Monday, February 21, 2011

And So We Continue Our Story...

Previously on I Stalk Knitters:

Graduating from school! (yay!)  Job market sucks! (boo!) Panic attacks and anxiety! (boo!) Still head over heels in love with a Canadian! (yay!)

This brings us up to speed into October of 2010. At the beginning of October, little brother Frankenstein (who is 19 now and so not little) said that what he really wanted for his birthday was for me to visit. How do you refuse that??  So I talked to my folks and borrowed my dad's car to head to Austin for a few days and visit. On the 13th of October I thought I was coming down with something because I was having a really hard time breathing. Not constantly, just sudden attacks like I had asthma, which I do not. I, being me, ignored them because that's what I do! Plus I was so not letting my little brother down and I hadn't seen everyone in over a year, dammit. So off I go to Austin to see my other, non-birth, family. It was a fun week with all the singing and messing about, but I had to sleep sitting up the entire week. Walking outside would send me into some sort of holy-shit-I-can't-breathe thing but other than the breathing? I felt fine! No fever, no sluggishness, no weakness. It was so weird.

So after the birthday festivities and such, I head home on October 20th. The next evening, I get out of my desk chair, where I had been leaned back and trying to sleep, and go into my dad's office because, once again, I can't breathe. I just went in to have someone to bitch to. He decided I needed to go the emergency room and ignored my wheezy protests. In I go and immediately back to a room I go and they hook me up to all kinds of fun machines and pump me full of all kinds of fun drugs and make me have to pee every 15 seconds and the bathroom is down the hall. These people are sadists. On one trip back from the bathroom the doctor follows me in with my diagnosis.

Dr.: You have CHF.

Me: No, I don't.

Dr.: That means you have Congestive Heart Failure.

Me: I KNOW what CHF is. I just don't have it.

Dr.: I'm afraid you do.

Me:  I'm afraid you suck donkey nuts. Huge ones.

I immediately look at my dad and say to him, "Go home. Go in my room. Find every carton of cigarettes, my cigarette case, every lighter and my ashtray and get them out of my room. I'm done. I quit. No more smoking for me." I was instantly terrified.  For those of you unfamiliar with CHF, it basically means that my blood pressure was so out of control and that my body was retaining so much fluid that my heart and lungs were surrounded and weren't functioning properly. Yeah, I was trying to die on accident. Wait, I failed suicide and now I'm gonna ACCIDENTALLY die?  Fuck that noise. No thank you. I still have shit to do. I spent 3 days in the hospital that were a blur to me. Basically I had deprived my brain of decent oxygen for long enough that I had mild dementia for a week or so. Then, because I was stupid enough to say yes to having a Foley catheter put in, I had a sever kidney infection for a week or so. Stupid hospitals. Stupid infections.

So now I am a heart patient. That hasn't worked or had insurance since T and I got laid off in March of 2007.  Well.....fuckerpants. There have been some good things come of this. No, really! I promise! I have a plan. I have things I still wanna do, dammit. I still wanna go back to school. I still wanna import my very own Canadian and make an honest man of him. I'm not done yet, dammit.  Yeah, I have my days where I am really down.  I also have my days where I am determined. Today is a determined day, obviously. In the 3 days I was in the hospital I dropped 25 lbs. All water weight and I had NO idea I was that bad.  My body looks WEIRD to me but I am working on losing more. Slowly, but working.  I am cooking and eating healthier and it pisses my dad off. He LIKES his junky food and has been sneaking fast food when he goes out. He doesn't think we know. He's not really that sneaky for a private investigator. Did I mention that after I moved in he had a series of 7 (SEVEN) heart attacks? Yeah. I've been under a smidge bit of stress here.

