Back to life…back to reality. (This about sums up how we felt about it all 🙂 )
We are now back from vacation and trying to get back to normal…well OUR normal. And, there is a pesky question eating away at us that needs to be addressed.
Before we went on vacation, Hubby was presented with a huge decision to make by his cardiologist… do I get a defibrillator implanted in my chest??? For those of you who are not familiar with what this is, it is literally bionic man type stuff. It is a little unit about the size of a business card with little probes that go to your heart. If needed it can send an electric current to the heart to re-regulate the heart beat. The heart is continuously monitored and if anything goes wrong it notifies the bigger programmed unit (sits next to his bed) and then notifies the company. At anytime they can check all his hearts functions and how it has been beating. See? I told you… bionic man.. so crazy.
At first, Hubby was very against this. When we left for vacation he was pretty convinced it was a no. They told him that out of 10 patients like him only 2 or 3 may ever need the defibrillator to save their life.. but that there is no way of knowing which patient or when. It acts as a sort of insurance policy just-in-case anything ever goes wrong.
I, of course, was totally for it and the doctor said Hubby couldn’t be intimate with his wife or step up his exercise if he didn’t have it done. I’m like… WHAT!!!! Ahhhhhhh.. Hubby! You are gettin this thing!!! And after he thought about it, he came to the same conclusion. And even though he hated the thought of this little machine being in his chest and causing even MORE limitations in his life, he knew it was the best thing to do.
So…we made the appointment and then the doc scheduled the surgery. Yes… SURGERY. Guess how much WE were looking forward to THAT! More lovely hospital, more lovely probing, prodding, and recovery. Remember when we were in the hospital in Florida and I was having that awful feeling of wow, my life is now going to be in and out of hospitals from now on? It was coming back. I am always so ashamed when I say these things. There are so many people so much worse off than we and I need to zip it and stop with the pity party! And thankfully I do. I come back, probably because General Char won’t stand for the whoa is me malarkey, and I suck it up and do what I need to do. It is so easy to forget that you are NEVER alone and God is there. He WILL take care of you. I really believe that God sent me the General to remind me of this and to keep me on the right track. And to give me strength when Everyday Char gets wimpy and loses faith.
Believe-it-or-not, the surgery was scheduled right on Hubby’s birthday! 😦 We had to have a Friday so Hubby didn’t miss much work and that happened to be the Friday that was open. So… Happy Birthday Dear!! Poor guy. But, he seemed to be okay with it all. He just wanted it to be over with. This is not an easy procedure. You bounce back in about a week or two but it is VERY painful and you have to wear this crazy contraption wrapped around you to hold your arm still while you sleep. You can’t lift or twist your arm for quite a while until the scar tissue builds around the unit. You can’t take the chance of the unit moving or tearing anything or you will be back in surgery.
The surgery went well. We stayed in the hospital for a night and 2 days…so in our usual hospital world…not too bad! As expected, Hubby WAS in a lot of pain but Tylenol took the edge off. We had fun every night wrapping him in that crazy mummy wrap thing. We still laugh about it. But, we were very diligent and followed all of doctors orders and he was recovering well. He went back to work early that week and was very careful. We later that week figured out that Hubby could no longer use his cell phone on the side the unit was on, nor wear his Fitbit on that arm. He also had to watch certain electronic waves like his work walkie talkies and if he were to fly he has to carry an ID card so they know he is now bionic and will set off the security alarms!! Like I said…just MORE limitations. But, we got used to the others and we will work to get used to these. 🙂
So as Hubby recovered he got the ok to become more “physically active”… and Everyday Char was having a party!! The General just took a backseat and had a good giggle at my excitement! You just don’t realize how much you miss one another until things settle down. I wrote about this in a previous chapter so you know my struggles with all of this, but it truly is the last thing you think about when you are in survival mode. You just think of having more time and how much you love each other. As Hubby became stronger and stronger, Wifey was sending out the signals…like, ok buddy! It’s time! And…. we will just leave it at that 🙂
As time goes on the doctors keep confirming that Hubby has defied all the odds with his recovery. When we left the hospital the first time, as I told you, they didn’t have much positive to say about his prognosis. They would have never dreamed he would be where he is today. When Hubby had his second V02 test the nurses were flipping out over his results!!! They said they had NEVER seen a patient go from the number he had on the first test to the number he scored on the second. It was such a huge jump! This test measures oxygen levels from the heart and lungs when you are pushed to your limit on physical activity. It’s done on a treadmill.
So along with that blessing, he was also recently able to completely go off his insulin shots and just take a pill. They also diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes instead of type one. Hubby is convinced that soon he will be able to go off the insulin pill as well. And I believe him. He is so strict on his diet and exercise that I truly think he is right.
He works out just as hard as normal non-heart patients and maybe even harder. He still has limitations concerning how much weight he can lift and with running, but he is making it all work and I couldn’t be prouder of him.
I still see little moments when he silently struggles with his new self and I see a sense of mourning for his old life come thru… but I really think that aside from the limitations he now has, he is really in a sense, better than he was. I like seeing him take pride in himself and his health, and in turn it makes us as a family healthier and happier. He has become more independent and self sufficient and I think has a new appreciation for me. Looks at me in a different way that he really couldn’t until all this happened to him. And, I as well can look at him in a way I never did before.
The funny thing is, if you didn’t know Hubby before you wouldn’t look at him and think he had ever gone thru any of this. He looks like a wonderfully fit 52 yr old. But those of you who knew him when, he looks totally different than his old self.. and when you first see him you almost don’t recognize him.
Our goal now is to continue to improve his heart and his health and to hopefully get off some more medication. No one wants to take all those pills everyday if they don’t have to.
I want to thank ALL of you as I finish this final chapter of our story. I want to sincerely thank you for reading this and taking interest in a time in our lives that changed us all. I felt lead to write this story and to work on recipes and this blog not only by God, but by all of the outpouring of concern and love we received from all of you. I felt I needed to share all of this with you because you deserved to have me take the time to write it for all you did for us. The prayer, love, donations, and concern will NEVER be forgotten and was a big part of why we made it thru. Please know that those things you do, no matter how small, when people are suffering, even if they don’t tell you at first, MATTER…and make the BIGGEST difference. Every word all of you wrote on Facebook or in a card, or words that were spoken, then and now, filled and fills us with joy and hope, and has blessed us beyond words. We appreciate and thank you all from the bottom of our hearts now and always.
And please don’t leave me, lol, Char has much more to say and share and more recipes to create! So stay tuned on creationsbychar for a lot more to come! Especially as we embark on our last and final move… (gosh we are getting too old for this!) to go back home and bring our family back together. Do I smell a reality show? Ya never know.. and man…it sure would be a GOOD one!!! 🙂(We’re comin back baby!!!!)
Until next time.. be a blessing…share a blessing…be blessed.. xoxo
Char Head 🙂