Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DAY 438 - 441 RECOVERY

It's a little unsettling when you're lying on the examining table in the doctor's office and a nurse lifts up your shirt in preparation for doing an EKG, gets a look of horror on her face and shrieks, "WHAT is that?"  My initial thought was that it was the scars from the ports that were inserted into my stomach area during the open heart surgery last year.  But then, she is a cardiologist's nurse, she should be used to this. 

Another nurse came to the rescue.  Unbeknownst to me a tick decided I looked pretty yummy and latched on to an area below my boob where I couldn't see.  It's difficult to believe that someone could be a nurse and have never seen a tick.  I suppose she's a city girl who's never hiked or lived in the woods and doesn't know anyone who has.  After the tick removal, she still hadn't totally calmed down, so the other nurse did the EKG.  Even after this brief turmoil, my blood pressure and EKG readings were fine.  I doubt that nurse's would have been.  I hope she never has to work in an ER. 

I so much wanted to get off the two heart meds I've been taking since last summer.  Amiodarone is loaded with side effects, one that can cause a permanent disfiguring blue-grey discoloration of the skin with sun exposure.  Old age has taken enough of a toll on my appearance, I surely don't need a freakish skin color.  Because I have a lot of faith and trust in this doctor in Spartanburg SC, he convinced me to remain on a low dose of amiodarone at least for the next nine-months as a safeguard to prevent my heart from going out of rhythm.  So I'm looking at another summer of staying covered head to toe and slathering sunscreen on those body parts that may become exposed. 

There are several types of non-invasive ablations to cure atrial fibrillation.  Most aren't a permanent cure and need to be repeated.  He said the kind I had through open heart surgery, is the "big gun."  Most times it offers a permanent cure.  "Do-overs" with the Cox Maze III usually aren't successful if the heart misbehaves.  I'm also supposed to remain on meds to keep my blood pressure in check.  

He gave me the go ahead to return to strenuous exercise, so I'm happy to say I can once again begin working on my goal of running one mile up a mountain road. He highly recommends basic walking on a regular basis, however when one lives on the side of a mountain, no walking is "basic."  

He stressed that caffeine is a no-no because it can trigger an irregular heartbeat.  Some mornings I soooo need a kick from my coffee, but I'll have to settle for sipping decaf and dragging myself through the day.  All of this is just a small price to pay for adding years to my life.

Meds:   Amiodarone, Cardizem,  Vayacog, L-Carnitine, Vitamin D, I-Caps, Flax seed oil, Multivitamin, B-12, L-Arginine, Glucosoamine, Garlic, Aspirin, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Vitamin C 

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