The Gap in Postings

One of the nicest things about this time of year is that the grapefruit are fully ripened and at their sweetest. They literally fall off the tree, a dozen or so every day. I scoop them up and convert them to juice every day or so. By the end of April I will have consumed gallons. Somebody told me you’re not supposed to drink grapefruit juice if you are taking meds but……………. Also, I don’t think that counts if every once in a while one of the drinks is spiked with vodka. I hadn’t tried using grapefruit juice in a green smoothie yet so it seemed like the natural move – great. I added the juice from 2 small grapefruit to the next creation and it gave it a zing heretofore missing.

The ice maker is seriously fixed. It is cranking out cubes now faster and better than ever. In fact the rate at which it’s dumping out cubes seems to be accelerating so it must be that it takes a few days for the whole system to chill down. I fixed it Saturday afternoon but by Sunday afternoon, it had only cranked out a few, wimpy looking cubes. After our company left, I took it apart again to make doubly sure that I had done everything right before we just called a repair guy. By Monday morning there looked to be a few more cubes than it had after the first repair but still far short of anything you’d expect. By Tuesday morning it seemed to be accumulating cubes at a useable rate – not as fast as expected but maybe ok. By Wednesday morning, the holding tray was filling up and it was dumping out new cubes every few hours.

Now for the news or why the gap in postings – this was one of the worst weeks in memory. I woke up Wednesday and all was well but by Thursday afternoon I was in ICU with two stents installed somewhere in my chest. I normally get up and walk to the paper box and mail box – about 500’. On the way back to the house I started feeling a tightness in my chest and felt a little tired. Nothing scary but definitely noticeable. An hour or two later I carried a bag of trash up to the utility shed, about 250’ and felt the same tightness in my chest and tiredness. My diagnosis, I need to get more sleep. An hour or so later I went over to the garden and buried several fish carcasses that my neighbor had donated and noticed that my hand started hurting with just a minimal amount of digging. I finished that and carried the empty plastic bags up to the trash. On the way back to the house I felt the tightness return but it turned into serious pain and the tired feeling changed to down right exhaustion – like lay down kind of tired. The earlier events had cleared up after a few minutes, this one got worse and I was fairly certain it was a real problem. Nancy was off in Crescent City playing bridge so I called my neighbor and asked if he’d mind driving me to the emergency room in Deland.
Five minutes after walking into the emergency room I was giving blood and being assigned to a room in the observation area for an overnight. The first blood test turned into a series of 3 where they look for some enzymes that tell if you’ve had a heart attack. By then the pain had gone away and I was pretty sure this was an over reaction, a false alarm but my neighbor’s wife had gotten in touch with Nancy so it was disrupting her game. Next Joey showed up, then Tommy – Nancy had called them on the way to the hospital. I really felt like a jerk for uprooting their day. The first of the 3 blood test results came back with no problems. I still felt good about 9PM when the floor nurse came to give me a pneumonia shot – they told me I was behind and as long as I was there, why not catch up. The instant she inserted the needle I felt the pain in both arms again, actually the thumbs on both hands, and the chest pressure started. It lasted about 20 minutes and was an order of magnitude worse than the pain that brought me there in the first place. They put a nitro tablet under my tongue and the pain quickly dissipated. The next two blood tests came in, also negative, but they decided to order 3 more based on the last episode – guaranteeing a night interrupted several times by Vampira, the blood lady. She was scary – good looking blonde with a heavy Russian accent. First thing Thursday morning I went down for a nuclear stress test. There they inject you with some evil stuff, not a problem, and then run a half hour scan to get pictures of your heart unstressed. Then you get on the treadmill to get your heart rate up and finish back on the radiological scan machine. I made it about a minute on the treadmill before the crushing pain started again. They stopped the test and rushed me back to the scanning equipment. I’m in much pain and they’re telling me to lay still so the pictures will come out good. I asked about nitro and someone popped one in my mouth and things calmed down in a few minutes and the test was finished. From there, wheeled off to the cath lab for a heart catheterization. I think it was about noon by then and Nancy, Joey, and Tommy were all standing in the wings watching this whole event materialize. Turns out I had two blockages, one 95%, one 90%. They put in stents and I was back in the ICU by 2PM. Uneventful night other than frequent blood lettings. I was released Friday; home by 4PM. Got a good night’s sleep Friday night, and as of Saturday noonish, all’s well and I’m nominally back to routine including my morning walk up to get the paper and mail. So far, so good and it looks to me like the biggest change is getting used to taking a blood thinner – one of those you see on TV where they spend 5 minutes telling you all the bad things that can happen if you take it. Net of the whole thing is that I didn’t have a heart attack but will probably be on this nasty medicine for a while and carry some nitro with me. One thing I found interesting was that I was having an angina attack while on the treadmill, hooked up to an EKG machine but my heart rhythms were just fine – nothing showed abnormal on the machine. Also all the testing showed that my heart, as an organ, was just fine – doing everything it’s supposed to in a strong fashion.

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