Saturday, January 29, 2011

The firing squad

Well - I can now say I've joined a new club - AICD firing squad.

I was racing after a 12-hour day to the subway when I checked the monitor at the station entrance and it occurred to me that I missed my train home. At 9:01pm I got the first of 4 shocks. The next came maybe 15-20 seconds later & the next (and hardest) was maybe 30 seconds and the last one perhaps another 20 seconds. The joules discharged were 17,17, 31, 17.

A kind homeless woman called 911 thinking I had a heart attack. She even went upstairs to guide the EMTs to me. Thanking her was not enough. She deserves a medal. Was taken to the local hospital as my EKG kept tabletopping and not showing spikes. I figured, I missed my train, had no ride home so why not! They kept me there for 2 nights to watch the enzyme levels spike & go down. They also changed my settings to a higher threshold. I felt fine, enjoyed the clean sheets & sponge baths for a change. I will say that there is nothing and I mean NOTHING worse than hospital food when you’re a cardiac patient. They automatically put you on no salt (despite my incredible low blood pressure and flawlessly clean arteries), Everything tastes like paste.

My other Bionics were interested in the gory details (its how we learn) so I’ve shared the following:

My settings were low as my HR never, and I mean never, gets above 125. My EP has also re-verifies it each time I'm in as they usually set it low after installing it & see what the usual max HR is and adjust accordingly. Mine was never reset. And I've done tons of stadium stairs, Gym & hours of cardio, not to mention the single father of 3 young men (17,21,24) who have been known to test my threshold. My device WAS set to monitor @ 150, Fire @ 170 and I'm sure they don't just look at the HR, but the Quality and Dynamics of the beat.

I was awake. I slumped (fell?) against a wall backside-first with the second shock. Didn't see any bright lights or hear any sounds. Honestly, it felt like a kick to the chest - not so much painful, as shocking (mild pun intended). This truly happened just as I realized I missed my train. I didn't realize it at first then a second or so later thought - "Geez, this might have been a . . . BAM" second shock. I tried to gain composure and mentally calm myself down and lower my HR, but I guess this action releases adrenaline and that kind of makes it difficult. The third one caught me just after an exhale so this scared me a bit, but I realized I really needed to gain control and I eventually slipped below the discharge threshold. The fourth was as I was trying to dial my kids, I gave up till the paramedics arrived. No pain afterwards, just mild disgust having to deal with this (the past 7-10 days have not been the best).

I think one of the weirdest thing is having to relive this every time I pass that monitor! The last two days I'm doing my usual "brisk walk" to the station and descend the 2 flights down via stairs and I get the most un-nerving feeling as enter that portal. I guess its partly PTSD, which is understandable (and I'm not making light of those who do suffer with it). I guess time will heal. I'm also keeping an eye out for my angel !

In retrospect, I'm glad I got to experience this as I'll be better prepared for the next one. The same going in for my Myectomy - I felt so much better by learning from others that I wasn't scared & understood everything. I hope this helps others, as I'd like to put it behind me now and get on with enjoying life.

It all depends on how you look at it

I've been really having a rough time these past two months & my sister calls to check on me weekly & I'm sure she notices that my once bubbly disposition is starting to pop - little by little. This past Friday I called her to say that despite working a 73 hr. week, today another employee announced he's leaving, I attended a funeral for my best friend's father, my gym partner/dentist informed me my 24-year old son needs 6 teeth extracted due drug abuse, my car got towed and I had to go to two tow yards in lovely downtown LA to find it. Accordingly, I nearly missed the beginning of my friend's one-women show. I'm really having a good day! Somehow, I was not going to let this get to me. It all depends on how you look at it.

So onward & upward!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So long Coco!

Finally! After 3 weeks of no communication (Phone, internet) I can now reach the outside world. I've been having static on my line for months. From my years working at Telco companies I assumed it was spyders - literally cobwebs on the wire, that coupled with moist winter air. I had been meaning to go out there and dust them, but with my work schedule, it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. That and the typhoons of late, the system crapped out sometime between the 18th & 24th. It petered out in bits, first no ringing, then no dial tone, then no caller id, then I had a private tech out to check our system and he found an old active line that was acting up. This one was used to connect the computer to the outside world but he's the one to identify that the line was bad (Verizon self check said it was fine).

So after some fiddling he was able to restore a dial tone, but it was accessing my neighbor's line (Coco). Now, I was not able to receive calls nor dial out or surf porn, but I could tell when when Coco got a call and could listen in (and comment). Too bad Coco had no idea who I was.

I had called Verizon to offically put in a fix it ticket and was given a January 12th date for repair. I later realized my device could not contact my cardiologist and this was now a medical need as well. It took me two days of calls to finally get someone in repair to list it as a medical emergency. Still, no change in date! It wasn't until I contacted the PUC and filed a complaint yesterday that Verizon finally did something about it. Less than 24hrs later two trucks show up. Seems the squeaky wheel does get the grease.