Saturday, 27 August 2011

To Cry or Not to Cry

Why is it that I can cry when I see other people in pain? Yet, I cannot shed a tear when I am in pain? 

Just finished watching Jack Layton's funeral on TV.  Tears of sadness, of loss, of even humor, ran down my face.  It was so very touching.  I have voted NDP for such a long time.  It was such a thrill to see the NDP as the official opposition at last.  Maybe they had a chance at the next election.  Oh there are a few things that I do not necessarily agree with in their policies, but overall, they come so close to my ideals.  If not for the NDP, we would not have had medicare.  They do care for those who have no voice.

I was first touched by Jack when I saw Canada's 'apology to the First Nations' for the wrong that was done to them in the past.  I saw all parties offer their apology.  Somehow Jack touched me the most - he seemed to be saying what he was saying from his heart - not from a script.  That was when I first realized what a truly great person he was.  I will always remember that particular moment.

Seeing how brave his wife Olivia was reminded me of myself (not that I am comparing myself to her in any way shape or form - I am not as great a person as she is).  But her stoic composure, her being the 'rock' of the family, did remind me of me (bad grammar here but who cares).

So I sat and listened and watched and I cried. 

Yet, when I feel pain (be it the loss of some of my siblings), be it the insults and non-caring atttitudes of other family members, I cannot cry.  I know this is due to the fact that I had to learn to be brave for my son - I cried so hard the last time he was hospitalized that somehow tears ran out.  Yet I know they are there - I can cry for the pain of others. 

Yesterday, I went golfing.  I felt a deep sadness.  I am not sure exactly why.  I asked my husband afterwards how he had enjoyed his game of golf.  He said he had not really enjoyed it - there was just something different about it yesterday.  I am not sure why. (There is a reason I am mentioning this now, but it is rather private).

When I got home from golfing, my son had taken a message from the hospital.  I had went for my regular INR blood work on Thursday.  They phoned and my son had written down that I was not to take one pill of warfarin once and to go for tests in 2 weeks.  He did not know more.  I could not reach the number that had called as it was now the weekend.  I am taking 2 pills (of different strengths) of warfarin - so was not sure what the message was.  So I called the doctor on call and went to see her.  My INR was 3.4 (it should be between 2 and 3 (too high may mean internal bleeding).  She advised me which strength to stop - not just for one day but until I get the results of my next INR test - which she advised I get done next Wednesday - not wait 2 weeks.  She said stopping one pill one day would do  no good.  So I stopped taking one of the pills this morning.  I hope perhaps the urologist who is doing the cystoscopy on Tuesday might shed more light - at least HE is doing the procedure and he will know the results right away.  I have gotten no results of any of my last tests (I know - no news is good news).  I am likely concerned over nothing and will feel foolish - but happy :o)

In the meantime - I will make an appt (in September) with a therapist - psychologist - because I know that I have too many feelings bottled within me.  And sometimes I do feel alone.

Monday, 22 August 2011


I hope only my friends read my blog and not the majority of my family.  They tend to put me down - when I am feeling down - for whatever strange reason. 

I had posted a question on my FB page asking my friends if they would accept an invitation to an event if they received the invitation second hand.  Well, the backlash I received over that from my brother (who was hosting the event).  He even went so far as to say I needed to talk to someone - a therapist (I think the word psychiatrist was even mentioned).  That families should not have to invite people to events (well duh... yeah in my family they do).  For whatever reason, I do not like to just drop in unannounced or to accept an invite 2nd hand.  Just wanted to post to see what my friends thought.  Did not think my brother would think I was 'crazy' (he did not use that term).  When I told him that I was under stress (re my medical condition), he told me that one thing that had served him well in all his years with AA was the saying 'fake it till you make it'.  Some words of support to me - I guess - in his opinion.

