Archives for the month of: May, 2011

No post yesterday. “Why?” you may be asking yourself. I was detained by the government last night. At around 10 pm I had the inclination to go and purchase some gasoline so I wouldn’t have to deal with morning people when I went to babysit Emma the next morning. Being a hunter and unemployed penny pincher I decided to go where the cheapest gasoline is. North Temple / Redwood Road. I got what I was looking for a decided to head home, however, being the insomniac and lover of cities at night, I decided to take a longer route. I wanted to go down Main Street so I could see the progress of the buildings. Fueled up and inspired by the beautiful sounds of The Album Leaf I head towards downtown. The path I was going had a detour coming up as the bridge is under construction. I was fully aware of the detour that was ahead and planned accordingly.

As I turned I noticed the railroad crossing guards were down and as I got closer I saw the train was motionless. I stayed there for a few moments and nothing happened. No one walking the tracks inspecting things. Just…as if it had been parked intentionally. Now, I am a paranoid person. In one of my childhood towns I always feared the government or some hostile group wanting to take over would use a long train to barricade us in. I turn around and decide to find a spot where the train wasn’t. This task turned out to be impossible. I drove around SLC for about 20 blocks and every crossing was blocked. This was scary enough but with my window down I can’t seem to escape the sound of the crossing guard bells. With each street I went down the street lamps started going out. This is 11 pm, they shouldn’t be turning off leaving entire blocks blacked out. As I ventured further north I noticed a sign. That sign opened up my eyes and freaked me out. I wasn’t sure anyone would believe what I saw, so I got out to take a picture. As I took the picture I noticed two well dressed men walk from behind the still train and across the train yard to where I was standing. I froze. They asked what I was doing. I couldn’t speak. It’s as if my mouth had been filled with entire contents of the Gobi desert. I coughed a bit and they grabbed me and threw me against the hood of my car. Zip ties placed around my wrists and a canvas hood strapped to my head. We walked for about 10 minutes and I hit the ground. I don’t know what happened, but I when I awoke I found I was in a cold room. Something like a walk in freezer. The hood was removed and I was blinded by a light shone directly in my face. As if the light wasn’t enough to block my view of the men, but our collective breaths fogged up the room so densely I couldn’t even see my own body in my chair. And that is the last thing I remember. Next thing I know I am waking up in my car, buckled up, and engine running. I looked at the clock and only 15 minutes had passed. I look out the window and the sign I saw was gone, as was the train. I could still hear the eerie clanging of the railroad crossing guard bells echoing through the city but the the train was nowhere to be found. Looking on my phone today I saw the picture I took is still there. Here is that picture.

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I don’t know what happened but I am grateful be alive. Thanks for stopping by.

love,
adn

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Hello all. This is Jasper. Jasper came to me during my first struggles with health and I would like to introduce him. For the first time since I was born I was going to be spending some time in the hospital overnight. I won’t lie, I was a little scared. All these emotions came over me and I didn’t know quite what to make of them.

When a friend of mine found out I was in the hospital there was no hesitation and she came to visit me. Her name is Katie Southwick. Not only did she come to show her love, concern, and support, she came with comfort. Almost as if she sensed a childlike fear. She brought me Jasper. I am not a stuffed animal collector or person really, but the thought was so touching. I named him after one of my favourite villains in one of my favourite Disney films (101 Dalmatians). I slept with Jasper every night in the hospital and he is still on my bed to this day. Thanks and love to her and her husband Brock. He was sent in with an arsenal of Disney VHS tapes so I could watch the Dalmatians.

The Southwicks are incredible people with beautiful kids. I wish them all the blessings and happiness they could ever ask for. Jasper does too 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

love,
adn

What a great and adventurous day I had yesterday with my friend Derek. It actually started on Wednesday morning at around 3 am. I was feeling a little nauseous and restless and just plain couldn’t sleep. The only thing that helps it seems is a drive with the windows down and some calm music or BBC radio. This time it was radio. I heard that there was serious flooding in Montana and some 26 counties were being evacuated. My first thought was to find out if Derek’s little girl Fifi and her mom were okay. I didn’t want to be hysterical and so I decided to wait until the light of day to ask. Before I could Derek asked if I would accompany him to pick up Fifi so her mom could deal with the flooding and what have you.

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So at 6:30 am we set out for Montana. We stopped at an Indian casino and I lost $2 of his money. But he won $6 so we ended up $2 positive! Pretty silly playing penny slots but it was fun nonetheless. The best part of our casino adventure is when Derek sent a text to his dad telling him we were “playing penny sluts” ! Damn you auto correct! Classic sitcom type humor.

