Monday, May 14, 2012

PERKING UP!


I thought for the legions (well, handful) of Riverdaze readers wondering how things were going post-pacemaker surgery, I needed to reassure you that everything went very well. The device is implanted and working as it should—a little subcutaneous metronome, zapping me at a rate of 60 beats-per-minute. I had the operation early Friday morning and was released from the hospital and returned home Saturday afternoon.

The small incision is healing nicely. Other than the after-effects of an overnight hospital stay and the temporary limitations I must follow until things settle in,  I feel fine. Maybe not as bouncy and feisty as this old fox squirrel in the pix above—but pretty good for a curmudgeonly geezer…and already a bit better than I did before becoming bionic.

Frankly, from my end of things, the surgery was breeze. Once in the Pacemaker Lab, an intravenous line was inserted in my right arm. On the left, where the small slit for the pacemaker insertion was to be made, the area was shaved, soaped, and swabbed to sterilize the site. An antibiotic was administered. The anesthetist then gave me one of those "twilight cocktails" that relaxes you—though I was pretty relaxed to begin with, neither anxious nor fearful, just confident and looking forward to better days. I couldn't tell any difference before or after the anesthetic; I remained awake, alert, and talking the entire time—which was only about half-an-hour, once they got going.

On the left, where the small incision was to go, they administered a local anesthetic. I felt no pain when they made the slit, inserted the device and wires, or of course, threaded the lead through a vein and into the ventral chamber of the heart. No pain, no strange sensation, no weird feelings, nothing. Nada. It was truly minor surgery.

After that, it was off to my room where I was watched, monitored, fussed over, fed, and not allowed to get up for twelve long, torturous, s-l-o-w hours. Myladylove, daughter, and son-in-law were there pre-surgery, and (except for the son-in-law, who had to go back into work) waiting to greet me when they wheeled me into my room. There's nothing like family!

Since returning home, I've spent most of the time sacked out on the couch and recliner. Partly due to laziness and possible long-term sleep deprivation, and partly because I'm not supposed to raise my left arm above my shoulder for a month, while scar tissue develops, which will help to better secure the ventral-chamber wire in place—along with the fact I can't lift more than ten pounds, and obviously shouldn't bump, twist, or otherwise overly jiggle my upper body. Too, yesterday was Mother's Day—we cooked pulled pork, made coleslaw, pasta salad, and a strawberry pie, and were pleased to have kids and dogs aplenty join us—so there wasn't much chance to get out and field test the new ticker rhythm.

Otherwise, things are on track, going well, and I'm optimistic that I will soon be feeling a lot better—more energetic, less easily fatigued—than I have in a long, long time. 

I want you to know how very much I appreciated, and depended upon, each and every prayer, thought, and comment. From the bottom of my now speedier heart, thank you! 

And just so you don't worry…I'm not going to keep boring you with long progress reports. I'll doubtless mention things from time to time, but likely just incorporate such updates as a minor part of another post subject. After all, there's a brand new spring out there unfolding with every new day—and seasons in their order to follow. Interesting stuff; beautiful stuff. Things worth saying and sharing and exploring. 

I figure you've heard enough of my "poor ol' me" whining for awhile. 
———————

28 comments:

Rowan said...

So glad to hear that all has gone well and that you are feeling better. I'm sure that another week or two will make a huge difference. Meantime do what the doctor's tell you - no running before you can walk:)!!

Carolyn H said...

Grizz: I'm so glad to hear you are doing well. Actually, it sounds as though you are doing outstandingly well, and that Mother's Day dinner sounds pretty good, too! Take care! You'll be out and about very soon. Gee, camera equipment doesn't weigh more than 10 lbs does it?? Hope not.

Bonnie said...

I've been a bit delinquent in my blog visits due to health issues in my family, so am both surprised to know you have had to have a pace-maker inserted and pleased to know it all went smoothly.

That's quite a lengthy time to have to curtail your upper body movements. Hope your lady-love is into gardening!

