Monday, April 29, 2013

Maybe Next Week?

CPA Boy got no pacemaker today.

It took several attempts trying to explain our concerns before the two nice gentlemen from Medtronic finally GOT it and got us the answers we needed.

The Medtronic company makes the pacemaker that CPA Boy will eventually get: the "Revo" model. You CAN get an MRI once you have this particular pacemaker --- but only 6 weeks after its installation. One nurse had said, "You can have an MRI the next day!" Um, no.

Anyway, the surgeon called off the surgery and sent us home but we made a detour and stopped by the primary care doctor's office --- we'll call him Dr. Jan --- to see about scheduling the damn MRI.

Dr. Jan was very kind and apologetic about our frustrating search for answers. Then he pretty much spent his lunch hour with us, going over EVERY test result and explaining the problems and putting all the puzzle pieces together.

By this time a fasting CPA Boy was hungry so we went to our favorite fish and chips restaurant for a late lunch. After lunch we got a call from Dr. Jan's office saying the MRI was scheduled for 4:30. At this point it was only 3:30 so we just went and sat in the waiting room. Which turned out to be a good thing because....

....One small complication: the MRI questionnaire tries to ascertain if you have any metal in your body. One question was, "Have you ever done any welding?" The answer was yes because CPA Boy used to work summers at his uncle's welding shop during his high school years.

A quick eye x-ray was needed to make sure no metal shards existed. Who knew that a welding job 30 years earlier could have possible repercussions?!

The MRI itself only took about 20 minutes. Then we stopped by the mall in Santa Rosa so I could get a phone case from the Apple Store (it's pink!) and CPA Boy could get some Mrs. Fields cookies to treat himself. We got home after 6.

So my husband is not yet on his way to becoming the bionic man. Maybe later this week or next week.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hearts, Moons, Stars and Clovers

We have been having a crazy month. Blogging has not been on the radar. So a little catch up is in order...

CPA Boy started having pains in his legs starting several months ago. At first the pain was just annoying, like when you pull a muscle. But the pulled muscle eventually heals. This pain got worse. So painful that even swimming was too difficult.

This caused CPA Boy's first doctor's appointment in more than 15 years!

The doc checked him out and scheduled an ultrasound of his legs. At the follow-up appointment we learned that CPA Boy had some sort of blockages in the veins (or arteries? or both?). This was almost two months ago and we still aren't really clear about the cause or nature of the blockages.

Except this: blockages = bad.

CPA Boy was referred to a vascular surgeon for the next step. But before he left his doc's office the nurse ran an EKG and sent the doc back in. Since CPA Boy was getting ready to fly to the East Coast for an audit (and a hockey game in Philadelphia) he was IMMEDIATELY referred to a cardiologist so they could clear him to travel the following Monday.

He was NOT cleared and the trip was cancelled.

After having a few more tests --- ultrasound (no blockages in the carotid arteries, which is good), angiogram (which showed no heart blockages, which is good) and a chest x-ray --- we have learned that CPA Boy suffers from atrial fibrillation and he also has a very low heart ejection fraction.

For a-fib cardiologists generally prescribe meds to lower the heart rate and the blood pressure since most cases of it cause fast heart rate and higher blood pressure. Since CPA Boy is the opposite --- very low heart rate and low blood pressure --- they can't treat him with meds.

As for the ejection fraction, healthy people generally have a rate of 60 to 70. Between 50-60 they keep an eye on you. Between 40-50 they may start some sort of treatment. Between 30-40 is VERY serious.

CPA Boy has an ejection fraction of 25.

He also had a CAT scan this past Monday. We have no idea what it showed (the appointment to get the results from the vascular surgeon is scheduled for next Wednesday) but it did prompt his regular doctor to schedule an MRI due to leg "muscle atrophy" (we don't know if this is serious or minor).

Meanwhile, based on the other tests, the cardiologist had recommended that CPA Boy get a pacemaker to help some of the heart issues because there is nothing they can do with meds to treat him for a-fib or the ejection fraction. It seems an extreme step --- CPA Boy is only 48 --- and you need to get then replaced every 5-10 years as long as you live. But it seems to be the best option.

All of this has converged to this past Friday. The pacemaker is scheduled for Monday morning but we don't know if the MRI is a critical test that must be performed first or if it can wait for a few weeks. No doctor was available Friday to answer any questions leaving us confused.

Nowadays you can get pacemakers that are safe in case you need an MRI but you need to wait several weeks after its insertion first.

So we will go to the hospital on Monday morning and the nurse in the cardiac department said she would coordinate with the doctors to see what needs to be done. MRI first, then pacemaker the following week? Pacemaker Monday and MRI somewhere down the line?

And to complicate issues, insurance needs to approve any procedures first. We just got pacemaker approval but don't have MRI approval yet.

And CPA Boy has to have blood work done each time he has a procedure. He feels like a human pin cushion.

The crazy thing is, ignoring all the leg and MRI stuff, there is still one more heart procedure that needs to happen AFTER the pacemaker is implanted: a trans-esophageal echo-cardiogram (aka TEE). That is supposed to take place a week after the pacemaker.