This trip was so fun because it really showed me how our relationship hasn’t changed at all. Sure there were rocky times. I even locked him in a garage at one point because I suspected him of foul play. This was in high school so he probably doesn’t even remember this now. 🙂 On the drive up we talked about everything and even sang a few selections from Children of Eden and O Brother, Where Art Thou and one from The Full Monty. It was a blast.

Then we get to Lima, Montana. To be truthful I was a little nervous about this part. The last time I saw Fifi was November of 2010 which was also the first time. It wasn’t most pleasant because I am a scary looking fellow to young children. There were tears and I couldn’t do anything to assuage her fears. This time was totally different. I asked if she was excited to see uncle Dan and aunt Lorraine. She said “yeah” in just the cutest voice ever. It was then that I knew we could be buds. I love children. I have the greatest niece (pictured in yesterday’s entry) named Emma and we are thugs for life. Every time I get to see her and babysit we have a blast. So now Fifi and I were trying pretty hard to annoy Derek while Robin Hood was playing. We were tossing hair ties and a rubber ball was being thrown all over the car. We laughed a lot! As we reached Salt Lake county, Derek and I heard something that immediately derailed our conversation. Fifi was singing “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” and “Popcorn Popping” back to back. It wasn’t prompted but it was adorable. So Derek and I started singing it with her. We sang each a few times and then I was dropped off.

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How lucky Derek is to have a wonderful daughter and how lucky am I to have people like him and my brother that have these wonderful children. I don’t know if I will ever have children of my own, but I will always be there as the uncle and friend to these people. What a great day I had. Thank you Derek and Fifi and Emma (who I ended up babysitting that night also). adn truly loves you all. Thanks for stopping by.

love,
adn

I promise I won’t always ramble about my health on here. I don’t make any apologies, I just don’t want any readers to think this is me just looking for pity and sorrow on my condition. In the last update I said everything is going well. That is an understatement really. Things are amazing, but when you have a major medical condition, your life changes. My biggest change has come in the form of a cocktail of pills. I have a new ritual of taking pills twice a day. Morning dose consists of 11 pills and evening consists of 5 pills. They all do different things for different parts of my body, but they are unified in 4 ways.

1: They make me very sleepy. A couple of the medications are heart specific and tend to slow the heart down. As a result, I feel wasted all the time. I can nap basically anywhere because I feel so drained. Not my favourite side effect. A side effect of a slow heart is also body temperature. I am cold all the time. Kinda sucks, but it means I need to find a cuddle buddy.

2: Dizzy up the boy. When on this magical cocktail I have to stand up slowly and keep nourished throughout the day. I get lightheaded easily and it is not fun. Well, not always. Once I am up usually everything is ok, but if I stand up quick, I nearly pass out.

3: The third unifying factor is they are all helping me immensely. They are keeping my brain, heart, and kidneys in good shape.

4: Last and certainly not least of all is how great they make me feel comparatively. Without these medications this process wouldn’t be possible. I will take a cold body, sleepy disposition, and occasional dizziness to feel as great as I do.

Next update to come probably won’t have anything health related. I’ll start keeping those to when something changes or I have a doctor visit.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

love,
adn

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Here is the second part of my health story and update. After 2 visits with Dr. Miller he referred me to the Heart Failure Team at IMC. Ok, to be fully honest, he told me to do it after the first visit, but I have always been stubborn about “responsibilities” “health” and “doctors”. So I contact them and setup an appointment. At that visit they saw how bad the stomach fluid was and that it was actually trying to get out via the pores. So they decided they needed to admit me stat (stat means now) to get me on stronger doses of diuretics and add antibiotics to treat and beat an infection in my stomach. I went to the restroom while they were getting a room ready and something funny-ish happened. I fell. I fell head first into the damn wall and couldn’t get up for 10 minutes. I wanted to cry. I became helpless. I was one of the old women in the LifeAlert commercials. Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! I almost pulled on the dangling red emergency cord. I was honestly at the end of a rope.

I managed to pull myself up and go back to the exam room. I told the doctor this and they got very worried. When you are a heart patient everything seems to be taken much more seriously. I am glad that it was, but if you know me, you know I am a joker. A total smart ass. This came through all of my visits and eventually the staff has gotten used to it.

One of the things I hated about the first hospital visits was the blood draws. They always had such a hard time finding veins and the room was freezing cold. For best locating, you should warm the hands / arms so they will be more visible. I got poked probably 100 times. That was at the American Fork IMC. The people were all nice and helpful, but being stuck so much was awful. So at IMC in Murray, where the heart team is located, they decided to put in a PICC line.

