March 20th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

Tonight’s moon

I have been busy lately, getting in a lot of walks every day and taking care of personal business. I am still on my diet, losing weight and feeling good. I am still able to eat quite a variety of things but I am watching it closely. I got my ‘rona shot two days ago. No horrible side effects other than my arm was really sore but that is starting to subside.

Spring is finally here. Yay Spring! It’s the time of year where it feels like morning for the Earth; new growth, new life…it’s something positive and reassuring that feels like the beginning of a new day. Positive and reassuring are two things I know I can really use right now…

I went to the doctor this past week and there is, unfortunately, no getting out of open-heart surgery. I don’t know when this will be happening yet but it will be very soon. They gave me some packets of info to bring home and read. It was a bit overwhelming to look at this stuff knowing I will be going through such an intense, invasive procedure.

Am I scared? Fuck yes I am scared. I know it is a fairly routine procedure but it is a very serious surgery and it is happening to me – how can I not be scared? NOTHING can make this not be scary as hell. The recovery is going to be difficult at best. It is up to me to work hard on my recovery and get back to whatever normal life will be like afterwards. I did it with my shoulder surgery, but that doesn’t really compare to having your chest pried apart and opened up. I will keep adding on more walking distance each day until I have to go in so I can try to be in good shape to help with recovery.

I need to pick up some post-op clothes and other items before surgery. I think otherwise I am as ready as I can be to do this as far as the physical aspects – mentally, not so much. I will be going a few places since I got the okay to travel. I will be headed over to Montana very soon to visit family, grab some things I need from storage and finally get to see my dog (he won’t be coming back with me, though – we think it is best not to bounce him back and forth). It will be hard driving that far since the heart attack took some of my stamina away. Luckily I have nowhere to be for a month so I can take my time, but I really do not want to stay in a hotel unless absolutely necessary. I’ll be packing hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes just in case.

With the weather still fairly iffy this time of year I won’t be taking the trailer to MT. After surgery it will certainly be months before I will be able to get it out again so I’ll see how I feel about a trip when I get back. I am sure as hell not getting on a plane yet. The ‘rona is still too widespread for anything other than a trailer trip for me and I don’t know if I will even do that. I need to stay well for the upcoming surgery so I may just have to bide my time at home. This still is not quite how I envisioned my retirement.

I started looking at travel shows again. I am re-watching some “No Reservations” episodes to get my travel fix and have something fun & positive to think about. I watched the Stanley Tucci series about Italy and it was very good; it made me want to go to Italy even more than I already wanted to go. I saw an interesting show about Poland that had some beautiful scenery. I’ll have plenty of time to dream about it now.

That’s all for now.

March 11th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

Since it has been a while I wanted to post an update.

I am feeling really good given what has happened the last few weeks. I am back to walking more (currently getting in around two or three miles a day) and the only real restriction I have now is to stop walking if I get winded and work on getting my heart rate back up (which is going good I think). I am losing weight and the Mediterranean diet is pretty good but is taking some getting used to. I have also upped my water intake which helps in many ways.

It is nice to have the restrictions lifted but I still have to be careful and not overdo it even though I feel pretty good. It is easy to get anxious to get back to “normal” but I know under the hood I will be getting an overhaul in a few months. I am hoping that with diet, exercise and the meds I am now on things will calm down enough to forego that overhaul, but there is the reality that even that may not be enough. I am hopeful but not optimistic given the realities and I am reminded about that every time I grab my keys and see the nitroglycerin bottle on my keychain.

Of course this affects any thoughts of travel, but I am okay to travel with few restrictions. I know flying is out of the question for me because I am simply not getting on a plane yet with the pandemic happening – no, not even for a domestic flight. I was told that flying was okay as long as it is a pressurized cabin. This brings up a question I will get answered next week (along with some other questions) – what about altitude while driving in the mountains? That can have a big impact on my ability to drive certain places.

Otherwise life has been fairly uneventful other than a few doctor appointments. Had to have the truck towed a few days ago to get fixed; it was not the stubborn fuel filter (which they replaced for me since I could not get the old one loose) but the bigger issue of a gasket on the engine that failed, causing the truck to barely run. I will hopefully be going to pick it up today.

Anyhoo, I know it has been a while since the last post and just wanted to send out an update.

February 19th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Uncategorized

(Just a note that there may be a few words that might, or probably will, offend someone. If you still see it there it’s only because I didn’t edit it out.)

After roughly four full days of very little food because of lack of all appetite, my hunger is finally getting the best of me. On one hand, it has helped me to lose nearly 10 lb. in just this past five days. On the other hand, I do need to get some nourishment to repair some of the damage to my body.

Every day it gets a little easier to breathe; it’s nowhere near where I need to be but it will take time. I got maybe a little too ambitious today but all I did was vacuum the rug and go get my mail. I got my time in for my exercises while doing those few things I really needed to do but I am exhausted.

It does not help that I cannot sleep more than a few hours a night. One of the meds I am on is notorious for causing sleeplessness, hallucinations and nightmares, and even psychosis in extreme cases. I am going to give it the weekend to see if things calm down and I hope it has already. But I still woke up at 2:00 AM yet again this morning.

