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21 December 2010

Bob's Health Woes / Death drops by for a cup of coffee, leaves without doing the dishes / masked men and women will stick tubes up my wazoo / am I scared? You bet I'm fucking scared!

Click on image, it will 
get bigger and clearer. 
The Tree of Life is a series 
of nine Armenian ceramic tiles. 

First Day Issue: Tierra de los Sueños
First (or maybe Last) Day Issue:
Bob's Really Big Surgery

I hate the early morning. Notice the ghastly time stamp for this post, but it couldn't be helped.

In an hour S.W.M.B.O. bundles me into the car and drives me to a hospital in Springfield (guess which Springfield, every state in the USA has a city called Springfield), where masked men and women are going to give me local anesthesia -- in other words, I'll be awake -- and then perform an angiogram on me, snaking a tube and, I think, a camera up my arm and into my heart. 

My left ventrical isn't pumping enough blood, something's blocking the blood flow. If the blockage is easy to find, they might open the blockage with a balloon, or install a stent, a plastic or metal cylinder to force open the blockage.

If my troubles are more complicated than that, I'll go home, recover for a week or two, and then undergo a more complicated procedure, a bypass. That's all I understand about this scary business. I'm sure I've made at least six significant mistakes, but this is what I understand from what the doctors have explained to me.

What I'm hoping for the most is that, whatever happens today, I'll be allowed to return home this evening and won't have to spend more time in the hospital. I just spent a week or two in this hospital, and it was a total Toby Hooper Texas Chainsaw Massacre Nightmare. I've had enough of hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities, for awhile. Home is where I want to be.

My first surgery was on my right leg, and it's healing excellently, but until it's completely healed, and the pain disappears from my right foot, I can't drive; poor S.W.M.B.O. is my chaufeusse, and poor Bob can't go anywhere (like the Whately Ballet) that S.W.M.B.O. doesn't agree to drive me to. This coming month is going to be a stone drag.

As the foot and leg heals, I'm all doped up on synthetic opiates. They work. They're not fun, they're not much as Party Drugs, but they banish the pain, for which I'm enormously grateful.

If you pray, pray for me. If you don't, then just wish me well. If all this works out as planned, I've been promised another ten years of Life, and a return of my walking and physical stamina -- terribly important to me, because I live to travel, and I'm terrified of slowing down and missing a train or plane or ferry, of not being able to get to really strange places. My motto for the last decade has been:


Meanwhile I'm starving to death -- no food or drink from now until the angio. When it's over, I'll be strongly tempted to eat a nurse. (I hope it's a female nurse, I suspect male nurses don't taste too good.)

My health troubles are reminiscent of the old cowboy who told the doctor: 

"I would have taken much better
care of my health if I'd known
I was going to live this long." 

From age 18 I was a newspaperman, and to show me how much they appreciated me at the newspaper (The Washington DC Daily News, a Scripps-Howard tabloid rag so that Republicans could have something to read at lunchtime, long extinct) my older colleagues would take me to the bar across the street and teach me to drink alcoholic beverages. At parties at night we strictly obeyed The Newspaperman's Creed: A reporter can get as drunk as he or she wants -- but you MUST report to work the next day. (In those days, the legal drinking age in DC was 18.)

Okay, that's all for now. If there are no more posts from VleeptronZ, it means something went wrong in the surgery and I'm dead. Please try to keep all my books together, give them to any library or school which promises to keep all my books together. I don't want them orphaned and scattered in hundreds of different directions. My books have been together for many decades, and they're used to being together. I can't bear to think they've been scattered.

But my doctors tell me I'll almost certainly live through this procedure, and even emerge from it with much better health. I've finally stopped smoking, which got me into most of this trouble to begin with. What next? A vow of poverty and chastity? Cleanliness? Beatification? Sainthood?


Mike said...

We're thinking of you.

Jim Olson said...

Start with no smoking. I'll smuggle you a fudge brownie.

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PatFromCH said...

Ditto. Me dad had a similar experience with his legs and that wasn't pleasant. Need to get a grip on the nicotine addiction myself.

Get well soon, so much fun stuph is happening these days !

Vleeptron Dude said...

I'm alive! I lived through the surgery!

I don't know how successful it was, because the surgeon never came to my hospital room, and I was in shriekuing, screaming pain which the nurses refused to do anything about, so I finally hobbled to the nursing station and informed the head nurse that I was discharging myself and going home. Boy, she didn't like that, but she had to do it, so she removed the big pipe in my arm, and S.W.M.B.O. got the car, and a nice fellow pushed me in a wheelchair to the front entrance, and S.W.M.B.O. drove me home.

Ouch ouch ow shriek scream ouch.

I slept and woke up the next day, and found these wonderful Comments from you nice people thinking good things about me. These Comments mean more to me than the expert surgery or the painkilling pills.

Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.

Alas, more surgery ahead, don't know when, probably a bypass. But this time I'm not signing any permission unless it promises, in big clear words, effective pain management. These surgeons -- Curly, Larry & Moe -- seem to regard pain management as an unimportant afterthought. Well, I guess that's because I'm the guy in shrieking, screaming psin, not them.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Scary stuff... I've been living with three stents since 2003
but they did that with no pain.

Pain management is so easy these days... I don't know WTF is the matter with doctors who won't use it!

Keep us posted....

eepy (the canada) post

Ryszard Wasilewski said...

Good luck Vleep! Stay alive for a long time to come -- keep on truckin', keep on bloggin'. I visit here often and love reading your posts.

Mike said...

Glad to hear you're doing OK, sucks about the "Ouch ouch ow shriek scream ouch". Are they ever going to get around to telling you how things went (other than excruciatingly painfully)?

PatFromCH said...

Well, as an Atheist I don't "do" prayers (btw there is a sort of study around in which it was proved that Praying doesn't help at all) but thank Darwin's Beard all went well and you are still around. As for the pain I can't help you but will it help to imagine the concept of physical pain as something abstract that will go away if you ignore it long enough ?

While I am here I need your help or advice:
I am a Nicotine Junkie, have been for 22 years. Was able to reduce drinking to a reasonable level, don't take any other drugs (ahem), I rarey eat chocolate or candy. I am a fairly reasonable person or at least not excessive or overdoing.

But I just can't kick the smoking habit, down to 10-15 per day now. There are only six packs of Camels on my night table right now. Time to give the giving-up anoher go in a few days.

How did you manage to kick that habit ? Good ol' Cold Turkey ? Meds ? Supid bloody sticking plasters ? Doctr's aid ? What was your strategy ?

Anonymous said...

I don't know you. YOu don't know me. I'm reading your blog for the first time - WHY? Why not? I wish you a healthier future, and good days ahead. Thanks for the good read. My personal addiction is chocolate and I think I need a hershey kiss right about now. JET