Sure I was hurt.  So I sent him an email because I was starting to think that maybe I did need to talk to a psychologist (a psychiatrist just prescribes meds - talk therapy is through a psychologist).  So I asked him if he really thought I needed to talk to a 'therapist' - that I understood mental illness enough to know that if one has a chemical imbalance, one does not necessarily know one has a problem (altho my husband told me I was OK).  Well, my brother called me again and told me he could not tell me whether I should see a psychiatrist, only a psychiatrist could tell me that.  Now, don't get me wrong, but if I need to see a psychiatrist, would I go see one so the psychiatrist could tell me whether or not I needed to see one?  It is like putting the cart before the horse.  I am willing to listen to peoples suggestions and take them under consideration, but this did not quite make sense of me.

So now I am totally afraid of what I post on my Facebook page - thinking that my family (or most of them) will take them the wrong way.  Yeah I am under some stress - I just wish my family would encourage me rather than kick me when I am down.  Sure, I may not act or say what they want to hear.  Sure, I want to delete them from my Facebook, but I know there will be backlash if I do that. 

Maybe I will talk to a psychologist - we used to see one as a family when my son was doing drugs and when he first got ill.  It helped.  I once had a major disagreement with one of my sisters at that time.  The psychologist advised me to talk to her and let her know the way I felt - it was her criticizing the things I told my other sister who was in the hospital with brain cancer.  She would nudge me with her elbow and then privately tell me I should not be 'joking' about things with her.  Well, I am who I am and I truly did not think that what I was saying was offensive or disturbing - what I was saying was not about her illness - it was saying a funny joke or a funny story.  Well the psychologist told me to tell my sister that.  So I got up the courage one day when we were leaving the hospital to let her know I did not mean anything by the things I told my other sister (she had poked me with her elbow earlier) - I told her I was who I was and that Julie (my sister with brain cancer) knew this (we had worked together for over 20 years and she knew me well).  Well my sister did not like the fact that I had talked to a psychologist about her, went to jump out of the car - I told her to NOT do that - that I would drive her straight home.  She was very upset at me for a long time - because I had discussed my feelings with a psychologist. 

So do I go talk to a psychologist about the way I feel now about how my family are treating me?  Would that insult them?  Do they just want me to be a carbon copy of them?  I am who I am. 

Anyway - it might be worth the time to go talk to a psychologist and let get her opinion and make sure I am thinking straight.  At least here I can be who I am. 

Other news is that I go for my CT Scan on Sept. 21st.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A New Day - A New Doctor - More Tests

Saw the urologist this morning.  I had passed a kidney stone a few weeks ago and had had problems with blood in uring and doctor had made an appointment with a urologist. 

He does not mix words.  Said it might not have been the warfarin nor the anti-biotics that had caused my bleeding - that there was a slight chance that it was, but usually blood in the urine is a sign of something being wrrong. 

So, on August 31st, I will be having a cystroscopy done and will wait to be notified for a CT Scan of Kidneys (using iodine thru IV).  Fun.  Am not nervous, becaue I truly believe there is nothing wrong in that department (with my kidneys, bladder or the pipes leading to them).  But I guess, like he said, better to be safe than sorry. 

Seems like my body is breaking down.  But I refuse to bellieve that.  I prefer to believe that I will have all these tests done and be told that all is working fine and that I will live to be a ripe old age, in fine health in mind and body.

It does make me think about my life though and the years gone by - what would I have done differently?  Oh a whole bunch of things.  As a matter of fact, most things.  Do I have regrets? Yup.  A lot?  Yup.  My greatest accomplishment?  My son of course.  He is the reason I was put on this earth.  I thank heavens for him.  The rest of my life?  Sooooooo many things I would do differently.  As a matter of fact, I think I would have done everything differently.  My life as I now know it would not be what it is.  Sounds awful eh?  Not really.  I know there were reasons I made certain choices and I live with those choices every day.  And I accept the decisions I made, and I am OK with them. 

