It was the first time I got a whiff of what real bad anxiety might feel like. This version was different from the usual “down in the dumps.” Or, I did have an experience about 15 years ago where I felt so stressed that it felt like my skin crawled, so that would have been pretty close. This time in the ICU was terrible, though. I felt like I would not make it through the day, just lying there. The bed felt small, and as if there was no place to hide. When the rounds came, I would usually be pretty talkative, joke, and have a good time with the staff. Not this time. Having a crew forming a semi-circle around you and probe about your health when you are freaking was not great. I sat there wishing I could escape into the bathroom to hide, but the drainage tubes from my gut made any trip like that impossible. I was stuck in bed.
I hope you’re all doing well, and as usual, thanks for stopping by and reading.
It is still Thursday which is my publishing day. Sure, it has been a couple of months since the last one, but in the new year I am trying to create some new habits. One of them being to work on this comic on a more regular basis again.
So, actually, happy new year! 2018 was a good year and here’s to 2019 being even better.
On a techie note: The platform on which I publish this comic on, WordPress, just introduced a new editor. It looks pretty much like a Squarespace rip-off which, in my view, is a good thing. Squarespace is super easy to work with. However, for this particular project I have gotten used to do things the old way and will stay with that. I don’t have the time to rebuild the pages to look like they have in the past. However, for any new project I’d probably use Gutenberg (the witty name of the new editor).
Anyway, I’m sure you’re at the edge of your seats with my meanderings so I’ll stop.
Thanks again for coming here to read again!
Getting these installments out while running my own video production shop has shown to be a challenge. I am very happy to be very busy with paid work, but it doesn’t leave much extra time to jot this stuff down. I am hoping to reach the end of this story pretty soon and then make a book.
On a different note: as of 2018 I changed health care providers and am now going to a different hospital. Did I mention I had my annual checkup in August and everything looked great! A big relief, since a couple of months before that I had noticed that I did not have the same stamina in my workout class as before. I used to be able to run at pretty high speed for the reps we did, but now I found myself getting tired quicker. Granted I had taken a few months off, and at 50 years old my shape is going away pretty quickly if I don’t keep at it. I had also experienced a few head rushes when standing up after squatting or sitting on the floor. In short, all things that I used to feel before my surgery. My first thought was “oh man. Is this it with this heart? Will I need another transplant?” There’s a big range of how long your heart lasts after a transplant and a few years ago I heard about a guy who’s heart started to get a lot weaker after 9 years. I am only 5 years out, but you never know. Basically, I will never be “out of the woods” with this. I will always need medication. The best thing I can do is to take as good care of myself as possible and I think I am doing alright in that department.
But, the annual test results told me all was good! I feel like it was yet another wake up call. To the point of this week’s installment, it is easy to start slipping on your commitments. Even the life important ones, like in my case doing some kind of physical activity every day. So this time I realized that I really wanted to be serious about regular workouts. It doesn’t have to be some insane cross-fit sessions, but going for a swim or a walk or some type of workout class. I always hated running so walks is a good compromise, and right now there is research stating that a 30-minute walk is as good as any heavier workout. Who knows? Those things change every six months it seems like, but I choose to believe it since I really like walking.
Anyway, like I said, this week is about saying and promising things that you think you will for sure (!!!) do, and then still not following through on them. Even things that could be life-threatening. It is a mystery. Life is not as linear and organized as I thought. It is a goup of emotions, happenstances, circumstances, wims and other mind mysteries. Hopefully, it has made me a bit more understanding of other people and their struggles.
Thanks for coming by and reading,
In an earlier installment of this comic I said that when I was admitted to the hospital and was told I’d need a heart transplant, my first thought was “ok, personal bankruptcy. Fine, seven years of no access to anything. Let’s just do it. Maybe I can disconnect myself from the family so that they don’t have to sit through this shit”.
This week talks about the outpour of mental and monetary support that our family received. It was incredible and very moving. People that I had not heard from in over 10 years, friends of the family, old coworkers and employers, friends of friends, everyone came forward.
When drawing this episode I re-visited that time again and re-realized what incredible help we received. Thank you to everyone who helped holding us through those tough times!
Thanks for reading and big hugs.
Another account of life after coming home from the hospital.
I could not be in a situation where did not have access to electricity for any longer periods of time. I had to be in touch with the local fire station in order to ensure power in case there was a power outage. That kind of preparedness was mind blowing to me and made me wonder how many people in similar, dire situations were located in my neighborhood.
Luckily I had never had to run down to the fire station. Instead I got to heal up, ride my bike, pick the kids up from pre-school and take part of daily life. It was great.
It’s amazing how quickly one adapts to new conditions. When going to sleep at night I plugged myself into the outlet on the LVAD machine while the batteries were charging. It just had become the new normal.
Hope you’re all doing well and thanks for reading.