it felt like the proverbial elephant was sitting on my chest with a ton of bricks added.

I have never, ever felt pain like that; never been so afraid and Steve was in freak-out mode. Did anyone come over to see what was wrong? I was screaming that something bad was happening, Steve was trying to hold me up and dial 911 at the same time. No one came over or asked if we needed help.

The ambulance arrived in just a few minutes and I was hauled onto the gurney and whisked away. I couldn't breathe, I wanted to throw up, I was miserable. Half way to Kootenai Medical Center the ambulance stopped. I thought I was dying and they were just not going to take me the rest of the way. What they did was meet a Medi-Vac bus and the medic got into my ambulance and we were off again. I was given 4 aspirin to chew, NTG was sprayed under my tongue three times, I was stuck for IV's and given morphine. Nothing helped.

After I got into the ER I was pumped full of morphine without relief, met with the cardiac surgeon, had my clothes cut off, had a chest x-ray and was taken to the cath lab. I had my hoo-haa shaved, was wiped down with a cold blue liquid and given a push of Versed. Finally I was happy (yup, that Versed is happy juice alright) and didn't care that I was in the middle of what would be called a "moderate insult to your heart with moderate damage."

It was actually cool to watch the monitor as the dye was injected and the balloon inflated; two stents were placed. I didn't get to see that.

I spent one absolutely miserable night in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit with my cut off clothes under me, four blankets piled on my feet, a phone in the bed, various wrappers, needle sheaths and a tourniquet under my arm. I was not allowed to move, had to keep my right leg flat and straight and was told my incessant (my word) crying would put stress on the cath injection site.....so would coughing, sneezing, laughing (not much of that going on) and pretty much everything else but breathing. The man in the next room was confused and kept pushing his bedside table away from his bed into the wall. He actually managed to get it out the door and it hit a Pixis unit. The nurses kept putting it right back next to his bed.

I was transferred to the Progressive Cardiac Unit Wednesday morning. I arrived with a blood clot at that damn cath site and had to have pressure on it for hours and the flat crap was enforced once again.

Eventually I was able to get out of bed, eat what turned out to be pretty decent food and walk the halls to be sure my heart could handle the load with activity. I was discharged today.

It has been a miserable time. Here is what this event has left me with:

Anxiety about every little twinge I feel.
Fear of dying in horrible pain.
Never seeing Steve, my kids or grand kids again.
I still have a vessel that is 70% blocked....the doc is going to "watch" it for now and possibly do another cath in a month or so.
An appreciation for the little things; walking the dogs, seeing the ferns in the forest, being able to look out my bedroom window at 2AM and see trees, talk to my family on the phone, touch Steve when he is asleep.
Stupid and embarrassed that I was a nurse and absolutely knew better.
Food is not everything.
I am on those damn statin drugs after-all...plus prescription strength Niacin, more heart and blood pressure meds, potassium and big script bills.
My heart is fucked up and I could have prevented it by being an adult.
Luckily I never smoked and I don't drink or do drugs.
I can still sit at my computer and write a blog post.

Pay attention. It could happen to you.

Thank you to all of you that left comments.  I love you and getting those comments on my cheesy, POS phone made my days so much better...you have no idea.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turning a page

You know how when you have a perfect job and either you or someone you really liked and appreciated leaves....for what ever the reason? You know how you say things on that last day like: "We can have lunch or go to the movies and I promise I will call you...often."....but you never do and they never do and then way too much time goes by and to call would be uncomfortable?   I will know how that goes once again.

My term as a Trustee for the Library ends tomorrow night.  I could have run for another term.  I doubt anyone would have come forward to challenge me.....but, for reasons I can say and others I can't, I decided to leave.  I recruited my replacement; another woman who worked at the Library when I did.  She is much younger, has children in school, and actually works in the Library at the Charter School.  Last year I was thinking seriously about whether I wanted to run again. Then right before Christmas I ran into Molly H. at the movies and in an instant I knew she would be perfect on the Board.  I asked her if she might be interested....she absolutely was.....and when the time came for me to say out-loud what my decision was I emailed her to be sure she wanted to apply for the "job".  I told my fellow Board members I was retiring....in a wobbly voice with my eyes tearing.

Some of the reasons are: The new terms are now five years in length and soon will go to six.   I had worked at the Library for 4 1/2 years and was on the board for almost four.   To add another five years of influence to an institution is way too long I think.   I will be 66 this November.  Of the five Board members only one is a lot  younger than me; the other 3 members are close to my age.  I feel the Board needs a younger opinion and voice; someone working in the community that uses the Library all of the time and with younger children. While our Library has something for every age we do have a large youth presence in the Library.  Perhaps Molly can shed some light on the youth of today....something no one else can really do right now with the Board mix.

I have felt passionately about many of the issues that have come before the Board and also felt like I was in an information cave with others.  I have had a few rants, but I doubt anyone really got what I was talking about and zoned out after a few minutes so that doesn't matter.  I may have felt strongly about some decisions that were made, but in the end I was one vote of five and the Board was always wise in its entirety.

