Carol’s Heart – Part 2

Posted on December 25, 2019


This blog is supposed to be a weekly (almost) dose of relationship wisdom in 500-700 words that you can use to have a better marriage rather than being my personal journal.  But a lot has happened in the last three days so I feel I should give an update to all of you who have been praying so faithfully for Carol.  This is being written on Christmas morning.  Once again, you get this tale from my perspective since I’m the one writing it.

I published that last post on Sunday afternoon.  At the time Carol seemed to be doing well.  She was mostly comfortable and gaining strength.  We were taking her prescribed 5 minute walks twice a day, and she seemed to be getting further every time out.

Sunday evening (about 8pm), Carol started having discomfort with chest pressure.  We called the nurse hotline.  After listening to Carol’s symptoms, the nurse told us to call 911.  We called 911.  The paramedics took her to Pomerado.  They hooked her up to the usual monitors.  They ran their tests.  And we waited.

Generally, I figure that having to wait a long time at the emergency room is a good thing in as much as that means the staff has more urgent situations to attend to than you.  Frankly, I thought it was probably just some residual discomfort from the procedure on Wednesday and that Carol had gotten scared and gotten herself worked up.  I guess that makes twice now that I did the right thing even though I hadn’t really taken it seriously yet.

Eventually, the doc got around to her and said everything looked okay but that they probably should admit her overnight to keep an eye on her.  Since Carol’s insurance has Sharp as her health care provider, they gave Sharp the option of having her transferred there.  Sharp decided they wanted her there (can you blame them?), and they sent an ambulance to get her.  The ambulance took Carol down to Sharp about 1am, and I went home to catch a few hours of sleep.

In the morning at Sharp, they did a sonogram on Carol’s heart and the cardiologist decided she wanted a better look at the artery that didn’t have the stent.  They took Carol to the cath lab, found that the original stent looked just fine, but the other artery was worse than originally thought, and they put two stents into that artery.

In recovery, Carol was doing well.  Both cardiologists who worked on her felt she would be safe to travel as soon as she felt up to it.  She was quite hungry as she hadn’t eaten since dinner Sunday night.  The staff brought around a couple of sandwiches for us.  They got Carol back to her room, and she seemed to be doing well throughout the afternoon.  The expectation was that she would be discharged on Tuesday, and she could travel on Wednesday if she felt up to it.

Around dinnertime on Monday, I managed to drop my cellphone for my therapy practice and broke the screen.  I have two cell phones.  One for personal use and the other for my practice.  My practice phone is the dumb phone.  I left the hospital about 6:30pm with the intent to go get the phone replaced, go home, get some dinner and take care of some things, and sleep at home.

At Verizon, they told me that without being able to read the screen, they would not be able to retrieve my contacts because a dumb phone does not automatically back up your contacts.  Losing all of your business contacts may not be on the level of having your mate having heart problems, but it would be crippling for functioning in my practice.  The solutions specialist at Verizon suggested that Geek Squad might be able to help me retrieve the information.  I went to Best Buy and was told there was nothing they could do for me.  From the parking lot, I called my friend Brian who is a generally acknowledged to be a programming demigod.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have a solution for me either.  I still needed a phone so I went back to Verizon.  While I was waiting for help, Carol called to say she wasn’t doing well.  I left Verizon and headed back to the hospital.

Back at the hospital, Carol had had an irregular heartbeat (arrythmia), and her blood pressure and heart rate were elevated.  Carol was really afraid she was dying.  It was disconcerting that it turned out the hospital had failed to give her the prescribed blood pressure medication.  Also, the attending nurse did not seem to be aware of what procedures Carol had had and when.  The nurse was consulting with the cardiologist by phone.  During that conversation, we had to provide some of the information the nurse did not appear to have correct.

They corrected Carol’s meds.  I prayed over her and sang over her.  We talked and cried together.  I read scripture to her and eventually her blood pressure and heart rate returned to normal.  I spent the night in her room with her.

In the morning, Carol was feeling better.  We had quite the fiasco trying to get her breakfast.  They didn’t want to give her breakfast until after they tested her blood sugar.  After they tested her blood sugar, they forgot to bring in her breakfast.  I reminded them, but by the time they brought it in, it was cold.  They went to heat it back up, but got busy with another patient and forgot it again.  Eventually, after multiple requests, we got Carol fed.  I went down to the cafeteria to buy mine as feeding the family member is not an option they offer.

Midmorning, the nurse practitioner who was the case manager for the cardiology unit and the internist came to meet with us.  Carol expressed fear of having another episode and having to call 911.  They assured us that with the right meds that Carol would be fine.  They indicated that she could stay another night if she wanted, but that they were prepared to discharge her that afternoon.

