Tuesday, December 11, 2007

on the mend...

Email sent out last night:

Family & Friends…

Roughly 'round 2:45 p.m. this afternoon I was discharged from the Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, NH, after spending 9-1/2 days in the Telemetry and Intensive Care units. The initial diagnosis was Pneumonia in my right lung, such that I had to leave work for an indefinite period, thus subsequently losing my position for lack of being available to work.

I drove up to R. & D.'s on Thursday, the week after Thanksgiving, where he urged me, at her suggestion no less, to come and stay for a little while so that they could look after me. I had been suffering since late September and was only slowly getting worse. I spent one fitful night trying to sleep but with little success. That Friday, I was struggling mightily to breathe and with a persistent though mighty dry cough. Rick insisted on taking me to the E.R. in Keene. I didn't resist.

It wasn't long before the medical staff on duty discovered that not only was I suffering from "atypical pneumonia", but my heart was in A-Fib, i.e., Atrial Fibrulation, meaning the top part was beating considerably more rapidly than the bottom half, a decidedly unhealthy development. They treated me with antibiotics for the lung, and blood thinners and pressure meds for the heart.

Long story short, I was given a variety of drugs for a variety of symptomatic ailments. One of the intended procedures, after having been admitted, was to put me under anesthesia whereupon they could take the electric paddles, yell "CLEAR!" and shock my heart thru my sternum (vs., say, shocking my heart, then yelling "CLEAR! Oops!! Sorry!"). Except when they scoped me in the O.R., they discovered my atrium was harboring a blood clot. Shocking it could then possibly dislodge said clot to where it might cause an embolism or stroke. My diagnosis was downgraded to "Congestive Heart Failure!" I'm only 48 and must say, those words scared the hell out of me.

So I'm scheduled for the procedure in January, after the clot is made gone; meanwhile the blood thinners, the diuretics, and more antibiotics and vitamins. The good news in all this is medical technology: it makes for a possible near complete recovery. 20 years ago? Not so much.

I write this while sitting at the dining room table in Rick & Diane's home in Troy. She's preparing a low-sodium chicken soup for dinner, and I am drinking water while fantasizing it is wine.

I suspect I'll be collecting disability for at least a couple of weeks before being ready to go back to work, wherever that'll be. I just wanted to thank those of you Rick contacted about my situation, in response to which you kindly wished me well. Believe me – it was greatly appreciated. I was careening the emotional sturm & drang for certain, fearing life was indeed way too short. I found great comfort in your sympathies.

Suffice it to say, I have a fantastic family – The Best! – some of whom visited me at the hospital and the rest of whom called and text-messaged to wish me well.

Thank you, all. Please know this one believes more than ever no man is rich as he who has family & friends.


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