|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