Conversation with a fellow Stenter

The only two raisons d’etre for this blog are 1. to get things out there in public which otherwise might not have been seen and 2. catharsis.

It’s a strange thing enemies don’t understand but should I lose this blog, I’d not cry because it has always been just a trusty tool, not an end in itself. One would pick oneself up and start again.  Wouldn’t want to lose research contributions though, e.g. DR’s, the crew’s.

But it’s also complicated by loyalty to what the readers perceive as a good thing and mine host has put himself out too, so I feel a need to provide him with a daily read to justify my place in his firmament. He’s the boss. I feel similar to the “N.O. staff” and readers – these people have expended their time and energy, the least I can do is my part.

That cathartic factor – there is no doubt whatever that having an outlet to rant and know there is at least a medium sized syndicated readership is nice and this post now falls clearly under that heading – the more people who read this the better, perhaps it’s almost a public service to fellow poor sods.

It was on the way to the hospital yesterday that the driver [I’ve known this chap for years and we’ve talked] asked about “how the stent was”. He knows it was put in late July last year, similar to his own.

Me: Complicated by this flu going round.

He: I see you have it too [he coughed]. Do you find pressure on your chest?

Me: I wouldn’t say pain but I’m quite aware of the blood trying to course round and it’s struggling.

He: Strange feeling, innit? I’ve tried to explain to the wife but unless you’ve had this –

Me: Yes.

He: Did you have a second one put in?

Me: I refused and they wrote me up as “uncooperative” later – that worries me.

He: Why’d you refuse?

Me: I was already in bad nick, it was my back, between the shoulderblades and the two arms where the triceps are – that’s where I felt the attack. [Actually it was the heart which has no nerves, so they say, and this was the referred pain.]

He: Yep, mine was around the back too. The first stent was OK but when they went to do the second, I had another attack. The first was straightforward but the second was on a bend and that’s what caused the angina attack. Why did you refuse the second?

Me: That thing about them being around the back – it affects how I lie down to sleep even now. I refused because the pain in the back and arms became unbearable, flat on that trolley, more than the heart attack itself had been. I’d already been on the table an hour and five minutes – I’d just about had enough.  Can’t say I felt the catheter itself –

He: Right wrist or further down?

Me: Right wrist. That bit was surprising – it felt strange but no more than that –

He: Same here.

Me: But it was when he came close and said that if they explored this second one, it would be ten minutes but if a stent went in, it would be half an hour – that’s when I said, “End it please, take it out.”  And they did.  Quickly.  I threw their oxygen mask off too with my spare hand.

He: They continued with me and I had the second attack. [Silence for half a minute] Do you have trouble sleeping?’

Me: Funny you should say that. Being older anyway, that’s going to happen but yep, I sleep on a bed made like a hospital bed, on an angle and I wake after about 3 to 3 and a half hours every night.

He: Same.

Me: But being on my own, like, it doesn’t matter. So I might drop off around 11 and wake up around 3 in the morning, get up and go on the computer, write some posts for a site I write on, then go back to sleep about 4, even 5, and go through till about 8 or 9. So I get my 7 to 8 hours that way.

He: You sleep during the day?’

Me: Try not to. I’ve a portable bed so I pack it up and air the sheets to stop myself dropping back onto it. I keep doing chores all day.

He: I’m a member of a gym but I don’t get the chance much, working as I am.

Me: Yep, I’m at a gym too but not for two weeks now. This flu came on the Wednesday before last, after I’d been to the gym.

He: Throat, cough, ears, head, then cough again?

Me: That’s the one. I’m probably still two to three days away from being right but every time I go out, something toxic sends me back to square one. You’re in this the whole time [he coughed]. Do you feel the flu has affected the heart?

He: It’s definitely a very strange internal feeling, can’t explain it –

Me: Except to someone who’s had similar. I understand it perfectly. You wonder if the internals are actually working. Whether it’s just going to come on again.  I mean, we’re being kept alive on drugs, supplied by the government.  What I don’t like about this flu is – it might not be as bad as some I’ve had in the past but you get sudden attacks of coughing, I double up on the floor.

He: 24/7. It’s like being on borrowed time.

Me: That’s why I’m really careful who I let through to see me.  I’ve no phone on – I’ve a line but nothing connected to it except the broadband, the only way through is email, mail or if I do the phoning – even the government know that and haven’t complained.  They just send a brown envelope, sometimes email.  Most people hate it, they want you on call 24/7.

He: Tell me about it.  How’s your energy?

Me: Up and down – bursts of high energy, e.g. middle of the night, periods of low where I can’t even wash the dishes. I do wash them twenty minutes later or so but I stand there, looking and can’t move my body. I’ve never been lazy and I find that amazing. Mind says do the bloody things and the body says nope. I used to wear people out, like a woman [he smiled]. Don’t know how you do this all day.

He: It’s sitting down, have lunch, drive some more. You worried about your sleep?

Me: Nah, I think it’s keeping me alive.

He: How so?

Me: The body knows better than I do when the rate’s gone too low, the pressure, whatever it wants, so it wakes me up. The sleep apnea is part of that.’

He: Ah, you have that too.  Wife says I’m a beast.

Me: Well, we are, aren’t we?   So I get up – always get up, move around, do this and that, it soon settles down and I’m fine. Does it worry you?

He: A bit.

Me: Look, if you put the two halves of the sleep together, you get your regulation amount so it’s not too bad. Snoozing during the day is something I don’t want to start. I work a working day. Doesn’t matter if I don’t have real work, I make some, like administering websites. I have to have the place clean – well, acceptable anyway – I need to vacuum when I get back, then make corrections to my book.

He:  We have to listen to the old bod.

Me:  Absolutely – body says what it wants, we have to feed the beast, we have to obey.

He:  How’s the boat?

Me:  On hold till we’re out of this cold for good.

He:  Well, it’s been good talking again. See you next time [coughing attack].

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5 comments for “Conversation with a fellow Stenter

  1. February 13, 2018 at 13:39

    Get y’self an air pump and mask for the sleep apnea. It will give you a sound night’s sleep.

    I have had it for years. The first seven years before diagnosis I didn’t dream. Always exhausted. No rem sleep. I started on the CPAP machine and the transformation was dramatic.

  2. Kevin B
    February 13, 2018 at 13:42

    James, I haven’t. (yet), been stented though I have had a TIA which seems to have resulted in my left interior carotid artery being scanned as first 93% blocked and second, 100% blocked. The Drs don’t stent at that sort of level, preferring to let the surrounding blood vessels take up the slack, since the risk of dislodging bits of the blockage and causing another stroke are too high.

    But the reason I’m commenting is to ask if you supplement with magnesium. I take an Mg supplement for three reasons:

    1)Helps me sleep through the night or get quickly back to sleep when I get up for a pee;

    2)Keeps me regular, (though too much can keep me too regular);

    3)Reduces the foot and leg cramps and general restless leg syndrome that I suffer from.

    All this helps keep me going of course, but this web page tends to suggest that too little magnesium is a factor in a lot of diseases including heart attacks and strokes.

    There’s no mention of colds or flu, maybe zinc for that, but you might like to consider Mg supplementation.

    • February 13, 2018 at 14:16

      Mag is good.

      I had a TIA fifteen years back which left a hole in my head the size of a sixpence. It took some seven years to fully recover.

    • February 13, 2018 at 14:50

      Hadn’t thought of that one. Cheers.

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