There are many 'what ifs' in my life.  But I do not dwell on them (except while writing this post).  Tomorrow I will accept what is, and enjoy life to the best of my ability.  And appreciate all that I have.  But just for today, when I think 'what things are you thankful for?' the only answer I have is my son.  It is my truth at the moment, my reality. 

I do know that tomorrow I will have a different outlook and I look forward to tomorrow.  For tonight, it is OK to feel the way I do.  I won't apologize for being who I am.  (I think I have that saying on my facebook page - that 'never apologize for who you are, it is like apologizing for being real'.  I am real at this moment in time and my feelings are open.  People will read this (or maybe not) - but my thoughts are here.  If only for me to read.  And I accept myself. 

Maybe it is time to rent that red Mazda Miata convertible.......  :o) :o) :o) :)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A-Fib ..... Continued

Went to Halifax for Cardiac MRI.  Was very nervous beforehand.  I - who am usually calm.... I hardly recognized myself.  I kept thinking of the entire body enclosed MRI machine.  But a friend of mine had told me that sometimes they let people listen to a music CD - so I had brought my 30 song 1960s music CD and hoped for the best.

We left around 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Halifax at around 12:30.  We found where the hospital (Halifax Infirmary) was (Robie Street).  We had passed by a Mazda Dealership on the way in (on Robie Street), so we decided to pass the time away looking at Mazdas (we are on the look-out for a new car to replace one of our old ones).  When there, I saw my 'dream' car - Mazda Miata convertible and red to boot :o)  This has always been a dream of mine - to own a Mazda Miata.  Think it comes from the days before I got married when I drove a red Firebird.  Then I got married and we sold it and bought a VW .... go figure.  Oh well lol.

In any case, the salesman saw my looking at the Miata longingly and asked me if I was interested?  Well duh - yes - practical? No.  But he said he could get a key and I could sit in it - well Hallaluah!!  I sat in this sporty car and it felt absolutely wonderful.  I had the guy open the trunk and saw it not bit enough for a couple of sets of golf clubs - I kinda knew ti wouldn't, but hey - the price was right and I had even looked up the Miata in the Lemon Aid Car Guide (which I always buy before we buy a new car).  The Miata was rated 'Recommended' and 'the best sports car available' - I looked at the price - if my memory served me right, this was a great deal.  (By the way, I looked it up in the Lemon Aid car guide book when I got home - it was indeed a great buy).  But back to the dealership experience.  I got out of the Miata, knowing those days were over - I was after all not a teenager or in my early 20s and sport cars were a thing of my past.  And one cannot relive our past, right?  So I touched it one last time and made my way to the Mazda 3s and 5s - nothing too exciting there.  We kinda knew what kind of cars they were anyway - because we had rented one for 10 days when we were in Ottawa at the end of June - beginning of July.

As we left the dealership, I took one last look at my 'dream' car.  Oh well, at least I had sat in one - something I had not thought would ever happen.

We made our way to the Halifax Infirmary - parked in this huge parking garage - ended up on the top of the parking building, took the elevator to the 3rd floor of the Infirmary and I registered.  They could not find my cardiologist's name in their computer, but had my family doctor's name - altho I told them that my cardiologist had been the one who had referred me.  They said they would the results to my family doc and he could send it along to the cardiologist.  All I thought was 'sheesh - Bourgeois is not an uncommon name - then realized I was not in Moncton - so Harper was more common - she even said 'oh like the last name of the Prime Minister' - well hello? Now I have no faith in my family doctor since he just may be related to our PM.  Oh well.

Made my way to the MRI section where I changed and filled out a questionnaire.  Just as I finished the questionnaire, the technician came out, got me to go into this other room where an IV was put in my arm - I asked her why? She said 'oh just in case they decide to use a contrast material (not iodine based).' Well what the heck - I had been on IVs before - for A-Fib and when I had went for the CT Scan of my kidneys when I had had a kidney stone 2 weeks ago.  Not a big deal.  Needles do not scare me.  I get blood work done every month for my INR (how thin my blood is where I am on warfarin).

