Saturday, October 12, 2013

What's Going On

Let's try this. Let's see if I can actually sit here and write. It's been harder than ever for me to pay attention to anything long enough to consider it a thought. Been a lot of extracurricular activities around Spadoville. Still trying to continue on like normal, but normal has been slowly changing over the years and now it's like I'm a full blown chameleon and have changed from one person to another.

Let's take this morning, for example. My routine is far different than it was twenty years ago. Back then, I'd get up and drag myself out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and run out the door headed for work. I'd linger between the warm blankets as long as I could with one eye checking the clock so I wouldn’t be late.

Grabbing a banana as I hurried out to the car, I’d get on the road and drive way too fast in morning rush hour traffic to chase the almighty dollar, just to come home after a long day and be too tired and lazy to cook dinner and instead, spend the hard earned moolah on dinner, eating some crappy processed food service concoction that added to my current condition of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, diabetes and the Medtronic Pacemaker that keeps my old broken heart in rhythm.

These days, I’m always awake by 4:30 am and out of bed by five. Just can’t lay there any longer. I need to toss and turn to get comfortable or to allow me to be in a position where I can breathe.

I get up and sit in my leather chair until six am. It’s not a recliner. Just a good sturdy tan leather chair and ottoman. My blanket is there. Lately, I’ve been using it to cover my cold blood starved legs and feet as the morning temperatures are dropping and the house is much cooler than the 72 degrees we keep it in Summer by way of Carrier air conditioning.

At six, I take my blood pressure. That little portable unit sits on the lower shelf of the end table on my right. At the left side sits another end table that is loaded with plastic boxes of sinew and beads and assorted tools for making Dream Catchers. After the blood pressure routine, I get on  the scale and weigh myself, then to the bathroom for check my blood glucose level. Somewhere during this ceremony I do get to relieve myself as the diuretics (water pills), I take have made my bladder full and is usually the reason I had to get out of bed in the first place..

I go to the computer and with a quickly failing short term memory, I try to transcribe these numbers from the carried out operations onto a chart to show my doctor and clinician next time I go to the VA for an appointment.

By this time, I am freezing and I head for the chair and the blanket again. Still haven’t had a cup of coffee. There are teen agers getting ready for school, milling around the kitchen and grabbing their own banana and swilling down a cup of hot chocolate made from hot water that their Grand Mother has put on the timer to be hot precisely when it is needed.

After these two have gone, the smaller versions get up and have their morning routine. They start one hour later than the teens. How convenient the timing schedule for catching the school bus is. I can’t imagine all four of them getting ready to get out the door at the same time. If it’s anything like dinnertime, when we all gather at the table and rush through the meal to get on with playing with friends, phone calls, face-booking, you-tubing, Net-flixing  and video games, it would be total morning chaos for sure!

Mrs. Spadoman has her coffee and she always asks me if I want a cup. I usually say, “Yes, please”, and wait patiently in my chair for the morning elixir to be set down at my right side, on the table top, right above where I keep my blood pressure monitor. I may wander now to my bedroom and the shelf where I keep the line-up of prescription medicine bottles and small plastic Walgreens  compartmentized holders where the pills from these bottles are distributed by days of the week and time slots.

I take the ones before I eat first and in a half hour, I eat. Cereal, hot or cold, depending on my level of laziness. Rarely do I cook anything like eggs or make toast. I still usually get the banana, but it is eaten at a much more leisurely pace than when I rammed it into my mouth while on the superhighway going to a job site like I did for 33 years prior.

I finish my coffee, if I’ve had one, and eaten breakfast. It’s time now to take the rest of my morning medication. I do my bathroom experience which varies from day to day. Sometimes I shower and shave, sometimes I don’t. I pull a brush through my hair and sometimes splash some water on my palm to slap an unruly wave or curl into just the right place to satisfy the little bit of vanity I still have, which would be hair on the top of my head.

