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Breathing In & Breathing Out...


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Sending a big shout out of appreciation and thanks to everyone for your support on my last blog! Took you all "with" me on my latest medical journey which went very smoothly.

The ablation was completed Thursday, bumping my HR back up to 55-60, however due to my heart still dropping beats it was going to be pacemaker time after all. I was relieved as I figured I'd only likely have to return within the near future to have it done. One twofer special coming right up!

So Friday they wheeled me in for the amazingly quick procedure! Like rolling into an auto shop with all the spare parts lined up along the wall 15-20 mins and back in my room floating on a Fentanyl fog. I got a Medtronic dual chamber MRI compatible pacemaker and then it was off to la-la land...

The intersection of medicine & technology is an amazing thing to behold. I feel a little bit like RoboCop or Ironman, lol. It's one thing to hear about it but quite another to being the recipient of such wizardry!

I was in a limbo room at hospital probably for insurance reasons plus there were no empty beds and the place was filled to gills. So this meant little privacy, curtains for walls and no place to shower. Sink scrubbing time! I am drawing a hot soak in the tub immediately after posting this blog! :-)

One very smart thing I did was to download a most delightful book "Spokesongs" by Willie Weir:

willieweir.com/SpokeSong
s.shtml


Reading his humorous, insightful encounters while traveling through amazing places such as India and South Africa on his bicycle really took me away from the hospital so delightfully! I highly recommend him to anyone into cycling and humanity. He has such a way about him! I can relate to some of his style, sorta feels like me, except he is WAY more bold and willing to outside his comfort zone than I ever have been, with SUCH rewards! I'm so envious!

I'll be following up with the arrhythmia center to get hooked up with a box that will "beam me up Scottie" and wirelessly transmit info on my pacemaker functioning to the manufacturer while I sleep to be sure everything's running okay.

Still not hearing what the deal is regarding anti-coagulants and the possibility of discontinuing them later.

One little surprise I found out almost as I was leaving I was informed that I was not to drive for TWO WEEKS! That dropped my jaw! That'll mean no work or private practice. I've got boatloads of time to take, but hate the thought of leaving colleagues in the lurch for so long. Going to see if I can have this "amended"...

I had been spoken to by nobody all day long on Friday after having the pacemaker put in first thing in the morning. Finally I pinned down a nurse who, while she didn't have the answers re: my concerns about lifestyle changes, precautions, etc. living with a pacemaker, she did give me a helpful booklet but what was SO cool was that she introduced me to another hospital employee whom my doctor spotted as having the same problem as I have w/ atrial flutter & he did her pacemaker too. She's been using it for ten years with one replacement which she said wasn't a big deal.

So temporarily I have to be careful about lifting, pushing, pulling with my left arm while the tissue around the pacemaker heals to properly "hold" it in place. After that? Not really too much to worry about: avoid being scanned @ airports and other electronic scanners. Microwaves are no problem. My pacemaker is MRI compatible should I ever need one. I have to be careful to avoid any sudden impact around the pacemaker which is below my left clavicle and if anything DOES impact it to seek help.

This gal was clearly full of energy and buzzing 'round the hospital doing her thing...very friendly and supportive.

So upon getting home on a sorta sunny, mid-40 degree day whatza guy to do? Get those stir-crazy legs out walking and soaking up the outdoors which I'd been walled off from for the past few days! :-)

Although the song "The Waters Of March" didn't pop up on my music while walking, I couldn't help but think of it as an antedote to all the information overload I've been experiencing. Love the lyrics which seem to say "look around you, take in your world, breathe in, breathe out, celebrate life and living!"

A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump, it's a little alone
It's a sliver of glass, it is life, it's the sun
It is night, it is death, it's a trap, it's a gun

The oak when it blooms, a fox in the brush
The knot in the wood, the song of a thrush
The will of the wind, a cliff, a fall
A scratch, a lump, it is nothing at all

It's the wind blowing free, it's the end of the slope
It's a beam, it's a void, it's a hunch, it's a hope
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the end of the strain, it's the joy in your heart

And although the song, written by maestro Antonio Carlos Jobim is wonderful to hear it performed by himself and so many others, I'll share again my favorite version in honor and memory of the great Oscar Castro-Neves who sadly passed away last year:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=
-kKwubZ8B_M


Now this Stevie Wonder song DID pop up while walking and gives me a very similar lift:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=
EKTgWozFEyo


as did this one too:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=
iU3u5UDjYeY


and fittingly near the end of my 2.5 mile walk came this song reminding me to let everything go and just take in the world and BREATHE:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=
SoUqK2mSD18


I'll close with a rare thing: a selfie...just don't DO selfies! But here are a few from the bridge on my walk...



And here's a cock-eyed pic with the fishing access behind me from where our local bike club has met and launched many a glorious ride!



The saga will continue, but for right now I'm checking out. I have a long hot soak in the tub waiting for me! :-)

Don

ps...here's a great pic of a number of our bike club members used in conjunction with some great local news!
www.pressconnects.com/vi
ewart/20140307/NEWS10/3030
70010/NY-lawmakers-want-mo
ney-pedestrians-cyclists
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CELIAMINER 3/13/2014 1:50PM

    Wow, I haven't been keeping up, so I had no idea you were having ablation performed! Glad it went well, and thanks for the flowers goodie!

