War Wounds

Today, I went back to the surgeon to get my cast taken off (then had another cast, made of fibre glass (wooo wooo) put on).  Anyway, I managed to take a snap of my war wounds inbetween casts…

It’s bigger than what I thought it would be (that’s what she said).  Say hello to my gimp wrist…

war wound #1 war wound #2

 

Oddly, I was tempted to see if I could peel the skin back and have a look around inside. *Vomits.*

Fingers are crossed that it heals, because the next option is to remove the offending bone and fuse my wrist together with sellotape and superglue. This will mean one arm will be half an inch shorter than the other!

Jeremy Beadle eat your heart out…I’m gonna need to work on the goatee.

Psychologist Session

After being referred to a psychologist by one of the nurses in hospital a few weeks ago, I had my first session today.

Unfortunately there is nothing exciting to report back on, but the psychologist did agree that I was showing some signs of anxiety and stress – and apart from my rubbish sleeping skills, there was nothing to be overly concerned about.

That was until she told me I didn’t breathe properly…(I was once told I don’t blink properly too, how I’ve lasted on earth I’ll never know).

I have short, shallow breathing (which is  a sign of anxiety and contributes to stress) and I don’t use my whole diaphragm to breathe. So she wants to fix that.

Almost without pausing for breathe (no pun intended), she then moved onto asking if I was still getting a Morning Glory since my heart attack.

Woah there! Any chance you can segue into that a bit better next time

Medications/stress/anxiety can all affect it blah blah… Oh, ok, that’s why you’ve brought this up (not literally).  I stopped short of telling her how proud I was of finally being able to bash one out this morning…left handed.

Not long after, the allotted hour had ended and she send me packing with some breathing exercises and knowing how much of a wanker I am – I know people who wouldn’t take an hour to come to that conclusion.

Most of the session was spent telling her my back story, but she said there’s some things for me to work on, and asked me to keep a record of my mood each day over the next couple of weeks. According to the doctors/nurses, and now the physiologist, I’m heading for a big depression crash soon – (depression is very common after a heart attack), but if it wasn’t for the doctors and nurses etc telling me that, I wouldn’t put myself in that bracket at all.  I feel almost the total opposite and for the majority of the time have been in a good mood since it happened.  *Shrugs.*

I’m still a bit blurrggghh about going to see a psychologist (and she didn’t look anything like Dr Melfi), but I’m keeping an open mind and I’ll give it a couple of sessions and see if I get anything out of it.

Left handed post

I had that operation on my wrist last Wednesday.  This was the second operation on the same bone as the bone graft I had last year didn’t heal as it should’ve, so this time he was doing a blood vessel bone graft thingy majig.

As with last years operation I was told there is only a 75% chance of it healing.  But this was lowered further when I spoke to the surgeon afterwards who said “your blood vessels are what I’d expect to see in a 60 year old smoker.  I’m not confident of it healing as your bone didn’t look too good either…it’s about a 50/50 chance it’ll heal”.

Given I’m not 60 and Ive never smoked it’s not exactly what I expected to hear. But I didn’t expect to hear ‘you’ve had a heart attack’, either, so nothing is surprising me at the min!

Add my dodgy blood vessels to my dodgy heart, then maybe I’ve got some mad Benjamin Button thing going on?  It would certainly account for my lethargic, sloth like, nature since my teens….

The wrist and my heart shit have started to catch up with me in the past week though. I’m starting to feel a bit trapped by it all (I can’t do this/I can’t do too much of that etc, don’t forget to take your tablets – I took 19 tablets the other day. 19!).  I think cabin fever is setting in.  Now my wrist is covered in a cast that just adds to more things I can’t do.  Although, I think I’ve only just shook off the after affects of the anaesthetic/painkillers 6 days later, so that probably hasn’t helped my mood since I came out of hospital.  And although I’m supposed to limit myself to 2 units of alcohol per day, it’s my birthday on Thursday so I’m in 2 minds whether to have a few (which will turn into several) drinks or not and shake off the doldrums (I havent had a drop of alcohol for 3 months and said I wouldn’t drink again until at least after id seen the cardiologist again in May…dum dum duuuumm).

In the meantime I keep wondering what type of scar I have under my cast.  I know there are two (one zorro shaped one from last year which he said he’d open up again and there should be a new 2 inch scar on top of my wrist).  Having a scar is always good addition for any man.  I just need to invent an animal attack story to go along with it. It’s got to be better than the rather pathetic “I fell off the couch and needed a bajillion operations to fix myself again”

End of left handed, one finger, dad typing, post…2 hours after I wrote that first paragraph. Sigh.

Can’t think of a title, so I’m making one up

I finished my cardiac rehab program a last week…amongst other things I’m now a master in laughing at old people doing thai chi.

But on the more serious side, I found it to be worthwhile and if nothing else, it’s got me back into exercise, which I was very nervous about doing. I mean how long should you exercise for after a heart attack? How much can you exercise? I wouldn’t have a clue (and I’d be terrified) of doing too much and making myself have another heart attack. So it was beneficial for me to at least do some of that whilst I was supervised and my pulse was being taken every few mins.

