Too Much Information!

Life in the Dawes household is on a knife edge now, as the date for Anita’s next and hopefully successful visit to the hospital draws ever nearer.

They plan to be fitting Anita with a pacemaker/defibrillator on Wednesday next week to persuade her poor old heart to start behaving normally. In preparation, we have been bombarded with a cart load of instructions, safety checks and medication updates.

There is so much to remember, and even more information that we really didn’t need, but you know doctors, they must tell you everything, including, in great detail, everything that could go wrong.

Me personally, I like to know what might happen to me, even the bad stuff, but Anita would rather not dwell on that side if things. She hasn’t said as much, but I know she would rather carry on as she is, even with all the breathlessness and fatigue, than walk into that hospital again. If we do get her there, she will be doing it for us, her family and not for herself.

So when the consultant began to describe, in detail, about how he would be feeding several wires through her veins into and around her heart, and that she would be awake while this was all going on, I could clearly see her having second thoughts. 

He then made a tricky moment even worse by rattling off everything bad that could happen while she was on the table. Anita didn’t need him to describe everything she would hear and feel either. I could tell by her face that she desperately wanted to tell him she had changed her mind.

Apart from childbirth some fifty years ago and a broken leg a while back, Anita hasn’t had much to do with doctors and hospitals. Just by osmosis through me and all my many medical problems. For sisters, we couldn’t be more different, even though we look alike…

So, understandably, she is becoming extremely nervous and hating every minute. It wouldn’t take much to have her making for the hills!

These next few days will be an extreme test of everyone’s patience, tact, and diplomacy as we all try to convince ourselves and each other that everything will be fine. Anita will have a Covid test on Sunday and be confined to barracks until the day we leave for the hospital…

Hell of a Week…

It would be lovely if I could think of one thing at a time these days, but it’s not happening. I have been trying to publish shadows, Anita’s new book of poetry. Fate is conspiring against me, but I aim to release it next week.

And the more I struggle to think about writing, it opens the floodgates for a ton of ideas to jump into my head. I often wonder if I am on the wrong horse, so to speak.

Wrong house more like, as we have had major roadworks outside the house for two weeks. They have moved along the road today, but I can still hear their infernal noise. 

And now we have these temporary traffic lights right outside the front door!

So concentrating has been a mite difficult, to say the least.

Making sure we have enough medication for Anita is proving difficult too, as our doctor’s surgery is obviously being run by a bunch of idiots. That is probably a little unkind, as I’m sure they are doing their best. I keep sending them the updated lists from the hospital whenever the meds change, but they still don’t get them right.

Then today, the heart consultant telephoned to talk about the pacemaker/defibrillator and to reassure us that it will happen soon. This will be the last piece of the puzzle and will finally fix Anita’s wagon!

Petersfield Pond

This afternoon, the family took us out to our local lake, affectionally called the Pond. We love this place, but it seemed as though the whole of Petersfield had the same idea! There was no room on any of the benches and the lovely cafe had removed all their seating, so I had to forego my usual mug of hot chocolate. 

All things considered, it was wonderful to see the water and the wildlife and the walk was undoubtably good for us both…

Wonder Woman…

Yes, the Wonder Woman has returned!

And looking surprisingly well after her ordeal and determined to carry on where she left off before the proverbial stuff hit the fan.

Anita also came home with even more medication than last time, plus a daily injection, all of which to be carefully administered by little old me.

We also have a new set of worries, due mainly to the fact that Anita is still not fixed, not quite yet. It will take a pacemaker to do that. Her heart must settle down first, clear the rather large clot that is preventing the left side of her heart from working properly, and recover enough for a pacemaker to be possible.

This requires an intense regime of blood thinners and warfarin, a nasty drug that needs constant monitoring and blood tests. All worth it if the pacemaker returns Anita to full health!

Turns out it wasn’t a second heart attack after all. Due to the massive damage the first one caused and the presence of a large clot inside Anita’s heart, it just couldn’t cope. It stopped minutes after we arrived at the emergency department. Luckily, they managed to bring her back, but it was touch and go for a while.

Apparently, the first heart attack was what they like to call the widow maker because it is usually fatal.

So the fact Anita is here at all is miraculous and something we are all grateful for…

From a hospital bed…

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My story

The story of my life has not been played out yet. 
 The end has not been written.
At least not in the way I want it to.
God will have to hold fire on giving me
the key to the pearly gates
I don’t need to know what lies within
Not yet. 
So far, I have managed an encore
I mean to make it the longest one in history
Keep watching this space
I’ll be back…

©anitadawes 2020

The Update I never wanted to post…

This is the most upsetting post I have ever written, but you have all been so kind and supportive of Anita, I knew I had to tell you what’s been happening and ask for even more thoughts and prayers…

Waiting and worrying was bad enough, but when Anita began to show signs of distress, we were thrown into a very different ball game.

She kept insisting she was fine, but late on Saturday night her breathing became seriously laboured and alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. We managed to persuade her to go back to the hospital as we thought she was having another heart attack.

