BS&k Company • A Manufacturer's Representative

2016 Medical

2016 started off like most any years, we had had a good Christmas season with hopes of a prosperous new year. The weather was mild so we could get our Christmas decorations down from the outside and had begun putting the inside decorations away and cleaning the house to wrap up the season.

I had begun making sales calls and was looking forward to getting off to another year of work as had my wife at her work.

Shortly into the New Year I was eating a meal when one of my front teeth had completely broken off. It wasn’t really a surprise since I have had diabetes since 1997. Honestly, I have not had great “control” of my blood sugars and a result of this was very poor teeth health. That is the gum lines of many of my teeth were wearing away due to high sugar in my blood. During the previous year Obama care had struck. My diabetes medicine had gone from $25 or $50 per month with insurance to $600 – $800 per month, with insurance. Obama care changed my deductibles so I decided to see if my Dr. could prescribe something a lot less expensive, and he said no, that is what I should be on. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided I would control my diabetes on my own with diet and exercise. So over a year of that and it was not working very well, but I was saving money. I digress. Back to my teeth. I could not be in public with a tooth missing from the front of my mouth and talk or smile without being self-conscious. Sure, I could go and get an implant to fix that problem. However, I actually had 5 or 6 teeth in the back that had broken off, were cracked or about to break off as well. I could see years and years of dental work at thousands of dollars. Not good. Another option was to go and have them all taken out and get a full set of dentures. Not to give a plug for, but I must say I am totally satisfied with the work that Affordable Dentures did for me. I went to them on Monday, January 18 for a consultation and an X-Ray. The dentist said he could save 5 or 6 teeth for now, but who knows for how long. The rest would need crowns or implants and it could be many thousands of dollars and many visits. Or, he could pull all of them and make me a full set of dentures. My choice. That was $90. I talked it over with my wife and I decided to go ahead with dentures.  On that Wednesday morning, January 20th, I went back at 8:00. They took an impression of my mouth, then later gave me a lot of Novocain, then they extracted 26 of my teeth. At 2:00 on the same day I went back in and was fitted with a complete set of dentures. The total cost was $3,100 and I financed it. Best of all, I could go back anytime for unlimited re-fitting. And, 8 months from now, I will get a permanent set of dentures. All included. Yes, for the first 2 days there was a fair amount pain, but the pain pills took care of most of that. Slowly it got better and better. I could eat soup, pasta and some soft things at first. As the days went by I could eat a few harder foods and within a month it was almost back to normal. 6 months later all the holes had filled in, my gums are hard again and there almost isn’t anything I can’t eat, and there is no pain at all. The only problem I have with my teeth is talking. It seems I slur some words and my tongue doesn’t always find the right place to go with all this plastic in my mouth. But it is getting better. I am now very happy with my smile, my eating and am over my fear of getting dentures.

Now it is September and I have no regrets at all about getting dentures, but I have skipped over a few important things.

Back on March 6th I needed to do some work on my aging Buick LeSabre. It is an old car with a lot of miles on it, but I love the car and it has been very good to me. But it needs front brakes. I have changed my brakes many times, and actually enjoy doing it. It lets me see the mechanical condition of the car in general and gives me the satisfaction of a job well done. It normally takes 30 – 45 minutes to complete. Today, I started working and after 10 minutes, I had the front tire off the ground but had to get a chair and sit down to catch my breath. After a 10 minute rest I started to take the tire off and then the brakes pads. I had to sit down again, but for a longer time. I went back and finished installing the new pads on the left side but again had to sit down. By this time I was wondering what the heck was going on with me.  I went back and got the tire on and let it down. Back to the chair before I started on the right side. It took me about an hour with 4 “time-outs” to sit on the chair before I could finish with the right side. So the 45 minute job took me 2 ½ hours. I again sat down and wondered why I was getting so tired. I cleaned up the garage, put my tools away and cleaned up myself then went inside to again sit down. I told my wife that I was getting so tired and out of breath but did not know why I was very short of breath. She wanted to take me to the Urgent Care Clinic but, of course, I said that was not necessary, I would just sit a bit and then I would be fine. For the rest of the day I was OK, but did very little and remained very tired. She kept pushing for me to go to the Urgent Care Clinic, but I said no.