I tentatively got back on the treadmill last week – I barely managed 5 mins – but slow and steady is the name of the game.

One thing that did come out of the rehab program is that they said I’m showing signs of high anxiety and stress. Which isn’t exactly unusual after what I’ve been through, but they think some of it could be attributed to some underlying problems.

I told them about a few things in past (which I’m not sure I’ve wrote about on here or not) such as being stabbed and my mum passing away not long after (about 10 years ago). Neither of which I’ve never really talked about to anyone. Then adding to the heart issue, they said having no one close over here to talk to probably isn’t helpful as I don’t have a ‘support network’ (although even back in UK I didn’t speak to my ‘close’ friends or family about how I was feeling). But the long and short of it, is that they have referred me to a psychologist.

I sent an email back to my family and told them this and my brother phoned me (for the first time in the 2 years I’ve been in Australia) asking me what was wrong. I think he thought if I’d been referred to a psychologist it meant I was about to top myself…it took a while to convince him otherwise!

I’m very indifferent about going to see someone though. I don’t feel like I need to, but it’s also not the first time someone has told me I should talk to someone, so maybe it’ll do some good. What’s the worst that can happen?

But fuck all that nonsense off, for now. It’s Thursday, the sun is shining and I’m going to see The Prodigy tonight. As the Kool Kidz would say…BOOM!

That wasn’t part of the plan

I didn’t make it to Brisbane, Fraser Island or Whitsundays.  Our planned road trip didn’t happen.  I didn’t even make it out of Sydney airport.  Instead, I spent four days in hospital.

When we got to the airport I started to feel nauseous and because I’d drank quite a bit over new year I put it down to a hangover.  I couldn’t remember the last time I was sick from a hangover but these things happen, so I didn’t think much of it.

After checking in, I vomited again and thinking that was the last of it we went to our departure gate…to find out our plane had been delayed by 2 hours.   Then I had to vomit again and it all started.

I had sweat pouring off me and I was dizzy, nauseous and had some pains in my chest and after being in the toilet for about 20 minutes eventually made myself get up, find my friend and find some first aid as I knew something was up.  

My friend thought I was having a panic attack due to the plane being delayed and we’d been rushing about earlier to get to the airport.  I wasn’t convinced, but whilst I was sat with the first aid person I was getting worse, I was short of breath, the pains weren’t going away, I was still nauseous and even with an oxygen mask on I was struggling to breathe – so they called an ambulance. 

The ambulance came and they hooked me up to an ECG and took me to hospital.  Once I got there, the first couple of doctors said to me that I was showing signs of a heart attack, but “it can’t be a heart attack, you’re too young, fit, healthy etc”. They thought it was an inflammation/virus of the sack around the heart – like a flu virus – so they done more tests; ECGs, echos, ultrasounds, ultrascans…everything. 

Eventually another cardiologist came in and stood there with about 8 people around him waiting to whisk me away.  They were going to do a angioplasty procedure to rule out a heart attack.  They took me upstairs to the cardiologist unit and slapped some resuscitation pads on me “in case you do anything silly during the procedure”. 

They gave me a local anaesthetic and they cut into my groin and sent a tube up to have a look at the arteries.  Whilst they were doing that they found I had a blood clot in one of the main arteries of my heart – which they cleared and put a stent in the artery to keep it open.  I was awake whilst they were doing this and felt them doing it inside of me – even heard my heart monitor stop for a second too.

The blood clot had caused me to have a heart attack.  

The doctors still don’t know why it happened.  They’re still waiting on results of blood tests to see if I’m prone to blood clots.  My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were a bit higher than normal but not remarkable so.  The doctor said that nothing I’ve done in the past or have done caused this to happen.  It was all in my genes and it was like this from when I was born, it’s just been waiting to happen and I was lucky it happened when it did (with people around/close to hospital etc).  If that plane hadn’t have been delayed and I’d been on the plane, he said I wouldn’t have made it to Brisbane.  

I’m back home now and I will make a full recovery.  I’ve already been out and about for a few (very) slow walks.  I’m like a pensioner at the minute and I’m wondering if I can nab one of them mobility scooters from somewhere (I’d love a go on one of them).  But aside from all the tablets I need to take I’ve got to go and see a cardiologist in a month and to attend a cardiac rehabilitation program for 6 weeks (starting next week).  Have just been told to take it easy for the next 4-6 weeks – and as long as I don’t exert myself I’ll be fine.   I’ve got to reduce the risk of it happening again, so I’m off the booze for the foreseeable future (if not indefinitely).  The doctor said I couldn’t have sex for two weeks, to which I replied “that’s ok, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, it’s all the same”.  He didn’t find it as funny as me.

I’m just relieved it happened when my friend was here, she’s been amazing and I don’t know what I would’ve done if she hadn’t have been around.  We’ve got the same sense of humour, so we’ve found the humour in everything – from me off my face on morphine in the ER, to walking around like a pensioner.  When something like this happens it makes you realise how far away from family and friends you are.

