Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three years ago I was a bad a$* huntin guy that could nearly do anything and everything...

Shelle Edit: Owl is what we call in BlogLand... a lurker.  When he comments he does it anonymously and signed Owl.  He felt the impression to write this post.  I am so glad he did.  He may or may not comment back in comments... but please, if so inspired, leave a comment.  Thanks.

Three years ago I was a bad ass huntin guy that could nearly do anything and everything. I even went bear hunting in Alberta Canada almost to the arctic circle and bagged a 330 lb black bear with one shot... On the first evening of the hunt.

When I returned to my home in MD, I suddenly discovered I had issues. I had the shakes, like a leaf on a tree... could not focus on work, home, kids or even do the things that were common tasks to me.

I went to my family doctor who immediately said I need to have an MRI. I put that off for a few days because my wife is a very influential employee at the local hospital and said she could set up an appointment where I could just walk in and have the test done instead of waiting 4 hours.

The next day I got a call from wifey, K you need to check into the hospital for tests. The family doctor says you have a serious condition that needs to be evaluated right away.

So I go home, argue about checking in, eventually I give in.

I see a cardiologist that evening and he knows almost immediately what the issue is...

Congestive heart failure.

He starts medication and orders a stress test (which turns out normal) what doesn't turn out normal is an EKG and echocardiogram. I am definitely headed for a heart attack.

I talk out several options with a my cardiologist and an electrophysiologist... how can someone go from being healthy to talking about being an ideal candidate for a heart transplant in such a short period of time? No real answer is given by either doctor, just scenarios!

I have a defibulator implanted in January of the following year. In July of that same year I was doing my favorite thing (water skiing) and the defib goes off... NOT once but six times. I'm nearly in shock... Kids and wife are frantic... and ASK me what I think? I said what do you think? I need to go to the hospital! So I do... come to find out the defib picked up on a rapid heart rate (euphoria). They up the heart rate threshold on the pacer/defib. DUH

So three years later I live with CHF and the fact it may cut my life short... The good news is the meds have been mostly good for me... except the anxiety and depression that go along with the diagnosis and fact I never know when the defib will go off.

How does one deal with the outcome? How do you get past the anxiety and depression?


Who else lives with the same or similar condition?


Help? 

OWL

10 comments:

Garden of Egan said...

Owl, I have no idea how you deal day to day with it.

I work in healthcare and I am saddened by the burdens that so many carry.
The saddest part about you is that you were obviously a healthy awesome man's man. Healhty lifestyle.
Through no fault of your own you end up with this mess.

It sounds like you have awesome support. A great healthcare team.

I have no advice for you.
Just prayers and encouragement to send your way.

wendy said...

WHAT, hunting bear in Alberta. That's where I live....well not that close to the arctic, but about middle Alberta, on a ranch.

anyway, that would suck for sure. When you are so active and outdoorsey (new word) then to have these health issues would be depressing for you for sure.

I WISH I had some advice for ya and I have never known how to handle depression and anxiety.

I guess you just have to deal with those days as they come, as best as you can.
It would be hard though I am sure.

I HOPE and pray it doesn't cut your life "short". Just enjoy everything you can and as much of it as your can.
None of us know what is around the corner for us I guess.
Prayers to you and your family.

Tracie said...

Hi Owl!

About 6-7 years ago my dad was outside shoveling and the next thing my mom knew some lady was knocking at the door to call an ambulance.

What happened... A cardiac care nurse drove by my Dad to drop her son off at the High School (1/2 mile from the house). She was going to stop for coffee before going back home - changed her mind went right back home. She was the first one to see Dad down. She KNEW it was a cardiac arrest. She, and only she, saved him - did the right technique. Only 5% of cardiac care patients survive.

Come to find out it was a SIDE EFFECT of a medication he was on for HBP - can cause a drastic potassium loss.

Okay so now he has a defibulator. He has had a whole host of symptoms since then with the additional meds as well. I don't think his has ever gone off.

I will say he aged alot since then and definitely can't do what he used to. He was NEVER sick - worked his butt of his whole life.

I know he has met people through the hospital like him and they chat if you want his email address let me know - sometimes it helps to talk to people who really understand what you are going through.

Good Luck!
Tracie

The Bare Essentials Today said...

I don't have any advice for you, but I can totally imagine the anxiety that could bring to someone. Especially just waiting for that defrib to go off. Yikes. Are the side effects from the meds anxiety and depression or are they caused just by you having the condiiton?

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

Owl here, I will answer your questions and make comments tomorrow. I have a much needed errand to run this afternoon and will most likely not be on the rest of the day.

So be patient and thanks for the kind words.

Owl

UP said...

Health problems suck! Darn that Adam!

UP

nitebyrd said...

I deal with depression and anxiety every day but I don't know how to deal with the "twins" and an added health problem.