My name is on the agenda for the meeting tomorrow.  I already told the current chair I did not want a going away "gift" or even a card.  I don't want to cry and make a fool of myself and I absolutely do not want to be a line item on the budget.  It has been pure pleasure and one of the greatest honors of my life to have been on the Library Board.  It isn't just about what a Library stands for in a community, it isn't about the sum of its books, DVDs and periodicals or even sitting in the lobby using free WiFi....it's also about the staff, the volunteers and the Director all of whom have made The East Bonner County Library a place of enrichment, fun, a place to gain knowledge, use the tutoring lab, meet friends and just goof off.   It's the whole package.....no other place has Susan, Vanessa, Elise, Ann, Gloria, Wayne, Craig, Dawn, my dear friends Molly and Gina and so many other behind the scenes staff. I hope this time will be different.   I hope I will have those lunches, go to those movies and make and receive those calls.   It could happen; maybe.  So, I guess it's exit left.

Here it is; EBCL. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

This and that while it rains and rains and rains and then rains somemore!

Ho hum. I am slowly acquainting myself with my new computer, Gabriella.  Yesterday I also perused Facebook and added a bunch of photos.  Yup, it is raining and has been for almost two weeks.  We have had two days of sun...barely.  I mowed the lawn one of those days....or rather I skimmed the marsh with what someone looking at the yard would guess was a machete.  The ground is pure mush and mud.  More rain predicted.

So, here are the photo results of my fun filled days:

I stole a photo from my daughter's Facebook page.  Here are Christopher, Christine and Tyler this last weekend.  Christopher was in So Cal for a visit.  They are a gorgeous bunch of people if I do say so myself.














This is Tyler's new car.  I think it is pretty cool looking and totally fits Tyler's personality (photo stolen from Ty's Facebook page).


We took this photo with Gabriella this morning before I had even thought about brushing my hair.  Last night I accidentally turned off my computer when it was supposed to stay on for backup.  Steve had to fix it and while he waited for Gabriella to decide if she wanted to recognize the backup drive he discovered this photo feature.  It was the first thing he showed me after we got up.














This is the Chinese symbol for Book Lover (I think it is Chinese...but I might be wrong). 





I took this photo a while back of a tree in front of our vet's office.  I love how this moss takes advantage of the tree trunk....good sharing I'd say. 














While sitting at the kitchen table this morning we watched/listened to Good Morning America.  Joan Rivers was one of the guests.  She was talking very honestly about her multiple plastic surgeries.  She made a comment that went something like:  If you are unhappy with the way you look FIX IT!  Steve asked me if I was happy with the way I looked and I said no.....he asked why.....So I honestly said I didn't like my saggy parts and the wrinkles on my face.  His solution?  "Well, sweetheart, just grow a beard.  Can you see my wrinkles and sags?"  Thanks honey.....great suggestion.

Question: Why does the spacing get screwed up every time  I post a blog?  I spend more time trying to get stuff to just fit than I do writing the damn post.  

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The dream

For three nights in a row I have had a dream about the house.

Before the dreams: I lived in the house in the mid 60's. The house always seemed out of place....it was in South Alhambra; I was a South side girl. The house belonged in North Alhambra. It was a Craftsman design; designed for beauty.....stained glass on the front door and a porch that spread along the entire front of the place. There I was....this young mother with two toddlers, standing in the living room of a house that made me feel like I was about to be given the gift and responsibility of loving and caring for the house.

The house was a rental. I never knew or saw the owner; the rent was paid through an agency. When I first walked through the house I was amazed that the owner would surrender the house to a stranger. The rent was so low I thought a mistake had been made with the quote. I wanted to live in the house the. moment. I. walked. through. the. door. I wanted to sweep the floors, clean the claw footed tub, sit on the back steps and watch the kids play in the yard.

If I close my eyes I can walk through the house room by room. There were built in cabinets with stained glass, gleaming hardwood floors, a brick fireplace, windows in groups of four, that claw footed tub and so much more. My favorite room in the house was the kitchen. There were cupboards everywhere with snap latches, a walk in pantry and soapstone counter tops sloped just perfectly on the sides of the farm sink. I didn't want curtains at the windows because there was wide, dark wood molding around all of them; curtains would have made the windows just average.

I did clean that house; every day. I did take baths in that tub and I did sit on the back steps and on the front porch and watch my children play. Why did I leave. The unseen owner died and the house was sold....in a heartbeat.

Two years ago when were were in California I made Steve drive by the house. At first I thought we were on the wrong street....the house was on Edgewood; we were on Edgewood. And then there it was....the house. It had been stuccoed, the porch had been re-done, the door replaced and there was an apartment above the detached garage. The house as far as I was concerned was gone.

In the dreams; today: The house is exactly as it was when I lived there. It is perfect, cozy, it talks to me. But it isn't in Alhambra; it's on the East Coast. The house is on a dirt and rock lane; a lane far away from the neighbors. There are fruit trees and rose bushes in the front and a vegetable garden in the back yard. I can see the garden when the kids are playing. There are no children, however. There is just me, old and gray; exactly as I am right at this moment. I ride my blue bicycle into the little hamlet where the house lives. I buy groceries. But, I can't get back to the house. I am lost. When I finally find the house and try to go into the kitchen through the back screen door a man confronts me. The man isn't Steve. The house isn't really mine.  I am crying when I wake up. The dream has been exactly the same every night.

I think I know what is prompting the dream. Steve and I will have been married 25 years this October. We have talked about taking a trip to the New England States. I have never been to that part of the country. I want to go to the Shaker Community in Maine, I want to see the New England countryside with  farmhouses like the ones I see in magazines, I want to walk through those out of the way small towns and say hello to everyone I meet. I want to go to the New England States with Steve.  I think the house is there now. I think it is waiting for us to find it.