Guest Post by Steve Miller: You Gotta Have Heart

YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART … is the way I hear it.

Long post about a strange day in several directions.

By about 9:15 AM this morning I’d already decided that today deserved a post … and then more stuff happened. And didn’t happen, too.

To begin with I had a scheduled echo cardiogram to get to by 9:00 and I enlisted Sharon to drive me since I was running a bit off schedule — after all if were were late she could drop me off at the door and then catch up.

On the short way to the cardio office we saw not 1 but 2 trucks run different Waterville traffic lights — 1 was a trailerless road-tractor, going right where I/we’d have been in the first big intersection on our way if Sharon hadn’t been paying attention, and the next a Big Bad Black I Stops For Nuthin pick-up at the intersection leading to the hospital/medical compound. Might have been enough to write about, right there, eh?

We made it in good enough time, nonetheless, and were settled into the sonographer’s waiting room when one of of the therapy nurses from my “old” post cardio-implant cardiac specialty gym stopped by on business with the sonographer’s office — and we had a great short discussions about how we’d all been and how she’d seen the article a few weeks back, and that we both were looking good … so — an “old home week” moment!

Still waiting and … another nurse from my old specialty gym ( few doors down the hall) came in, said hello, and Sharon noticed that this nurse … was carrying a book she wanted autographed. She’d had it in her drawer for a couple years, missing me on the several occasions when I’d stopped in to see the old gang… and hah, there we were signing a Lee & Miller book and chatting away old times when I got called … and so, cool, eh? Not a bad morning … I figured I’d mention it ….

And then my heart got sounded out for almost an hour (this is a boring procedure even if there are some Voyage to the Bottom of the Seas sound moments), and as I prepped to leave … the receptionist stopped me, handing me a green sticky note, telling me she’d JUST NOW had a phone call for me from Bangor, and that I’d better call them back RIGHT NOW.

Not being in the habit of getting phone calls from Bangor while in a doctor’s office in Waterville I called the number immediately … and got the news that over the weekend my ICD-implant had auto-called the hospital system’s “device office” to report an anomalous ICD event … and the device specialist said her reading of the time-stamped report meant I ought JIC probably stop in to the ER before I went home… and that she was calling my cardiologist and the ER, too, to let them know I’d be on the way as soon as I told her that I was, in fact, going to do that. She’d called that office because the hospital portal had told her I was already supposed to be on the grounds ….

Well heck, with the ER being a convenient three hundred foot downhill drift away we ended up with-in moments at ER, where the magic words “cardiac patient name name name device-office name, event trigger, BANGOR CALLED” got me through the ER triage line pretty quick.

Ummm, hey, so there’s the hospital’s electronic portal system working better than I knew, and that’s worth writing about, yes?

Also, we’d both had our tablets with us, so we had reading. Reading is good, right? Especially if you don’t know if you’re getting a room in Waterville or an ambulance ride to Bangor, another round of tests, or what. By way of entertainment, maintenance came and shifted us from side to side in the room and out into the hall at one point in order to fix the overhead light fixture that wasn’t working right ….

Settling things out — apparently my ICD implant functioned Sunday morning despite the fact that I didn’t notice it. I’m told that it is hard not to notice the thing being triggered, but nope, I apparently slept through it. In fact I’d walked extra steps Saturday *and* Sunday because I’d been feeling pretty good.

Over a few hours the ER folks gave me a room, gave me multiple blood tests, and an EKG too, talked to the cardiologist that read today’s fresh heart movies, talked to my local cardio office, got me chest-x-rayed, had me on continuous monitor for about 5 hours. and when we despaired of ever having a meal again managed to get us “lunch” just as the attending late afternoon ER physician was saying “How does going home sound?”

Right: the blood tests are good (no tell tales of a heart attack or any related problems), my imaging from today shows a heart pretty much looking the way it did a few years ago, there’s no problem shown by multiple chest x-rays…

So, I came home to finish the half of lunch I still had — so I could take my lunch meds! –and now I have lists of who else to call tomorrow — I’ll still see my early consultation about the hernia — and I’m told that for tonight, at least, I can return to my regularly scheduled program. I expect to be seeing my PCP and cardiologist RSN, but they were in the works already, and tomorrow ought tell the tale in part about the hernia situation.

Oh, and that’s how I spent my day, and Sharon’s too. Sharon was amazingly patient.

Hope your day wasn’t quite like ours.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post by Steve Miller: You Gotta Have Heart”

  1. Wow, glad your heart is holding up well, Steve, and you two survived your crazy day. You guys are two of my favorite authors. I appreciate your stories and the heart and talent you put into them. Praying for continued heart health/healing, and simple, successful hernia treatment. Take care.

  2. Thankful you are doing well. My husband had to have hernia surgery twice as he was put on oxy (bad) caused a panic attack and not given enough info about how most pain drugs cause constipation and he strained and had to re do hernia surgery. Probably TMI. I’ m so glad you have Sharon to listen and question as the person with the problem can be so stressed it affects our hearing/understanding. Will be praying for a good outcome.

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