Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sitting in the ER Again

It's Walter's heart.

For the past month or so, he's been having some of the same heart symptoms he did before his triple bypass last year. There's a particular kind of nausea, for instance, associated with it, and he's been getting that again for a while. He only told me last week, wanting to save me from more stress on top of the other things going on.

That's why I was so adamant about getting him to his new cardio doc.

Now, this doc has only seen Walter once before. And apparently he never received the copious file from Deaconess in Indiana, where Walter had the surgery.

Had I known he never got it, I could have remedied that: I have my own copy. I made sure to have my own. Experience taught me that lesson.

This is why Dr. M the cardio guy had no idea Walter still had fairly bad blockages in other vessels - 2 more are 30% blocked.

At least Walter told Dr. M he was smoking again. He didn't tell me. I caught him in the act a few days ago, and it rocked me. Bad.

kdad the MD tells me that even the few per day Walter's been smoking for the past month is enough to kill him pretty quick. And the fact that the heart symptoms resurfaced with the smoking is, I believe, no coincidence.

Walter had arranged only 4 days off. To get more, he needed to call his driver manager. He did that yesterday, Monday. And got permission for two weeks at home.

That surprised me. He'd been pretty adamant about leaving again ASAP.

Perhaps he had some premonition, or the symptoms were already getting worse yesterday. All I know for sure is, today, he felt bad all day. He told me so this evening.

--Bad? How?

--Weird. And there's pressure in my chest, right over my heart. From front to back through my heart. Like a slow pressure, when someone pushes a fist through you, you feel it in the front and then in the back. A pressure that hurts.

Whereupon, we began one hell of a tussle.

He did NOT want to go to the ER. And this is one stubborn man. Let me tell you, folks. He really is.

Plus, he's a lot bigger than me. Much stronger too. Not that I'm a weakling, you understand. My balance is funky and I usually can't walk so good, but my muscles are certainly powerful enough. Not like they were, but nothing to scoff at.

But him? Yeah, he's strong and big and extremely stubborn.

He has learned, however, that I'm pretty stubborn myself.

It took me hours to get him here. I disrespected his sovereignty left and right. I ordered him about. I did what I could, right or wrong, and it finally worked. I had several tricks up my sleeve I didn't even have to use.

When he told me about the pains, he refused to go to the ER. I explained he did not have a choice. He stomped off to bed to lay down for a while.

Then we negotiated. Yes, he could take a bath first. My 5-10 minutes estimated bath time turned into his 45 minutes. That meter ran after he'd been laying in bed refusing for a good 45 minutes.

Then after the bath, he said, --Just let me finish reading this book first.

That's when the pressure pain had abated for a while and he started saying he should just wait until morning. I replied that it was perfectly common for the pains to come and go, it didn't mean it was suddenly fine in there, not at all. And that if I suddenly had to call an ambulance when the pain resurfaced, much more damage would be done to his heart by the time he got treatment.

My luck turned when Mother Nature took over, and the pain came back all on its own. Suddenly that book really did need only 5 or 10 minutes to get finished, and he walked in the home office with his clothes on.

We're at Holy Cross. They gave him a good scolding here. How with his history, he needs to come in to the ER the minute he feels those pains. They told me they spanked him 3 or 4 times already. I, of course, said --Ah! Did you enjoy it?

He still has no idea how much danger he was in tonight. Later, I may tell him how my dad was saying he has to go now, there is NO time, he's not likely to last until the morning. That, from the calm cool collected scientist who never gets excited about stuff like this.

Waiting here, Walter's in an ER bed and they're trying to stabilize him. He's had 3 nitro pills and 2 big doses of morphine. The first morphine finally got the pain under control. It wore off after a half hour or so, and he got another one. Now he's doing the sweaty gray-face thing again.

He wants to go home.

He's already seen the *Admitting* folks. I'd be quite surprised if they didn't keep him here overnight. But they can't take him upstairs until he's stabilized, so we wait.

We wait.


Granny J said...

O dear God, k. All I can say is pray, hang in there. I know you're doing all that you can. Would that those of us out in the world could help you directly at this point.

betsye said...


my love and prayers are with you, and walter. i will check back, often, to learn more and to 'be with you'.


Moobear said...

I hope Walter does well k and will soon be home again. Both of you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Desert Cat said...

Ai yi yi...

I'm no fan of hospital stays myself, and I debated heavily within myself about going in. But already *knowing* about additional blockages? Man, I would be so there in a, er... heartbeat. And would be disinclined to want them releasing me until they'd stented every daygum blockage they could find.

