I’m in Starbucks again. That’s no surprise. I wonder how many recent great novels have been penned in coffee shops, on tablets, iPads, and in Journals. Mine likely won’t be in the great novel category, but it will be a novel, and it will have been penned mostly in Starbucks, mostly on my iPad. Some of it, the initial ten pages, was penned in a psych ward, in a journal. Does that make it special? Give it some mystical power? If only… However that initial burst of writing, both of my novel, and of these little tidbits I keep spewing out of my head, fingers, heart… they started there. I gave birth to my sudden love of writing in Northwestern Memorial Hospital. That is apt, I suppose.
A lot of my personal stories, start there, take place there, or end there. That place has been a central part of my life for over a decade now. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I loved the fact I delivered my children there. I love the fact my first, who was a premie, was nursed to health for ten days in the NICU of the old Prentice. I hate that I had to leave her there. I hate that A-Fib, drove me to have to spend seven days there, when #1 was only three months. I’m glad I had good care, but hate that those seven days, led to my first heart op three months later. I’m am grateful for my surgeon. I hate the agonizing and scary complications I had. I hate the other times I went into A-Fib and ended up there. The most memorable one being the morning my son’s daycare were having a parents’ breakfast. I sat there in A-Fib, my heart beating at 220 beats per minute, while I tried to pretend everything was okay. I didn’t hear a word the other parents said. I just smiled and nodded. Then I drove down to the hospital and checked myself in. The doctors gave me so much shit when I told them I’d driven myself in. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wasn’t in the mood. Each time in A-Fib, they try to convert you back to sinus rhythm using adenosine. It literally makes you think you are dying. Every time. Even when you know the sensation from before. Every time except the last, I held a nurses hand and cursed as it happened. Basically your heart stops, and restarts immediately. They have a defibrillator in the room with you in case your heart actually stops and does not restart. There are usually about six people with you. This drug means business. You truly feel like you are dying. It never worked with me. Last time I had it, I didn’t curse or grab a nurses hand. Look at me. I’m the shit!
I love that I had those doctors, and therefore didn’t stroke out, which can arise from A-Fib. Once it lasted for four days. They scheduled me for a cardioversion. Fuck that! They knock you out, and do the ‘everyone clear’ shit on you. No thanks. I was scheduled for 09:00 on Monday, and at 08:45 the resident came in smiling and laughing (literally). I was wondering what the fuck he was smiling about – I’ll give him something to smile about! He came to tell me I’d converted back into sinus rhythm myself, with fifteen minutes to spare. Nothing the hospital had done, but certainly one of my fondest NMH memories. I hadn’t even noticed I had converted back. I was so used to the sensation of constant A-Fib for four days, that when it was gone I didn’t notice. Usually it is short bursts, a matter of seconds. It is very easy to detect going in and out of it then.
I had a good run for a while where I just had outpatient appointments for a year or two. The Coumadin blood checks were a pain, because they were every couple of weeks, but I managed to fit them in before or after work. I now can do them at home, but they are needed so frequently because my body is shit, and likes to get crappy results too often. Then I have to come in to get tested because I run out of supplies. Then I got the paralyzed vocal cord. Well that was brilliant criac. My voice went from normal, to a whisper in a month. I could not be heard at meetings, in Starbucks, going out for dinner. It was awful. I couldn’t talk on the phone, so I couldn’t connect with my parents at home. I basically figured I was going to be home bound and maybe lose my job. I could not be heard. Eventually I was sent to an ENT doc, in, wait for it – NMH. Yippee. He said – “hi, yeah, paralyzed vocal, cord. Fancy a shot in the cord, and it will be okay for four (?) weeks. It doesn’t really hurt.” Well that was awesome. I got the first one on my birthday. By the time I got home the numbing medicine had worn off. Holy God. The pain was excruciating. Now I am a pain wuss for sure, but this was objectively horrendous. I emailed the doctor’s assistant and told her what was going on. “Oh yeah. It’ll be a little bit sore for a while.” Feck off bitch! Id’ rather eat nails – it felt like I had anyway. I couldn’t eat, talk, or even swallow at all. When I finally went in after a couple of weeks later, he had a goo down my throat. Oh my. You have a huge hematoma there. That must have been quite sore. I wanted to punch him in the penis! Maybe the face would have done. He suggested surgery, if it didn’t resolve itself in six months.
