Monday, April 22, 2013

Seattle Days Complicated By Drugs

What a complicated trip to Seattle this time. Complicated for reasons that appear to be health related. I continue to be post-atrial fib procedure recovery mode. Did I expect such on-going low energy levels post procedure? No, I didn't foresee that all the meds that keep my heart rate steady, thin my blood and conquer blood pressure would sap my energy and delete my daily upbeat enthusiasms. I am most often in a semi-drugged state. I wait for those hours when the fog temporarily lifts and I can think creatively, write - not often - and empty the dishwasher. Most often, I undertake daily activities on sheer will or I opt to I fall back into bed. Some days when the irregular heart beat arrives as a literally stunning side effect, I can't even read a book, a magazine. Maybe I can spend time on Facebook. Mostly, I simply wait, unable to focus on anything at all.
On this trip I brought along a blood pressure measuring device that hooks up to my iPhone. Blood pressure has been a bit high since the procedure. However, the day I arrived in Seattle, blood pressure readings went way UP.  I consulted with Houston and my dose of Lisinopril was tripled, yet blood pressure remained well over 150/78 every single day. Not good. Was high blood pressure simply the Seattle routine or some new high unexplained plateau? Did the higher readings stem from my usual round of daily family visits, the loud exclamations of sweet grandchildren, the loneliness of my 96 year old dad, the daily sharing of family news and business and always, the daily driving from home to home? (I now wonder if my blood pressure might have been off the charts during Christmas holidays also and I wasn't aware of it because there were no measurements.)
When the new triple dose of Lisinopril didn't change things - except to make me more tired, short of breath and prone to some irregular heartbeats - all side effects, if you read the fine print - my doctor in Houston added yet another medication. I've taken it for two days and blood pressure numbers are coming down. I believe, however, that there are two variables here - the newest medication and the fact that I've returned home. Which is the more effective? We won't know.
Then, there's a third issue that complicates Seattle trips. Last summer we sold Mom and Dad's house in Magnolia as they'd not lived there since August 2007. It was time. However, after the bustle of each day, I loved spending the nights in that still and empty house. I'd open that door to silence, a decent bed and a stove on which to cook combinations of veggies and meat that didn't involve gluten or dairy.
It's different now. I sleep in Jeanne's small and comfortable guest bedroom and Kelan and Lauren are instructed not to open the door if it's closed. At Caroline's, I sleep on a padded cot in the basement playroom where it is reasonably quiet and I don't share a bathroom. Perhaps by staying at Caroline and Jeanne's houses, I have 'more.'  I see more of my daughters, have opportunities for more conversations and more unscheduled time with my grand kids.
Perhaps when I am not taking so many meds with debilitating effects on my energy levels, we will all find a new normal and Seattle days won't be quite so complicated.

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