Poetry Life and Mind-ful Things

Posts tagged ‘blood pressure’

Good News

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a post op follow up with my Cardiologist yesterday. The good news is he gave me the all clear to go back to work. I knew he would but actually hearing the words and holding that paper in my hands made it so much better.

After I left there, I went to my job to finalize my return to work. I had to call HR and fax the paperwork. Karen needed to know if I had any restrictions pertaining to my duties and I told her I’m not allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. So if lifting a pen or moving a mouse on my desk and shuffling paper or tapping keys on a keyboard counts…I’m well within the perameters.

I’ll tell you what may be my biggest challenge…staying awake at certain times during the day. Right now I get sleepy sometimes late morning or mid afternoon. It will probably take some fight within to overcome and I know it will not be easy. I’m already trying to make the adjustment but I’m losing the battle. I have to remember that I am still healing and this need to sleep will be with me for awhile.

So am I going back to work too soon? Not at all, because the longer I stay home the more I fall into this routine that is sleeping whenever. Once I start working more I will become stronger to make the adjustment.

The operation I had is very commonplace these days, but for me this is major. If I didn’t have the surgery, I would have developed health issues in the future that would be difficult to overcome as I grow older. I am truly thankful that God brought me through all of this and allowing me to heal at this rapid pace.

The doctors are telling me I am in good health. My heart is strong, my lungs are clear and my blood pressure is good. Still, I know anything can happen in life, no matter what foods we eat or how much we exercise. I am blessed to have this opportunity for new life and I hope I can live up to the task.

The Heart Of The Matter

Four weeks ago, I had surgery to repair a leaking Mitral Valve in my heart. The symptoms I was experiencing was shortness of breath and tightness in my head when I would overexert myself….mostly at work.

I went to my PCP who referred me to a Cardiologist. After performing tests and ultra sounds, and a Catheter (I forget the medical term for the procedure) was used to get a closer look at the heart. It was this procedure that confirmed his diagnosis.

From here, I had an appointment with the surgeon who talked to me about the surgery and the two types that can be performed. The first is the conventional where they open the chest and ribs to access the heart. The second is less evasive where an incision is made above the right breast and the heart is accessed that way. It is less painful and recovery time is faster by about two weeks (4 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks).

I also had to decide on the type of valve I wanted if the valve had to be replaced. Once they go in and see that the valve has to be replaced, they need to know ahead of time if it will be mechanical or synthetic. Mechanical would mean blood thinners for the rest of my life and synthetic would mean I would have to do this again in about 10-15 years.

After my appointment with the surgeon that day, I went home and pulled up some video on the procedure and watched about five of them involving both techniques and the different valves used for the replacement and also how the repair is done. I called the surgeons office to inform them of my choice the next day which was the less evasive and also for the mechanical valve if a replacement was required.

So I waited to get on schedule for the procedure I chose…and waited. I would call the office to see if I was on schedule and was told they were waiting for equipment. Last month I decided to ask if I opted for the conventional surgery, when would I be able to get on schedule. They called me back that day and gave me three dates, all in March. I chose the earliest available which was the 18th.

So now it’s 4 weeks since the operation and I’m feeling better with each new day. I was discharged from the hospital a day early because I was doing so well. I had to use this heart for standing and for coughing, holding it tight against my chest.

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Hospital staff and some co-workers signed it for me. This pillow was really a life saver early on. I don’t use it now, but while in the hospital and after coming home, it was my companion. My first sneeze happened a few days after I got home and it came out of nowhere. My pillow was within reach but I didn’t have time to grab it…that was an intense moment and yes it hurt. I am practically pain free right now….I can handle a sneeze.

I forgot to mention, after waking in my room the first thing that came out of my mouth “was the valve repaired or replaced?” I was told it was repaired, to my delight.

My discharge papers had instructions and some arm exercises that I needed to do. As far as walking, instead of keeping track of the distance, I was to keep track of the time I walk and increase that each week. I can do a 20 minute brisk walk with no problem.

I see my Cardiologist in a few days and I’m really hoping to get the all clear to return to work. I know I still have a lot of healing to do and I’m conscious of my limitations.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m bored.

