Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow: Part 2

Picking up where I left off, the local hospital said I'd have to wait a week to get the needle removed from my hand. I'm an impatient person to start with and that was entirely too long. I jumped in the car (automatic shift this time) and drove to the ER at a different hospital about 50 miles away. Their blood pressure machine worked and they quickly flagged me with high blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat. VERY rapid. Atrial flutter. Since they are a cardiac oriented hospital, they wasted no time in getting me admitted for the heart problems. The needle in the hand sort of got some minor attention, but the heart stuff was center stage. After a day or so of giving copious amounts of blood and being poked and prodded with needles in both arms for IV's, my heart rate was back to normal and I was scheduled for tests that finally lead to some cardiac ablation...killing the nerve endings in my heart that were causing the flutter. As an afterthought, they also found a plastic surgeon to take care of the needle. So it took me four days to get the needle out of my hand and my heart back to something approaching normal...all because of a cat.

I guess the upside of this is that I'm feeling much better. I certainly appreciate everyone who took the time to pray for me, stop by my hospital room, call, or send a card. Friends are what makes life so enjoyable. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow: Part 1

I guess God isn't done with me yet. Some of you probably already know I spent a few days in the hospital last week. You might not have heard all of the circumstances, so I'll fill in the details. It's a long story, so I'll split it up into two separate posts.

We have several cats that my wife adopted a few months ago that hang around outside. Although they are permitted to come in the house occasionally, they spend most of their time outside. Once they get inside, they prefer to stay inside, so it's a bit of a chore to catch them. If you recall the closing credits for the old Flintstones cartoon, Dino would jump back in the window after Fred tossed him out. It's kind of like that.

Sunday night (Sept. 9th) around 9 p.m., one of them had gotten into the house uninvited and it took me a while to finally get hold of it. I opened the back door and put the cat back out. I was just a little aggravated about the cat, so I used a little more "oomph" than usual when I put my hand on the door to slam it.

Go with me wife doesn't do that much sewing, but when she does, she's picked up the habit of parking her sewing needle in the nearest available curtain. Some time in the distant past, she was sewing something near that door I was slamming and parked her needle in the curtain that hangs over it's window. After slamming the door, I was surprised to find that needle was now sticking out of my right hand. Pulling on the thread that dangled from the needle only retrieved half of the foreign object. The other half remained inside my hand causing a moderate amount of pain.

Since I didn't want to leave the needle in my hand, I decided a hasty trip to the local hospital ER was in order. Unfortunately my wife had gone to work, leaving me with her vehicle to drive...which is a stick shift. My daughter can't drive a stick, so it was up to me to get myself to the ER somehow. Thankfully there wasn't much traffic that night, I was able to get there with a minimum of shifting...3rd gear most of the way.

Once in the ER, they tried to take my vitals, but the automatic blood pressure machine gave them an error message. Apparently it was too much trouble to check it manually, so they just skipped that step and moved on. X-rays determined that the needle was in too deep and couldn't be removed until they located a surgeon. Two hours later with a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and some pain pills, I was on my way back home in 3rd gear. The hospital said they would call me Monday to let me know when a surgeon could remove the needle for me.

By 2 p.m. Monday afternoon I gave up waiting and called the hospital. Yes, a surgeon was available...the following Monday. I don't think you'll be surprised to find out that I felt waiting 7 more days was unacceptable. The pain pills helped a bit, but my right hand was unusable for all practical purposes and still hurt like the dickens whenever I moved my wrist the slightest bit.

To be continued...