Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm Free

I found this in my files trying to find an appropriate picture for this post - it doesn't really fit but I thought it was pretty funny.

I got home Thursday the fourteenth fairly late and just haven't felt like typing - so I apologize 'bout that. I fear my left hand and arm are gonna require some serious rehab. My neighbor Joanne will be taking me to my first followup doctor visit tomorrow, and a trip to WallyWorld is in the works. I think some dumbells and some of those grip exerciser thingies will fit the bill. My endocrinologist will be at an outreach clinic in Dodge City, so I'll be seeing her. I'm gonna be donating blood samples as well. It will be a few weeks before I see my cardiologist.

In the meantime, I am trying to exercise my left leg. I have a fairly long incision from my ankle going up my calf, plus another crosswise incision just up my inner thigh from my knee. That is where the surgeons cut out the veins necessary for the bypasses. They ran something up my thigh and snipped out the vein there - they used to have to cut the leg open for the full length of the vein material. Even though there is no scar, it still looks like someone took a sledgehammer to it, as well as my ankle. Once I get going, the leg isn't on total fire, but after resting for a while it stiffens up pretty good. In a day or so, the snow outside will be reduced to the point where I can get outside and start racking up some real distance. I am not supposed to drive for two weeks as well. We'll see about that......

I don't have any external stitches, either. I'm all Superglued up, baby. I've got some small pieces of tape on my chest that cover the staples holding my breastbone together. The holes from the drainage tubes have closed off as well. The tape they were using to hold the dressings in place eventually started tearing off the top layers of my skin when removed, so I've got a pretty scabby belly, all in all.

One thing I stay fairly close to is my "heart pillow." Ya hold it over your chest and press in if you want to cough - kinda helping hold myself together. I even use the dern thing to blow my nose. It has an accurate picture of the heart and it's feeder arteries on it, and my surgeon illustrated the bypasses he installed and signed it. I had some of my more fave nurses autograph it as well.

I also have to weigh myself every morning and keep track. If I gain more than three pounds in a day, I am to call in immediately. This could be an indication of congestive heart failure - having a bunch of fluids collect around my heart. I had to have Joanne buy me one - she drove my pickup to Garden the other day for my drugs and some supplies.

I never thought about it, but all the drugs I had to pick up shouldn't have been in childproof bottles. I lack the strength to open the damn things about half the time. We as humans are tool usin' fools, so I picked 'em apart with pliers and left the lids off. My main fear is that Rooster the cat may decide to take a trip through the collection on top of the kitchen table where I conveniently have my drug stash. I haven't been able to give my dog Babs the attention she deserves - the snow will have to be reduced first. Both her and the cat seem pretty glad to see me - I was gone for two weeks, after all.

My only other problems are with my sewer and my phone. The Friday after my lithotripsy I had a guy scheduled to come out and pump my septic tank out. I called him and left a message that I wouldn't be home and to come out anyway. He didn't. So, I called him back and scheduled him for Saturday. He didn't show - but it was pretty snowy and I can hardly fault him for not coming out. I don't remember if he has my cell number - which leads me to my next problem. I have no dial tone on my land line. My DSL service is apparently working normally (which for you non geeks means my phone line should be physically alright or I wouldn't be getting a DSL signal either), and none of the phones or backup phones I have work. Curious. I called my little phone cooperative Saturday and left a message. Someone actually called me back and they will be out tomorrow morning to check it all out. If you've tried calling my land line and no one answers, now you know.

After I get the septic tank pumped, I just have a bad feeling I'll be calling someone else to dig out some roots. About ten years ago I went through all that myself - I rented a backhoe/trencher combo, replaced a bunch of old orange tile sections with plastic and buried several sacks of root killer and rock salt at the major seams to hold back the Dutch Elm roots. There is a huge one within about five feet of the line and I have often considered having it removed. If I did, the other ones in the yard would torment me as badly, so since I prefer shade - the execution has been stayed more or less permanently. Mess with me too much ya dern tree, and yer outta here!

So, I've been sleeping through a lot of television and DVDs. I'm gonna break out some of my library as well - it has been a while since I actually read a book. I'm really a voracious reader, but most of it is online these days. I like the DVDs because I have to get out of the chair to change them, thus exercising the ol' leg a bit.