Take care of yourself Grizz!

Grizz………… said...

Rowan…

Thank you. Really, the only restrictions are no heavy lifting, no raising the left above the head for a month, and no driving—just to give the inserted electrical lead time to sort of become "grown" into place. And I'll have to be moderately restrictive on such movements for some time afterwards. (A driving golf swing would be prohibited, for example.) But beyond that, it's just time and common sense.

I go back for a post-op check in two weeks. So I may have more details then.

Grizz………… said...

Carolyn H…

Hey, the dinner was excellent. I'm feeling good, and no, the camera gear—at least a body and a couple of lenses—do not weigh more than ten pounds. Plus I don't usually raise my arms high when shooting. So photos ought to be good…except I can't drive even a quarter mile up the road to a favorite big patch of public lands—woods and fields and all sorts of photo possibilities. BUT, I may now feel good enough to walk.

Thank you!

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

I hope things are going okay with your family issues. I'm doing fine. As to the gardening—maybe some planting in a month, but probably no serious digging and certainly no limestone or railroad tie wall building for the rest of the year. Don't even know if I'll be able to work up my firewood come fall.

However, Myladylove is as avid a gardener/digger/planting/wood-chopping log-wrestler as I am, so the trick is going to be keeping her from hurting herself. And right now, we can't get into fisticuffs over such matters because I can't fight, so I therefore have to walk a fine line with the orders and demands. Threatening her to make her slow down will be especially risky—because, being a paper tiger, if I make her too mad, she'll just laugh at my commands, or quickly whip me…a terrible dilemma for a take-charge he-man!

Gail said...

Hi Grizz - phew. I truly am so relieved. Phew.
And you were in that awake twilight? Oh my, you are brave -
your Mother's day meal sounds so yummy - your loving family and support warm me all over - and your courage inspires me.
Loving you in all ways
Gail
peace.....

George said...

Delighted to hear that all went well and that you are now on the mend, Grizz. With due respect to modern science, there is no medicine like pulled pork, cole slaw, and a little strawberry pie. As the pilgrims greet one another on the caminos, ULTREYA! ONWARD!

Penny said...

Oh I do love your description of no fisticuffs! All sounds good.Go well.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Hey, I'm relieved, too. And while some might call it "awake twilight," I remained firmly on the awake side—enough so that the surgeon and I talked about cameras and lenses and nature photography. I've used toothpaste that made me sleepier. But really, there was nothing to be brave about—no pain whatsoever. When they pulled all the sticky tape off from the IVs and bandages—now that hurt. And afterwards, the front of my shoulder/chest got a little sore where they made the slit for the pacemaker—but it wasn't throbbing, just sore if I pushed it a little bit. Which is still the case. But surgery-wise, and post-op pain…a piece of cake.

Now, re. courage…you sure have to feel good about that guy who's going to go threading a wire through an artery and down into the lower chamber of your heart. You have to have the courage to trust his ability, and I suppose, trust in the technology. But I really didn't have a lot of options. And to quote John Wayne, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

What you deal with and face on a daily basis is far more than my little deal. You have courage by the boatload. You inspire me.

Grizz………… said...

George…

Amen to the pork and slaw and pie! And family! Science can only take you so far—beyond which, you can't beat good eats and love.

ULTREYA! it is!

Grizz………… said...

Penny…

The best part is that I'm almost telling you the truth. I can't do anything with Myladylove when she decides to work…and at that point, survivalist's wisdom says you'd better not rill her up a lick more. :~)

Robin said...

Yes!

Hildred and Charles said...

So glad all went well for you, - have seen what magic pace makers work, and so glad you have one keeping you in line. Take care, - enjoy life.

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Thump-pa…thump-pa…thump-pa…thump-pa…thump-pa…thump-pa…thump-pa! :~D

Grizz………… said...

Hildred and Charles…

A little energy magic would be a good thing. Thank you!

KGMom said...

