Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting Older Is A Pain

I had been feeling crappy (a medical term), including shortness of breath after very little exertion, for a few weeks.  So, Saturday we went to a walk in clinic in Yuma to get a checkup for me and treatment for a burn Rosie got from the oven door.  After treating Rosie, the Doc puts a stethoscope on my chest, listens for a few seconds, then says “Hmmm”.   I had a feeling then that I was in trouble.  He proceeds to inform me that I have Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) and instructs me to go directly to the ER, or he could call an ambulance for me.  I took Rosie and the pooches back to the RV Park and drove myself to the ER thinking I would be in and out of there in a few hours with some med’s and all would be well.  So it is now Wednesday and I am still at the Yuma Regional Medical Center.  It turns out that I also have an enlarged heart (big hearted guy that I am).  I have been poked, prodded, stuck, x-rayed and ultra-sounded.  Received IV’s, medications, oxygen, and injections into my tummy.  Life has been real fun.  Poor Rosie has been stuck at the camper, dependent on friends to bring her over to see me.  She is not comfortable driving the big truck in heavy traffic in unfamiliar territory and parking that 22’ feet of long bed crew cab is not easy.

I know my followers can look up A-Fib on the internet so I won’t go into a big description here.  Basically it is an irregular heart beat in the top half of the heart.  The problem is that this can form a clot; and if a clot shoots out of the heart and hits the brain, you have a stroke.  That is the real problem and something everyone here is working hard to prevent.  As of today, they have thinned my blood down to a desirable level.  They are still working on the high heart rate, which gets up to 150 beats per minute with minimal exertion.  As soon as that gets under control, I can go home and work on an A-Fib treatment as an outpatient.

Future treatment options include medication, Coumadin among others, surgical procedures including Ablation and a Pace Maker, and electric shock treatment, all designed to get the upper half of the heart back to a regular rhythm .  I have learned this is a fairly common ailment for the over 65 crowd.  It is not life threatening and the Cardiologist ensures me that we will not have to make major changes in our lifestyle.  We can still travel, but we should try to avoid long stays in really remote areas.  We should try to be in places where there is a quick 911 response and a major hospital within 50 miles or so.  I will have to get blood work done monthly      (or more frequently) and the cardiologist will adjust the Coumadin dosage based on the thickness of the blood.

So that is my sad tale my friends.  We are grateful that it was discovered early (before that nasty stroke) and in a part of the country with top notch Medical Facilities.  We intend to follow our travel plan for 2013, including the Camp Hosting in Oregon.  So far, so good.

Speaking of camp hosting in Oregon, Tollbridge County Park is looking for more campground hosts for this season.  Anybody interested can contact Cory VanSickle at HR County Parks & Bldgs 541-387-7076  http://www.co.hood-river.or.us/  cory.vansickle@co.hood-river.or.us.

Thanks for stopping by.

6 comments:

Allen and Lolita DuGuay said...

We enjoy reading your blog and have been following for a while. Glad that you caught the problem early and our best wishes to you for a speedy recovery.

DNPC said...

Hang in there, Jim. I know it must be depressing right now, but the up side is that they caught it, you can be treated, and soon you'll be back to normal. Take care of yourself and get well.

BJ said...

Glad you are on the mend and they caught it early. Where will you be camp hosting in Oregon?
~Betty from Milwaukie, Oregon

Jim and Rosie Sathe said...

We will be at the Tollbridge County Park Campground near Hood River, OR from Aug 11 to Oct 25.

Laurie and George said...

Yikes! I'm sure that it wasn't a diagnosis you expected. Good thing you did go to the doc anyway.

Donna K said...

Well that's a heckova note! Sorry to hear but glad it was found early. Hope they find the right treatments to make you feel much better very soon.