Heh - I gave a couple of my buddies the heebie jeebies today. They stopped by while hunting pheasant to see me. The did NOT want to see my scars. I made one of them trim my fingernails (since my left hand lacks strength and control) on my right hand. It was just about too much for these manly men - I fear I grossed 'em out. Hee Hee!

So, this scabby old weak trucker is on the road to recovery. I lost about twenty pounds in the hospital, and hope to keep that off. I really haven't been too bothered by no cigarettes, either. I have the occasional urge, but the smell really throws me off now. Brent (Joanne's hubby, my neighbor and farmer) brought along a buddy who smokes to take me home. So, I've been "exposed" and avoided temptation so far.

I'm for thinking I'll make out alright - it's just gonna take time.


Kathy B. said...

Hi Jeffro - thanks for the updates. I will be stopping by your blog to see how you are doing. As my friend likes to tell me when I'm in a bad way "it sucks to be you" and I'm sure you feel that way. Chin up - and I think it's great you asked another man to clip your fingernails. We can all be a bit more gentle to each other every now and then.
Take care. Hugs and prayers.

Sezme said...

Thanks for the update. I've been praying for you. Whenever I visit your site to see if you've been on it (that alive thing helps), I pray for you.

Take care and know your limits. It will take time. Nice to see they use a heart pillow rather than a teddy bear. :)

Mo K said...

Big sigh of relief, Jeffro. I know you still have a long road ahead of you, but you've got the right attitude, and that makes all the difference. Believe me, I know. The Achilles "incident" of last year is still not over for Mr. Mo. It was only in the last week that we finally got to the bottom of his wound still not closing. He was lucky in that he only had traces of that crazy staph. infection that's killing ppl around here.
You learn to accept blessings when and where you can.
You're always in our prayers.

P.S. Kudos on the smoking turn-off. May it remain forever.

Anonymous said...

jeffro, you big turkey, you were as close as wichita and never called us??? just teasing... he he he
20lbs down huh... well, i suppose those bikini undies are almost falling off now days huh?? what am i thinking, you gave up underwear years ago right!!

seriously, glad your home and functioning as well as you are.. i will stop out around christmas and maybe you will be up for some shooting by then!!! no, as for this backhoe thing... does one have to be very careful or will it be sort of a search and destroy mission... it might be fun! :) I am praying for you ya big ga-lute!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're home and on the mend. Don't over-do it; slow and steady man. It's a helluva way to lose weight and quit smoking - nothing like dumping all the bad habits at once.

Stay in touch; keep blogging when you're up to it and we'll keep watch for updates.


Anonymous said...

Morning, Jeff - Hope the new day finds you feeling well and continuing to win the nicotine battle! Wow - as if quitting the habit wasn't hard enough, you've got to throw heart surgery on top of it. :) I know it won't be long before you get all your parts doing what they're supposed to...just bet that business with your left arm is pretty common with the surgery you had. With your positive attitude I know you'll tackle it, and your complete recovery, in record time. Hope the other nagging problems (sewer, phone) get solved quickly & without too much aggravation. Count your blessings -- at least your septic system doesn't freeze up for two months out of the year like we poor folk in Northern Minn.! Yikes. Have a great day, dear cousin. I'll try your land line later today to see if I can get through. Love, Amy

Old NFO said...

Welcome back to blogsphere! Glad to hear things are going reasonably well. Just remember it will take time and effort to regain the strength.

Anonymous said...

Well Big Man it is good that ur feelin chipper hurry up and get ur ass back to work cuz i am tired of pickin up up ur slack lmao well neat blog catch me later

Anonymous said...

Well Big Man it is good that ur feelin chipper hurry up and get ur ass back to work cuz i am tired of pickin up up ur slack lmao well neat blog catch me later

USA_Admiral said...

Get better soon Dude.

IHeartQuilting said...

Keep up the good work and I hope you can enjoy that fresh air when you get outside.

Happy Holidays as well!

Bob's Blog said...

About that last point: Have you thought about picking up some of that nicotine gum at Wally World?

Thanks for the update. Sounds to me like you got some pretty fantastic health care. How could that be? The Dems say our health care system is in huge need of radical overhaul!

Please continue to be a good patient.

We are looking at two more days of good weather. I hope that helps.

ptg said...

Sounds like you are making progress. Be careful if you decide to start chewing nicotine gum. I did it and successfully stopped smoking, but it took me three years to get off the gum.