Scribe--oh, so good to know. I did check back a couple of times looking for news, so this post is most welcome.
And the outcome is fantastic. Now, you can sing your new theme song: "I Got Rhythm...who could ask for anything more?"

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

Hey, I had rhythm before—but more a fatigued dirge than a lively Irish reel. However, maybe I do need a theme song to play in the background.

Hummmmm…there's the old Sonny & Cher "The Beat Goes On." Nahhh, can't say I ever liked them or their music all that much.

Or from the Antediluvian Age of roots Rock & Roll (which, I don't care what you say, I BARELY remember even if I do remember this tune!), "Every Beat of My Heart," by the Royals; but maybe that's too Doo-Wop/Rhythm N' Blues.

I've always liked Smokey Robinson's "One Heartbeat At A Time," and it has the right bluesy sweet-and-easy beat that seems appropriate for where I'm at.

But maybe I need to think longer; a man's heartbeat themesong is serious business.

Gail said...

And add to the list your humbleness and you are the real deal :-)
.....thanks Grizz.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Awhhh, that's really nice, and I hope it's true—but I also know me, my fears, weaknesses, limitations…and given that intimate insider knowledge, pride and ego are a foolish option. I try, instead, to be genuine and honest, and have as much fun as possible.

Wanda..... said...

Glad all is well...my sister had a defibrillator implanted a few years back and all went well for her, so felt confident it would for you too and the pacemaker surgery. Richard(husband) is mowing the yard today, all's well here also.

Grizz………… said...

Wanda…

I'm happy to hear your sister and husband are doing well. Some of this modern technology is miraculous. I'm feeling good, and have already lost maybe 15 pounds of fluids from my extremities…which is probably why I'm feeling good, huh?

It's a pretty day here along the river—warm, sunny, the stream's flow green and sparkling. Saw an indigo bunting in the yard a moment ago. Lots of stuff in bloom. The grass is getting high enough to hide a chipmunk—so if Myladylove is off tomorrow, she'll get to mow, which she honestly enjoys doing.

It's good to be home, good to be feeling better. Tell Richard to take it easy and to sit a spell every so often and sip a glass of iced tea while he listens to the wrens and robins make their music.

Wanda..... said...

It was a nice day...I planted my small garden and the wrens and robins are loud here...several nests in the area...along with the bluebirds, but they're quieter, like me!

Jain said...

That's one sassy lookin' squirrel there, Grizz! Glad to hear your surgery was relatively uneventful. Who woulda thought they could install a ticker with such little trouble? I was afraid you'd be out for weeks.

Keep taking care of yourself and enjoy the unfolding season as best you can without too much exertion!

Grizz………… said...

Wanda…

A nice day here, too—and long. We're just turning in. I've just taken Moon-the-Dog out for her pre-bed ramble, being careful because for the last couple of hours there's been a big coon on the stump near the deck, feeding on some leftover popcorn…and as I told Myladylove, that critter looked like he could whip both of us.

Tomorrow we have plants to get out and grass to mow. I'm supervising. Feeling good. No bluebirds here (maybe once a year) but active nest boxes a quarter-mile up the road; that's where I made the pix for the previous post.

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

I've never met a fox squirrel that wasn't sassy. They always strike me, somehow, as being rather Irish—maybe because they're red-headed, mouthy, and have that sparkle of mischief in their beady, buck-toothed look—like they could almost be kin!

I won't be out, per se, but sorta compromised, especially when it comes to the no driving part. That's a bummer. But, I'm also grateful to have come through things so easily and to maybe have a shot at a renewed me—so I'll give the healing business my best. Would like to be roaming the beach at Grand Marais tomorrow, though…

giggles said...

Great to hear such wonderful news!!!! Glad (and amazed!) your procedure went so smoothly.... Here's to 100%+ soon!!!!

xoxoxox,

giggles

Grizz………… said...

Giggles…

Thank you. Frankly, I'm amazed, too. I'm feeling pretty good; can already see and feel some positive changes.