Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reality Reset

It would be easy to take a diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure as a death sentence, perhaps, because it is. The statistic that 35% of those diagnosed with it die in the next year is anything but encouraging. As might be expected, the first few hours after my unofficial diagnosis, I looked at it that way myself. In the first day or two, I went through panic at how to get some things done “in time”, self pity, and anger at myself, for letting myself ever get in this fix.

Gradually, though, a cooler head prevailed. For one thing, if you live beyond that first year, your chance of mortality drops from 35% to only 10%. I intend to survive that first year. I remember, too, that my late brother-in-law lived several years with the condition. Also, one of my readers said that her mother-in-law lived 25 years with that same condition, though I’m sure she didn’t weigh over 400 pounds, like I do.

My weight can be reduced, though, which would help. When the weather cools, maybe I can walk a little, which may help, too. I may never sleep lying down again, though. For that reason, I’ve decided not to fix up Dad’s old iron bed, in order to get my mattress off the floor. In fact, I question if I even need the mattress anymore. I’m trying to give the bed a good home. I’ll wait a while on the mattress. It may eventually be replaced with a lounge chair, though, if I can ever afford one.

Currently, I’m sleeping in a stuffed parlor chair, sometimes resting my feet on a folding chair to get them off the floor and, hopefully, reduce the swelling in my feet and legs a bit. Not being able to lie down at night doesn’t let the swelling go down any. As a result, the swelling is the worst it’s ever been, and my shins ache and throb at times. I go Monday morning to be measured for a pair of compression stockings to help with the problem. They’re $200 for the pair—hard luck for a poor man.

Even before this came up, I was beginning to accept the fact that there were some things in life that I’d never do again. I’d already realized that I’d never cut any timber again, and was in the process of selling one of my chainsaws. With my new condition, I thought about selling the other one, too, but have decided to hang onto it a while.

I’d originally planned to retire at age 62 and do a few things that I hadn’t gotten to earlier in life. I’m not going to build that brick forge now, though, so I probably don’t need to hang onto my grandfather’s anvil. I might still tinker with a brake drum type forge, though, but I can use my chunk of railroad track to beat on for light stuff. I’ll probably never finish the two muzzleloaders I started many years ago and decided to put away until retirement. Even if I did, I probably couldn’t lug them through the woods to hunt with them. It’s probably best to sell them to someone who would finish and use them. I’ll probably sell most of the few guns that I have remaining, to pay down medical bills and such. I’ll keep my little tack-driving Ruger 10/22, and the old Thompson Center Renegade that I had made into a smoothbore. I’ll also keep the old Iver Johnson shotgun that I carried so much in my youth. I might be able to stump-sit a little, plus, there’s always the defense angle.

My antique hand woodworking tools cause me some concern. I know that I won’t have the wind to use many of them, since I can’t currently even sing, or do a good job of whistling, or even humming. No-one else in the family would use them, either. There’s a young man at work that might use them, but I’m not sure. I think I may just sort out the ones that I think I might still be able to use and sell the rest.

I realize, too, that I’ll never build the small addition to the back room of the house, or add a carport. It sure would have been nice have a place to sleep downstairs, without taking up part of another room. It would have been nice to get our cars out of the weather, too. Oh well, I’ve got work that needs done on what house we have already, I guess there’s no need to make more work.

Still, all-in-all, my condition doesn’t change things as much as I first thought. I’ll continue taking the same medications. I was already scaling back my plans in life, due to getting older and not having the abilities that I once did. Plus, God reminds us that we aren’t even promised tomorrow, let alone the next year, or the next decade. I do wish, too late, that I’d taken a little better care of His “temple.” Maybe, by His grace, I WILL get some of the writing done that I’d hoped. © 2015


M. Silvius said...

Gorges I've been reluctant to comment on the subject for fear of hurting your feelings. But now its am matter of life and death and you really need to work on cutting down on the weight. I know at times you have been fatalistic about it seemingly willing to accept what comes, but remember God helps those who help themselves. This really is your last chance. Your heart will never be the same as the damage to the muscle has already been done. You simply have to shed the weight if you stand any chance of reducing the stress on your heart and extending your stay. It is a mater of calories in and calories out. 3500 calories per pound. Got to learn to cope with a bit of hunger and limit your intake. Absolutely no more McDonalds and no soda pop of any kind. Ask your doctor to set you up with a a dietician, and a physical therapist to set up an exercise regimen that you can handle. Do not take NO for an answer. You will be amazed a how quick you can shed the pounds and how much better you will feel. Just remember every time you think its difficult, its a matter of staying alive and it will become easier.

Pumice said...

I am a little older than you and am looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. As I keep telling the kids at school when I mention the possibility of death, "I am ready to go." That doesn't mean I am in a hurry, but I am ready. I have decided that I won't live long enough to make hard bound books worth the purchase, unless it is a title my kids will want. I don't have all the projects in mind that you have but I am also aware that I need to set priorities.