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ALIIDA 3/10/2014 10:40AM

    Hubby has been asking about you. (He had an ablation on Valentine's Day and a stent placed ten days ago.) I'm so happy I can report how well you're doing. emoticon emoticon

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GR8CATSBY 3/9/2014 8:09PM

    Welcome home! Glad things went smoothly!!!
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CHANGE4FIT 3/9/2014 6:58PM

    Glad this adventure is done! Hoping all continues on a positive path and "the beat goes on".
PJ

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_MOBII_ 3/9/2014 6:17PM

    I am so happy you are all better! And if you have to be a super hero, Ironman is the way to go!

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DAISYBELL6 3/9/2014 2:06PM

    I'm so glad your procedures went well and that they are over for now.

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DOUGDC 3/9/2014 2:03PM

    Glad to hear things are going well and that you are comfortable. An example where current day medicine is working well! Best always.

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L*I*T*A* 3/9/2014 1:10PM

    listen to your drs about the 2 weeks off!!!


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HIPPICHICK1 3/9/2014 12:40PM

    Glad you are all put back together and functioning! Walk on Don, walk on.
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OUATEONE2 3/9/2014 12:11PM

    emoticon best wishes for your quick recovery and return to normal activities.

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ZELLAZM 3/9/2014 8:50AM

    I'm so happy everything went well for you, Don! How great that you got to talk to someone who could give you a firsthand testimonial about your new hardware! And thanks for the playlist suggestions. I will think of/pray for you when I listen to these!

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KANOE10 3/9/2014 8:27AM

    I am so glad your surgery went well. You have bounced back and are walking and listening to great music. I am very happy for you.

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/9/2014 8:12AM

    I am so glad to hear that you are out and about already. Be careful and let yourself heal. Take care

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THINFITFEMINIST 3/9/2014 5:33AM

    Wow, Don, you got the job done! No biggie on getting a pacemaker in anymore is there? Of course I still wouldn't want to do it myself. Luckily my ticker is still ticking fine and probably will be until I succumb to too much fun with a cabana boy. LOL

Glad you are up and about and already exercising! Wow! I think I would have gone in for some sympathy hugs from friends first. So here's yours: emoticon

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 3/9/2014 1:20AM

    I'm an EMT and I see a lot of patients with A-fib. I bet you're going to feel like a million bucks once you're all healed up! emoticon

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_LINDA 3/8/2014 11:44PM

    So glad this is behind you and now you must heal -do be careful and don't push it. If you can't drive for two weeks you can't! Better safe than sorry!
That is so awesome you could get out for a walk! Being able to get in a hot tub right away? Big bonus! Enjoy!
Here is to fast healing!

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123ELAINE456 3/8/2014 10:49PM

  Awesome Blog!!! Well Said. So glad that things went well for you and that you are on the road to compete recovery. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/8/2014 10:39PM

    Wonderful! emoticon
Ok, you've not been gone long, but ... you are back!! And as good as new!
Glad you got all done in one trip, rather than all that back and forth to doctors and waiting etc etc. then readmission.

The new boxes that serve as communication center between the pacemakers and doctors/technicals are incredible; real 'beam me up, Scottie' creations. I've seen my Dad link up to the techs; they read his numbers from down in Albany or somewhere. Amazing.

The 'forced' time off will give you time to adjust, enjoy just how much better you feel with that helpful gizmo!

Thanks for sharing the links; how I enjoy your musical selections!

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LOLA_LALA 3/8/2014 10:08PM

    ...and he's BA-A-ACK!! emoticon home, Don! Wow...leave it to you to get fully outfitted with a pacemaker...and out taking a walk and sending us this glorious playlist of solid-gold goodies to enjoy! Many thanks! You look absolutely terrific, too - fit as the proverbial fiddle, just as if you and that amazing Willie Weir were actually brothers separated at birth. Glad you're up, out, and at 'em so soon and thriving! Ah, the Stevie Wonder song, "Ngiculela" - his Spanish is honey to the ears, it flows so beautifully! I played that particular album (well, they *were* albums back in the day! emoticon ) 'til it was practically transparent. The last selection was new to me, but what a honeyed voice she has. You have an appreciation for all the bestest out there emoticon

I got a kick out of your "auto parts" description of Pacemaker General Motors and was rather amazed to learn your new "machine" is safe for MRIs. I don't believe my brother's was - at least not in the beginning. His latest "installment" may be. The first pacemakers - way back in the sixties! - were the size of cigarette packs. How they've miniaturized these wonderful devices!

You know what's great about The Waters of March? The English lyrics you posted are as wonderfully lyrical as they are in both Portuguese and French! Masterful translations!

Well, "beamed-up Scottie," we sure are delighted to read this blog entry of yours! All the best as you continue to heal. I bet you'll be back at work before you can say...Ngiculela! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 3/8/2014 9:29PM

    The joy in your heart, the joy in all of our hearts that you're OK -- look at you out walking and listening to music, taking it all in stride so to speak. Absolutely wonderful!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/8/2014 9:00PM

    So glad things worked out well for you, Don. Take care.

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PATRICIAAK 3/8/2014 8:56PM

    welcome to the 'bionic man' world.
glad everything went well.

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1CRAZYDOG 3/8/2014 8:54PM

    Well done. Glad that part of the journey is over for you.

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/8/2014 8:52PM

    Glad that things went smoothly. Now rest and recuperate during that two weeks of "no driving". So great that you were able to go out and walk in the sunshine so soon after, too. And a hot soak in the tub after the walk? Perfect end to your day. Rest well... you won't have too much worry over Springing forward overnight!

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STRIVERONE 3/8/2014 8:36PM

    Well Don, you've crossed that bridge, so to speak. Now you can grab the rest of 2014 and never look back.

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