Working on it.

I am 3 1/2 months recovering. Working out is going well…

I have bad days; days I can’t do a full workout; days I get my “workout” getting dressed; days 6pm feels like midnight. On those days I feel impatient and as though this slubby body will never stop being slubby (I made up this word because how I feel has no description but just know “slubby” is not a good thing).

Then I have days where I feel like a superhero-“I can run! I can jump! Weights!! I can do weights!! Look at me! Wee!”-I may be having a prednisone induced manic episode but at least those days are encouraging and keep me going.

Recovery is hard. I’m tired more than not. I’m trying to be patient with my body.

Prednisone: 15mg


My Stroke: Part Two

I did not have to wait long. My dad and two younger brothers arrived first. I can’t remember what they said, I am sure there were questions. I asked my dad to get the jeans I had taken off minutes, maybe hours, before–I am not sure how long I was battling my brain–I could have checked my phone to see what time I had spoken to my mother, since we had talked right before, and figured out the time passed but I didn’t.

I had not moved from my position on the floor. I remember rocking my chair back and forth as I waited. It was soothing to focus on the simplicity of its movement. I had my dad put my jeans on me but did not bother with buttoning them. I bent my legs and lay on my back with an ankle on a knee–that was soothing as well. I felt normal again.

The volunteer fire department arrived before the EMTs. My two older brothers, the firefighter and the east-coaster, had been residents for the volunteer department, so I knew, or at least recognized, most of the men huddled over me. They checked my vitals–blood pressure cuff went on, pulse oximeter was placed on a finger, electrodes were stuck to my chest for an EKG, temperature was taken, lights were shone in my eyes, I followed fingers, questions were asked (my speech had returned to me). They could not find anything wrong with me. What made me most uncomfortable was how serious everyone was. I tried making a joke but nobody laughed. I wanted someone to at least smile.

The EMTs and my mother showed up soon after the volunteer had finished checking my vitals and the EMT checked me again. He could not find anything wrong either. Something serious had happened–I had the rug burns on my arms and knees along with my mother who heard my slurred speech to prove it. They gave me three options- go to my parents home and have them monitor me the rest of the night, have my parents drive me to the ER for further testing, or have the ambulance take me to the ER for further testing. My parents decided for me–they wanted the ambulance to take me. I was asked if I could walk to the porch before being put on the stretcher and I said I might be able to with help. The EMT and a volunteer supported me on either side and we went outside where the gurney was waiting.

The process of being pushed to and placed in the ambulance was bumpy but I was okay.

“Do you know my brother?”, I asked the EMT as he was trying to start an IV. He did and he joked about how my brother would have been able to find my difficult veins the first poke. I was rolled through the ER doors and set up in a room. I said goodbye to the EMT and waited for my parents.

I was asked to put on a gown and given those grippy soled hospital socks they give everyone.

The first thing I was asked to do is pee into a receptacle. The nurse helped me into the bathroom, placed the catcher in the bowl, and set me on the toilet. I think I peed, I have a hard time remembering because it was while I was sitting on the toilet that I started throwing up and could not stop. I pulled the “help me” string and grabbed the trash can in the corner. She waited until we thought I had finished and helped me back into bed. I was not finished. I threw up a total of 12 times before the anti-nausea medicine they administered into the IV took affect.

They began tests–blood drawn, EKG, CAT scan, chest x-ray, and they had me walk. They concluded that I had vertigo, gave me more anti-nausea pills, and sent me home with instructions to follow-up with my PCP.

My diagnosis did not feel right. My family and I were nervous. I felt fragile. My surroundings didn’t feel real. I was so tired.

Two days later, while in the car on my way to the recommended follow-up with my PCP, my ER doctor called, “I have been thinking about you a lot and I don’t feel right about your diagnosis. I recommend you getting an MRI.” He didn’t give any other theories about what may be going on with me, he just wanted to make sure I pursued more tests.

I told my PCP what happened and asked him to refer an MRI. He did. The MRI was scheduled a week out. I was scared. I didn’t want something worse to happen while I waited a week for an MRI. I was beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb, but I resigned myself to wait.

It was that day or the day after that my mom talked to my brother, the EMT, and gave him an update about me. He was not happy about the long wait for the MRI and told us to call and demand my MRI get moved to a sooner date. He said they will be able to get me in, I just need to be pushy. Sure enough, they rescheduled my MRI for two days later.

-To Be Continued-

Costco and Prednisone

I consider myself a patient woman. I try to be kind, helpful, and forgiving. I hold my tongue…most of the time. I can admit when I’m wrong. I will “turn the other cheek”. I am a good person! I wanted to toss my moral “high ground” out the window yesterday and curb stomp a fool!

Costco is busy–especially busy this time of year. Yesterday I wanted a $1.50 hotdog (don’t judge me!) and decided to brave the masses. The parking lot, as can only be expected the week before Thanksgiving, was full, so I did a circle looking for shoppers packing their cars. It did not take long to spot someone putting the last box into their trunk and returning their cart. I put on my blinker and waited. The person plopped into their seat, started the car, backed out, and drove away. I let go of my brakes, letting my car roll forward, and was about to touch the gas when to my right I saw a Subaru run a stop sign–he nearly clipped me and stole my spot. I was shocked! I honked and honked then I drove forward because he was not safe with me near him.

I did not run him over or do anything malicious. It was scary how much I wanted to, though. There is an angry lady inside me and she made a BIG appearance yesterday. It will be great if I can get through the next few months without murdering anyone! Thank you, prednisone, for the ‘roid rage! 😁

Prednisone Diaries 2

Day 64:  The Prednisone dose has been lowered from 40 mg to 20 mg since my last pred post. I do see some improvement– the manic sensation I was having has stopped. But without the manic high I would ride every few days, I am left in a dense fog of depression. At least I could feel when I was manic.

How does a 24 year old female who is jobless, recently “single”, living at home, on a mind numbing steroid, with low self-esteem because of recent weight gain (that she cannot get rid of because of the *&#*ing steroid!), recovering from her 2nd open-heart surgery, not sleeping well at night because of sternum pains, pull herself out of a crippling depression? I am at a loss.

I do have enough of the old Heidi left in me to know I am lucky to have and be living my life– My family has been a huge support the last 3 years. I survived a stroke and 2 open-heart surgeries, and everything that came with the 1st surgery. I have friends who love me. My heart, now, works. I am grateful. There is just very little joy to go with that feeling of gratefulness.

I have not been able to continue my last post. It was difficult to write the little bit I did– unearthing so much pain. To combat this depression I am making a promise to myself to post, at least, once a week. I want to continue my story. At least I will be feeling.