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I am slightly surprised that I was last seen on December 6, 2016 because although I don't recall quite a bit from that time, I know I was in the hospital having an emergency pacemaker installed. Apparently, my younger son found me blue and non-responsive, with no pulse for 31 seconds. I have no recollection of the EMTs nor the ambulance ride, just flashes of memories of doctors talking and pain, then passing out. Total heart block with no underlying coronary artery disease, as in zero.

They tell me my symptoms were both classic and non-typical, as has been my recovery. Four days after initial pacemaker installation, one of the leads is not functioning at all; I have five pulmonary embolisms and I'm told the Electrophysiology MD needs to replace the lead. In front of my daughter and both sons, I react badly, "What about quality control? Where do you get these fucking pacemakers from...? China?" The doctor calmly says, "One in ten have defects," as if that should comfort me. Then I lose it, becoming like a scared child since I have some memory of the pain from the first surgery, my heart rate too low for anything but local anesthesia.

Realizing my "kids" are listening and watching, I mustered up Mother Strength, saying, "Okay, but only if I can be knocked out." After that, I'm on IV Lasik and antibiotics, as well as my usual old pain meds and muscle relaxer. Had a bad reaction after general anesthesia, but was released after 12 days to Kessler Rehab Hospital for 10 days (not the best experience, but at least the food was far better than the hospital's). Was at Kessler for Christmas; both sons and my daughter, her husband and the three grandsons came. It was a mild day, so after the meal in The Common Room, I was allowed outside in a wheelchair. Never so grateful to breathe fresh air and feel sun on my face.

Kessler released me to home, in the care of the Visiting Nurse Association, but after only 4 days I was back to the hospital for extreme shortness of breath, high respirations per minute, and temperature nearing 101.5 F. I should say at this point, not only did I feel vulnerable and awful, but I worried about my sons since we went through a slightly similar experience last year, same time, same hospital with their Dad, and then he died. I have always hated the saying, "If Life gives you lemons..." and I was half angry/half pleading with God to get me through this, still am.

I feel like an alcoholic, living one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. I never realized how active I used to be, how independent. I guess it was time for a major Life Lesson on slowing down or becoming more mindful. For now, I'm confined to the downstairs of the house. Both sons have been patient and helpful as we all adjust to me being more different than I already was. Since I'm not recovering as is normal, next week I have an appointment with a top-notch Rheumatologist. After he consults with my Cardiologist, if they still haven't figured out why I got the heart block and why I'm not bouncing back, it's off to the Cleveland Clinic. I'd rather avoid that, but will go if it's determined I need to go. That's all for now. Thanks for reading and best of health to everyone.

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