 

 

Who Noticed?

I can’t believe I have gone five months to the day since my last post. No, I didn’t plan a comeback on the exact date for this post to happen. I was curious to see when my last post was published so I stopped for a second to find out. But….who noticed? I’m sure I lost a few followers during this time span, but I also gained some. I wondered who would follow me even after they saw the date of my last post…or did they? It could have been a link that brought them here and that was enough for them to see what I may have to offer.

Did you notice that I had “disappeared” from the face of blogging for (in the blogging realm) an eternity? Did you wonder why my presence was nonexistent? So many times I sat, wanting to peck away at these keys to tell my story. Did I not have anything to say? Nothing to report? I’m not sure if I have the answer to those questions. One thing I do know I had….time.

Since the death of my 43 year old nephew from a heart attack last year in July, and losing my 2 oldest brothers to prostate cancer, my oldest one year and my second oldest the following year, it was time to take stock in myself to see where I was physically. Yes I know many people are able to continue writing and keep up with their social networks no matter what the circumstance, but I didn’t. I’m not going to try to explain away the why’s or why not’s pertaining to my absence, but I will give some insight.

For some time, I had been working part time and I was able to get more done with the extra time I had. When the opportunity presented itself for a full time position, I couldn’t pass that up. I had no idea at the time it would be as demanding of my time as it has come to be. I’m not complaining about that….just stating the facts. My work days start getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning and not getting home at times before 6:30 or 7 in the evening. Although my job status has changed from the warehouse to the office, I’m still mobile to a great degree which requires me to make several trips out to the warehouse for different reasons. My steps add up to 2 to 5 miles a day…at work alone…not counting any other steps that add to my day. I’m ordering parts, searching for parts, pulling parts, receiving parts, shipping parts to other parts of the country to our other warehouses. It can be exhausting, but also rewarding. I really like my job, but it does wear me down at times.

Even though my mind feels young and I still act like I’m a twenty year old, my body reminds me of the aging process. I have to remind myself that this body is not as vibrant as it used to be…I need to slow it down. The cause of my brother’s deaths was alarming for me. Saying that, it still took awhile for me to get myself checked. The cause of my nephew’s death was equally alarming. A few days before he died, we were all at a family reunion in Cleveland, Oh and he looked good…no indications of ill health from what I could see. I met his children for the first time and we were having memorable moments…pictures being taken. stories being told and buckets being filled with laughter. I was at work when my mom called to give me the news a few days after arriving home from the reunion. Devastating. My boss wouldn’t let me drive home so he and my former boss were kind enough to get me there, one driving my car and the other followed in another. I appreciated that.

It was time. Time for me to do what I had put off for far too long. It had been years since I was seen by a doctor on regular visits. My blood pressure was high but not off the charts, but high enough to cause concern…160’s over lower to mid 90’s. Of course he asked the usual family history questions and I told him about my brothers and my nephew…and my father who also died from prostate cancer. Well that was enough for him to hear. I’m now on BP meds and my blood pressure is down to a manageable level, but still not where I would like for it to be. I’ve done self checks for reading of 140’s over lower 90’s and the doctor says that that is ok because there are some things I can do to help bring it down even more like eliminating some things that I eat and doing some exercise.

Now, my PSA levels were on the high end (0-4 is normal) concerning my prostate (mine was 9.6) so he sent me to a Urologist to get checked out. He (urologist) recommended a biopsy. That was done this past December and the results came back in my favor….no signs of any cancer. He said the elevated PSA levels were likely due to the enlargement of my prostate, which is normal for men as we age. So I’m taking medication to shrink the prostate which in turn will help my urine flow. Oh…did I not mention the fact that I was beginning to have trouble with that? Guys, if you’re not aware, when the prostate becomes enlarged it chokes the urethra which cuts the flow of the extraction of urine….not good! Get yourself checked!!

So this is where I am right now. I want to get back to blogging and also writing, designing and whatever else lands on my plate. I’m not gonna say I’m coming back like gang busters, but I am coming back.

Did you miss me?

One more thing…..#whatruworkinon

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