What I do next varies greatly. If I’m not going to the VA for another doctor’s appointment, I try to get something done with a project I have going on in the house, or an art project. There is always something that needs attention when you’re a home owner, and I always seem to have some Dream Catcher or a pair of snowshoes that need to be completed sitting around.

I have actually completed some projects and fulfilled obligations. I’m working on two pair of snowshoes now for a husband and child of a woman here in town. The woman asked me if the art work can be peace signs! Right up my alley. 

Some days I I think I want to have a studio or shop space where I can spread out my work and come and go to it as I please. Then, I figure that I’ve gotten  through this many years without one and managed to get a few items done, why would I need a studio. The leather chair works fine to sit and weave.

Usually, if I’m not needed elsewhere, I go to the local Dish and the Spoon Cafe and have an Americano. It is impossible to go there and not see someone I know and chit chat a bit. I’ve given up political conversations. I’d talk sports, but not many sports people hang out at the Dish and the Spoon. River Falls has 14 bars. I think that’s where I’d find the sports conversationalists.

Last week, I varied the routine as I had some chest congestion that lingered on longer than I needed it to and I finally went to urgent care at the Minneapolis VA hospital. The chest X-ray showed pneumonia and an antibiotic was prescribed. The routine blood test showed some enzyme abnormality and I ended up being admitted and checked out via an echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test. 

More pill bottles were added to my collection. I’ve slowed down a little more as the left side of my heart has a place that is starving for blood. In most cases, folks get a stent put in to the narrowed artery and blood flow is restored. In  my case, the last angiogram showed that there isn’t anywhere on any of the heart arteries where such a measure can be performed. Medication is the answer, and if that doesn’t work, the heart tissue will die, and if it’s bad enough, so will I. I can see it now, the pacemaker/defibrillator exploding with shocks to restart my heart. I hope I’m alone and no one has to watch that.

One step closer to the end of the diving board. I am upbeat for the most part, but still I sit there and wonder if and when it’s gonna happen. I’m not afraid, in fact, I want to experience death just like I experience life, with my eyes and mind open. May be a while yet though. I took my pills this morning.

Peace to all


Unknown said...

I'll just say an extra prayer for you today Joe. Everyday is new and little miracles are everywhere.
Al of those children in the house sounds a little too hectic for me...ack!
♥ ♥ ♥

Mel said...

Of course I'll continue to send prayers. The past couple of years have given you some life altering experiences. Same for me this past year. We get to grieve the loss whether we want to or not, yaknow? And that happens as we discover them, over and over again. That's not being 'ungrateful', I'm told. It's just a part of the process we get to deal with. We can grieve and be grateful at the same time. Frankly, let the kids be kids, let grandma be grandma...and you be YOU. It's a tough transition. You said it...YEARS of training ourselves into a routine. Tough to retrain and find peace in a years span of time. I ain't found it yet, but I'm a tad less whiney and grumpy. LOL. A TAD!!
I'm an impatient soul. I'm also graced with such awesome people in my life...and a G-d that makes sure I remember that my worth and value isn't from what I DO. Thank goodness for that! Not much that I've been able TO do...but I sure can love 'em while I got 'em!!
Hang in there...settle into the comfy chair and love 'em!! And every once in a while, brew the missus one of those fantastic cups of coffee!! ;-)

Kim Mailhot said...

I know that you see the beauty in each day, in spite of how the world may have become smaller for you recently. I am sending hugs like a cozy blanket in the perfect chair.
Peace, Man, and love.

J C said...

Mr. Spado, I can offer you cyber hugs. Can you feel them? Tight.

Fallingladies said...

Sorry to read how you are feeling slower and tired out... At least that's how it sounded. Hopefully once you've completely kicked the pneumonia, some of the energy from all those kids around will rub off and you'll feel a bit more like your younger self. Aging really is so hard! You have so many people around you (in reality and in blogland) that care! Thinking of you...