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What a great idea! No hassles for “deposits” or “withdrawals” at all! It sounded painful but I loved it.

My first night nurse was one of the most caring an inspirational people I have ever met. She is my age and when she came in was shocked to see a heart patient her age. In this part of IMC it’s an entire building for lung and heart issues and my floor was all heart patients. She was pregnant and close to due date. On the 3rd or 4th day we talked about all the weight I was losing. She was very impressed and I love impressing pretty girls. So I was open and very talkative with her. She told me she used to be very heavy too because of poor diet and no physical activity. This portion of the discussion came up because I had her get me a small cup of Dr. Pepper (the drink…I don’t see a Dr. Pepper for my heart). She said that was one of her weaknesses and she was drinking many liters of it a day. We connected on so many levels. Like me, she got sick of feeling crappy all the time and she made changes. Lost the weight and ran a marathon! Now, I am not there yet, but I have registered with the American Heart Association and will be working to help in their next run / walk / jog / limp.

I have been blessed with great family, friends, health professionals, and modern medicine / technology.

As the days go on I will keep you all abreast of any developments with my heart failure and my life in general. Thanks for reading and stopping by.

love,
adn

So good to see you back. That wasn’t too long was it? Good. Glad you agree. On to the update.

As this is being written, I am not dying. There were about 4 months where I was certain death was coming. I lost my job in November of 2010. That was the first blow to me. I became so utterly depressed and felt so worthless I stopped caring about progress. I had told myself I would be dead by 25 which was fast approaching just midway through November. I convinced myself that it was the end. I was so damn persuasive that my heart started slowing down. This was a result of what my cardiologists (yes, plural) believe was a poor diet, lack of good nutrition, depression, and anxiety. Before I got fired I was making changes in my life to be healthier, but losing a job made me feel like it wasn’t worth it. I know you are thinking, “but it’s just a job!” and that’s very true. Even more true is I didn’t like the job very much anyway but never attempted to better my situation. So to be fired from a job you feel you were better than and at least good at was devastating.

As the months went by I got worse. I was still just seeing my family doctor and no diagnoses had come up yet. Pneumonia was ruled out and so were a few other minor things. Finally it was noticed I was retaining fluid in my lungs, stomach, and legs. Nearly 2 liters taken from lungs first round.

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An echocardiogram was ordered and it showed something scary. I was in the bath when my sister left work to come over an my older brother came over also. My sister knocks on the door and says, get dressed mom is coming to take you to the hospital.

The echocardiogram showed I was in total heart failure. My heart had an ejection fraction of 25%. Ejection fraction is the rate at which your heart pumps fluid through the body. My left ventricle was at 25% and normal is 55-70.

So begins my first stay in a hospital. I had 4 liters of fluid drained from my lungs alone. For the fluid elsewhere it was a much more…*fun* process. I was put on diuretics to encourage frequent urination to drain my body. After a few days I was discharged with a plethora of new medications. Here I am at 25 years old and taking all this medicine that people in their 60s and older take. Now, of course there are younger heart patients than 60, but I have still never met one. Not with what I have or not without a family history. My family history doesn’t include heart disease. It includes a large spectrum of psychological and emotional issues, but hearts were okay.

About 3 weeks after discharge I go see Dr. Stephen Miller at the Intermountain Heart Center. The man is absolutely wonderful and told me from day one he would do everything he could. Feeling confident he sends me and my dad to Intermountain Medical Center for a battery of tests. What was going to be just a quick check with a new doctor turned into a 10 hour day of EKGs, x rays, IVs, echocardiogram, and lots of blood withdrawals. Cherry on top was a pee test. Results come back normal for everything except one. The echocardiogram.

My first thought was that the hospital stay had increased my ejection fraction. Not true. I was now down to 10%. Dr. Miller believes it could have been at 10 the whole time, just the first reading was wrong.

So I have spent months basically bed ridden and sick as a dog. Couldn’t eat, walk, or sleep. Cut to today.

I am up to 25% and my cardiologists couldn’t be happier. They feel I am on the road to a successful recovery as long as I keep making positive changes. Things like more physical activity, low sodium diet, and meds. I have nearly lost 100 pounds since diagnosis and I feel amazing.

Next time I will tell you about my second hospital stay and the awesome staff I deal with at IMC. For now, I will turn on some Slowdive and try and sleep.

Thanks for stopping by. Please email me at anytime if you want to chat. adnrcddly [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com

love,
adn

So I have been using Tumblr and Blogger for awhile and I felt I wanted a change. Blogger has no iOS app and Tumblr just seems more one sided. The authors side only. In my new outlook I want feedback that not only I can see, but others can too. So welcome.