Saturday, May 9, 2009

What The Aliens Did To Me

I have had a small heart attack and received an angiogram and angioplasty. They found an obstruction near the base of the right cardiac artery, just before it branches into the terminal distribution to the lower right portion of the heart. I have received a stent and also marching orders for the next considerable period of my life. I was in the hospital for basically three days, though only charged for two. The doctor who did the procedure was apparently one of the best in this area for the angio procedures. I am a member of the Kaiser system. They are setting up a cardiac unit at their hospital here in Portland and this doctor is a keystone in the setup. It turned out that I was the second person undergoing the angiogram/angioplasty/stent placement procedure in the Kaiser operating room, though four or five people, including the doctor himself said I was patient number 10,000, plus or minus for him.

I am not moving so quickly but people expect me to return to normal
duty in three to seven days. Remember me saying how my poetry has
seemed to come as an emergency, get it done right now activity? Heh.

I have many friends and so I was well attended. People visited and
called. My renter took me to the emergency and waited to see what was
going to happen in the middle of the night. She is a friend of twenty
years' duration. I actually had more attention than I really wanted
but that was better than no attention would have been. The nurses
were great overall though I had my favorites. I had all that
attention from friends despite the fact that I was shuttled between
five locations in the hospital, the emergency room, the first night's
room, the operating room, the procedure recovery room and then
recovery in the cardiac ICU, not so much because of my condition but
because I could go to hell in a handbasket quickly. I left the
hospital from ICU. Finally, in the ICU I was able to locate myself in
space, recognizing the view I had from my window. I didn't even have
a wheelchair escort on the way out, almost a mistake. That was a long
rough walk, first to pay my bill and then to get my meds. A friend
had shown up just as I was getting ready to call a cab. He took me

I finally had my first hits of morphine which I didn't like and
dilaudid which I did like. I found out that the judicious use of
Afrin stops nosebleeds. That's a whole other story, not a happy one.

Anyway. That's what happened.


  1. A day in the life...glad it's not over. Recuperate, recover and realize.

  2. ...and your last post was called "My Human Condition" and said:

    "Yet the dry desert
    Of avoiding things
    Builds toward an explosion
    I just cannot stop."

    I am so glad you had such good care and quick attention. The body betrays us before we know what is happening with our human condition.

    Rest and recuperate. Glad you're recovering. We've all been worried.
    Take care and follow orders!!

  3. Ah so that's where you've been. Those little detours, sneaky bastards.

    Rest up, my friend. Rebuild.

  4. Teri, Me too. I think. Glad it's not over. But neither is the crap I have to do to support my new condition.

    Karen, yes. Except as explosions go, this wasn't much. My pain was only just large enough to be irritating and wake me up. Then because I watch tv like so many do, I knew if I said chest pain they would say, come down to er. That all happened. And the blockage was less a blockage and more a restriction. The ache was exactly a tired muscle, not enough air ache.

    Thank you Faith. I need all the hugs I can get.

    Robin, I met a couple truly fine nurses who were willing to step right out of the nurse role and just be human. Of course there were the others...and some of the doctors were difficult. I had all sorts of tubes and wires attached and yet they let me get up to pee. The worst was the bloody nose. It lasted over half a day and then they thought maybe I should get some relief. I found out Afrin stops a bloody nose.

  5. then another one :)

  6. Damn aliens.

    I'm so glad you are okay and well cared-for, Christopher.

    Hugs, Rachel

  7. Oh shit Christopher!

    A scary ride indeed.

    Love to you


  8. once again
    we can merrily
    gather around this warm heart(h)
    to watch
    the dancing flames
    of the fire
    it is home to...

  9. Michelle, to me it was more like "here's another thing you make me do!" I met some really nice nurses. I was in fairly good spirits throughout. It was a minor attack as these things go, not obvious except for enzymes in the blood tests and those not completely consistent. But this aftermath is a doozy. So far I am pretty slow. It looks like the procedure is healing. It scared me to cough.

    Ghost, you're a special person with a heart as big as all that.

    HB, Thank you for thinking this place a welcoming one. You would not think this of my house, a place afflicted with an old bachelor man who doesn't know where things go, nor has space to put them if he did.

  10. i'm a soul
    in love of words
    the rest of the world
    is none of my business!


  11. I hope that you're up and feeling well again soon...

    Sounds like it was quite the ordeal...

    I'm glad that you're on the mend...

    Take care and bye for now...

  12. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery. I had Kaiser most of my life. I had really good care and coverage while insured by them believe it or not. Stay strong and do what they tell you.

  13. HB, Your understanding touches me.

    Jon, I kept my spirits through most of it, though my energy came and went. I lost ten pounds in the 2.5 days I was in hospital.

    SD2, I was prepared for anything. What I got was in the main good treatment. Most of the nurses were willing to be human, to joke around, to be personal. A couple were dimwits and one was a nazi. But as a cardiac patient I had several nurses. Even the dimwits after a long enough time had the courage to do an end run on a matter that had gone on long enough. That was a nosebleed at the rate of a cup an hour that had gone on for four or five hours continuous and had been going on for twelve hours. The nazi was in charge of ICU and basically had an idea in what he wanted of me in order to protect his own position. He was obvious and even said so at one point. Whatever.

  14. oh dearest one I hate to think of you so sick. {{{{smooch}}}}
    I am so0o0o glad you are home and getting better.

  15. Shazzaaam! That's quite a little, "oh, by the way," story.

    Glad you're on the mend.


  16. I am new to your blog and taken with the lovely work you do... and even more so now that the fragility of the human condition is absolutely in the foreground. Was it Carson McCullers who wrote the Heart is a Lonely Hunter ? I remember that in my(more) naive youth I did not " get " the title, but as I age, it speaks to me more and more. For now, it seems your heart hunts for more of this sweet life...hope your recovery can be one of support and nurture ...and perhaps more hunting...

  17. Harlequin, it is a happy moment to find you here. Your comments led me to a piece of the experience that I haven't touched on.

    There is so much happening outside in one of these things. People are more attentive than with some other issues. There are more of them involved. I was tubed and wired and checked frequently as they needed blood levels of various things to know if they had me as they wanted me. I was not left alone. Then there were the side effects and the bloody nose was a big one, where I had an unpleasant task of coping with that for a long time. I didn't call for the nurses often but didn't really need to. They kept showing up. Lots of doctors too.

    The inner experience...I was not afraid, I was calm, I could joke and I did, offering to keep it light, and also offering compliments. Here was proof that my attitudes about death and dying run deeper than some posture. I really mean it. I say I carry death on my shoulder as an advisor and friend. Yes. I could relax into the hands of these people because the outcome was not a heavy weight.

    I was irritated with a couple poseurs who pretended to knowledge and then hid behind protocol. I was irritated with a martinet so transparent that I didn't really exist. I was amused with doctors who saw me as their field of action. I relaxed and joked with nurses and doctors who just wanted to be themselves. There were some, most.

    And so I prooved myself the only way I can be prooved, moving into the death zone and realizing it is the friend I had hoped. Thank you, Carlos Casteneda for a wisdom, a treasure, a way of life.

    There are four moments in life that stand outside life, birth, death, the ecstacy of sex, and the ecstacy of God. As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for each. Placing value on all of them, being willing to be taught by all of them in their time, not chasing any of them to excess, only in this way can a life be made whole.

  18. Oh, my ! I'm glad you're OK ! Recuperate well, and take care of yourself !

  19. Paula, thank you for your kindness.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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