If they are anything at all like Tucson Heart Hospital, there's no way Jose they are going to release him, even today. Because if they do and he keels over, well guess who can be held liable?

In the mean time, tell him to at least enjoy the first few minutes of the morphine, and that I'll be praying for him.

Dazd said...

Praying for Walter and praying for you K.

Been there done that...he's a lucky man to have you around.

Deaconess in Indiana? I musta missed something...

Nancy said...

Oh K!!

Praying along with you and hoping for the best.

Men. So stubborn. If it had been you who'd had that heart pain, he'd have picked you up and carried you kicking and fussing. He was taking advantage of the fact he's too big to do that to...

Hopefully, this will cure the tobacco addiction at least, and if they do a good job, he'll be healthier for a while.

Livey said...

He's damn lucky I wasn't there cuz I would have picked his ass up and thrown him in the car! And you tell him that! I WILL come down there and kick his ass if he ever pulls that waiting shit again!
I love that man and I am NOT ready to lose him!
Of course, I know you aren't either. He is one VERY lucky man I tell ya! You are so patient with him.
You are both in my prayers. Love yas!

k said...

granny j, betsye, Miss Claudia, Pops, dazd, Nancy - I feel you guys out there. It buoys me up. The worst part is the waiting, and the way you are, out there, it helps me stay strong...

dazd, I missed your own heart episodes - excuse my memory here, I think they happened before you started blogging? - but I always think of you and your heart out there in Indiana! Walter being a trucker, he happened - by coincidence - to be some 20 miles away from Deaconess late last November when he almost died. Could have died, easily. Would have, only a few years back, or in a different place. The posts from that time start here:

It was a long time before the severity of his heart condition really hit home for him. I had my doubts much earlier, it seemed far worse than he was communicating to us. A bit of denial going on.

DC, you got it: message delivered. Now here's a killer - Me, I would most certainly enjoy that morphine shot. I have no memories of life without pain; it got bad when I was 8 years old. It's never gone, it's just better or worse. To adequately control it now would leave me unprotected too young; our bodies develop a tolerance, and it doesn't work as well any more. As I get older and the pain gets worse, I don't want the pain control to be less effective at the same time. So to have a boost in pain control for a little while is sheer heaven to me.

To Walter? All it does is make him nauseous. Some folks react that way to opiates. Last night, sitting up with him, we shook our heads at how I'd love to get his morphine shot, and can't have it; and how he'd love to give it to me, and can't.

At least it did finally relieve his pain and steady up his heart. Plus he didn't barf. Good enough.

You and I, DC, we have the same love of staying alive, and sorrow of contemplating our deaths. Walter is different. He has no fear or regret of death. That difference in attitude changes everything.

He laughed when I brought the laptop and he read your comment about getting cut loose from the hospital and then keeling over dead. Why? It was exactly the same thing I said to him last night. And I reminded him that one reason they're more careful these days is because way too often, it actually happens. They've relied too much on tests that weren't definitive enough, and sent patients home to suddenly die. So the lawsuits were justified, and they finally wised up.

Ah, Nancy. Talk about waiting. I still can't imagine the grind of waiting for the 27 days you just did.

I want him to get healthier too. I know he wants that for himself. But he's tussling with it. So much to give up, so much extra effort. So much loss.

Getting there is much more problematic for a long-haul trucker. It's so much harder to eat right and exercise that it's a disabling condition for them, like sleep apnea is, where it wouldn't be for an office worker.

We want him back in off the road, and I think it's our best chance of getting him healthier. But as of now, his long-term disability insurance won't cover his heart problems for a while. So...we wait.

Until a few years ago, I could still pick Walter up. He weighed 200 pounds. I couldn't actually toss him over my shoulder, but I could pick him up off the floor, and muscle him around a bit. These days he won't even let me try.

And that is EXACTLY what he would do if it were me! He is such a GUY sometimes!

Even though I couldn't have tossed him in the car myself, that's one thing paramedics can be very, very good at. Lucky for me, they're only two blocks down the street. They drive by my house all the time as I'm gardening, keeping their siren and speed politely quiet till they leave the neighborhood, and I love to wave HI at them. They are my BUDDIES.

One of my aces up my sleeve.

Hmmm. Perhaps I'll deliver my Halloween leftovers up there instead of the food bank...

OH! Maybe some nice sin rolls too. I haven't ever hit them yet. All my other fave neighbors have gotten some goodies but them. How COULD I have been so neglectful?

Lisa said...

I'm sending up prayers now.

sue said...

Thinking and praying for you both.

k said...

Thanks, lisa and sue. Check it out.

He's home.