Monthly Archives: December 2013

As the year draws to a close…

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I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions lately and if I should make any.  I’ve decided not to this year.  Mainly because I forget the resolutions within a week or so.  I also think that making a resolution to change something, implies that your life needs changing.  I’ve been thinking about that, too.  I don’t think my life, as it is, needs to change.  I’m already working on getting my health back in order.  (And it is not easy to do at all.)  I am working hard on losing weight (I could stand to lose anywhere from 20 to 50 lbs.  Again, very hard to do.)  I’m working on getting my Social Security Disability and I still am employed at a job I actually, by and large, I really like.  Everything else in my life is fine.  God has been taking very good care of me and I appreciate it very much.  I have a family that loves me and friends that care about me, God loves me, and I’m working on learning to love myself.

So, as everything I would put on a New Year’s Resolution list is already being worked on, why bother?  The only other thing I might add would be to win the Lottery.  But, technically, that’s not a resolution, that’s a dream, a wish, a hope.  And, as much as I occasionally try to forget, there are no Genies in bottles, no fairy godmothers, no white witches of the east.  So, no New Year’s Resolutions for me, just continuing to do what I’m doing and improve a little bit more each day.

(Of course, this could all change tomorrow morning, especially if I don’t have coffee…)

Bananas are good.

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According to my Doctor, my heart problem is two fold.  Mostly, I have a potassium deficiency.  Easily fixed by eating more foods with potassium in them,  Bananas come to mind first, then peanut butter then mushrooms, I have a list.  The other problem is not so easily fixed and brings up possible actions that go against the way I handle certain things.  The cardiologist made a passing remark about stress.  That this time of year can bring lots of stress into a person’s life.  My life brings a lot of stress into my life.  Since coming home, I’ve had two “episodes” and after examining them, I have come to the conclusion that they involve one person.  Here’s the problem, she can’t help herself.  She has, at the very least, Senile Dementia and that makes her difficult to deal with.  And as I have been asked to keep an eye on her, as part of my job, I have to deal with her – a lot.  I realize the dementia is not her fault and she can’t really control her situation, but when she has bad days, which are becoming more frequent, everyone suffers.  She volunteers at the Senior Center as the “money taker” for the lunch meal.  Except it takes her 5 to 10 minutes to make $2 change out of a $5 bill.  Half the time she can’t remember who has signed in and who hasn’t, and she has started mistaking women for men.  And when she has a bad day, she gets loud, and hateful.  The various people in charge of the lunch room and the lunch preparation have talked to her family, but they keep saying she has to keep her job.  The nasty part of me, especially after dealing with her after a bad day and having heart issues, the catty part of me, thinks its because they don’t want to deal with her for those two hours twice a week.  That’s so very unworthy of me, cause I know she has no control and may have an idea that something is wrong.

So, how do I tell her she needs to retire, or calm down or shut up cause she’s giving me heart flutters because I’m stressing because of her?  In truth, I can’t.  It appears no one can tell her.  So, how do I deal with her?  I can’t walk away cause she can’t really be trusted, which is so sad because, evidently, she used to be great at her job.  She’s been doing it for 15 years or so.  I can’t be rude to her.  So what do I do?  I guess there’s nothing I can do.  Here’s hoping I can figure a way to cope with her before I end up in the hospital again.  Oh dear.

On the whole, though, I am feeling so much better.  I am on a heart blocker, for the time being, and potassium supplements.  I’m going grocery shopping today to buy bananas and avocados and more peanut butter and spinach and mushrooms and tomatoes….

Some days are better forgotten…

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Last Monday I was working away, trying to make my front door look like a giant Christmas present when I started not feeling very good.  So I sat down.  It felt like someone was drumming on my breast bone.  Didn’t hurt, no pain anywhere else, no breathlessness, nothing unusual until I glanced down at my shirt.  I could see it bouncing up and down in rhythm with my racing heart.  I have never gotten the hang of taking my own pulse, but it seemed way too fast to me.  I called my sister and she came right over.  My pulse was 144 beats a minute.  After a bit of discussion, yea, I didn’t want to go to the hospital, we finally went to the ER.  (My first thoughts, sad to say, were about the money and whether I could afford it.  The short answer is no.)   Once at the hospital, they hooked me up with an IV and “wired me for sound.”  By this time my heart was back to it’s normal self.  They gave me a couple of shots in my IV, then my heart took off again.  This time the beats were close to 160.  They gave me a drug called Diltiazem, again through my IV.  That took just a few minutes to slow my heart down.  But a few minutes later, while they were doing an EKG, my heart started up again.  They gave me another shot of Diltiazem, which worked faster than the first shot.  I looked at the monitor and saw that my blood pressure was 171 over 114.  WAY too high.

So, I was admitted “for observation”.  They told me that the top half of my heart was beating out of rhythm with the bottom half.  They called it Atrial Flutter.  They took several vials of blood, fed me a sandwich, and put me into my room.  My sister went home after they got me stable.  (Strange to think that I was unstable.  I guess I’m still processing everything.)  This was at 8 pm.  The RT, whose name was Jeff, said he would be back at 11pm to do another EKG on me and then at 7am, for another EKG.  Then I was waken up to have more blood drawn.  I told the Tech that the veins in my arm roll and it was easier to get the blood out of the back of my hand.  He tried my arm anyway.  (Yes, I have a nasty looking bruise on the inside of my elbow.)  Several more times, over the course of the next 24 hours, I had blood drawn.  Actually, every time they gave me some medicine, half an hour later some one would come in and draw blood.

The Doctor finally came in to see me Tuesday morning and said that they were pretty certain my Atrial Flutter was caused by a severe potassium depletion.  I’ve always had trouble with my potassium level, but this time, it was really low.  Until they could get it up to “normal” with no more flutter in my heart, I was stuck in the hospital.  Finally, at 5 pm Tuesday, they told me I was being discharged.  (Yea!  I was so bored by this time.)  That took another hour.  I got my discharge orders, which included an echo-cardiogram at 8am the next morning.  I also have an appointment with my own Doctor Monday at 11:30

If you’ve never had an echo-cardiogram, you’re in for a treat.  You lie on a table, on your side, with your chest exposed while they cover you with cold gel stuff and take sonograms of your heart.  For 45 minutes.  And because my heart is a little lower and a bit left of “normal placement”, I got to do all sorts of yoga positions while they tried to get the perfect pictures of my heart.  (The Tech said that there really wasn’t a “normal” position, but mine was a bit farther off then most.  Oh joy.)

So, barring anything different being found in the echo-cardiogram, I have a potassium depletion problem which is easy to deal with, compared to something physically wrong with the heart itself.  Evidently, we have since learned, my Great Grandmother had the same problem.  I wonder if it’s hereditary…