I've also been working on getting my SSI disabilty because I'm in no physical shape to work right now and who is going to hire a very recent CHF patient? I'm a walking liability right now. I've also been working on getting the Harris County Hospital District discount card, called a Gold Card. It's basically a form of insurance for low income/no income individuals and family.  Thank the gods my family lives in Harris County. I've also been going to a free clinic here in Katy and they have been wonderful. They can't treat my CHF, but I am at least back on all my meds and my numbers are looking good. My folks are still buying my meds though and I'm slowly draining them dry between my meds and needing a specialty diet. Cooking with diabetes AND staying heart healthy isn't cheap because this country fails.

I haven't had a cigarette since October 21st. I've only craved one MAYBE 3 times since then and all I have to do is remember the terror I felt upon my diagnosis. Most days I simply forget I ever smoked and people, I was smoking 2 freaking packs a day up to that point. So praise God for huge miracles. If you've ever smoked, you'll understand that.

I called Cory the first day I was in the hospital so he wouldn't panic:

He answers the phone and I say, "Hey, sweetie."

Cory: Where are you? Are you ok?

Me: I'm in the hospital. They admitted me last night.

Cory: So what's the diagnosis? What did they say was causing the breathing issues??

Me: It's bad sweetie.  (I start crying)

Cory: You're scaring me. Really scaring me, just tell me what the doctor said, please.

Me:  I have Congestive Heart Failure. They said I was minutes away from a heart attack or stroke.

Cory: So that means meds, rehabilitation, therapy, better eating and exercise. right?

Me: Yeah, I guess so.

Cory. Okay. That's not bad.

Me: Excuse me??

Cory: You're alive, love. So long as you stay with me we can get through anything.

So then I cried harder. I honestly expected him to bail. Think about it! Perfect opportunity to say, "Oh hell no I don't need this shit." and just walk. He's in Canada, I'm way down here. I have a crap ton of health issues and can't find a job. And he's still with me. No ignoring the fact that he truly loves me. He even apologized for not being able to be here with me. I am SO keeping him.

Now on to the latest thing. With my disability stuff, Social Security sent me for evaluations to 2 of their doctors. The first one was for depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I managed to actually have a panic attack while sitting in their waiting room. I panicked and fled to the bathroom. Fun times. The other was for the CHF, back issues and vertigo I seem to have developed since then and that included an x-ray. A week or so after that one I got a "courtesy call" from their office about my x-ray.

Nurse: I'm calling as a legal courtesy to inform you of your x-ray results. A 1.3 cm nodule was found on your lung and we recommend you find a pulmonologist, have a CT scan taken asap. They will determine if a biopsy is necessary from that CT scan and you should have a follow-up scan every 6 months for at least the next 2 years.

Translation: I'm calling because I legally HAVE to tell you that you may have lung cancer and should have that looked into. Kthx bye.

Apparently my life has not been interesting enough. I REALLY need that disability and discount card to come through now.  Dear God, I know you don't give us more than we are able to handle, but dammit, maybe you have me confused with someone else?

So, how you guys been?


Cookie said...

Holy Crap!

Thank goodness your dad made you go to the ER! What did the CT say? o.O


ps... the blog is much easier to read now. Thanks, love!

twelvedaysold said...

Well, I want to say how proud I am of you for not smoking in so long. That is a huge accomplishment! And oh my GOSH, the diet thing? Forget about it.

My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in November, and I can honestly say it was a change for the better. We are more active and we've been eating better (side note, we're actually trying out a vegan diet -- starting today! -- to see if that goes good places).

Thanks for getting us up to date. I know I'm not the only stalker to Stalker Angie that's been wondering about you!

Bullwinkle said...

another stalker to stalker Angie

Holy Crap! You win! I'm not sure what but you win!

Sweetie, take care of yourself. (It is great to hear from you but, uhm, seriously - maybe try a wig or dye your hair.)

KnitKicky said...

hey, wow. Just wow. Take care of yourself; proud of you for quitting the smoking and eating better. Hope it pays off BIG TIME you deserve some very good things in your life soon.

janna said...

Holy crap, sweetie! This just sucks, but good for you for quitting smoking cold turkey and eating better. But you're a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the health care system in this country. You're lucky that you have your family to help out, but no one should have to go broke to keep their health (or the health of a loved one).