I asked the technician tentatively if I could have a music CD played.  She said 'yes'.  Well, I smiled and smiled.  Told her 'thank you' over and over.  Since I had had a kidney angioplasty operation (awake) 2 years ago and had used that same CD and it had relaxed me then, I figured this would be great - better music sedation than chemical sedation :o) 

We went into the room and she showed me the machine - it was indeed a full body enclosure.  My one thought was 'am I ever glad we have made our funeral arrangements and decided to be cremated - cause I would want to be in a closed place - especially without any music  being played.' Silly thought, but one thinks silly thoughts when faced with a huge machine.  I would lay on the small table and it would raise and would then slide inside.  I was given a ball (felt like a black horn that one sometimes sees at ball games or at the end of an old fashioned bike).  I could squeeze that and they would know I wanted to say something - as the machine would be loud and they might not hear me.  Oh great I thought. 

They hooked me up to an ECG, put this heavy ghastly thing on my chest (not that uncomfortable really) and then put on my headphones - told me they would start my music CD after I was in the machine.  I just hoped that their music machine would work. 

They had told me the test would take approximately 45-50 minutes.  Not bad, I thought, since I had 30 songs and figured I had about an hour and a half of music.  I closed my eyes as I was electronically slid into the machine (a bit of a tight squeeze I must admit.  Makes me realize I really do have to lose a few pounds - but warfarin does put the pounds on and no matter what you eat or don't eat, those pounds do not seem to disappear).  Oh well, take a deep breath...

Well, talk about taking deep breaths.  Yes, I heard my music and also a lot of 'take a deep breath, release your breath, hold your breath' - then bang, bang, bang (counted 9 bangs while holding my breath) - but the banging was not loud as I had headphones on plus in-between the deep breaths - I could hear my music.  With my eyes closed, I imagined myself cruising down the highway in a red mazda miata with the top down - the wind blowing my long hair (hey, I know I have short hair, but this is my fantasy and my 'happy place' and I can be who I want to be and be where I want to be and go where I want to go).  I was 18 again, long flowing hair, thin body in a bikini - driving down the road from the beach (truth be told, this happened when I was many years ago). 

They did many many 'deep breaths,etc.'  - also they took 'pictures' - felt the warmth on my chest as they did that.  Then a little of time to relax.  They slid me out of the tube to put the dye in the IV - told me there would only be another 10 minutes or so left and then it would be finished.  Took another few deep breaths as per instructions (altho this time, ended up counting the bangs (they were now closer together - I could count the banks (16 of them) while holding my breath.

Then they slid me out.  The strange part about this was that my CD had played all its songs and was 1/3 of the way through it again - I knew this, because I recognized the song as I was being pulled out of the machine - it was a song by the Carpenters called 'We've Only Just Begun' - I kind of found that ironic and told the technician that.  She smiled.  She then told me that the MRI had lasted 2 hours.  I said 'huh?' - you told me it would be 45-50 minutes.  I thought to myself 'sly technician......'.  But then she said that the radiologist had looked at the pictures and decided he wanted more so they had to repeat them to ensure they were correct. 

I was relieved to get out and pretty proud of myself.  On the way home, I got to thinking about the double sets of pictures taken in the MRI and my pessimistic self started talking to me.  I tried to ignore it.  Then I decided - hey, if I have to think pessimistic, why not go for something positive. 

So I started making a mental note of my 'bucket list'.  Now I had done a 'bucket list' after I saw the movie (what else?) - The Bucket List. (this was shortly after I had retired)  I had taken piano lessons as this was something I had always wanted to do.  I had taken Line Dance Lessons and Ballroom Dance Lessons. I had taken a Creative Writing Course.  I had written many short stories. I had opened an RDSP for my son and had his future all taken cared of finanncially.  There were a few other things on my list that I had accomplished.  But this new 'bucket list' would be what I would call 'my final bucket list' - if I was going to have open heart surgery (now remember here, I was thinking pessimistically), I would make a final bucket list before.  There was one that I knew I would need to start immediately (just in case I did not have the time to finish it before I got the results).

