Sunday, March 10, 2013

Shirley and Me

It's Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. and I've just found a pocket of energy.  Enough to shower and get dressed for this beautiful day that began with a short heavy rain and now, in late afternoon is all blue skies. Of late, my mornings are saturated with malaise. Because of too many drugs? Or because mornings are always shaky when atrial fib seems to lurk in each heartbeat.
For the record, I have a long history of morning shakiness. I can't be a member of breakfast clubs. They are scheduled far too early for the energy I'd expend on alert facial expressions and conversation. The seven years that I ran the management district, work hours were 8:30 - 5:30 and that was a personal stretch. My successors changed working hours to the more traditional 8-5. 
As a kid, I rarely wanted to eat breakfast - too much, too soon. About all I can do for the first hour after getting out of bed are chores that require no thought, like emptying a dishwasher, clipping a few errant weeds or eyeing a paper pile or two.
On this fine Sunday, I wanted to spend hours in the studio, pulling together collages with the new Terlingua photos. I never got there and this bothers me.  I prepared breakfast for ES and me, read the Sunday NYT and fell back into bed. At lunchtime, I chopped some cabbage, added sliced sausage and made a stir fry for lunch. 
Then, with great effort, I updated my on-going log of sleep hours, blood pressure readings, medications and random comments in preparation for Monday's two doc appointments. From this swamp of information, I hope my primary care doctor and my cardiologist can tell me if I am over medicated or if I could be taking medications at more opportune times of day, or if I am engaging in far too much (even though I am cancelling activities left and right), or if I should temporarily eliminate newspapers and on-line political discourse from my life.
Most of all, I want to know if November 8's ablation procedure is going to hold. And just exactly what more can I do to make the procedure a success.
I've counted six afib episodes since December. Four of them occurred in the last week. My cardiologist who is usually quite attentive, did not return last week's multitude of calls.  I am blaming this on UT's cardiology department's new gatekeeper phone system. One can no longer leave messages on a nurse's line. I wonder how much information actually gets through to the nurse and never mind, an abbreviated translation to the doctor. Especially when the gatekeeper asks for your birth date twice and then follows with "And what is your call in reference to?" or "Why do you want to speak to the nurse?" No wonder,  my cardiologist did not call be back last week - even though I called five times. 
As I updated my log, I found myself thinking about my grandmother, Shirley May Keyes Thompson. She had numerous 'health issues' and was on the phone with her doctors constantly, and when not on the phone, she was in their offices, and then of course, off to the pharmacy for heavy drugs. She went to specialists, including the Mayo clinic.
I suspect that her digestive problems were food/gluten related and her back problems needed a good osteopath, her insomnia was a mystery and her bouts of depression (which run in the family) were sparked by the loss of her dreams and the realities of daily life. I loved my grandmother dearly and eagerly followed along with her enthusiasms and passions. There was no subject in which she was not interested or for which she did not have an opinion. There were few interesting passages from her favorite books that she did not type out on her portable Royal typewriter to mail to me or my parents or anyone she thought might be interested. 
I think she never got good answers for her health problems and I suspect the doctors tired of her calls for advice and refills. 
May my doctors listen well tomorrow and then tell me what's going on. I hate beginning my days in the mid-afternoon.

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