I just read the last post I wrote...almost a year ago.
I'm here today only because I'm bored with waiting for a phone call and too eager for it to just leave the house.
I'll just ramble on a bit about where we are now, and see if the phone rings soon. If not, then I'll move to a comfy chair and a book shortly.
The house is off the market - unsold.
We got sidetracked by an incredibly soft housing market in this area. If you're looking for a place in the terrific mountains of Southern NM, this would be the time to come shopping. Every other house, cabin, and business is for sale, it seems.
We DO have to sell before we can move downhill, but there are new roadblocks up now.
We went to ABQ in January to get clearance from Joel's heart doc so that she could have the other knee replaced. We felt that the new surgery and subsequent rehab would make such a change in her comfort that other aspects of her health would improve, and that the rehab and the new knee would also have a positive impact in the (already replaced, but not comfortable) other knee.
Big surprise. NO. She can't have the knee surgery because there was a sound heard by her heart doc who felt she needed some tests and that a heart procedure would be next.
So, three trips to ABQ and a few tests done, and a couple of doc visits later, here we sit.
Joel needs a new aortic valve. She got the first one (bovine) about 9.5 years ago. And that's about the normal life-expectancy of that kind of valve. What we didn't know at the time Joel made that decision was that the surgeon was going to nick her lung during his surgery. As a result of that error, the sac around Joel's lungs filled with blood, at least twice, and one side of the lung collapsed. Frankly, I don't remember exactly ALL the details. And we had NO understanding of the complications to come from that error. Or from the subsequent procedures involved. It was gross; it seems to have been bungled from the get-go. And we did nothing useful about it.
I don't really know if there WAS anything useful to do about it - even though current thoughts of "why didn't we sue" have been in our heads frequently lately. The ONLY thing I can imagine being helpful from that sort of action, had we chosen to do it, might be some pile of cash somewhere that would allow us to get Joel down to a MUCH lower elevation where breathing is not such a chore for her. And I mean that literally. Breathing, for Joel, is hard work and is often painful. She is on oxygen tanks all the time.
Now, the condition of Joel's lungs is the exact and only reason that she is NOT a candidate for another open-heart procedure. Her lungs won't tolerate the heart/lung machine that is required for traditional open-heart surgery.
Thankfully, the great medical equipment researchers, experimenters and manufacturers have come up with TAVR - trans-aortic valve replacement - a minimally invasive procedure that allows a surgeon to put a new valve in place by running a specialized one thru the femoral artery and up into the heart chamber. You can see a non-gross animated video of the procedure here. How wonderful!
And why has that procedure not been done on my wife by now, you ask! They seemed so excited when they told us about it.
Now, we've been told that the company(s)(?) who make the hardware do not make one in the appropriate size. What?!
So, here we sit. We were to have seen the docs Monday, two days ago. I spoke to them last week to confirm the appointment and to let them know we expected to schedule a date for the procedure, only to be told about the size issue and that docs would have to confer before proceeding. I guess they are still conferring. ...
I called about noon today to remind them that we are waiting. And to say we'll be beginning to look for other doctors/med schools/etc./whatever... This is the return call for which I am waiting.
Limbo is not a land I enjoy. I hesitate to even go out to rake pine needles for fear of missing the call. Well, that, and a strong aversion to raking!
And when I go online to research more on the subject I find lots of stuff about the companies vying for market share, and arguing over who owns what (patents), and buying up smaller companies if they seem to be making useful strides.
The upshot of all of this for both Joel and me is that we are both looking at death differently now. For Joel, of course, it is extremely personal and immediate. She could actually die because some company decided to make a device only in the most 'popular' sizes. It's not bad, really, that she is considering that - death. She is becoming clearer on how she wants that to look and what she wants done... sorta.
And she is working well - very well - on keeping her fear balanced with some very positive expectations for life AFTER the procedure.
I look at her, and have to know that I do NOT really understand what she is feeling; and won't until/unless I have to face the same thing. I can help, certainly, and do..where I can.
And I'm learning some things about patience - I need to develop more!
And stamina - I'm thankful for my vast reserves of it on a daily basis.And compassion - not sure I have any - but more likely, I just don't understand it...
And aging in general - it takes way more energy to take care of this house, our 1/3 acre, 3 pets, and a wife who is ill than I realized. And do I have all the paperwork I need. And can I take enough notes to make the best decisions. And what do we do if the oil prices don't turn around.
(I hate to even type that, when SO many have SO little. But oil money feeds us and takes us to ABQ and we are down about 60% now.)
Gotta go...telling all this again is not presently helpful to me... I'm just not THAT bored, I guess.