We will know more on Monday. We hope. I guess that's one of the issues when you have several doctors working on your case; they don't always coordinate with each other.

So pull out all of your lucky charms and think good thoughts for CPA Boy's health!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

(Anti-) Social Networks

There are so many social networks these days. I belong to some of them but I don't think I really get much use out of most of them.

I belong to these networks:

Facebook: Once you have an account you can connect to other people you know. Search their name and send a friend request. Facebook uses "status updates" where you can post any comment, picture, video or link to another website. You can update your status never, rarely, daily or every minute. I am a rare status updater, maybe once every other month. Some of the people I connect to post several times a day. Everyone does what works for them.

One issue I have with Facebook is this: to do certain things on the site you need to "allow" the third party apps access to your info. I don't allow any other apps because I think many of them tend to be spam generators.  The birthday app is especially insidious. In other words, you may receive a birthday greeting from someone who used the birthday app and it then accesses all of your friends' information and starts sending birthday greetings on your behalf. And so on.

Twitter: Once you belong to Twitter you can "tweet" thoughts and comments up to 140 characters. You can also follow other tweeters. I really think this is a platform tailor made for people who have smart phones (I do not have one).

I could use Twitter to do things like ask celebrities questions or vote for my favorite couple on Dancing with the Stars. I have no real desire to ask anyone anything and while I do vote for DWTS I just go to the ABC website to do it. And I don't know anyone personally who tweets so there's no one to read my comments if I make any! I mainly use it to follow a handful of celebs. Overall it's not my thing.

Pinterest: This is a virtual bulletin board. If you are browsing the Internet and come across something you want to buy or make you can "pin" it. That way you don't need to remember every website you visit. Say you find a really great recipe on a blog. Instead of bookmarking the blog or trying to find it again later you just pin it to your recipes board on your Pinterest account. Now all of your recipes will be in the same place.

But for some people Pinterest is so much more. You can just pin pretty pictures if you want. I used it briefly for a few food items and some things I wanted to purchase. I can see the appeal but I just wasn't interested in pinning things. If I see a recipe I like I print it out and put it into my recipe binder in the kitchen!

Google+: Another site like Facebook but I don't use it. My account exists but I rarely look at it.

(Can you see that the Internet is wasted on me?!)

Blogger: The website I use for blogging purposes. (Other blogging site include Blogspot and Live Journal.)


There are so many more I don't use!

Linkedin is a business networking site. Since I don't work in the corporate world anymore there is no need for me to be a part of it (CPA Boy probably belongs to it). Some woman named Kim Gordon keeps sending me a request to join her network but I think it's spam so I just delete her e-mails.

Instagram looks pretty interesting. This is another one where a smart phone would be necessary. Apparently you take pictures with your phone's camera and upload them to Instagram via an app. I might seriously consider using this if I ever get a smart phone.

Flickr and Tumblr are two sites that apparently eschew the letter E. Flickr appears to be an image-hosting site for bloggers. Tumblr is a microblogging site that seems to feature mainly images and short videos.

Foursquare and GetGlue are "check-in" based sites. With Foursquare you are basically letting everyone know your location ("Bob checked in at Applebee's!") and earn points (sorry, I don't care enough to look up what the points are good for!). GetGlue is used to let people know what entertainment you are watching ("Bob watched The Walking Dead!") and you earn virtual stickers when you watch certain programs.

But even though I belong to a few social networks I still like to keep most aspects of my life private. If you really use social networks to the fullest you have to willingly give up so much of your privacy!

I am satisfied with my current level of engagement.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bon Mots and Mal Mots

Pardon my French! The title is supposed to translate to "good words and bad words" but I am not positive that is proper French. Too many years have passed since I took French in high school!

The last few weeks have been taken up with health woes for both me and CPA Boy. I am finally well after a cold in January and suffering through an H. pylori infection through February and March. But now I'm fine.

Meanwhile CPA Boy had a cold in December and another in January. Then his leg started hurting every time he walked more than about 10 feet and he was having numbness in his feet. (The colds are not related to the leg pain but it seems that one or both of us has been sick since December and we are tired of it!) Then it started hurting even when he was doing his regular morning swim. Then he went to see his doctor about it. This is how I knew it was serious: CPA Boy hadn't seen his doctor since the 1990s.

Somehow leg pain has translated into heart issues and various cardiac tests (of which he has another test tomorrow). Then next week he sees the cardiologist and a vascular surgeon to get some answers and a treatment plan.

One side effect included cancelling CPA Boy's annual trip to Maryland where he has a client to audit. No flying until they figure out what's wrong.

So that's what's been going on.

I have meant to write more often but I always put off writing about something because I feel I need to have a good illustration to go with the words. I am going to let go of that notion from here on out. If I have personal pictures to share then I will. If not, then the words will need to suffice.

I recently learned that cutting and pasting images from the Internet can possibly lead to legal issues ("cease and desist" orders and demands for compensation for using someone else's photo). This is one of those things that "everyone does" on the Internet. Plus I will need to learn how to watermark my own images in case someone steals from me! (Unlikely but you never know!) And I will go back and delete images that aren't mine from old blog entries. Whee.