It probably sounds trite, but trying to live each day to it's fullest and a good anti-depressant might help.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think, as cliche as it may sound, I think you have to make that choice that you make what you can out of each day you are blessed with?

Does that sound to religious?

I know that things aren't by accident. We are here to learn and grow and sometimes we are here to teach other people.

You never know who is watching you and soaking in your example... whose life you have blessed just by being in theirs.

Making that choice to be positive and a person that people will remember... I think will help?

And remember... death is inevitable... it's life that we must choose to be a part of. Each of us could go at anytime.

You are awesome Owl. Thank you so much for allowing me to post this :)

Anonymous said...

Garden, I do have awesome doctors and a good support system. As for dealing... one day at a time! And prayers and encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Wendy, Yes bear hunting in Alberta. Where do you live in AB? The outfitter I used lived in Leduc. I asked my cardio the question about cutting my life short. He told me 30 years ago when he started medicine, CHF would be fatal in 1-2 years. Now with advanced meds, testing and technology... all bets are off. But the prayers still do help.

Tracie, my defib was a precaution. At the time of insertion my ejection fraction (blood in vs going out) was around 20%. With meds its now 35-40% which is a vast improvement. (excellent is around 50%). Your father is a lucky man, NO doubt an angel beside him at that moment. Sudden cardiac arrest is fatal as you said 95% of the time... Generally only 2-3 minutes after the heart stops or goes into a deadly rhythm can a person be saved. And yes, of course I'd like his email... everyone can use a good word now and again. Send it to owl_nest @ Hotmail.com. Thanks for the thoughts!

Bare E, side effects are a result of me having the defib and constantly knowing my condition is fairly serious. It is common to have anxiety and depression with almost any chronic illness. It probably doesn't help that my kids are high school and college age. My father died suddenly just after I graduated high school from cancer. Thanks for the reply... if you have any other questions do not hesitate to ask.

UP, yes health problems suck... What is that bullshit phrase? "The golden years?" What is golden??

Nitebyrd, depression and anxiety are new to me. I've always been very up and very active, without thinking about sudden death or deteriorating health. As for dealing with the "twins" be thankful every day you have them and they are healthy.

Shelle, No your answer does not sound religious or cliche. I've never been deeply religious, but recently I've found myself looking in that direction. Without all the gory details I recently had a 3 week stay in an inpatient facility and have come to find out that listening and offering up advice does help the whole process. I had a giant confidence boost during the time away from home. It has carried into day to day activities and that is a much needed positive note.

I love your quote "death is inevitable, it's life that we must choose to be a part of. Each of us could go at anytime"

You are welcome for the post, it has given me hope and positive thinking too.

Have a good day and thanks for posting it for me.

Owl

Anonymous said...

Garden, I do have awesome doctors and a good support system. As for dealing... one day at a time! And prayers and encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Wendy, Yes bear hunting in Alberta. Where do you live in AB? The outfitter I used lived in Leduc. I asked my cardio the question about cutting my life short. He told me 30 years ago when he started medicine, CHF would be fatal in 1-2 years. Now with advanced meds, testing and technology... all bets are off. But the prayers still do help.

Tracie, my defib was a precaution. At the time of insertion my ejection fraction (blood in vs going out) was around 20%. With meds its now 35-40% which is a vast improvement. (excellent is around 50%). Your father is a lucky man, NO doubt an angel beside him at that moment. Sudden cardiac arrest is fatal as you said 95% of the time... Generally only 2-3 minutes after the heart stops or goes into a deadly rhythm can a person be saved. And yes, of course I'd like his email... everyone can use a good word now and again. Send it to owl_nest @ Hotmail.com. Thanks for the thoughts!

Bare E, side effects are a result of me having the defib and constantly knowing my condition is fairly serious. It is common to have anxiety and depression with almost any chronic illness. It probably doesn't help that my kids are high school and college age. My father died suddenly just after I graduated high school from cancer. Thanks for the reply... if you have any other questions do not hesitate to ask.

UP, yes health problems suck... What is that bullshit phrase? "The golden years?" What is golden??

Nitebyrd, depression and anxiety are new to me. I've always been very up and very active, without thinking about sudden death or deteriorating health. As for dealing with the "twins" be thankful every day you have them and they are healthy.

Shelle, No your answer does not sound religious or cliche. I've never been deeply religious, but recently I've found myself looking in that direction. Without all the gory details I recently had a 3 week stay in an inpatient facility and have come to find out that listening and offering up advice does help the whole process. I had a giant confidence boost during the time away from home. It has carried into day to day activities and that is a much needed positive note.

I love your quote "death is inevitable, it's life that we must choose to be a part of. Each of us could go at anytime"

You are welcome for the post, it has given me hope and positive thinking too.

Have a good day and thanks for posting it for me.

Owl

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