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Thursday, January 19th 2012

7:31 AM (2346 days, 12h, 38min ago)


In my continuing effort to eat healthier and better I decided to give steel cut oats a try.  I had been led to believe that they were better tasting and better for you.  I cooked them exactly as directed.  They were not any better tasting.  I now have the answer.

PREPARE to cook them exactly as directed but then cook them only till the water cooks down.

It leaves them a little chewy and with a great texture. I add some kind of fruit to them or cinnamon and a non calorie sweetener.   My favorite is blue berries which I get frozen, bannannas and then strawberries.

It reminds me of a time when I started my day with KARN.  Stayed with them most of the day.  Taylor Carr was a morning host with Sharon Lee for a while.  One time he did a promotion with Quaker Oats.  If you signed up for it you got a metal "oat holder".  It was a tall cylinder kind of can with a lid on top.  It looked like the Quaker Oat box.  You could just slide the box in the metal can and your oats were protected.  (From what I can't be sure)

Well Taylor had oats every morning and had a different topping. Sugar some mornings, blue berries or bananas others and WE who were in the group were supposed to have the same thing. Turned me into an oats fan, cause oats taste good enough that with just a little push from some fruit, they are a great start to the day.

Back in high school, my favorite TV station was Channel 7.  watched it every night for the news, then DRAGNET and then whatever they had on for the most part.  It's funny when you are a kid you have LOTS of favorites.  Colors, birds, movies etc.  NOW I have Satellite radio and listen to what I want when I want.  If I miss a TV show I can usually get a replay of it on the Net somewhere. I had a falling out with Channel 7 when they got rid of Steve Barnes. Although they never said so publicly it was intimated at the time that it was because he was losing his hair.  I still see him on KETS.  He is STILL as smart as he was back then.  Funny how that works.

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Wednesday, October 19th 2011

7:05 AM (2438 days, 14h, 5min ago)

The good the bad and the kidney

Well, I survived Phoenix and the Grand Canyon.   I didn't realize until yesterday I left you all hanging about my condition. 

I THOUGHT they did a balloon angioplasty.  Turns out they did a LOT but did nothing to repair my coarc OR my aneurysms.

Dr. D who is a world class cardiovascular surgeon looked at my pictures and thought I needed something looked at his own 64 Slice CT scan and still thought I needed the procedure.  Once inside me with tools he found the the pressures on both sides of the coarc were the same.  THIS means that it's not causing a problem.  Then aneurysms are too small to need repairing.  I will still need to have my valve replaced in about 10 years and this will likely need to be addressed at that time.

If they had put the stent in they were going to need to do a sub-clavial  by-pass.  The stent would have blocked that artery and THAT would have stopped blood flow to my left arm.  I preparation for that thy put long needles in my wrists to tap an artery.  They did this to monitor blood pressure.  When they did the by-pass my pressure needed to stay the same.

THAT is the good.  About two weeks after my Northern AZ adventure I got a call from Dr D's nurse saying that they routinely send their CT scans out to be read by a radiologist.  The report came back on mine saying I have a cyst on my left kidney.

IT could be a horrible thing or it could be nothing.  Since I am not having any pain there I am thinking it's nothing.  I tried to get an appointment with a kidney specialist.  My PCP recommended one.  I called they would not event discuss an appointment without having my entire file in front of them.  I explained that I had limited time on insurance and they STILL said the same thing.

Called the nurse for my PCP and she gave me another name.  They did the same thing.  SO yesterday I showed up for an appointment with my PCP.  Turns out he doesn't take new patients with United Health Care.  Luckily I am NOT a new patient.  Unluckily I haven't seen him in 6 years to that DOES make me a new patient.  LUCKILY there is a physician at that clinic that DOES take new UCH patients.  Boys a and girls, for the first time in my life I saw a female doctor.  Now I have occasionally run into an intern or specialist that was female but this is the first time I have used a woman as my PCP.

Not ONLY am I now seeing someone younger than I but also a woman.

