Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Aging Takes Priority


In mid-October, the aging body demanded priority time.  One morning at 6 AM, my husband stood by the bed and woke me to say, "I think I'm having a heart attack."

                                                          Another Panic Attack?

In the past, his PTSD caused him to have many signs and symptoms that I would check out and find no medical reason for his complaints. We would only sit and talk until he was calmer.  Then he would go back to bed for a nap or take a Xanax. Frequently, it would only be a panic attack, and he would work at controlling it.

                                                        Not a Usual Morning!

This time I checked his pulse; no thready pulse or skipped beats.  I sat him down and took his blood pressure; it was 180/108.  His skin was cool and clammy.  This was for real, and it was time to call the ambulance.

                                                         Had Fair Warning

A month ago, our General Practitioner had noticed an unusual heart sound and sent us back to the Cardiologist.  On examination, he said calcium deposits on the heart valve caused this sound, and as long as my husband had no pain and no edema, we should just keep an eye on it. When it is needed, they could do a TAVR (Trans Aortic Valve Replacement).  Being the investigator that he is, Gordon went home and read everything he could on TAVR and talked to others who had it done or had first-hand knowledge.   

                                                          He Was Prepared

When I arrived at the ER, doctors, nurses, EMTs, and technicians surrounded his bed, and I realized this was serious.  When they had his symptoms under control, they began the studies and tests needed to do the TAVR.  It was four days before he returned home to await surgery.   After several more tests and x-rays, the doctors scheduled the TAVR for November 17th. 



Saturday, October 17, 2020

Age Seems to Overide PTSD

   All the joints ache, walking is unsteady, the stomach gets upset easily, there is no interest for new adventure, and isolation is a comfort because age has crept in on cat’s paws and now envelops one.  What was once a case of paranoia, is now the fear of realizing and acknowledging what one can no longer do.

I feel my husband has lost his adventuresome spirit.

Most of our life was filled with adventure and we traveled and lived in many interesting places.  He no longer seeks adventure and at times I believe he has given up.  He needs a new interest, something to get involved in and to stimulate his mind.  We have been discussing a new book and its possible scenarios, but nothing has really taken hold of him and set him on his way.

He reads the news, listens to the TV news and weather report, does the crossword puzzles, plays bridge online, checks his rain gage every morning to send his report to CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network), and plays solitaire on the computer to pass his time at home.  He does do the family grocery shopping which, at least, gets him to think outside of himself and gets him out of the house a few days a week.  I feel the daily news and the crossword puzzle are downers and just draw him deeper into his lonesome pit.

An experiment at adventure

Everyday, I try to get him interested in something to read or do. Yesterday I suggested we go shopping for faux flowers for the two decorative lanterns we have on the hearth.  He drove me to Wall-Mart and I went shopping.  He was there in body but not in spirit. He walked slowly leaning on a shopping card because his knees hurt. There was no smile on his face, no look of anticipation, no lilt in his voice.  I had failed again.

We only drive to stores that are near to us and that we have been to before. If we are referred to a new doctor, we need to consult the Google map to know where we are going.  Even knowing where we are going, we have that little bit of fear in our stomachs until we get there. When he is unsure of himself, I always think of what ifs.  What if we make a wrong turn?  What if we are caught in traffic and are late?  What if we have an accident?

I have to be more forceful in getting him involved in the world outside of the house.  If I do, will he accept my prodding or will he crawl deeper into his depression?