Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bought Some Time

I’m back!

But the Hopper’s days are numbered.

Well, everyone’s days are numbered, and I don’t mean to imply that my demise is imminent. I was referring to this blog, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

My surgery went well. I got to New York Presbyterian Wednesday at 11:30. The CCU nurses there are phenomenal, exceptional, wonderful, and a whole host of similarly-synergetic adjectives. They got me prepped fairly painlessly (my IV had to be done twice), and I was tripping the light fantastic a little after 2 pm.

By 5 o’clock I was in the recovery room – much sooner than anyone had anticipated. My wife and father-in-law were there to keep me company. The doctor discovered that tissue had grown in my pulmonary vein stent, squeezing that channel down to a millimeter from an optimal ten. They put a catheter up in me, one with a science-fiction-ish robotic razor rotor (good thing it didn’t go mad and attempt world domination!), and cleaned it all out. Then he put a second stent inside the first one and blew that one up to ten millimeters.

I was blessed, heavenly blessed, with a single room, all to myself, with one of those swing-out-of-the-wall teevee thingies. Even though I felt no pain and had no medication in me (other than residual anesthesia), I was restricted to bed rest until 9:30 that night. I didn’t get fed, either, until past 10, and I was quite ravenous, having fasted since midnight Tuesday. Even so, I grazed and dozed and hypnotically watched TV and didn’t get out of bed until the next morning, stiff and a little bit sore.

The doctor visited me at 6:30 a.m. and delivered the old “cautiously optimistic” lecture. Which means he doesn’t know what will happen. Much to my un-nerved-ness, he reminded me that lots of people go on to live long, healthy lives with only one lung. To that effect he warned me to take better care of myself: improve the diet and get into the habit of regular cardio exercise. I’m not ready to give up the lung, though, so we’ll see what happens.

I’m scheduled for a lung scan in three weeks to get us a baseline and see how things are progressing. Subjectively, I feel great. For the first time in I can’t remember how long I can fully expand my chest, inhaling deeply, with no pain. Everyone is saying I have my color back, and by “color” I mean a nice normal reddish flush, not the pale, zombie-like pallor my skin normally exhibits. I’ve been getting plenty of sleep and – hey! – for once I’m not getting winded going up a flight of stairs!

They released me about noon on Thursday after getting the results of bloodwork. I spent the morning watching two episodes of the Sopranos and two of CSI: Miami. So I got in the quota of televised murders for the day. The wife picked me up and drove me home, stopping along the way at a Whole Foods to get some healthy lunch vittles. The little ones were excited to see me, and having been warned extensively not to jump on Daddy, they were good.

Spent the past two days just recuperating. Read a couple of SF short stories, watched some DVDs and some TCM, took some long naps to catch up on my shut-eye. (Book and movie reviews to follow shortly.) I’m actually functioning at about 97%, I think, which is remarkably good 72 hours after I had metal wires in my heart. Friday, for instance, I drove the Little One to the local library to sign her up for the Summer Reading Program, and yesterday me and the Little One were able to do our cherished Errand Run. I’ve been eating really, really clean, and already lost 5 pounds (I know, I know). But my goal is not necessarily to lose weight (though my doctor noted I’ve put on a little bit since he last worked on me). Though my cholesterol is good, my HDL’s are too low and my triglycerides are too high. So, in addition to fruits and veggies, today I’m going start back up on the exercise bike.

One thing I haven’t had time to blog about was the “Get Published!” seminar I went to last Tuesday. I picked up a lot of ideas, and learned a lot about the business – and it is a business, something we artsy types forget too often. With that in mind, I need to market myself more effectively, meaning the kind of writer I am and the kind of writing I want to produce. I also need to manage my time a little better. Consequently, The Recovering Hopper may either cease or simply be a repository of family updates and other miscellenea. Taking its place will be a more billboard-sign approach to LE the Catholic SF geek. But all that’s still a formless nebula of vagueness in my cerebellum at this point.

Thank you AK and LW, for watching the girls for us during this ordeal, and thank you BK for driving up from the shore to be with C while I was under. Thank you Dr. S and all the fantastic nurses at NYP.

Lots of neat stuff in the near future. Check back, okay?

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