Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And Even More Changes

Stock photo of the Main Entrance of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center

It was a full day at the VA yesterday. Started with them needing some bloodwork, then on to the Warfarin Clinic. From there to Xray, then an EKG. I hand carried the results to the Device Clinic where it was explained to me that I would be receiving a monitor in the mail and it had to be set up somewhere near where I sleep. Mine will be wireless as we don’t have land-line phone service.
This monitor will report what the Pacemaker is doing every night while I sleep.
The last appointment was with the Dysrhythmia doctor. He looked me over along with the results of the Xray and EKG and set a schedule for the future. Since the Warfarin Clinic results did not have me in the proper blood thinness level range, some adjustment was made on how much Coumadin I am taking. Hopefully, I’ll get regulated into the range they want it to be. This medication breaks up any blood clots and stops them from forming.

Since I had a blood clot, and they have a picture of it from a procedure I got when I was in the hospital, they want to wait two full months before looking for it again. They used a scope/camera that you swallow, like an endoscopy, except it photographs the inside of the heart. They did this on November 11th, so they will wait until mid-January to look again.
If there are no signs of any blood clots, they will do an Ablation. They literally go up with a catheter into the heart and change the electric impulses around to get the heart to fall back into a normal sinus rhythm. From there, if all is successful, the Medtronic D334TRG Pacemaker that was implanted in my chest will do the rest.
Sounds so simple. But it’s my heart they’ll be playing with. But I feel lucky on a number of fronts. First of all, the doctor that did a lot of the procedural work at the hospital used to work at the VA. He called those he knew from the departments and discussed my case with them. They knew of my case and were ready to serve me. You see, when I called 911 that fateful night and got into the ambulance, they took me to United Hospital in St. Paul, not the VA. I was told there were no beds available at the VA and that they authorized United to do any treatment they deemed necessary at their expense. That was a stroke of luck right along with this next tidbit.
Seems United gave me the “High End” Pacemaker, the newest design, the one with the fewest flaws. Around $40,000.00 worth of hardware implanted in my chest! That means the occurrence of an erroneous shock is lessened. It also means that when I got out of the hospital and started going to the clinics at the VA, they want to protect their investment and get things to work properly. Hopefully that’ll be the case.
I think these things are answers to prayers. I think there is positive energy coursing through me. Then again, maybe it’s not about me at all. Maybe some intern needs the practice.
In between the clinic visits, I had to have a quick lunch and get to pharmacy to check in with a pharmacist. The doctor I talked to on the phone yesterday ordered a change in some medications and I had to pick them up so I could start using them immediately. Then when all was finished, over six hours since I arrived there, I had to check in with fee basis and the travel department.

Fee basis is allowing me twelve visits to the local hospital in my home town for Cardiac Rehab. That will save me having to drive the 90 mile round trip to the VA to get some walking on the treadmill three days a week with medical staff supervision.
All in all, I feel better than I have since October 26th when I first started feeling punk. I am fortunate to have health care and I have absolutely no complaints about any services at the VA. They seem to be doing what they promised me back in 1968, that they would take care of my health care needs for the rest of my life. This was promised as I accepted the honor of serving my country when they asked.
My mind set is an up and down playground. I can feel so good, then get depressed in an instant. Monday, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Today I wanted to tell you all about it. I guess this kind of physical trauma and the mixture of ever changing drugs has something to do with that. I’ll do my best to get through it. In the meantime, I plan on joining my friend Rebecca at recuerda mi corazon for the Second Annual 12 Days of Mary, or as we called it last year, "A Virgin a Day". This Virgin Business runs from the first to the twelfth of December, culminating on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron Saint of the Americas. To me, this is a very reverent exercise in Faith, Art, Culture and Peace.

Mrs. Spadoman is home safe and sound with the entire mission accomplished. I am very proud of her. She made the trip exactly how I would have done it. One day at a time. Isn't that a well-known saying that I should be heeding? All I can do is try, just as I try to stay thankful to all of you for the prayers, energy and support.
Peace my Friends


Kim Mailhot said...

One day at a time, one precious moment at a time, and healing little bits and pieces as you go along.
I am keeping those light and love vibes around you, Man, as you go with the flow.
Peace, my Friend !

Jeannie said...

So glad you are being well cared for. And to get the Cadillac instead of the Volkswagon! Woohoo!

I think you are right about the ups and downs going with the territory. Sometimes it's hard to stay positive even if you know the feelings aren't entirely "real".

I don't have the right faith mindset to join in on the Virgin a Day I'm afraid but I'll be sending good thoughts out there for you anyway.

mig said...

I had to laugh at the intern needing practice, but after all, if his practice means your heart gets the super machine that's two blessings for the price of one.
I'm so pleased to see you back on form and to read that you're getting on top of the weight and the blood pressure.
It's a lot of stuff to handle, did you say it sounds simple??? Not surprising that you're up and down emotionally. The down days may be a good thing if they mean you get a bit more rest - it's like hibernating in winter, depressing but valuable.
Anyway, it's great to hear that you're being well looked after because I missed your posts when you were ill. And just because : )

Lots of love 'Man and hugs.

Mel said... of the line for a top of the line fella! Sounds right to me!

I was glad to see the posting this evening--even gladder to hear of how well you're being tended to. AND that the Mrs. has returned...AND that she did that standup job (no doubt about that whatsoever!).

You're doing just fine. You're still 'stuck' with better angels and surrounded by lots of love, light and prayers--I've no doubt the healing will continue.

Anticipate the rollercoaster--your body's going through one, why wouldn't the mind follow? Lots of changes and adjusting--a day at a time, you're getting there.

I'll look forward to the Bathtub shots. LOL They're amongst some of my favoritest memories from 'here'.
Seriously! ;-)

*hugs* Rest. Heal. Be good to the top of the line, eh?

Unknown said...

So glad to hear that you have great health care and great home care from Ms. Spadoman.

The three-month old son of a friend is going to have his tiny heart fixed in a week or so. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers, as I will keep you in mine.

Best of everything to you and yours.

rebecca said...

dear spadoman,

it does my heart good to see you receiving excellent care and direction. one day at a time, that too is my mantra. in the mean time we are keeping you in our hearts and light.

looking forward to our sharing of marys. can you believe tomorrow is the first day of december?

Kathleen Barnes said...

I am so glad you are getting the best of the best. Having served your country, you deserve it. also for being an enlightened being, you deserve it and for just being you, you deserve it. Each day is now precious and you know that...which is a gift that some never receive. You are loved.

Barb Spado said...

Wow, a $40,000 device, right in your chest, under a thin layer of skin? Wonder what that would fetch on the black market, probably more than a kidney and let's face it, your organs aren't worth much anymore! BUT don't worry, my love, sleep well. I could have pulled your gold teeth out, (gold is worth a lot these days) but I didn't. You know I'm not into money and I love YOU.