On the way there, she deteriorated rapidly, moaning in pain, and gasping for breath, causing Stephen (number one son) to drive like a boy racer and run at least one red light, as we knew every minute counted.

Just the mention of a heart attack set the well-oiled wheels of the emergency department in motion, leaving me and Stephen standing outside the hospital, barely holding back the tears.

That’s when it became serious.

Within minutes, a nurse came out to us to say oxygen was being administered and a full barrage of tests had begun. Anita’s blood pressure was so low it was on the floor and there was fluid in her lungs again. Her heart was failing and she had been put on life support.

Last time we were here, just 10 weeks ago, we were not allowed inside the hospital and had to wait in the car. This time, however, we were taken to the relative’s lounge, causing weird alarm signals to us both. Were they just being kind now that lockdown was easing, or was there a more sinister reason?

An hour later, the on-call consultant came to update us, and he didn’t mince his words. He said that Anita’s heart was failing, and she was extremely poorly and that we had brought her in the nick of time. A few minutes more and she might have died.

He went on to talk about resuscitation, that due to Anita’s age and condition, resuscitation would not be in her best interest. He didn’t ask for our permission to do anything, but the message was clear, he didn’t expect Anita to make it.

After he left, we clung together and bawled like babies, desperately praying he was wrong.

We later found out that they had to cut Anita’s clothing away, such was the urgency, and this still makes me cry every time I think about it.

But…

 sometime on Sunday, Anita began to rally, surprising the medical staff. They couldn’t figure out what was causing the problem, for all the tests were coming back normal but she wasn’t about to go anywhere! 

When we mentioned the recent MRI, we had the feeling they didn’t have any information about this. I wonder if they might have lost it.

Early on Monday, I picked up the phone to hear Anita’s voice! She had begged to use the hospital phone and it was beyond wonderful to hear her voice and she sounded so normal as she listed her requests. She was still in intensive care, so hardly normal, but she sounded great to me!

Tomorrow, they have a load more tests lined up, tests that they are confident will give them some important answers…

I was just going to post this when some welcome news turned up!

They have discovered a blood clot inside her heart, and her arteries are no longer clear. There will be further tests, including an angiogram tomorrow, which may result in the application of stents.  All this, although distressing, is proof that this time she won’t be coming home until fit for purpose!

As testament to her improving health, she is busy writing in her hospital bed, and we talk frequently on the phone about everything!

Updating Anita…

I have been wanting to write this post for ages, as I hoped to have good news to share about Anita’s poor old ticker. I seem to be complaining about everything, but we are so grateful for the care and support she has received from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. and do appreciate how difficult it must be.

After 10 weeks of recovery, we have no clear idea of how she really is, medically speaking, although she does look a lot better these days and seems more like her old self. The breathlessness is easing a little, so using the stairs is less of a worry, and although we have had no news yet, the cardiac failure nurse has visited twice, and she says Anita is doing very well.

We are not however, totally convinced.

We really need to know what the recent MRI showed, the extent of the damage and/or how much it has recovered, for then we could possibly relax a little. (or maybe not!)

A letter arrived from the hospital yesterday with an appointment for a contrast echocardiogram next week.

Something else we will have to wait forever for a result, I suppose…

Not the Best Update…

Image by Pixabay.com

Waiting five weeks for the MRI was bad enough, then we had to wait for the results, so when the telephone rang, our hopes soared.

Our hopes quickly dived again when it wasn’t the results, just the Cardiac Failure nurse, ringing to make an appointment to visit and run checks on Anita’s progress.

When she arrived, complete with plastic apron, gloves and mask, she proceeded to carry out a barrage of tests in our living room, including Anita’s blood pressure, both sitting and standing, a full ECG, breathing monitored and then a ton of questions about the medication and how she was feeling.

The nurse seemed quite pleased with her findings, but changed several medications, according to instruction from the consultant.

There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but I knew instinctively that she probably couldn’t answer them. The only thing that can do that will be the results of the MRI.

In the six weeks since Anita’s heart attack, she has become stronger and is able to continue pretty much as normal. She gets very out of breath going upstairs, and this is a strong indication that she still has a long way to go.

After the nurse left, I had a look at the copy of the paper readout from the ECG machine, and I have to say that I have never seen a reading that bad. The familiar, normal spikes were non-existent.

I am quite familiar with heart patterns, due to my own heart attack a few years ago, and this one resembled nothing I had ever seen before.

Printed at the end of the printout were the machines conclusions and the words myocardial damage said it all. Among all the technical jargon was the word aberrant, which I knew meant deviating from what is normal. At that point, I would have given my eye teeth to know how badly Anita’s heart is damaged and/or what the MRI found…

I really hope to have better news soon…

Saturday Finally Arrived…

Image by Pixabay.com

 I’m sure it wasn’t my imagination, but last week seemed to crawl … each day longer than the one before as we waited for the day of the MRI to arrive…

Apart from the time Anita broke her ankle a few years ago – she hasn’t needed any medical attention in the last fifty years, which is just as well, for she wouldn’t have gone anyway! She hates doctors and hospitals, but luckily, always been disgustingly healthy…. which has left her without the patience necessary for a sick person!