We arranged for my sister, Connie, and my niece, Jenny (who is an MD), to come down to stay with Carol while I went to get some things done.  I left about 11:30am.

First things first.  I went back to Verizon.  I have to have a business phone.  Apparently, they don’t make the kind of phone I had anymore.  You either go with a flip phone (there is no way I want to text on a flip phone) or get another smart phone.  Now I have two smart phones.  If my jeans have been washed recently, I look like a football player with thigh pads.  It turned out that some of my contacts had been backed up.  As near as I can tell, I probably just lost two years of contacts instead of 10 years.  Unfortunately, it is all of the more recent contacts that aren’t there which is pretty much everyone in my active caseload.  I told the solutions specialist that I would make sure my next grandchild is named after him if her were able to retrieve my contacts.  Since he got most of them, I don’t know where that puts me on that commitment.  I guess we will look forward to little Mateo whether we have a boy or a girl (and whenever he or she may be conceived).

I got home to start getting things taken care of on the home front.  I got a badly needed shave and shower and zapped a can of soup for lunch.  I know the fashion is for men to have 3-4 days growth of beard at all times, but I always feel better clean shaven.

I may be guilty of oversharing with some strangers along the way.  A delivery person came by with a lovely arrangement from Carol’s brother, Tom, and his family.  He, of course, asked for Carol Wood.  I shared that Carol Wood was in the hospital following a heart attack, but I could sign for the delivery.  I suspect he thought he was just delivering a joyful Christmas greeting, and his demeanor changed with that information.  I shared similar information back at Verizon to keep us focused just on the task at hand and not at looking at the whole account.  Perhaps it would have been better to keep it to myself.  Part of my motivation was, I suppose, to make excuses for being less than my usual joyful self.  But I digress.

I talked with Alaska Airlines about rescheduling our flight again.  Once again, they were gracious and accommodating.  They waived the change fees again.  Our current plan is to go on Monday 12/30, but we will see how Carol is feeling.  I am coming to the belief that how you can really judge the customer service of an organization is how they respond when there is a problem.  Alaska Airlines has been earning high marks.

I made an attempt at getting the mail.  You see, Carol had put a hold on the mail for our vacation.  Then she modified the hold for the new dates, but the postman still has not been delivering the mail.  I called the US Post Office (navigating that auto attendant is a job).  They were able to tell me that I could show up at my local post office with my ID and retrieve my mail.  But they were not able to tell me what the hours were for my local post office for Christmas Eve.  They provided me with the number for my local post office.  I worked my way through that auto attendant and let that number ring for about 5 minutes.  I figured that was my answer about whether or not they were still open.

I got the bills caught up and filed away.  This has been Carol’s job since she retired and she had been planning on getting it done last week before we went to Kauai.  I had to make a thorough search for Sheila, the Roomba who generally goes until she gets stuck someplace. She was stuck about 90% under the couch.  It’s hard to get good help these days.

Around 4pm, Connie and Jenny delivered Carol home.  Her shirt and sweatshirt were bloody in as much as when they removed the IV, they just put a bandage on rather than the usual wrap around the arm.  Not sure what was up with that.  There was one more prescription to be picked up from CVS.  Connie and Jenny went to Vons to get a chicken for dinner and I went to CVS.  Carol had called CVS before I went to see when it would be ready.  When I arrived, they didn’t know about it.  The pharmacist explained to me that they have a new and an old system and that they don’t talk to each other.  They found the prescription and got it filled quickly while I waited.  I got back home and the four of us had some dinner together.  Connie and Jenny went home (Connie was supposed to be entertaining friends for Christmas Eve).  Carol and I watched The Nativity Story and went to bed about eight.

Today is Christmas.  I did not roll out of bed until after 7am (which is like noon for normal people).  I guess I needed the sleep.  We both slept pretty well.  Carol is feeling better today.  We took a walk and she was feeling fine.  We Facetimed with the kids.  I got the laundry caught up.  I wrote a blogpost.  Our friends, Debra and Dennis are bringing by some soup and sandwiches for lunch.  That about brings us up to speed.

Once again, way more information than you needed.  Perhaps I just need to tell the whole tale sometimes.

Answering the fan mail.

We greatly appreciate all of the prayers.  Just the people I know about would be in the hundreds.  We love you and we thank you for your concern for Carol and for our family.

We appreciate the Facebook and WordPress comments and expressions of support.  We appreciate the intention behind the phone calls though dropping us a text to see if it is a good time for a phone call might be better for the time being.

We appreciate the offers for help.  I hope you still feel appreciated even if we decline most of those offers.

We appreciate the offers to visit.  Again, we hope you will still feel appreciated though we will also decline most of those offers for now.

Thank you for all of the love and support as we have gone through this.

Have a blessed Christmas.