Thursday, June 24, 2004

Hey everyone!

I saw the cardio dr. today, and the news is mixed. These are the test results from my nuclear stress test that I took Monday. As far as scarring goes, I got a zero. That's a good number - no scarring from the heart attack. The next number tells us how well my heart is pumping, and that number is very good. The cardio dude says that often with a heart attack, the heart isn't pumping all that great.. but mine is good.

So... now to the mixed part. There's a scale of blockage, which on a scale of 0 to 4 where 0 is best, I'm at a 3.5. The Dr. thinks that my stent might have failed, so I again have some blockage.

The upshot of all this is that I'm scheduled to have an angiogram and stent replacement on Tuesday. I'm not excited by the prospect of spending more time in the hospital, but at least this time I won't have had a heart attack too......

My backpack trip in August (12 days in the New Mexico wilderness) is still on, he tells me not to cancel, I'm still on track to go....

I could be in the hospital as little as 8 hours, and no more than 36 he says. So, prayers would be appreciated.

It's a weird, scary, emotional time. Thanks for all your support,

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Sorry to be slow on the update......

If you read my last note, you'll know that we left off as I was being wheeled away from the Cath Lab, and toward my room. I got back to my room around 5 AM, and tried to go to sleep. I woke up around 7:30 AM, to breakfast in bed, and that was pretty much it for the day. I had quite a few visitors! Family members, church members, a bunch of the guys from St. Francis High School, troop members...... one of the scouts told his parents that he heard I had 200 visitors! I didn't really have that many - it was certainly less than 50. Many told me that they didn't come by because they heard that there was already too many. It was tiring, but honestly, it made the day go by quickly.

The last visitor left at 9:40 PM, after full day for me. I slept pretty well, even with the blood pressure cuff going off every hour. I woke up early the next morning, and was able to get up out of bed (finally!) stretch a bit and even bathe and wash my hair in the sink.

The doctor came to see me in the early afternoon and looked at me, my heart rate and EKG and said that I could go home! After all that, I only spent one full night in the hospital. I was able to go home straight from the CCU, no transition to other care levels.

As we were leaving the hospital, Andy (the Pastor of LCPC) was at the front desk, checking to see if they had moved me! As it turns out, I was already off their rolls! On the way home, we got a call from our friend Teri who was at the hospital wondering where I was! Once they said I could go, I was gone!

So, I went home and had a fairly quiet weekend. I had planned on going backpacking that weekend, so I had no other activities planned. The scouts all called me from the top of Mt. Pinos, just to say "Hi!" That was very cool. I even went to church on Sunday. I was a little tired, but it wasn't too bad. Even had lunch there in honor of the communicants.

On Monday, I had an appointment to see the Orthopedic Dr. and they were quite surprised to hear that I had had a heart attack. The doctor then spent all our time together telling me about his own heart emergency, how he knew more than all the heart specialists (who he doesn't like anyway), and how he just read his own charts and checked himself out. Frankly, he's a walking heart attack anyway. He should listen to something besides his own voice. I went to work for a little while, and then on to the cardiologist. He was very reassuring, telling me that I was going to live to be 120, and that I'll look back on all of this as a "blip" in my 43rd year. I was cleared to drive, go to work, and exercise. He also prescribed Cardiac Rehab. I started walking the very next morning, because we scheduled a Nuclear Stress Test for June 21, and I had to get started with my conditioning! If I pass that test, then I'll be cleared to go to Philmont in August.

So, here I am, just a few days away from being the father of the bride, and I've broken my arm and had a heart attack. I'll bet Tina was about to have one too! We continued to prepare for the wedding that week, and I even went to Boy Scouts Tuesday evening. The kids had a huge flower and balloon arrangement for me, and I was able to talk to them about what a heart attack is really like. They all have to learn about recognizing them for First Class, but this time I was able to go through all the symptoms and explain what they really felt like. I think it made a significant impact. In case you were wondering, all five signs of a heart attack in the Boy Scout Handbook are true - and they all suck! Chest pain, numbness or pain in the left arm, dizziness and weakness, shortness of breath, nausea. If you have chest pain, go right away to the hospital. In fact, call 911 and let them take you.

So, we made it through the week, Jenny and Tina left for Solvang (and the wedding) on Thursday, Patrick, Will, Robin, Don (our friend from Minnesota, now Colorado who spent time with us a couple of years ago and helped out with the scouts), and I all drove up on Friday. We had a lovely rehearsal, and dinner. The Rabes picked a great place, and we all had a marvelous time. The wedding the next day was perfect. Just enough drama to be interesting, not so much that anything was ruined. We had a small problem with the keyboard. The boys broke the plate that holds the power supply, so later, when someone tripped over the cord, it shorted out. Fortunately, we had Don to help out. He ran like the wind to his car, broke a million speed laws, got a new fuse at the Radio Shack in Buellton, and made it back to the wedding with 10 minutes to spare! The music was saved! He was the right person in the right place. Another person who performed perfectly was Michael Gettman. He was the go to guy. Every wedding should have one. One person who the bride and groom trust, who will just do anything needed. Hold the wedding license, tell the band what to do, whatever. Very nice to have around. Tina and I walked in, and everyone (including us) had a tear in their eye. Tina looked great. Ken was all smiles and the wedding went off beautifully. Our pastor friend Julia filled in for Brian, because his wife was having massive trouble with her pregnancy. I'm happy to say that so far, all is well with the baby. Julia really pinch hit in a crunch, we are very grateful that she spent the time to help us out.

We all made it back Monday, it was quite a Memorial Day weekend! I spent quite a bit of time walking, and even got on the treadmill for 45 minutes. I'll talk about the beginning of my Cardiac Rehab, and my son's graduation from High School next time. Thanks for taking the time to read this far!