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Beginning to Climb Again

February 25th, 2009

In our quest to return to normal life, last week was a plateau, but this week, we are beginning to climb again. Yesterday, Don had his nephrostomy tubes changed out for fresh ones. Apparently one can live with tubes in one’s body for years, but one has to have them refreshed at intervals lest they grow in place. I could have lived a long and happy life without knowing that fact.

The procedure went very very well. We showed up at the hospital at 8:00 am, got checked in right away, and walked ourselves up to radiology, where we got to check in yet again. His appointment was at 10 a.m. (which begs the question of why we had to check in at 8), but we only had to wait a few minutes before they called us in. I got to sit with him while the wonderful duo of nurses, Mike and Lynn went over their checklist (meds, allergies) and took his vitals. He was wheeled in to surgery a little before 9:30.

I went to the cafeteria and had some breakfast. I had been assured by every medical professional involved that this was an easy and routine procedure, and I wasn’t obsessive or particularly nervous about it. Yet while I was trying to eat, my body went into that strange panic mode that I wrote about in this column a couple of weeks ago. My heart was beating fast, I was overheated, and had trouble swallowing. I assume that it was the situation – hospital, waiting, operation – and I was reacting like Pavlov’s dogs.

Fifteen minutes after I returned to the waiting room, they wheeled Don out. He was wide awake. They didn’t even have to put him to sleep, but just used a local anesthetic and a little something to make him happy. Nurse Mike told me that the old tubes slipped out very easily and the new ones slipped in just as easily. Don only had to stay in recovery for half an hour. We were out of there by 11:00! He had to wheelchair down to the door, of course, but he walked to the car on his own. He was starving, so I stopped by a pizza by the slice place and got him two slices to bring home. He wolfed them down.

One interesting thing – the recovery nurse hooked him up to the heart monitor and told us that his pacemaker was actually pacing. Apparently his heart rate dropped down below the pacing threshold while he was in surgery. She said that when his rate got up above 60, the pacemaker would turn off. So the little thing is doing what it’s supposed to. It made me wonder if the powers that be shut down his kidneys to get him into the hospital and have his heart seen to before he had a heart attack. If so, job well done. Now they can get rid of the stones any time, please. His next lithotripsy attempt is March 6.

Now to something more pleasant and writerly. I was able to talk at the Afternoon of Mystery at Tempe Public Library on the 18th, and I loved it. I was also able to snag Kim Garza, Collection Management Librarian and mystery expert extraordinaire, to do a guest blog for us over on the Type M 4 Murder (www.typem4murder.blogspot.com) site on March 8. And speaking of guest blogs, I did an article on my series, and The Sky Took Him in particular, which came up on Tuesday, Feb 24, at www.popsyndicate.com/books. I’ve been doing a number of guest blogs lately, since I can’t travel far, and it’s interesting (and problematic) to try and come up with something different for every one.

And most fun of all, I had a one-on-one lesson on my iMac this morning, and the trainer showed me how to fix the 2-minute movie clip that I tried to upload into my Gallery before the Current Unpleasantness. I warn you, Dear Reader, that I will not be invited to show it at Sundance, but it’s rather fun in it’s unsophisticated way. I invite you to click on “Gallery” (up top), and then “My Movie”. For those of you who are about as computer-literate as I am, click on the little arrow under the picture, and, lo, you will see movement! You may adjust the sound with the microphone icon to the left of the arrow.

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