Grump Central Archive: Week of 11 April 2021

Saturday, 24 April 2021

The kitchen is inching closer to completion. While I was in the hospital, a package arrived containing two pieces of glass: the doors for the china cabinet. After returning home, I summoned every ounce of energy I had to install the doors, which to be honest was a fairly trivial effort. Just install the four hinges on the cabinet frame, lock the glass panels into the hinges, and attach the handles; it was a bigger challenge opening the package. It's remarkable what a significant difference it makes in the kitchen's appearance—I'm frequently startled by the reflection of the glass when I catch it in the corner of my eye.

Friday, 23 April 2021

After my week-long stay in the hospital, there will be a few changes around these parts. In particular, I used to update this website sometime during the night, between midnight and 3-4 AM. In the hospital, I asked about how to deal with my anxiety, which interfered with my sleeping, and they prescribed Ambien. Now I have a new friend: Ambien allows me to sleep past 4 AM; in fact, I've been rising after the sun for the first time in I've no idea how long. So the website won't be updated until after I'm up and awake, say 6-7 AM. It's amazing how much this all makes me feel like a normal human being! Would have been nice to know about this decades ago...

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Naturally everyone wants to know how I feel. To be honest, I feel like shit—not much better than I felt before I went into the hospital a week ago. "But... that makes no sense. You just came from the hospital, so you ought to be feeling better." I arrived home with a half-dozen very potent new drugs, and my body needs time to acclimate to them. This is a slow process that can take weeks, during which time I'm going to feel pretty awful.

Plus, I have a whole new ailment with which to deal: kidney failure. I barely had the time to discuss this with the hospital doctors when I was released, so now I need to find a specialist and hash it out with them. But given the very bad state of my heart, kidney failure may be the least of my problems.

I suspect at this point in time my greatest issue is my emotional state. It's not like I didn't know this was coming, and I'm not in denial; it's just seeing the test results in black and white suddenly makes it very real—the degradation of my heart across the last year is vividly clear, and more or less on schedule. I'm not even a doctor and I could see the poor organ faltering in the echocardiogram I just got. Thankfully I've got all of my ducks in line. I am ready for it.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

I'm leaving yesterday's post up for a few days so folks can catch up.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

I'm finally back from the hospital. First I was supposed to be released Saturday. Then Saturday became Monday. Then, out of an abundance of caution, Monday became Tuesday. All because I'm facing multiple acute issues: continued deterioration of the heart, with a lower ejection fraction, two valves that have become leaky, and an irregular heart rhythm. Plus, a whole new topic of which I was unaware until this morning: stage 3 kidney failure.

I returned home with more meds, stronger meds, and a frustrated cardiologist because I refused two surgical procedures. I'm sorry, but I'll only go just so far treating this mess, and going under the knife is not on my list of acceptable treatment options—especially when the plans involve installing pumps and other hardware in my body.

So now I have a small pharmacy at my disposal. One of the new meds—the one meant to regulate my heart rhythm—has the lovely side effect of hot flashes and eye-watering headaches. That's on top of the dizzy spells from the new beta blocker. There are always trade-offs, small prices to pay for those last few hours of life, and it's trivial in the grand scheme of things. And on that note, the doctors are now speaking in terms of a survival window for the first time: ten to twelve months.

Some of my friends are quite cross with me for refusing to do absolutely everything possible to live longer. But it's still my choice. A couple of my closest friends are self-aware enough to acknowledge their selfishness, of placing their desires above mine. It's difficult enough for them to accept that I'm dying; placing themselves in my shoes, and imagining what it's like to be in a continuous state of recovery as I endure each new procedure, is not a place they're willing or able to go.

For me, it's all about quality of life: six months of relatively comfortable living is better than two years spent recovering from surgeries, managing battery packs and taking 300 pills a month to hold everything together. I'm grateful such things are not legally mandated, because I'd be forced to go to extreme measures to avoid them. As it is, I can end a discussion with a doctor about such things quite quickly by simply saying, "I have a DNR"—a Do Not Resuscitate directive, which forbids them from performing any life-saving procedures should my heart suddenly give out.

Some of my friends get it. One of them pegged this as a matter of personal choice, of taking control of our bodies and, in particular, what's done to them. Imagine a case where we lost that control, and were forced to endure whatever other people—including individuals who aren't even family members—decide to do to you. It has the potential of subjecting you to agonizing procedures for as long as they can keep your heart beating. This is not fantasy or paranoid delusion; it is done all of the time, torturing others presumably in the name of love and caring.

This is not acceptable. I firmly believe in death with dignity: my heart will decide when it's my time, not a relative or a doctor, or even—and especially—a court of law. And, just to be certain, I have one like-minded friend who has agreed to take matters into his own hands in the event that control of my life is wrested from mine. It takes a brave individual to agree to such a thing. I feel gifted for having such a friend.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Please note that I'll be in the hospital having some tests done and getting some new meds. There won't be any updates for a few days, so no cause for concern. I will have access to email while I'm there.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

12 April across seven years, starting with 2015 at the top left.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Whilst waiting for the dishwasher to show up, I decided to finally make a modification to the bathroom I've been wanting to do since around June 2020—that's when I installed the tub and quickly realized the access to it was quite inadequate. Plus, with me becoming weaker and less flexible each day, I was keen to get it done. So I engineered a plan for a second step. As a bonus, it serves as a place to sit down whilst drying. The grandkids are sure fascinated. In other news, I've added two new film & TV reviews.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Still here. Not much else to say.

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