Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back to the Medical Business...

Walter saw the cardio doc today, Monday.

The heart catheter is back on the table. He goes in on Thursday for that. If he needs stents, they'll put them in during the heart cath, and keep him there overnight. If not, he comes home the same day. They said to allow 6 hours for it: arrive at 6am for paperwork, start the procedure at 8am, done by 2 pm...we hope.

And then, more 30% of the bills. We still owe around $7000 to various places in Indiana.

Walter came home from the appointment today and told me this: --I told the doctor the truth. I didn't hold back. I told him everything.

Meaning, the continuing shortness of breath. The two episodes of heart-attack type pain two days ago. They were mild and transitory and we watched for it to continue, but it stopped.

As far as I know, anyway. I don't care so much if he tells ME everything. I just want the doc to know. If Walter's not telling me everything, I know he's either trying to spare me more worry, or spare himself the anxiety of telling me, or whatever. That's fine. I decided long ago that married people have a right NOT to tell each other absolutely everything. They may even have a responsibility not to, sometimes.

I don't think he's really able to keep working any more. But the problem is, he has no retirement plan. There is a long-term disability insurance plan we've been paying the premiums on for several months now. If he does become too sick to work, he can't use that insurance unless a year has passed, first: the heart problems are a pre-existing condition and won't be covered.

So he wants to go back to work as long as he can. If his health improves enough to stay on indefinitely, so much the better. If he can at least work until his insurance will cover him, that would help. It wouldn't pay for more than a few years, but still, it would help. His Social Security disability won't be that much.

Walter told me today that about 10% of bypasses close back up. I didn't know that, I'd only heard it about stents. Commenter Marian had the only case I'd personally heard about where that happened: her husband had a stent that became 70% blocked, and quickly. They swooped in, cleaned it out, popped it back in, and Bob's yer uncle.

From what I understand, there are two major ways the blood flow to the heart gets restricted, leaving part of the heart muscle dead - meaning, a heart attack.

There can be obstructions inside the vessels, like the famous cholesterol etc. buildup we hear so much about. Or perhaps a clot.

Or, the vessel constricts. It clenches. Spasms.

I'm not sure how medically accurate any of this is, okay? I'm kind of translating it as I go, as best I can.

Apparently, the constriction - coronary insufficiency - is usually brought on by things like smoking and stress. So the diet - the clogging-up stuff - actually works in a different way.

Walter's had an extraordinary amount of stress over the past year and a half. Most of it hasn't really been bloggable. I finally posted about the baby granddaughter that passed away, and the new grandson now born. But it's way, way more than that. The family in Europe, the stress on the job, the hurricane issues, the creep bank trying to foreclose after they told us not to make payments...and of course, dealing with my own health problems doesn't help his stress level, either.

I never in my life thought I would have a man like him with me. He is not perfect. Good thing too, because neither am I.

What he is, instead, is a truly good and decent man. A sweet and devoted man who loves me for who I am. And despite who I am, as well.

He will love me no matter how sick I get, how old and ugly I get. Just as I will him. He delights in my little achievements and admires my flowers and bricklaying. He wonders at my love of life, and how I love my neighbors, and love to cook for him. He respects my blogging and my pix, way more than I think they deserve.

He has adopted my family as his own. He's brought us closer together than I ever thought was possible. He and my mom get on like a house afire, and talk on the phone maybe ten times more than she and I do. Which is wonderful, by me. It tickles the hell out of me.

That, people, is a dream spouse. The kind of old-fashioned one we longed for as teenagers, and too often, gave up on as being unrealistic.

I want one and only one thing from him: I want him to live.

If he can't work any more, if he can never go back to work again and it leaves us broke, I do NOT care. As long as he's alive, we can make it.

That's all I want. All I need from him is him.


Anonymous said...

I wish all of that for you, K, and life for Walter. I myself just recently have had a heart attack and a bypass operation.

Dazd said...

A beautiful post K. I will be sending prayers all week for both of you.

Livey said...

Yepp, Walter is a true gem, as are you. You two are perfect together!
Is it possible for Walter to do any other kind of work? I worry about him on the road like that. My prayers are with you both, love yas!

Walrilla said...

What a beautiful statement.

Jan said...

k..my heart goes out to you and Walter. You are blessed to have found each other. My prayer is that everything will go well for you both, in every way.

Nancy said...

Oh K! My prayers for you both.

prettylady said...

K, you are full of grace, and Walter too.

pepektheassassin said...

You know I will be thinking about you also. Marv's had his stents for, I guess, five years, and they're all still doing their job!

betsye doing chattanooga said...

smiles and love...
you and walter 'fit' so well...and, it's just amazing that in two little 'incubators' or???...so far apart...Papa had already 'created' a 'pair'...a 'we'...an 'us"..a 'k and walter'...ah, in THIS, HE has created a 'better place' and, a 'huge' road map...

ah, gotta get back to 'carmelizing my onions'....smile...this makes me feel 'closer' to those singing/saying geckos!!!!

Desert Cat said...

Life is precious, every last drop.

John P. McCann said...

You and Walter rawk!

Cindi said...

This brought tears to my eyes. You and Walter are a very special couple and I am so happy you have each other.