One advantage you have is the significant number of people who are praying for you. I will be lifting you up not only for your current problems but the issue of weight control.

Grace and peace

Sunnybrook Farm said...

No point in making a list of what you can't do, I would be here a long time working on that one. Make some simple goals that you can accomplish each day and build on that. It will take a while to lose the weight and you have to be careful not to get malnourished as your body will still send resources to all of the fat cells which have to be maintained. It isn't as simple as people think but there are experts that have a lot of it figured out if you can get to see one somehow. I know there are some at Winchester but that is a long way.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I am so sorry to hear about your condition! Please do what you can to keep healthy, we don't want to lose you.

Gail said...

My husband has had heart trouble for many years with stents and an ICD. Except for welding he still is active. He is short winded but that comes and goes with different activities.

When his refraction rate dropped they sent him to another hospital and said We've done all we can do...congestive heart failure. Well, he beat that and refraction rate improved. He still has some leaky valves but they say that is normal as we age.

For some reason, and I think I've told you this before, ten pounds less is the magic number to remove the pressure from your heart. When Hubby is having a bad day he takes two water pills and it relieves the pressure.

Few of us can still do what we did even at fifty. Sadly, it's true. Do not put your dreams on a shelf. It might take you longer, but you can still do them.

You are in my prayers.

Sixbears said...

You are reacting in a positive manner and that could make all the difference.

Gorges Smythe said...

Your comments would have been welcome at any time, Michael, though your reluctance to offend is appreciated. I'm already working on the weight issue with a modified diabetic diet. Time will tell how it works. Thanks for your concern. And yes, I'm a bit of a fatalist by nature. LOL

Yes, Pumice, I AM blessed by all those prayers, including yours. Thank you.

I will, Kathy, I still have things that I want to do.

Thanks for the encouragement, Gail. I'm not putting ALL my dreams on the shelf, just some of them.

Thanks, Sixbears; you may be right.

9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB !! said...

Never give up, never give up, never, never, never give up.

Chickenmom said...

First shock, then denial and then determination. That's the three stages for a fighter of CHF, Gorges. Losing those extra pounds will be the hardest, but you'll see see a big improvement in your energy and breathing. If you get discouraged, just let us know - we'll be right beside you to get you back on track! That's what friends are for.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, 9/11, I don't plan to.

Thanks, Cm, I'm blessed to have the friends I do.

Fimbul myrk said...

Gorges, I was shocked to hear it was THAT bad. I hope you keep your determination, and don´t lose your faith. In the deity, but also in yourself. You WILL manage to lose weight. Just don´t give up.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks. If you don't know Him already, Fimbul myrk, my "diety's" name is Jesus. I pray that you'll get to know Him, if you don't.

deborah harvey said...

hi, sugar lump!
we have 2 friends who have 'non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver' caused by sugar free soda pop.
stay away from aspartame.
for sweetener use agave nectar, available at walmart, and pure stevia drops which must go in fridge after opening.
read every label.

don't jump to give up tools. you are young yet.

harry flashman at 'self sufficient mountain living' is a gun collector. his email is at the top of the page. if your guns are worth anything he may know a buyer who will give you a fair price.

one thing, it is a fact that men usually lose weight more quickly and easily than women.

go on 'free cycle' for your area to look for a recliner .also 'craig's list' which is where i found my hospital bed--cost $$ but worth it. having hip replaced and hurts now so easier to get out of bed with electric controls.

chicken mom said 'shock, denial, determination'. you are shocked now but it will get better.

a friend of ours, diabetic, weighed a huge amount. here's what he did.
he ate ice and drank water plain.

when he felt 'snacky' he ate a cup of ice from the ice machine at his job. he still takes a bottle of water everywhere with him. in summer he fills it 3/4 full and freezes it, sometimes two bottles. he takes them and as the ice melts he drinks the water. it is a fact that when you feel hungry you are probably actually thirsty. try the water gambit. can't hurt you.

daughter was on heavy dose of tetracycline for lyme disease, caused huge weight gain--used in feed lots to fatten cattle,-- and lost weight by eating the cheapest diet based on red lentils and chick peas. eats a lot of hummus. you might like it. do not eat it with gmo corn chips. all corn must be organic or you will be adding weight , not losing it.
this legume based diet is full of protein and is healthy.

she adds turmeric which keeps brain healthy, cayenne pepper and other spices for flavor. otherwise it may be bland. i don't like the taste of turmeric but a little in everything is undetectable and good for you.

we love you!
Jesus loves you!!!

hold on to Him tight.

deb harvey

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, dh. God bless you.

Judy said...

This may help with the cost of compression socks.
we get our compression socks from:

for considerably less than 200 a pair. if you wait until the semi-annual sale you can get one pair free with the purchase of 3.