She was great.  You really can't force emotions.  You can control them and sometimes guide them but as I sat on the little paper covered table waiting for her to come in I wondered exactly how I'd feel about discussing my kidneys, bowels and heart issues with someone so different from me.

Turns out it was easy.  She was professional and empathetic and all the things you'd want from someone you have to spend time talking with about not too pleasant topics.

She convinced me I needed to get a colonoscopy while I still have insurance to cover it and is arranging for an ultrasound to take a look at my kidney cyst.  We discussed PLAVIX.  I am afriad my income is going to be increased just enough to knock me out of the program that got it for me a a reduced price.  It costs $282 a month without that.  She thinks I'd do OK with aspirin.  A WHOLE aspirin rather than a baby aspirin.

SO, soon I'll take that little nap that all of us need to take as they plumb the depths (heights?) of our colons.

I'll keep you posted.

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Friday, September 16th 2011

8:39 AM (2471 days, 12h, 30min ago)

The Wrap up from Phoenix

  • Mood: Optimistic
  • Music: (I've Been) Searching So Long-CHICAGO
 Well, I posted this and it disappeared.

Here's the wrap up from Phoenix.  I was given 4 IVs.  One in my right wrist directly into an artery, the same in my left and another on the other side of my wrist.  IT arterial needles were to monitor my blood pressure.  The intent was to do a bypass of my sub clavial artery and you gotta make sure the pressure is the same on both sides.  THEN there was one in my chest.  I was told that it was in case they needed to use some drugs that would not be compatible in the same needle and also I think they could get something in to jump start my heart if that was necessary.

The intent was to to the sub-clavial bypass, install a stent to correct my coarctation and then install 2 stent grafts to fix the two aneurisms.

The ended up doing none of the above.  Once they got the tubes up in me and were able to measure the pressures on both sides of the coarc they decided I didn't need to fix it.

I woke up and was hazy speaking to the surgeon and didn't really understand it all.  What he told me the next day was that the pictures my cardiologist sent him alarmed him.  CT scan also... When he got the 64 slice CT scan from HIS office he was convinced I needed surgery but once they got cameras and tubes and measuring devices up there it was obvious to them I didn't need anything done.

I came into this experience feeling very positive about the procedure woke up to be perplexed and now am thankful.  How often does a doctor tell you, "You don't need me".

After my follow-up with Dr. D yesterday my friend Lisa Walton,   took me to the Grand Canyon.  On the plane out here a lady told me that even though I'd seen lots and lots of photographs and movies I would not be prepared for what I would see.  She said I'd look over the edge and say "WOW".  I decided that no matter what I would not say "WOW"  Lisa got to Yavapai point and I got out and made my way up to the rim trail and got my first look took a deep breath and said, "WOW"

I'll have a link for my Flickr account soon so you can get a look at what I saw.   It truly is amazing.

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Thursday, September 15th 2011

6:21 AM (2472 days, 14h, 48min ago)

I am alive again!

Yesterday I would not have believed
that tomorrow the sun would shine
Then one day you came into my life
I am ALIVE again
I am ALIVE again-  CHICAGO (Hot Streets)

Well they did the procedure.  I went to sleep thinking that I would have 5 things done.  An angiogram, a balloon angioplasty, an aortic stent and two stent-grafts and a sub-clavial bypass.  I only had the angiogram and balloon angiplasty. 

I vaguely remember the surgeon coming in to ICU to tell me we had good news and I didn't need the stents but I was too out of it to comprehend why OR ask the questions.  I have a follow up today at 9a.m.   I'll ask then.

Right now I fell like I was beat up.  Sore nearly everywhere.  I had not had heart surgery before where I could remember it and I'm sure things have changed considerably since 1959.  Had 4 IVs and little metal things stuck all over me to monitor things.

I had a breathing tube down my throat and it caused a sore throat and some phlegm.  ALL IN ALL thought I feel pretty good.  The muscle and throat soreness should go away in a day or so and in a week I'll be able to lift things again.

REALLY Looking forward to finding out why I didn't need all the other stuff.

