Saturday, May 7, 2011

Heart Attack and Vine


I'll admit it, I'm a little depressed. I came home from the doctor yesterday, got in the bed, and I haven't gotten out for more than a few minutes since. It should have been a simple appointment -- a few tests to clear me for surgery. However, nothing has been simple for me lately. The EKG -- performed four times by two different nurses while I laid there getting more afraid -- was "abnormal".

"This line is supposed to go up, but yours goes down," the doctor said. I know the opposite of right is wrong, the opposite of good is bad, and the opposite of up is down. He said the abnormality could indicate I had a symptomless, "silent" heart attack. Yeah, sit with that a minute. I'm 35 years old, and I feel pretty good except for this cranky neck problem, which can be surgically repaired with a little clearance saying my heart can stand the procedure.

Maybe, the doctor said, there is another (harmless) reason for the EKG abnormality. I will have more tests next week to figure it out. Ideally, the test on Tuesday will show immediately and clearly that my heart is fine, and I will be cleared to go ahead with surgery on May 24. Put some good energy into that thought for me.

I really believe my heart is healthy and there is some explanation for this shit test. But I'm scared, still. Scared there is something wrong with my heart, some new thing to deal with. Something that will prevent getting my neck fixed. And btw, those symptoms get a little worse every few days. As of today, I can't pick a book up with my left hand. It's a little funny as I demonstrate for Nick, but it is not really funny. Not funny when I don't know if it will be fixed or how much worse it will get.

For now my reaction is to stay in the bed. Maybe tomorrow I will try something new. Once I get really ready, I'm going gangbusters to prove I am not this sick person.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No worries.


My anxieties stand in line all day so they can pop out just when I am ready to go to sleep. Tonight the leaders are all the things the neurosurgeon said were potential risks of this spinal surgery. I don't need to list them here in bold letters, and if it weren't so dark and quiet right now I wouldn't be reminded of them.

I would rather think of the potential AWESOMES of spinal surgery: no numbness or pain! no lifting or driving for six weeks! a new short hair cut so it doesn't get tangled in my cervical collar! lots of time to read and nap!

I am scheduled to have a discectomy with fusion of two cervical vertebrae on May 24. You can see why in the handy-dandy visual aid to the left. That vertical center line is my spine and the black bulge in the middle of it is the offending disc. So far it is only bad enough to cause pain, numbness, and weakness in my neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. Unchecked, it could eventually cause loss of control of my everything. That's why we are fixing it! No worries. He says I have strong spinal ligaments and they will hold everything together for the next three weeks. I am cautioned, however, to not consult a chiropractor or lift a laundry basket, just to be safe.

Assuming surgery goes perfectly and I'm am cured, I am still anxious about recovering for six weeks. About being stuck in this house, bored, sick of looking at the cats, missing Starbucks and trips to the grocery store, turning pale and haunted, running out of things to watch on teevee. I have started a notebook to list allowed post-surgery activities. Maybe I could cross-stitch!!!!!! Just brainstorming.