Thursday, February 07, 2019

The Coxswain Says...

Stroke! Stroke!

That's my not very clever way of telling you I suffered a stroke last week (or, as it was said of my Aunt Anna back in the day of weird medical terminology, I took a shock.)

I awoke one day last week to find that my vision was compromised. I had (and still have) a blur of everything to my lower left side.

I found it odd but not "OH MY GOD!!!" alarming. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, wherein I had what I would call "fragmented" vision in my left eye. At that time, I felt a little tired and I attributed it to that. I took a nap and awoke with it having returned to normal. Not so much this time. It did not go away after a couple of hours but I still was not horribly worried. I had none of the other things I associated with having had a stroke. No weakness in limbs, no facial distortion, I could smile, whistle, move everything just fine, had no trouble understanding language or speaking. Therefore, I assumed it was just something wrong with my eye. I went to see my eye doctor. I suspected it might somehow be a detached retina.

She performed every test available and there was nothing wrong with my eyes physically. The only test that came back with less than good result was one for peripheral vision acuity. That showed what I already knew - I now had a big blind spot on my left side, lower quadrant. All other vision was OK.

To make a long story short, I followed up - a day later - with a visit to a regular doctor. He ran a few tests and scheduled me for a series of MRIs on Saturday (two days later). However, his ofice called back to our home and said he wanted me to get the MRIs done more quickly, the next day. And so I did. The results showed that I had suffered a stroke. In addition, I apparently had also had a stroke some time earlier in my life, perhaps associated with that other vision incident.

I was taken by ambulance from the MRI site to Mount Auburn Hospital in Watertown, checked in, and spent the next four days undergoing various tests. They started me on five different medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol reduction, blood thinning, etc.

During the days in the hospital, I was continually tested by nurses and doctors to see of I had any additional stroke symptoms. I had none whatsoever. With each test, I expected my good showings to result in my being released and my being able to resume a normal sort of life (albeit with a partial vision loss that wasn't going away.) However, every time an additional testing via equipment was run, it always came back with the worst possible result. I was told, "Well, it might be this good thing...", but it never was. Every single test that had to be studied for results came back with bad news. It was all very disheartening.

Ultrasound, x-ray and CT scan testing revealed that I had also suffered a couple of heart attacks in my life and that my heart was working at about 27% capacity. This was not a pleasant surprise, but by the time the final results were in, I wasn't AT ALL surprised as I by then expected the worst. Something I had feared my entire life was broached. I was told I needed a coronary bypass operation, and soon.

I am now scheduled for same on the 25th.

My Dad had that surgery around the time he was 56. He died at age 62. My 62nd birthday is coming on March 2nd. Woo-Hoo.

That's the short story of it. There are more details, of course, but I don't feel like talking about them - the more I do, the more I'm reminded of the upcoming unpleasantness - nor do I want to bore anyone by being one of those people who goes on and on about his/her medical traumas.

I do need to say - want to say - that I am blessed beyond measure to have MY WIFE. She has been absolutely solid throughout. To say that I love her is, of course, an understatement.

I have no desire to bring pain or worries to any of my other relatives and friends. That's pretty much my greatest disappointment in this. My Mom, among others of course, is worried. I hate to be the bringer of that.

Once I'm past the operation I'll be fine mentally, barring the totally expected sort of depression one is supposed to have. Thinking about it now, though, scares the shit out of me. If I had the ability to be totally oblivious from now until then, I'd take it. However, no one is willing to prescribe me enough happy pills for that. This is the one thing that pisses me off more than any other. I don't give a flying fuck about the possibility of addiction. I have a problem NOW that I want to handle; I'll handle that other problem later, thanks. And it wouldn't be a problem, believe me. I've now been off cigarettes for six days and if I can do that, I can do anything.

OK, that's all for now. Just felt I should let the folks who still visit here know the story.

Soon, with more better stuff.