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