The next day, Monday, my wife was up and off to work at 6:30 but I stayed in bed a little longer. Around 7:30 I got up and was very short of breath and still very tired. I got my shower and dressed but got shorter of breath the more I did. Finally, at 9:00 I called my wife and asked her to come home and drive me to the hospital as I was gasping for breath at this time and could only say a few words at a time. I probably could, but did not want to drive myself. She said she would come home and take me to the Urgent Care Clinic but I said no, it was probably much farther along than they could handle, I needed to go to the hospital, so we did.

She dropped me off at the emergency room and I walked to the counter and said I could not breathe and was told to sit in one of the chairs. 5 minutes later a nurse came to me with a wheelchair and took me to an exam room.

Several doctors came by to look at me. I was given an IV right away and within 30 minutes I went in for a CT scan of my chest. Shortly after I was given the results that I had had a heart attack. They admitted me to ICU for many tests and many drugs. After they got some of the fluids out of my lungs they took me for a catheter  scan of my heart. I was told that if there were only a few problems they could fix them during this scan. They could use either a balloon type devise that could open up a blockage or they could put a stint in to make me all better. As it turned out they said there were 6 places that had blockage of between 35% and 100%. There was too much blockage to fix during the catheter procedure. It would require a by-pass operation. My problem is that based on all the numbers they collected from a whole bunch of things, and the condition of my heart walls, I would only have a 15% survival rate of that surgery at this time. I needed to get my blood sugars under control and get my heart stronger to survive the by-pass surgery. So after 3 days in ICU and 2 days in a hospital room, I was to go home and get stronger.

I met with my heart doctor a month later and he said to stay home and keep trying to get my numbers better. In April I met with him again and he told me that I needed to have a MRI done to look inside me to determine if I was ready. That MRI was scheduled for May 19th. I had it, went to see my doctor the next week after he read the MRI. He told me I was ready and scheduled my by-pass surgery for June 13th. That meant I would go home for 3 weeks and think about walking into the hospital on my own on June 13th to have them cut me open, take my heart out and stitch new arteries onto my heart and sew me up again. Hopefully I would survive that. But 3 weeks to think about that. Exciting!

June 13th came and into the hospital I went. They prepped me and fortunately I don’t remember much, if any, for a day or two. (Sort of like Hillary I guess).

What I do remember from the 2nd day on was 3 “garden hose” sized tubes coming from my chest into a collection bucket, 3 smaller tubes coming out of my neck and the weight of a truck sitting on my chest. Then they told me I had to get up and walk around. That was fun. Then back to bed and sleep, fortunately. They would wake me up almost every ½ hour for pills, blood pressure, and blood sugar and then just because they could come in and wake you up. Even though I slept a lot, there was never a very long sleep at any time. Still a lot of pressure and pain in my chest as you can imagine, but now a lot of pain in my lower leg. That was where they had to go into my leg to get the artery that they used for the triple by-pass. Every time I had to get up to walk, I could feel the pain in that leg. I could not lay in the bed for long as it was painful to lay down with the weight on my chest, so I would sit in a chair. But I could only sit in the chair for a while as my butt was very sore from sitting. I could not get out of the chair (or bed) by myself so I needed help. More than a few times I rang the bell for help to get out of the chair, but no one would come for almost an hour. My butt was very painful. I must say that my wife was there as much as she could be (and thankfully she was there a lot) and she was a huge help to me. (Thank You Honey!) I was in there for a week, up walking a lot and doing some arm exercises and resting. I got discharged on Sunday to go home. Fortunately I have a great family that helped me a lot. Even my youngest, Tyler who works from home, came by our house for the first 2 months and did his work from our house and took care of me, (Thanks a lot Tyler!) All of the kids came by to help me and cheer me up. Even the Grandkids after a week or so came by to see me to cheer me up. Thanks to all of you.

August came around and I needed to start cardio exercises. I was capable of doing more and more, but I was also taking a lot of naps. What seemed like a lot to me was not really a lot. I did get to drive short distances in August, but still very limited. At least I was not as much of a burden to my wife for those short trips to the doctors, which seemed like every day going to someone. My cardio exercises were OK, but the more work I did, the more my legs and feet hurt. I guess you can’t have it all. I can’t get my lungs and heart stronger without sacrificing my feet.

Now we are in September and hoping to get my cardiac doctor to let me get back to work, even part time. I am anxious, even though I am sure that I think I am better than I really am.

More on this as it happens, sorry for the length, but thanks for reading and hopefully I can stay around for a while to keep updating this!

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