Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the long road home

Yesterday Stevie Wonder had a potentially lethal dysryhthmia caused by a problem with the electrical conduction system in his heart.  In other words, he had a total heart block, and instead of the normal 60-100 beats per minute, his heart was beating at 30 beats or less every minute.

This had been gradually coming on for a long time, but had worsened in the past few days.  SW was lucky though, because his yearly stress test was scheduled for yesterday.  Scheduled a year ago after his last stress test.

He lasted 4 minutes on the treadmill.  He was ready to go on, but the cardiologist stopped it, and put an envelope in his hand and told him to go to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the hospital next door.  We went straight over.

At 5PM yesterday, the cardiac surgeon spent an hour putting in a pacemaker.  Stevie Wonder came to on the operating table and told him he felt better already.  While the surgeon was closing the incision.  When Steve told me this, I felt like I had married Ironman for sure.

After bringing him home today, I feel like I am married to the Energizer Bunny.
We headed home around 1PM, and intended to stop and drop off some paperwork at my workplace, and get his prescriptions filled.  (He had not taken anything for pain since the surgery, because he said he wasn't hurting.)

On the way he decided he HAD to have a cup of coffee from Starbucks.  Of course he didn't say it like that.  In fact, our whole conversation home was a little bit tense on the weird side.  Driven by the fact that he was wired like a jackrabbit on speed.  (At this point, after two nights with little sleep, I felt like a walking zombie straight out of Night of the Living Dead.  And I looked like one too.)  Our trip home went something like this:

SW: You need a Starbucks Tazo Chai.  Go to Target and I will get you one.  And get a coffee for me.
Me: Ok.  There is a McDonald's too.  I can stop and get something to eat.
SW: I'm not hungry since I ate lunch before we left the hospital.
Me: I KNOW you AREN'T, but since I HAVEN'T EATEN since YESTERDAY, is there any reason I can't stop?
SW: Well no, I didn't mean it that way.  I didn't mean you couldn't eat.
Me: It sure sounded like it to me
SW: STAY IN THE RIGHT LANE!
Me: I thought I was! (I was in the middle lane.)
SW: TURN HERE! TURN HERE!
Me: OK!!!! STOP SCREAMING AT ME!  YOU ARE SCARING ME!
SW: Your driving scares the s**t out of me!
Me: I haven't wrecked us yet!  (I was ready to throw him out of the car at this point and drive across the pacemaker in his chest.)
SW: Ok I am sorry I hollered.  Turn here.
Me: I am.  I know where I am now.

He went in to Target and came back with the largest hot chai and coffee they make.  Which was probably a mistake.  We went through the drive through at McDonald's and I got something to eat.

A few minutes later he said:
I am sweating.  I'm hot.
Me: I'm not.  My feet are cold.
SW: Well I am hot.  Do you think it is the pacemaker?
Me: (I was thinking it might be frying his chest, but didn't say that.  I made concerned wife noises.)  No, that's not it.  Take your jacket off.
SW: I can't.  Because I can't lift my left arm.
Me: Then tough it out.  (My sympathy was fading fast at this point.)

A few minutes later, he said:
"Well I think it was the caffeine rush from the coffee.  Now that my heart is beating right I think it circulated faster through my system than it used to.  I must have been bad off for a long time and didn't realize it."

Me: Better cut that caffeine intake in half then, or you'll be sweating a lot.

The trip home took forever.  We stopped several times, because he would think of something that we HAD to have.  We finally made it home, and I dragged myself to the shower and put my pajamas on.  It was 4 PM.  By the time I got out of the shower, he had washed off, shaved, and fixed a full dinner for himself.  I dragged to the couch and collapsed.

He is still going strong as I write this.  I told him I was going to ask the doctor where the switch was on the pacemaker, so I could flip it off once in a while to slow him down.
...life is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter
Post a Comment