My first priority - which I am going to start this week - is to make a compilation of all my short stories - put them on a CD and if the news was bad - have these short stories self-published.  Fast.  I wanted to see a book with my name on it.  My final legacy, my final fantasy.

In the meantime, I had a few other things I wanted to do if I got bad news (like, 'sorry Ms Boulter, but you only have a week before your surgery' type of thing).  So my short list is:

1.  Rent a Mazda Miata for one day - a sunny day - drive it on the highway - say to Petitcodiac and back - with a Beach Boys CD playing.  Enjoy the ride.

2.  Rent a caddy - yup a caddy - go to my golf club - have the caddy drive the golf cart for me and hand me my clubs as I asked for them - 'hand me my 7 iron please' - have my hired caddy give me my club then use a towel to wipe it.  He/she (no - it seems so appropriate to have a 'he' as a caddy) he would wipe my golf balls (I was careful how I worded that one).  Give me a new ball when he felt that there might be a chip in the one I had used.  Wipe it whenever needed.  Drive me to where my ball had landed.  Tell me what a great golf player I was....... as yes - to be spoiled to the extreme for once.  To be on a golf course where any worries I have always disappear as I concentrate only on one thing - that little white ball...... one day of being spoiled - my caddy getting me something to drink when I wanted it. 

3.  Go see the movie 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'.  Just because.......

4.  There would be one thing I would love to experience again.  And that is the unconditional love of an animal.  But my dog passed away about 2-3 years ago and I feel I will never feel unconditional love again.  I thought of adopting a cat - it could also keep me company - but most of all it could just love me for me - BUT that would not be fair to the animal - if something should happen to me, it was not fair to have it brought back to the SPCA.  Oh well. 

So there you have it.  And I thought :  How lucky am I that I do not have a whole list of things I want to do (a long bucket list)....... I am blessed.  I don't really want to travel.  Takes too much time - even by plane.  Oh sure, if I had my way, I could dream of meeting my idol - Greg Norman - and have a golf game with him - but that would be unrealistic.  Or to go to New York and see the Christmas Tree light up - but again, too much time spent.  Meet my film star idol - yeah sure.

So I would be content with the 3 items on my immediate bucket list.  And now to move on to compile all my short stories into one document ...... just in case I need to have a book of short stories self-published - in time for me to see it in print.  My legacy.....


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Saturday Blog

Today is my son's 25th birthday.  Where does the time go?  I remember holdling him when he was a newborn, full of hope, full of promise. 

One year old and full of wonder and full of laughter.

Two year old and was busy keeping me busy.

Three year old and so innocent, so trusting.

Four year old and so giving. I remember his giving his teddy bear to a foster child we had welcomed into our room.  His joy at drawing the solar system, all the planets well aligned, all the moons named properly.

Five year old and had stopped drawing the solar system - a bit sad when our foster child had to be moved out of the province because his father was now out of jail.  A sadness overcame him.

Six years old - altho he made a lot of friends in school, we saw signs of his being bullied.  Enrolled him in Tai Kwon Do.  Kept him busy in the summer with baseball, in the winter with basketball. 

Seven years old - signs of bullying coming across more and more.  Talks to his teachers did not seem to help.  He was open to learning and friends would come to our home every day after school. 

Eight years old and in grade 3.  In the scouting movement.  How fast time seemed to fly, as he applied himself to his school work and seemed to enjoy more and more the company of his friends.  His birthdays were always filled with fun and games.

Nine years old.  Typical kid - full of spirit and fun. Friends gathered for birthday party, altho now instead of the regular games, we went bowling (or was that the year we took him to Magic Mountain).

Ten years old. A bit more  reclusive.  Bullying was starting to wear on him.  He did not seem to enjoy school quite as much, but had numerous friends - playing computer games became a regular thing.

