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.


joeh said...

Scary shit Jim, good thing you are made of tuff stuff. Lots of people hoping for a rosier post from you in the future. More people care than you know, you touch many lives with your talent.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

You can catch every game in a weekend tournament so anything else is a piece of cake.
My own attitude is that life is a one day at a time proposition. Start out optimistically and think, so far, so good.
BTW - not everyone suffers the post op depression. I know of someone who was all over the idea of getting on with life after hers.
Meanwhile, we’ll be praying 🙏🏻

Char said...

I wish you the best, Jim!

Shammickite said...

I'm sending you pots of love and hope, and the prospect of heart surgery is very daunting but I am convinced that you'll come through it all in one piece. and tell us all about your recovery very soon. Big Hugs from me in Canada! Hugs to Your WIFE too, she's the one who's going to be there for you the most.

Pete said...

Hang in there buddy. I'm very glad you are being taken care of now. When you want to talk please contact me. I have been through it all over and over and it's certainly scary,sometimes more than others. We are both lucky that we were conscious and lucid when we got ourselves to the Docs and the hospital. A lot of people don't acknowledge their problem until they are lying on the ground. Don't forget the Nurses are your friends! Is this single bypass surgery (I had triple)? Anyway, if I were a man who prayed, you'd be at the top of my list. But I will be thinking about you. If you get bored in the hospital, I'll get a ruler and a wad of paper and I'll come there and get in the other bed and we'll make up
a pitch, hit and catch game and they can call US the Cardiac Kids!! Pete

Anonymous said...

Your Wife's and your Mom's heart will be there with you on the 25th. And the rest of us are right beside them. Godspeed my friend and you CAN handle anything !!! Linda in Tn.

silly rabbit said...

Yikes! That is scary. I will keep you both in my prayers and your mom too. Gods peace Jim.

Unknown said...

You are one of my favourite people on the planet that I've never met. You'll be in my heart and my thoughts as you deal with this. Sending love and healing thoughts.. and strength to you, YOUR WIFE and YOUR MOM. <3

Hilary said...

Oops.. the above "unknown" was me.. didn't realize that I was signed into a business account.

Suldog said...

THANK YOU to everyone!!! I'll post here as things get better. Also on FB, if you have me there -

Ami said...

Sending all good wishes and hope your way. That's a lot to deal with.

Chris said...

Keep hanging tough, Jim. I'm betting that once the surgery is complete, you'll feel so much better you won't believe it. If that heart is working at 27% now, imagine what 100% will feel like.

Plus, 27%, 27 Yankees Championships . . . if that's not a numerically positive omen, what is?

Craig said...

Oh my gosh, Jim, I'm so sorry to be getting here so late. I am definitely praying for you.

The stroke you suffered sounds very similar to the one I had. Messed up vision, and sort of, 'what the hell?' when it didn't go away with a nap. Like you, I had no other stroke symptoms than vision. When I was in the ER, I could tell that the doc was checking me for a stroke, and I smiled, because I didn't have any of the symptoms they describe in the PSAs. When she told me I'd had a stroke, I actually said, "No I didn't." And, knowing what I know now, I also suspect that I had at least one other mini-stroke in the last five years. You sure we're not twins separated at birth?

As to the bypass surgery. . . my dad had quad bypass when he was 76, and lived to be 89. Another friend had bypass done when he was in his mid-50s, and just turned 90. So, the clock ain't necessarily ticking as ominously as all that. . . And you'll be amazed at how much energy you have, once the incision stops hurting. . . ;)

Hang in there, my friend. There are lots of people who care about you. . .

Shammickite said...

I'm checking back to see how you are, and just to let you know I'm still sending good vibes. Not quite sure what a vibe actually looks like but I'll find some and send them OK?

Shammickite said...

Good luck tomorrow Jim!