I heard these nightmares/hallucinations are called “lucid dreams”. It was just like it was really happening. So real. I know you are probably wondering “So…just what KIND of hallucinations?”. Oh just little things, like shadow figures walking at the foot of my bed, lights flickering…and there are no lights on. Things crawling across the walls – like lizards, insects, birds, cats…you know, the usual and the unusual things that crawl across walls. My dog was jumping on my bed…and he is in Montana until I recover. The two nights I spent in the hospital I cannot even describe because I don’t even know what happened or HOW to begin to describe it. I had some weird dream and it raged all. effing. night. long. The second night, it was the same damn dream and picked up right where I was the night before.

The third night I was home and that one about drove me insane. I was basically trapped inside the front of a giant webpage for many hours – like 8 hours. Imagine you are standing under the front of the screen at your favorite cinema. Everywhere in your peripheral vision is a webpage that big. And you are stuck on the front of it. No, really. I could not get away or shut it out, off or down. It was an auction webpage with all of the Le Creuset items I have been buying – at auction. As the night went on it got so bad. The goddamn web page was floor to ceiling on my bed, in my face, and the auctions got faster and faster. I was physically yelling outloud for it to “FUCKING STOP!!!”. It was flashing pictures, insanity, color, intensity…every possible thing assaulting your senses and then much more. I even thought I could come in and shut down my laptop maybe it would stop it. I know, right? All these dreams seemed so scary real.

Fortunately, last night there were no dreams at night, but the dog was jumping on my bed again (he is still in MT), shadow figures paced at the foot of my bed, lights were flashing around in the air, weird noises…sounds horrible to you but a much-welcomed relief for me. Was I ever really scared? No, not overly but not totally without fear. Frustrated, concerned, no control and goddamned tired & pissed off about it? Yeah, let’s say that. I will see how the weekend plays out and call if necessary. I have only been on these new meds for 4-5 days now so I am sure my body has to adjust in more ways than one.

I have been looking at the food I have in the cupboards and the other I worked so hard to cook and freeze. Even though I do try to cook mostly healthy when I cook there are things I will have to get used to not eating or eating less of or ingredients no longer okay to use. I still don’t know what the hard details of my diet boundaries are or will be but a cardiac diet is pretty, well, unfun. I don’t use much salt so that part is easy, and I eat more chicken than beef or pork (gonna miss bacon…). But cheeses?!?!?! Eggs? NOOOOoooooooo! And Kerrygold…I will always remember those buttery, golden times. Speaking of golden times, I’m talking to you, too, Hostess.

All comedy aside, I know it needs to happen and I am good with it. I am looking for ideas to do with some of the things I cannot eat so it doesn’t go to waste. There’s a lot of money and labor of love in that freezer. I won’t waste it for just those reasons, but put simply we should just not waste food any more than absolutely necessary. I have some canned goods but the food bank is not taking outside donations because of the ‘rona. I am thinking of what I can do to make sure it helps someone who really needs it. I have ideas.

Tomorrow I will be taking it easier but I hope to get rid of some stuff tomorrow morning since I am picking up all new groceries from curbside at Safeway. I browsed through various items and found some great ideas. I am getting some healthier frozen prepared meals to eat until I can get my feet back under me and can work on finding some recipes to cook. I will be looking at many plant-based possibilities but some are not healthier than say, a Whopper vs. an Impossible Whopper. They are good though.

Have a good night. Hoping the cinema in my head is closed tonight.

Me and the dog are headed to bed.

February 14th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day. A day of love, candy, wine…maybe sex. None of those things were part of my February 14th festivities. I thought I would go big so I did.

I had a heart attack.

Yep a full-blown acute heart attack, complete with a no-expenses-paid ambulance ride to a cardiac unit complete with lights and sirens. After things calmed down and they got me taken care of for the time being by putting in a stent, they kept me for a few days to get x-rays, bloodwork, etc. worked to as to get an idea of how to proceed. There will be some surgery for me but I am not sure what kind it will be yet. There are a few options and those will be discussed with my new friends “the cardiologists” in a few weeks.

Yeah, I make light of it but I damn well know the seriousness. Anyone who knows me personally knows my sense of humor and it is also how I deal with things sometimes but I DO know the seriousness. I was there in the ambulance when they said “You are having a heart attack”. I was there when they told me about the blockages in my heart. This is for real and it is some scary shit.

I got back home a few nights ago and that’s when it got to me. Given that it was a heart attack it’s not good to get too upset about it for the obvious reasons. I try not to dwell on the “what-ifs” in my life but it’s hard to not think about those things when something off that magnitude happens and made me think back about my motorcycle wreck and the things that came into my mind then; you just cannot avoid it, try as you might.

So I am back at home, bruises and marks all over my body from tests, stent and IV lines and I can barely breathe & cannot sleep. But I am still here to talk about it. They are letting my heart calm down after the trauma and I have new meds as well as exercises so when we have our consults I will be ready to get done what needs to get done.

I will also get a new diet and that will be a little difficult at times (especially during travel) but given the limited options I’ll gladly give up the Kerrygold to be on this planet longer. I have been cutting back on some of the things I used to eat over the last several years so I have a pretty good start on it but there’s more to do and fast.

So the next few weeks the posts may be sparse since I was told to go home and rest. Nothing really exciting about that.