When I had my heart surgery in 2014, they did another shot while I was under. It didn’t hurt at all. Jesus – I wonder if that was because of the morphine, or the fact that my sternum had been cracked wide open, so that distracted me from the whole vocal cord pain bullshit just a teeny weeny bit! We were due to go to Ireland in the summer. I was trying to figure out whether to have the throat surgery before or after. I wanted to be able to talk in Ireland. I know. I’m so picky! We scheduled it for a few weeks before Ireland. On my last visit before surgery for a final shot, I noticed my voice hadn’t begun to fail. When he put his camera down my throat to look, it showed the cord was still paralyzed, but the other one had enlarged slightly to compensate for the shite one. Would you look at that? A bit of good news.
Anyway. I just realized this post had gone through a few stages of bleh. Screw it. That’s where I am tonight. My stupid former broken wrist is giving me shit, but thanks to my NMH E.D. docs, it isn’t still like a mangle dog’s leg inside. It’s very hard to love a place where you’ve experienced so much pain, physically and mentally. It is equally hard to hate a place, that has helped you bring three children into the world, saved your life on numerous occasions, and kept you safe when you couldn’t keep yourself safe. I suppose I may mature one day (not likely – haha), to a point where I won’t have any regrets. The truth is, deep down I am 100% grateful, in a logical sense. When I go for outpatient appointments I am mostly fine. I sometimes bring my laptop, and work for a while with a coffee. My home away from home. One of the still negative feelings now, is when I am about to go into the E.D. for a psych consult, knowing I am likely to be admitted. It can take hours in the E.D. before you see a psychiatrist. Even then they keep you for hours more. Sometimes there is no bed available, so you are shipped off to some shithole hospital where you fear for your life. That my friends is the experience I hope to avoid every time. I suppose it makes me hesitate calling my psych when I probably should. I HATE going into the E.D. for that.
I was first introduced to NMH, when I was pregnant with #1. I was told at twenty-one years of age that I had a mild heart murmur. Big deal. I didn’t think I had heart disease or anything. I was told I might need surgery when I was fifty or sixty. That means never when you’re twenty one. I mentioned it to my OB\GYN at the start of my pregnancy. At sixteen weeks I was sent for an echo, just to make sure everything was okay. I got a call two days later, on a Saturday morning from my family physician. She told me my echo had shown severe heart disease. When I told her I was about to go to my job waiting tables, she forbade me, then told me to sit and not walk or stand for any length of time. She said she didn’t want me working for the rest of my pregnancy. Well sure isn’t that a lovely call to get of a Saturday morning! Anyway, my care was transferred to NMH’s high risk pregnancy group, and a cardiologist there who specializes in pregnant women with heart disease. I saw the obstetricians for all of my three pregnancies, and still see the same cardiologist twelve years lately. Nine months after coming to NMH, when I had complications after my heart surgery, I was introduced to my Endochronologist, who I also still see.
I’ve been seeing my psychiatrist for about two and a half years, also in Northwestern, and have seen many of his colleagues as an inpatient. My psychiatric care, while depressing (see what I did there), has been excellent. It had stopped me up from my deepest lows, and put me somewhat back together. Sadly, I fear I am going to lose my health insurance. I have amazing health insurance. It seems to cover everything that a lot of other people’s don’t. I rarely need preauthorizations, even for psychiatric day programs. I have been on Long Term Disability since December 29, 2018. I get health insurance until that ends. It is good for 24 months, unless Social Security gives you LTD. The LTD company I’m with, mandate you to apply for SS LTD. If it’s granted (which it likely will be), I lose my health insurance as well as my LTD check. I will get a smaller SS check, and shite government-funded health insurance. Basically, good bye Northwestern. In one way, I’m trying to block it out of my head. In others, I’m trying to figure how to get my shit together and find a job with just as good health insurance. I don’t care what I do. Except it can’t be anything physical, because I’m a complete crock, oh and not too intellectually challenging because my memory and concentration is fooked from my meds and depression. Maybe this novel thing will take off and I’ll be rich. That way we can pay the exorbitant cost of my husband’s health insurance. $900 per paycheck!!!! WTF. Over $1,800 per month. Yes. Let’s just pay two mortgages. That’s a great idea. We’ll spend our leftover $17 on candy for the month. Who needs food, clothes, gas, you know – the extravagances us rich folk like.
I honestly have no idea what the point of this post is or was. As I posted on another post, I just write down what comes to mind, and share. This is another one of those. Huh? posts. If you have any ideas of a perfect job for me, with excellent health insurance, loads of pay, and work a mentally and physically fucked person can excel in, I’m your woman.
Sayonara suckers – kiss kiss