Friday, November 30, 2012

Post Ablation Recovery Days Turn Into Weeks

Three weeks and a day ago, I was knocked out cold for five hours while two cardiologists found and 'burned' those places in my heart that went on tangents of irregular beats. Now, for three to six months, we'll all watch and wait as my heart rebuilds. Is that the right word for what my heart is doing, post ablation?
So, what's gone on during these first three weeks of recovery?
First of all, my typical schedule has been laid low. With little or no energy, I find myself going back to bed in the middle of the day. Not to sleep, necessarily. Often I simply succumb to a heavy head and aching body. Why does everything ache? Is it the new blood thinner? The effects of coming off anesthesia?
I am cancelling and foregoing luncheons, lectures, movies, meetings. I put off making phone calls for days. When I do talk with someone, I say I'll see them in January. This is not to say that I am not reading several books, preparing food, scanning the NYT and sitting with my lap top - writing this post, for instance. I also spend time looking out my diningroom windows at the garden. The golden light of autumn is captivating.
Days ago I posted my condition on Facebook and received nearly 50 comments with instructions to 'take it easy.' I am doing just that, because my body tells me I have no choice in the matter.
Three days after the procedure, there was a scheduled book reading/signing at Blue Willow for "Coping With Transition, Men Motherhood, Money and Magic."  I cancelled because I had no energy to pull off my part of the reading.  I asked Leslie to read for me.
Five days after the procedure, I participated in a two hour tele-conference for an American Leadership Forum committee and even from my bed, I found myself tired after staying focused for that long.
Six days after the ablation, I saw my cardiologist, Anne Dougherty, who declared that I am doing fine and she'd see me again in a month. Feeling comforted by her evaluation, I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home. I over did it and went straight back to bed again.
Seven days after my hospital stay, Mary B and Queta arrived from Portland, OR for a week's visit. I picked them up at the airport and we stopped at John's for an extra car. Queta was lusting for fresh oysters, so we found ourselves at Goode Company Seafood.  Just as our food arrived, I asked for a take-home container and left for home. The noise level of the place was almost messing with my heart.
Ten days after the procedure, I missed the opening of Mother Dog Studio's Art Crawl exhibition in which I have three collages.
Two weeks after the procedure, I had a management district board meeting, but left before it ended.
Two days ago, I called my friend Sally to say that I'd forego her invitation to the UH Women's Studies brown bag lunch and talk with the MFA's Anne Tucker.  Sally called later to say it was fabulous. I hate missing stuff like this.
I guess I will characterize these last three weeks as filled with abrupt leave-takings and much cancelling of activities.  For me, this is totally foreign behavior.
What I did manage to do is enjoy Mary and Queta's visit. Lots of conversations all together on my bed. Lots of food preparation. They are vigilant about gluten and nightshade and the food they are making these days is sublime.
All three of us prepared dinner for Houston family. First time that Robbie has been to Rockbridge. He'd been forewarned about the multitudinous number of vegetable dishes we serve. I ordered a deep dark chocolate cake from Rosie at La Victoria Bakery and it nearly did us in. No sleeping after this cake. More potent than coffee. Mary made healthy pumpkin brownies and I have to say, they rivalled Rosie's cake.
Mary and Queta and I had lunch at Vietopia with the friends who drove all the way to Marfa in 2005 for my 'la folie' exhibition. Lots of catching up with terrific women.
The day after Vietopia, we walked around the block to Sally's house for a family supper with all three of her kids. James and his new wife Ha Na flew into Houston for Thanksgiving. Lovely to meet Ha Na and see the Hughes/Lehr/Salazar clan.
On Thanksgiving morning, we walked back to Sally's house to see seventy flamingos stretched across the front lawn. Sally was totally surprised and amused by this birthday gift from her kids. Why do we call our children 'kids' when they are all well into their 30s and 40s? Caroline, Jeanne and Mary will always be my 'girls.'
Later on Thanksgiving, Mary, Queta, ES and I went to John and Trish's for a long and lovely afternoon with 20 extended family and friends.
I ate everything. Intentionally forgot that there are such things as gluten, dairy and corn. Managed to full and eat two plates of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and even that standard green bean casserole. Then I ate pecan and key lime pie.
This week, I did little or nothing on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday, I was reading three books and began work on a Blurb picture book. Finished the Blurb book late this afternoon and ordered six for holiday gifts.
Then mid-evening on impulse, I pulled everything out of the buffet. Stuff included dozens of candlesticks, some of which were gifts from the 1970s. Forty years of candlesticks. Shall I purge a few of them? Probably not. I'll keep them out on the floor for a day or two, show ES and then build a tableau for a holiday festival of lights.
Looking at my calendar, I see that next week is busy. There is an event or two every day, including a retirement party for a management district friend, the annual holiday supper for Transition Network friends, an annual ophthalmologist appointment and a visit to my acupuncturist.  Might it be subversive fun to cancel ever more engagements? Or will I rally?

I think I'll take to my bed again. After all, it's noon and I woke up at 5:30 a.m. Maybe after bed rest, I'll tackle the writing of Part II of my hospital ablation experience. There is more to tell.

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