Eleven years old.  Birthday was active - magic cards introduced to his group of friends.  McDonald's his birthday celebration.

Twelve years old.  Won science fair that year for his school.  Went to Fredericton for provincial fair.  Friends were so important to him.  Grade 7..  Still bullied... Son went to  school reluctantly, but each year held promises of the future.

Thirteen years old. The teen years. Grade 8 prom - took a girl to the end of the year dance.  Birthdays now consisted of a few close friends, playing magic the gathering.  He was looking forward to starting high school (grade 9)  

Fourteen years old.  High school and the torture really began.  Those who had bullied him in his school.  How we tried to encourage him.

Fifteen years old.  High school getting tougher on him.   He still had his regular friends, but he started hating going to school.  More quiet birthday parties - only close friends.

Sixteen years old.  Started grade 11 - starting handing out with some not so savory characters.  Life as we knew it was about to change.

Seventeen years old.  Dropped out of school. Into drugs and alcohol.  Do not really remember much of his birthday that year, altho I am sure we must have celebrated it.  We tried to keep it together. His only 'good friend' tried to convince him to stay in school.  That did not work out.

Eighteen years old. More drugs. More rules in our home. Where had our son gone?

Nineteen years old. Birthday celebrated in the psych ward. 

Twenty years old.  Birthday celebrated again in the psych ward, altho he had a girlfriend who stuck by him thru think and thin.

Twenty-one years old. Birthday celebrated in psych ward again. 

Twenty-two years old.  Birthday celebrated at home - quiet time with just family.

Twenty-three years old. Grateful to have him home and be able to celebrate his birthday with family.

Twenty-four years old.  At home - birthday celebrated with girlfriend - took them to movies.

Twenty-five years old. Today.  Friends invited, but not sure how many will come to his birthday.  He is social, has his good friends back, but they are busy with their own lives - work, play.  His girlfriend is coming over this afternoon.  We will be having a BBQ. be continued...........

Friday, 12 August 2011

My Journey with Atrial Fibrillation

My journey started 3 years ago - May 2008.  Without going into all the details, was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation - kinda scary stuff - but was under the care of a cardiologist.

Meds prescribed - warfarin (blood thinner), a pill to give my heart a boost (regulate the electrical charge to my heart), a med to decrease my pulse rate plus another med for high blood pressure.

I first stopped doing my regular activities as I was plain scared - my A-fib acted up a few times and I had to get med adjusted until the proper meds were stabilizing me.  Also had to watch my Vitamin K intake, be very careful when in the sun (warfarin does things to you that should not be done but such is life on Warfarin).  Learned that I do not sweat, hence I have to keep myself well hydrated - to trust my body when it wants something.  Since I am on a diurtic (for the blood pressure), my potassium level is to be carefully monitored and I learned that having a banana a day can be fun (not).  I learned to read labels on juices to ensure I got those with plenty of potassium.

Then came the kidney operation - this was a total fluke - since my cardiologist had wanted me to have a stress test (easy eh?) - yeah, but she could not get my heart rate to go up.  She said sometimes that can be caused by a kidney problem - but very very rarely.  So she sent me for a CT Scan of my kidneys (scan with the iodine in veins).  Not a problem, I thought - having googled this, I found that less than 1% of people have problems with kidneys that cause blood pressure to not be stable.  But lo and behold, the CT Scan showed that the main artery leading to my left kidney was almost completely blocked.  Fine.  I could deal with that - altho it meant a 2 hr operation while I was awake (frozen at site of operation though).  Got through that - cardiologist figured that would help my blood pressure and possibly my A-fib - but unfortunately not - altho meds were reduced, they soon went back up.  Cardiologist said my problem was genetics - not caused by any blocked arteries, etc. (I had also had a heart CT Scan done).