When Saturday finally arrived, our nerves were stretched to the limit. There were quite a few iffy moments, moments where Anita swore (literally) that she wouldn’t be going, that she couldn’t stand any more of the waiting and worrying. I tried hard not to dwell on what might happen if she stuck her heels in, but luckily, she didn’t push it.

We gave ourselves two hours to get to Basingstoke hospital as we hadn’t been there before and uncertain about the route and the traffic.

Better to arrive miles to early than to risk being late!

We hadn’t gone far before we were diverted. I should have known then that fate was having a laugh, for this diversion seemed to encompass the whole of Hampshire, taking us far away from Basingstoke. I didn’t think we would ever find it the blessed place. The satnav was as confused as we were, kept changing her mind and issuing ridiculous directions. In the end, we simply followed the diversion signs and prayed we wouldn’t end up in Land’s End.

Fate didn’t stop laughing when we finally drove into the hospital car park, either. It was the wrong one for the MRI clinic. By this time, we were all frazzled, and there was steam coming out of Anita’s ears!

We finally found it with literally minutes to spare…

We were not allowed into the waiting room, so retired to the car. Luckily, we managed to grab a free coffee and found somewhere shady to drink it in.

The MRI took just over an hour, and from Anita’s account, it was a miserable experience. The room was too hot, the machine cramped and noisy, and she had to keep her face mask on all the time.

When she emerged, with large dressings on both arms from the injections, she looked exhausted, but extremely glad to see us.

Image by Pixabay.com

Driving home, exhausted but glad it was all over, our stomachs started rumbling, so when we spotted a Welcome Break nestled among the trees, we didn’t hesitate. We ended up eating our lunch in the middle of a beautiful pine forest, a peaceful haven so far removed from the morning we just had as it was possible to get. The fried chicken never tasted so good!

Image by Pixabay.com

The only thing left to do now, is wait for the verdict!

P.S. We want to thank everyone for their good wishes, hugs and prayers… I really think they have helped so much with Anita’s recovery…

Progress Report!

Image by Pixabay.com

This is going to be a hard week to get through!

We now have a date for Anita’s MRI –1st August — Saturday!

We also had a phone call check up this morning from the cardiology department. They asked a million questions but seemed happy with Anita’s progress. She is a lot stronger, but the stairs still leave her struggling to breathe, which is a worry.

I’m doing a fair bit of struggling of my own, too — what with running the household and all my other jobs. Some housework is being done, but nowhere near enough!

Most of the time, I have no idea what I am doing, or if I have forgotten anything as I’m concentrating so hard to make Anita well again. Her medication is complicated, nine different kinds of pills every day. 

Number one son brought one of those weekly pill boxes, which has helped a lot. At least I can now see immediately if I have missed any!

I find myself thinking about some funny things these days, even with all the stress, which is rather odd seeing as how I can’t persuade my brain to do anything for me. I would have thought it would welcome the time off, or does it know something I don’t?

Perhaps it’s trying to get my attention?

Not a chance mate, if the WIP can’t do it, I don’t think anything else will.

I have been reading some interesting posts lately, about goals, ambitions and what most of us settle for and maybe we shouldn’t?

I have the ill-gotten reputation for being a bit clever, but I’ll let you into a secret. I’m the world’s best winger!

I love to make all manner of craft work, plus knitting, crochet, and dressmaking. I cook and paint and have two sets of green fingers. Most of what I make looks passable, but is any of it really great? Perhaps it all comes down to the difference between good and brilliant!

The phrase ‘Jack of all Trades, master of none’ runs through my head, making me wonder if I should stop trying everything and concentrate on just one thing and try for perfection.

As writing is my most favourite thing, maybe I should start with a creative writing course? Any ideas, anyone?


I spotted this somewhere, and couldn’t resist sharing it!

He gets my vote!

#BlogBattle ~ Wretched

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#BlogBattle: Wretched

Blogbattle_WRETCHED

July 2020 Blog Battle

The word this month is:

Wretched


(Dictionary definition)

Living in misery
Attended by misery and woes
Inferior in performance or quality
Very unpleasant: deplorable

For the past two weeks, it has been a case of all the above, since Anita, the head of our family had a nasty heart attack. She also had pneumonia, which was complicating matters even further, but due to the corona virus lockdown, we were not allowed to visit her in the hospital.

So for seven miserable and wretched days we worried our socks off at home, wondering what was going on and how Anita was feeling.

On the third day, we managed to acquire the number of the telephone, which was conveniently right next to Anita’s bed, which enabled us to speak to her and find out how she was feeling and what had been happening. This contact was a godsend for all of us and went a long way to keeping us from self-detonating!

Anita is back home now, but the misery is still present, although not as intense as it was before, as she is still very ill. She has extensive damage to her heart and as yet no way of knowing the exact prognosis. There is a waiting list for the MRI which will ascertain the damage, but until that day arrives, wretched will unfortunately be the order of the day…