Archive for May 2014
…or so Mira, the Cardiac Therapist tells me.
I need to get a new set of resistance bands, since mine have long vanished. Mira wants me to use the green one to exercise with, the goal being to stretch my sternum without breaking it. She is quite pleased with me, as am I.
I really have been taking Meryl and Maks as my role models for recovery. Today I did 2 sets of 20 minutes on the recumbent cross-trainer, the first at a workload of 4, the second at 3 (my legs were starting to tire). I did 2 minutes on the treadmill; not my best, but I had doubled my time on the bike from 5 to 10 minutes, and my legs were getting tired. I also did the SciFit Pro 1000 Upper Body machine for 8 minutes (4 one way, 4 the other) instead of 6 minutes. Unlike a regular gym, however, I get my blood pressure and O2 level checked after each exercise, and a large part of Mira’s job is to talk me out of doing more than I realistically can, although I keep surprising her with just how much I can do. Hell, I keep surprising me with how much I can do. Hard to believe that just over two months ago I was lying on a table with someone’s hands in my heart, cutting away at one wall of it.
Tonight, I’m going to dinner with some of the usual Friday group. We are hitting e-Sushi, a lovely sushi place on Flatbush Avenue near Quentin Road. Their all-you-can-eat deal is a very good one, with kitchen items as well as the sushi and sashimi. There will be some faces in the group that I have not seen for far too long, so this makes me very happy.
In other news I have started taking on a few small projects, as my energy allows. I hate not being able to contribute to the household, so it feels good to be able to cover at least some of what I normally do. I am, as always, very grateful to have friends who are willing to step up and help me through. My sister and her lovely friend, H, kept me busy walking a bit last weekend, as did my friend, Naomi.
Speaking of walking — if anyone wants to go walking, bearing in mind that my energy does still crash out suddenly, and that I do need a few more rest stops than I used to, I would love to hear from you to set up some walking dates. I spoke to Mira today, and she agrees with me that being able to walk from my house to my doctor and my cardiologist (four blocks from my home) by June 18 is a very doable goal. We also are starting to discuss moving me to three sessions a week after next week’s two sessions. This pleases me greatly. It occurs to me that I should talk with her about whether I can use my little one-pound weights for anything at the moment. I’m reading the book that came with my therapeutic yoga kit, and working on yoga breathing, which I learned long ago at Integral Yoga, on 13th Street in Manhattan. They are the best place I know to do yoga, and I will be getting myself to their therapeutic and chair yoga classes once I am a bit more able to travel on my own.
My Medicaid case manager called me this morning, and says that I am doing well enough that she no longer feels the need to check in with me every week, but that I should call her if I need anything, and she will let me know what hoops need to be jumped through in order to make it happen. I thanked her for her help, and told her I would miss hearing from her.
The roomie and I have hired a woman to come in every other week to do some light cleaning since I can’t do it myself at this point, but I got spoiled when I had the Home Health Aide helping me out. We agreed that it was an expense that made sense for right now.
There has been enough humidity in the air that I had the air conditioner running for the last two days. It often seems to be more humid in the apartment than outside, and this week has been no exception.
Anyway, I should get going so that I am ready when Marc gets here to pick up Sue and me. Have a good evening and a great weekend!
It’s been an interesting weekend.
On Saturday, I managed to make it to the House Three Skulls 30th Anniversary Event, held at the Estonian House, on Long Island. Naomi Moslow was kind enough to drive me there and back (she is also a member). Had a very good time, and got to see a ton of friends, and have some very good food. I need to do more events as I get better.
Other than that, this week has been pretty low-key. I got a couple of writing projects, which is always good. I have not, however, been up to pushing myself to walk more. I did speak to my Amerigroup caseworker, who has arranged cardiac rehab for me, and I have an evaluation set for Monday. Unfortunately, it’s at Lutheran Hospital, which is nowhere near me. The caseworker says that the insurance will provide transportation there and back, which I hope is accurate.
I still can’t seem to sleep more than 4-1/2 hours at a stretch, which is a bit annoying. I hope that will eventually change, but it is what it is for the moment.
The hard thing for me right now is that I do find it discouraging that I cannot walk as far as I used to, but I also don’t seem to be inclined to push my limits too far. What walking I can do is without a cane, which is great, since at one point I thought I would be stuck on a cane for the rest of my life, but I seem to not be overly motivated to get my tush out of my chair and go walking a lot. I need to work on that, and I know it. If anyone wants to go walking with me, or meet me in Brooklyn or Manhattan for social stuff, that would be a huge help in getting me off my duff. I’ve never liked just walking for walking’s sake; when I used to walk all over, I had destinations to go to, and things to do. I suspect that having some of those again would be helpful. I’m not sure what the cause of the malaise is, but I know I need to break it in order to continue to get better.
So, that’s where things are at this morning.
Since I last wrote, I’ve seen the surgeon for a follow up, had the home visits from the PT that my insurance would cover, and had my second follow up with the cardiologist. Everyone is pretty pleased with my progress, but there are a few changes in the works.
First, I am walking more. I have gone from about 300 steps a day to about 680 steps a day (average as noted on FitBit). This is pleasing, although I wish I could do more already. However, I can get in and out of my sister’s van now, which I couldn’t do for months before the surgery.
This morning, the cardiologist and I discussed bringing my blood pressure down. When I was doing nothing but lying around all day, it was fine, but as I have become more active, it has started rising again, which the cardiologist tells me is my body starting to come back to its version of normal. We agree that I need to start the diuretic again, but he is easing me into it, which works for me. He noted that I have a left branch bundle block, which basically means that the “electricity” i my body is going slightly lower on the left side tan the right. We will watch it, but so long as I remain asymptomatic, its just something to know is there. Also, the heart murmur is much reduced, but it may never go away entirely. Again, something to keep an eye on, but nothing to worry about unless I start showing symptoms or it starts getting worse.
When I am off the amiodarone in another week, I will be looking into cardiac rehab places near me, so that I can continue to build my stamina. I am continuing to try to go out a bit, and extend my walking range, which is progressing, although not as fast as I’d like. The main thing is that I have to remember to stop when I need to, and not to try to push my way through to the point where I burn out. For me, that is hard. I’m used to pushing way past my comfort zone in order to get stuff done, and I just cannot do that now, or I could screw all the progress I have made.
As far as work goes, I have been accepted for a project I want very much to work on, so that is good. I am starting at the minimum due each week, and will build up to doing more.
Anyway, that is what is happening at the moment. If anyone is local to me and wants to do something, or even wants to just come over and hang out, or walk to the park with me, that would be most welcome, since the largest obstacle to my recovery is me sitting around all day.