Because it’s so rare for this to happen to someone of my age, the doctors have took my charts to use to teach other doctors and they’ve also put me on a research program as well.

I still haven’t got my head around it yet, but it’s all been very surreal week.  I’m 33 years old, no history of health/heart problems, relatively fit and healthy and I’ve had a heart attack.  It just goes to show, it could happen to anyone, at any time.

It’s time to put my feet up and get through a shitload of movies and TV.  What a start to 2013. 

My bones are still broken

Three months after my (life saving) bone graft, I went for a follow up to see if the bones had healed ok.  One side of the scaphoid bone has joined and healed ok…the other side hasn’t.  So far.

The surgeon thinks it may just need more time (he has known it to take 18 months to join together).  But for now, I literally can’t do anything else apart from wait for another 2 months and then go back for a follow up and another CT scan to check it.

On the picture below, you can just about work out where the bone has joined…and you can see a big gap where the screw is, where the bone tissue doesn’t even look close to joining on the other side. (Looks like it needs some concreate pouring in there never mind bone tissue joining).

The physio who I’ve been seeing, almost weekly, and was (slowly) getting my wrist to move  again, now can’t do much more with me either because pushing my hand further or doing more physio could damage the bone repair.  So I’m stuck for a few months with a gimp hand.

I never thought it’d be this much hassle (and obviously I didn’t realise I’d done that much damage to it initially).  To say I’m totally over not being able to use my right hand fully is an understatement…especially as I’m right handed.  So no lifting anything slightly heavy…I can’t even pick up a kettle, or carry a cup of tea…no putting pressure on it, shaking hands, blah blah blah.

To give you an idea how much I can move my hand refer you to diagram 2.  Diagram 1 is how far I can bend my left hand back without thinking about it.  Diagram 2 is how far back my gimp hand goes (it doesn’t go much further bending it the other way either).

The surgeon told me my hand will never get back to ‘normal’ again (normal = how it was before op), and that it’ll be 12 months before it’s “as normal as it’ll get”, whatever that means.  He also told me I’ll never be able to do push ups again.

Oddly, he didn’t tell me any of that before the operation.

So, sadly, even though my fingers still work and I can continue my classical piano career, I’ve had to regrettable withdraw from the World Push-Up Championships.  It was a devasting blow, especially when I think back to my record breaking 3 push-ups I last done about 10 years ago.

If I could grow a decent goatee I’d be contemplating life as a Jeremy Beadle impersonator.  Some things, obviously, aren’t meant to be.

Just Say No

I was people watching whilst waiting for my Mango Magic smoothie when a couple interrupted me. I wasn’t really in a chatting mood and just hoped they were after directions.

Instead of asking for directions she asked me if I would be interested in attending a stage show. 

It’s not what I’d expect to be asked whilst waiting at a smoothie stall, but not wanted to be pestered, I replied short and to the point. “No, it’s not my type of thing”.

Instead of taking this as their cue to piss off and leave me alone she started blabbering on about this show and instead of cutting her off I let her talk, I smiled and pretended to be interested.  Then, hearing my accent, she started asking questions about me, how long had I been here for etc. 

Thinking if I told her I didn’t live here would get them to leave me alone – I told her I was travelling and was only here for a couple of weeks. 

“Oh, that’s good, the show is next Saturday. You could bring a friend along?”

They obviously didn’t hear me saying I wasn’t into stage shows.  But now instead of just flatly saying “No”, I made excuses…

One thing I’ve found with myself is that I very rarely say no.  I’m too eager to help people out or just go along with things for an easy life.  Something in my brain doesn’t let me say “no” and I’m never the best at thinking on my feet.  The best I came up with was:

“Well, I’d have to ask my girlfriend, but she’s not well at the minute, so I’m not sure she’d want to go”. 

As if it wasn’t enough to have an imaginary girlfriend, I was suddenly the only person in the world with a sick, imaginary, girlfriend. 

I thought I heard my name being called, which meant my smoothie was ready: I could escape.  But in all the confusion it wasn’t my name – I’d picked up and drank someone else’s smoothie.  I had to apologise (to a male with a real girlfriend) whilst they made another. 

This couple continued on at me, wanting me to buy tickets to their show, whilst all I could think of was who my sick girl was, what she looked like and what was her name?

They asked if they could take my phone number to follow up with me during the week to buy some tickets. Talk about the hard sell… anyone else would’ve said no at this point.  Not me, I agreed, whilst in my head I said ‘give them a fake number’, ‘give them a fake number’, ‘give them a fake number’.  Although I could make up an ill partner on the spot, I obviously can’t make up fake phone numbers…and gave them my phone number.  

I walked away slurping on my Mango Magic wondering what the hell had just happened.

True to their word, one of them called me back last night to ask if I was interested in buying a ticket.  Instead of just saying no, I told him my girlfriend had been rushed to hospital so we wouldn’t be able to make it.

I don’t think he’ll call back.