I had prepared a blog post that was titled BLOGGING FROM THE URN....or BERN FROM THE URN.

IT's not been deleted.  I said some things that would have pissed-off a few people, made some feel all warm inside and confused others.  It's gone for now but I may re-create it and give instructions in my will to have it posted.

Tonight or Tomorrow I'll let you all know what the doc has to say.

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Tuesday, September 13th 2011

3:04 PM (2474 days, 6h, 5min ago)

My surgeon can beat up your claims agent!

Made my appointment on time today.  Got to see the doc and then waited and waited and waited for them to call me back for a CTA.  It's a CT scan and angiogram in one.  When I realized it had been over an hour I asked at the front desk if I had been forgotten.  TURNS OUT that United Health Care was not approving the scan.  They were asking for the same info 3 times and the like.  I called got someone and he gave me a number and directions and said if the doc or NP or PA would call they could get that straightened out. 

Between surgeries the doc tried and got a fax line and then a ring with no answer.  I was mad so I called back and was chewing on someone's (r)ear and demanding to talk to someone that knew what was what.  Just then out on the sidewalk in front of the AZ Heart Institute was Dr. Deidrich.  I told the girl on the phone,  "I have the cardiovascular surgeon standing her will you talk with him?"  This scared the girl and she insisted I would be transferred to someone that COULD talk to a doctor.  Someone came on the line, and the Doc proceeded to explain what he wanted and why.  Then HE got transferred.  He got to listen to music for a bit and then a second person answered.  He went through all of it again.  Then he got transferred, AGAIN.  Third time being the charm the fellow gave him 3 "notification" numbers.  That means authorizations.  I told this to the lady doing the ekg a bit later and she said, "You mean he got angry and told someone to do it"  NOPE right on the sidewalk in the Phoenix sunshine Dr. Ted Detreitch argued on my behalf with an insurance person.

After all the tests, he showed me the images they got from the CT.  Amazing pictures.  It's very clear why I am having a blood flow problem.  My aorta goes from a width of 20 to 8 back to 20.  The plan is to do a subclavical bypass.  THEN put a stent and two stent grafts in my aorta.  The artery that goes to my left arm would be blocked by the stent so we need to do the bypass.  I asked if they could still do that without opening my chest and before the surgeon could answer the Doc showing the pictures turned to me and said, "Almost, this man can work miracles"

They are going to make a small incision near my collar bone and do the by pass then do two stent grafts and a stent.  This should fix all my current problems and I shouldn't need any more heart work for 10 years or more.  THEN I will be needing a heart valve.

Stay tuned.  I go to the hospital Wed at 5 A.M.  Procedure is scheduled for 7 and should be finished by 10.  These are all Mountain Standard Time.  Then recovery and a night in the hospital and release the next day. 

BOY, writing it here it sounds so quick and easy.  Hope I still feel the same this time tomorrow.

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Monday, September 12th 2011

5:45 PM (2475 days, 3h, 24min ago)

It's HOT here!

If you are new here there's a little box to the left that says SUBSCRIBE.  Put in your email address and you'll get notification when I make a new post.

FINALLY! I am in Phoenix.  Went down to the AZ Hear Institute today.  Got paper work out of the way.  Tomorrow I will be there for most of the day getting tests done.  Wed I go in for the procedure.  I'd like to think I'll come back to my hotel after that but it's up to the docs.  IF I go back to the hotel then I may or may not see the Doc the next day.

Either way I should be able to go home Friday.  Could push that to Saturday.

If you just happen to be wondering, I'm having this done here for a number of reasons. FIRST my cardiologist recommended this place and this Doc.  NEXT, it's a much less invasive procedure than I can get at home and nearly anywhere else.

MAINLY it's due to down time.  IF they crack your chest to fix something you can be down for 3 months.  With this I'll be unable to lift more than 10 pounds for 7 days.  Quite a difference. 

Walked to dinner tonight and saw a sign at a Safeway grocery store that said--SHINGLES SHOTS AVAILABLE TODAY!