In any case, my cardiologist decided to leave her practice and go into research.  I was assigned another cardiologist who did a stress test - told me I was just overweight and that I was fine otherwise.  No problem - just to keep on taking my meds.  Fine.  No problem with that. 
(One of the side effects of the warfarin - besides hair loss and depression - is also inability to lose weight).  Oh well, I thought, learn to live with this but don't stop living - so golfing we did, line dancing I went to, enjoying myself.  My writing group provided me with mental stimulation and took my mind off things.

Then that cardiologist decided to move to Ontario.  So off I went to see my family doc and asked him for a referral to another cardiologist.  He referred me to who he said was 'the best' - actually the Head of Cardiology.  So within a couple of weeks, I get a notice to go for an echocardiogram and a stress test.  No problem I thought.  The echo was done a couple of weeks before my stress test.  When I went for the stress test - I was told I did better than the last time I had one (with the cardiologist who had went to Ontario and who said I was just fine as long as I took my meds).

I asked my new cardiologist what the results were of my echo - he told me to sit down (being told by a doctor to sit down is never usually a good thing - I was not even out of breath from the stress test).  He said the echo had shown a 'possible' mass on the atria part of my heart (heart is divided into 4 chambers - the main one being the atrium).  He also said it showed my lungs were showing 'something'.  So, I said - an X-ray will be needed? He said - no - I would be contacted to go for a pulmonary function test in Moncton and a cardiac MRI in Halifax.

So, after a bit of the shock wore off, the next day I called his office and was able to get a copy of the test results of the echo.  Indeed it said there was an enlargement on the atrium part of my heart and also there could be a possible lung disease. 

So I went for my pulmonary function test this morning.  She said that I was below the % of where I should be.  She gave me a puffer and said she would repeat the tests in 15-20 minutes and see if this made a difference.  I asked her if that would mean I had COPD - she said only if there was improvement in the results after waiting for 15-20 minutes and the repeat test showed an improvement.  I said 'oh darn' - she said there were worse things than a puffer.  So we waited and repeated the test.  I asked her if I was now in the 'normal' range - she said the puffer had not helped.  Well - good news - I do not have COPD - however, I am not 'normal'.  I asked what that meant - she said the doctor would be getting the results and would talk to me.  Her normal cheerful self was now not so cheerful (or  was that me?).  All I know is that she went kinda quiet and was not so open to talk about my results anymore.  Must google......

Monday I go to Halifax for the full body enclosed Cardiac MRI - and I have a severe form of claustrophobia.  Fun and games.  But I take things one day at a time. 

Thought I would start blogging about this - cause I truly do not know where this journey will lead me.......

I also know I MUST be positive.  That thinking positive is effective and can work wonders.  So, am doing my best to remain positive.  (Here, I feel like saying, 'until next time, Dear Diary').  :o)

Caution re Prescriptions - Part 2

Strange how things work out.  I had an adverse reaction to a prescription that I filled and neglected to look up the possible drug interactions.

Well, yesterday morning, the same thing happened to my husband.  Not so much a drug interaction, but too many prescriptions being given to him. 

Husband had a toothache - he went to the dentist (our regular dentist is on holidays).  So he saw another dentist on Wednesday - dentist told him he had an infection - that the tooth that was causing problem was cracked below the gum line.  So an appointment was made with his regular dentist and an oral surgeon for Tuesday next week.  In the meantime, the dentist he saw gave him a prescription for anti-biotics, a prescription for Tylenol-3 with Codeine and Caffeine (so it says on the label), told him he should also take Aleve and also put some gel stuff on his gum to ease the pain. 

When my husband got home and told me this, I kinda said 'that's a lot of stuff isn't it?'.  Husband was in so much much pain - so he had already filled out the prescriptions, had picked up some Aleve and the gum numbing thing.

He, poor thing, was in pain all day.  I did tell him to be careful with the Aleve as it said to take no more than 1 pill every 12 hours.  Told him maybe to just try the Tylenol 3 and see if that worked.  Well, of course it didn't work right away.  So in went the Aleve, as well as the Tylenol 3 plus the anti-biotics plus he put some of gel on his gums. 

