Monday, October 20, 2014

Requested Update

ASM826, co-blogger over at “Borepatch” left this comment below:

<i>Any updates you can share?</i>

Yeah.  I've been kind of dragging my butt a bit for the last couple of days.  Just feeling low over all of this, coupled with the fact that I just missed a big deadline on a project last week, so I've got clients that are righteously pissed off at me right now.  It's one of those things where there's nothing that I could have done, but the owner doesn't care, or know enough about the process to know that he's coming down on me for something that was outside my control.  It’s crisis management time, and I’m not really that good at crisis management without allowing it to stress me out beyond description. 

It's just the job, you know?  You apologize and move on, and try not to let the fact that you've got health issues effect your judgment and your ability to handle the injustice of it all (but fail miserably in the process, if you’re me)... 

"What are you bitching about?  This doesn't look all that hard!"

As for my heart, it's pretty much been established at this point that the surgery didn't work, and I'm going to have to do it again. 

Right now, my cardio-electrophysiologist is in the same boat with me as I'm in with my client right now - it probably wasn't his fault; it was probably out of his control, but I'm still righteously pissed off.

I’ve got a theory as to what happened and why the surgery failed.  My a-fib and a-flutter was triggered in large part by swallowing – cold liquid or a big mouthful of food, as it went down my esophagus, would trigger a-fib almost every time.  To me, this meant that the spot on my heart that was having the issue was right up against my esophagus.  Why else would swallowing trigger it? 

After the surgery, the surgeon confessed to me that there was a spot that needed to be ablated, which he was unable to properly ablate because the spot was so close to my esophagus that he was worried about “cooking” my esophagus and causing esophageal lesions, ulcers, or even worse, literal holes in the damn thing. When he said that, I had a twinge of fear that I set aside quickly out of denial, that maybe he hadn’t fixed me. 

Turns out that is exactly what happened – he got 5 spots on my heart that had bad conductivity, but were likely not the true cause of my a-fib and a-flutter, and missed the one spot that needed to be ablated, out of an abundance of caution for causing worse problems. 
"Well, Mr. Goober, we got that non-life-threatening heart arrhythmia taken care of,
but you now have a hole in your swallowing tube, so no eating for 60 to 90
days while it heals."  

I’m still taking those horrible anti-arrhythmic drugs that make me so tired, and keep me from being able to get my heart rate up enough to perform simple things like walking up flights of stairs without getting light headed.  There were a couple times deer hunting last weekend when I thought I was going to go down, and I told my brother in law to not panic if I did an just give me time to come back to.

"No worries.  I'll be able to get myself out of here with my heart not working right.
Piece of cake!'

The update that I’ve gotten since my last post is not any more heartening or encouraging…  I went to a second doctor to see what their opinion was on this, and the upshot is this:

One:  In 30 days, I get to put on a Holter monitor and wear it for 30 days to count and categorize the arrhythmias.  This will help them determine 100% whether the surgery failed or not (but I already know it did – I haven’t gotten any relief at all from it). 

Two: The course of treatment will almost certainly include a second surgery, and from what I can tell, no one wants to try and do that until 24 months have passed from the first surgery, so it looks like I’ve got a minimum 2 more years of fighting this shit until I have another chance of being fixed.

Three: I’ll be on the arrhythmic drugs and the blood thinner for at least another two years. 

One ray of light, I did complain about the constant bleeding from my psoriasis as a result of the blood thinners, and the second doc switched me from Xarelto to Eliquis, which is supposed to minimize bleeding.  Maybe my bedsheets won’t look like a scene from Dexter every morning anymore, so I guess there’s that. 

I’m trying to focus on the positive things in my life right now.  Mrs. Goober is almost 4 months along now, and the baby is healthy and growing as it should.  It wouldn’t cooperate at the time of the last ultrasound, so we still don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl.  The Mrs. is funny with all of her cravings and being hungry all the time.  She usually eats like a bird, so when we went to Napa yesterday to get brake pads for her car, and a new radiator hose to replace the one that was looking sort of used up, she suddenly had a craving for, of all things, Taco Bell.  So I made “a run for the border” and she got a bunch of absolute crap to eat, and she was so happy… 

The savor of stoned teenagers and pregnant women since 1973

I'm trying really hard to not let the looming spector of my myriad of health problems take away from the joy of making our second child, but it's hard.  I've been so physically broken for so long now, it feels very hopeless.  

Saturday we made the first 75 pounds of sausage from the deer we shot last weekend.  I made 25 pounds each of bratwurst, Italian, and breakfast sausages, both in bulk and in links.  I used pork butts we got from a local supplier to mix 50/50 with deer.

I recently inherited my Great-Grandfather’s 1902 vintage cast-iron sausage stuffer when my Great Uncle Larry stopped making sausage, so we were able to use it to make our sausage this year, and it was fun to use that machine that had been used, through the years, by likely hundreds of my family and ancestors.  I plan to do a post on it soon, because it is really a cool machine, but I need time to do some research on it first. 

I have a steelhead trip coming up on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of November.  It’s a work-related trip.  I’m bringing some folks from work, including an architect from one of my projects, and one owner.  We’re getting a cabin up Hell’s Canyon and will spend three days up there fishing for steelhead.  One of the guys coming along knows how to run a jet boat in the canyon, so that if I have heart issues while we’re up there, he can get everyone out.  

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