IT reminded me of one of the funniest bits I ever heard.  It was on Fibber McGee and Molly, a radio show that started in the 30's and lasted until the 50's.

Fibber:  I remember when Ole' Milton Spilk got injured at the roofing factory.  He go caught in the machinery and it was pretty bad.  Doc said it was the worst case if shingles he ever saw.

Molly: That's terrible!

Fibber:  Yeah but why cry over milt spilk.

Stay tuned.  TOMORROW I'll let you know how things go with my tests.

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Friday, August 19th 2011

8:57 AM (2499 days, 12h, 12min ago)

DREAMS 26 days and counting.

The older I get the more I realize how lucky I am to have had the parents I have.

ALSO a great collection of aunts and uncles.

Last night I had a dream.  Maybe two dreams and maybe one long one.  In the first dream, I was driving along with Vic Snyder in my car.  IT was a convertible.  We pulled into a little hamburger cafe near my house and went in.  We orderd 2 cheese burgers, with mustard, pickle and onion, As the LORD intended and sat down to wait.  Someone came along and pointed at Vic and said, "I know you"  I Told the folks gathered around  that he was my cardiologist.  He's not.  He WAS my Congressman.  I had met him a couple of times and even and a half hour meeting with him about health care reform a year or so ago but didn't have any other association with him.

In my other dream, my aunt from Oklahoma City came to stay with me.  Not sure WHY, she just did.  She said she wasn't sleepy so I went to bed and when I woke up she had re-arranged my furniture.  I am VERY particular about folks doing things like that in my house but for some reason the instant I saw it I KNEW she'd done it the way it should have been arranged all along.

SO all you folks that interpret things like this...go ahead!
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Thursday, August 18th 2011

8:51 PM (2500 days, 0h, 18min ago)

Charlotte- The Queen City

Had to go on a business trip to Charlotte, NC.  It was a scary flight.  THAT was when I first learned that a snow storm was just like a rain storm as far as wind and lightning and and the like were concerned.  The heavier the snow got the closer WE got the Charlotte and the close we got to the ground.  It didn't help when one of the flight attendants got thrown around a little and screamed,  "OH GAWD, NOT AGAIN"  I think we all just pretended we didn't hear that.

I was living in a small house on the South Side of Waco then.  Not a bad house but certainly not glamorous.   Got to the hotel in Charlotte only to learn that they had lost my reservation.  They FOUND it but they had sold my room.  There was only one thing they could do.  Put me on the concierge floor.  One thing about that.  The concierge didn't work weekends.  I had the nicer room, the nicer bathrobe and all but no concierge.  I was so happy with my upgrade that I took a shower, ordered a pizza and put on nothing but that soft, soft, soft, cotton bathrobe.  I watched premium cable and ate pizza and drank Dr. Pepper.  I was king of the queen city that weekend.
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Thursday, August 18th 2011

5:34 PM (2500 days, 3h, 35min ago)

27 Days and counting

Just for the record, I DID consult some local people about this surgery.  If I have it done locally they would remove a portion of my aorta and replace it with a dacron tube.  The BIG difference is recovery time.  About 3 months vs 7 days.  ALSO my cardiologist, Dr. Camp of Mtn Home, AR recommended this doc.  You can see Dr. Ted Dietrich  by clicking on his name.  His institute pioneered the stent-graft they'll use on me.

Dr. Camp said that I needed to have this done at Cleveland or Phoenix.  He said one was the very best at installing them the other was the inventor of the stent and procedure.

I am anxious to get things over with and back to normal.  Well, at least as normal as I can be.

Remember you really SHOULD enter an email address at the left and subscribe.  It's FREE and doesn't come with any spam.  You just get an alert whenever I have a new post.
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Wednesday, August 17th 2011

2:43 PM (2501 days, 6h, 27min ago)

SIGN UP Please

If you go here any way other than a link in an email, the please look to the left and sign up for notifications for new posts.  I will try to keep up with other things but I definitely will be posting HERE after surgery.  NO MATTER THE OUTCOME!
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