"Living through this...HELL! Can't Someone Break the Spell?"

-- Judas Priest, from "Fever" on SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE

Four weeks ago, I started noticing that I was having severe shortness of breath...especially when I tried to sleep. I would often wake up at two in the morning, needing a shot from my Albuterol inhaler (it never leaves my side, btw). Then I could NOT get back to sleep until about 07:00hrs (if that).

Two weeks ago, I decided that enough was too much...and caught the bus to Tri City Medical Center's Emergency Department. I arrived at 23:12hrs (I prefer to go in late, when it's not as busy. Plus, if I'm not dealing with chest pains or damaged limbs/joints, why sock the taxpayers for an ambulance ride, when I can take the bus there w/o a sweat?), and was checked into Triage.

I was taken back to a treatment cubicle, told to change into a gown (everything off underneath), and awaited the nurse who would be attending me that evening. A lab tech came by to get about seven tubes of blood for a workup. Then the CNA on duty covered me with a blanket (ahh, warmth at last!), gave me a cup of water, and now it was time to wait for the doctor.

The doctor came in twenty minutes later. Friendly sort, explained what tests were going to be run this session (ultrasound to check my thigh lymph nodes and my femoral artery for clots, a chest x-ray, the bloodwork (the blood was already at the lab), plus an IV shunt in my left arm for needed medications (YEOWTCH!), and a nitro patch on my chest wall.

They ran the tests, then gave me a dose of Lasix through the shunt.

--SOMETHING'S ROTTEN HERE!--

At about 01:25, the doctor came in with the results. It wasn't my lungs that were the main culprit here...it was my heart.

As in CHF: Congestive Heart Failure.

The bloodwork was the proof in this rotten pudding. Although I had not suffered a heart attack, the bloodwork did show that I was dealing with a mild (yeah, right) case of CHF. They prescribed Lasix and potassium and told me to get in touch with Vista Community Clinic ASAP.

Last Thursday, I saw my assigned doctor. He told me to cut back drastically my fluid intake, avoid "pre-made" foods (high in sodium), work on my portion control, and put my feet up when I'm at my apartment.

Sensible -- considering the alternative.

All was going oaky...untill this morning at 02:00. That was when I started hacking up major yellow flim, sneezing my fool head off, and thinking to myself, Man, are you getting it done dirty, or what?

I still cannot walk very far without stopping for a ten second "windcatcher" break. If this is what I have to look forward to, my employability quotient just took a power nosedive. And, my brothers and sisters of the Reader, yes...I AM SCARED BEYOND SILLY!

My daily trip through the living hell called my life has just had some asphalt added...and I must tread this length as well. I ask of you kind folks to keep me in your prayers and cool thoughts. The rest is up to God and myself.

-- LPR

Comments

nan shartel May 20, 2011 @ 2:09 p.m.

aaaaaaaahhhhh Robbie bear...i'm so sorry to hear this hunnypants

i will hold u up to the Universe...and may the bumps in the road smooth out soon ;-D

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SurfPuppy619 May 20, 2011 @ 4:59 p.m.

Wow, that must have been a shocker. Hope things improve. Follow the doc's advice. Especially smaller and better quality food portions.

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nan shartel May 21, 2011 @ 12:39 p.m.

how r u feeling today hunnyshorts?? ;-D

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Robert Johnston June 2, 2011 @ 2:37 p.m.

Hey, gang!

A quick update here:

I am getting a bit better, endurancewise. I can now walk 1/4 mile without needing a rest break. No miracle, but progress indeed.

My "output" isn't as heavy now. I had a chat with my dad ( a former Navy medical corpsman), and he told me that if the "output color" is yellow or white, no biggie...and to expect most of the "output" to happen in the morning or during my shower (steam still is the best way to get rid of the gunk!).

I still am scared, but life can only be lived one day at a time. I have cut back quite a bit, and am using more beans (via the crockpot) in my diet. In fact, tonight's dinner is pinto beans, sauerkraut, corn, and cubed chicken thighs in a tomato-base sauce. It will be ready when I get home.

I thank you for your prayers and kind words--I sure do need them. And yes, I have lost some weight--down one pants size (good for a start).

Enjoy your day, folks...just remember, it's later than you realize!

--LPR

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Twister June 7, 2011 @ 10:16 p.m.

Blessed are those who do no harm. We're all in this together; that means that we're all for each other, unconditionally. While I'm not big on the "God" thing either, the folks who put the Bible together meant well some of the time and wrote down some pretty decent principles to think about, and all the other oracles and such who passed down the best they could, written or oral, who have done no harm, can "look the whole world" and "heaven" in the face.

I'm happy you all are doing better; so am I--after three trips to the hospital this year, once for a heart problem, so I've got some idea what you're going through. Odd thing, though--I wasn't really scared. I don't know why, but it might have something to do with working on getting rid of my egocentrism.

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Robert Johnston June 8, 2011 @ 2:45 p.m.

To use a quote from one of my favorite movies ("Hoodlum," starring Lawrence Fishburne): "Yes, but fear can be a good thing sometimes--it checks the angry spirit."

Mdme. Stephanie St.Claire, to Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, in a dialog about the use of fear.

BTW: Both "Bumpy" Johnson and Stephanie "The Queen" St. Claire were real life hoods back during the 1920's, operating a numbers racket in Harlem. Johnson later added heroin to his repetoir, and was considered "LCN's man in Harlem." He died in 1968, and his succeesor was Frank "Superfly" Lucas and his Country Boys.

(Info from History's "Gangland," a series about street gangs in various parts of America, plus the major biker gangs. The DVD set is well worth the money, and, no, it does not glorify the criminality these thugs do.)

--LPR

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