My husband must have gotten up after I fell asleep.  I woke up at around 3 a.m. and went downstairs only to see my husband sitting in his chair.  I asked him how he was feelilng - he said 'better' - since he had made a 'mold' for his mouth.  I was half asleep and said 'good' - then went to back upstairs when it downed on me and I went back and asked him what he meant by a 'mold for his mouth'.  He opened his mouth and showed me the tin foil that was wrapped around his top teeth - he said he had put the gum gel in the foil and then wrapped his upper teeth.  Strange.  I told him maybe he should remove it now.  He said 'nope'.  Then he went into the kitchen and took 3 aspirins (yeah aspirins we had in our cupboard).  I told him he was taking too many things. 

I won't go into men being men - I just figured I would keep track of his meds in the morning.  At 5 a.m., I heard my name being called.  I jumped out of bed and there at the  foot of the stairs was my husband, weak and sweating.  He kept saying he was having a stroke.  Now my husband has a mini-stroke in 2004, so I was not about to argue.  I rushed down, prepared to call 911 - when my husband got up and got his jacket and went to our car, telling me to hurry - to drive him to the hospital (which is only 5 minutes away).  He had walked straight, he had talked without slurring his words, he looked fine.  So, I quickly threw on some clothes and off we went to the ER.  Figure we got there about 5:15 a.m.  There was no-one else in the ER so I figured he would see a doc pretty quickly.  At Triage, nurse asked him questions, my husband kept saying he thought he was having a stroke, talked about his stroke in 2004 (much of which he did not remember, but he filled in the blanks nicely).

The nurse did her thing - light in his eyes, pulse, etc. etc.  We sat in the waiting room - saw a doctor at 8 a.m. - they ran some blood tests, did an electrocardiogram and sent him for a CT Scan of the brain.  Then we waited for the results.  Finally around 9 or 9:30 doctor came to talk to us - of course just before doc came to talk to us - husband told me he was going outside for a smoke.  So doc told me  there was nothing to worry about - I told him about alll the meds he had taken the day before, etc.  Doctor said 'oh that explains it'.

Doctor told husband to stop taking the Tylenol 3 (you think?  duh) - told him to keep on taking his anti-biotics, to see his dentist next week and only take his Aleve if he really, really could not stand the pain.  As for the gel, he advised my husband not to use it if at all possible.  He then told my husband that I would be the one that would give him his meds when they were due to be taken.

So - the moral of this story?  Yes, be in charge of your own health, but if you see that someone is overmedicated, take charge.  My husband was very weak and disoriented and not thinking clearly - and I blame that - not on his tooth ache - but on his taking too many pills - was there drug interactiions? I haven't googled them all yet - but my educated guess is that he was just plain over-medicated.  If something does not feel right, go with your gut feeling. 

My husband seems fine now.  His tooth still bothers him a bit but not as much.  He is taking his anti-biotics and takes an Aleve once every 12 hours (once an hour  before he goes to bed and when he gets up in the morning).  He has slept quite well last night ( better than I did :o)  I have his Tylenol 3 put away as well as the gum gel.  The aspirins are also put away.  As is our regular Tylenol.  I have a timer that goes off when it is time for him to take his anti-biotics and everything seems to be going well.  It will be good when he sees his dentist next Tuesday so they can remove his cracked tooth.

Just be careful what you are taking - make a plan of when to take what you need to take - don't over-medicate yourself by adding stuff.  And do not trust your health by what a doctor (or in this case, a dentist) may prescribe.  Be very careful with Tylenol 3 wtih Codeine and Caffeine.  And if you notice strange behavior from a loved one or someone who lives with you - look at what they are taking if they are taking meds.  Count the pills if you must.  When one is over-medicated, one can 'forget' when they took a pill and double up.  Be responsible for your own health, but also be aware of the health of your loved ones and do not be afraid to intervene.