A Medical Update

It’s now been almost a week since a medical crisis sent Dymphna to the emergency room. As most of you already know, her breathing problems turned out to have been caused by what’s known as a “complete heart block”. Last Monday she had a pacemaker surgically implanted to alleviate this condition.

The first couple of days after the surgery were difficult for her. She suffers from developmental PTSD, so that anything her “undermind” experiences as a bodily invasion can have a long-lasting unpleasant aftereffects. Incidents that most people bounce back from in a day or two can lay her low for weeks.

As it happens, this latest recovery has been surprisingly smooth. The first couple of days were rough, but she is now returning to some of her normal activities (including, I’m happy to report, cooking).

A real breakthrough of sorts occurred last night, when we were both in the kitchen. I asked her a question at the moment she happened to be leaving the room.

She answered me, in a loud, clear voice, from the next room. She wasn’t yelling — she just raised her voice, so that I could hear her.

The significance of the incident was that she hadn’t been able to do that for years.

Many years ago I remember her bellowing from one end of the house to the other (just as I do). But those days are long gone. And for the past few years, if I wanted to understand what she was saying from the next room, I had to walk in there and put my ear close to her mouth.

So this represents a qualitative improvement, and I can’t tell you how happy it makes both of us.

Another noticeable result of the pacemaker is an improvement in her sense of balance. She no longer “lurches”, which is the term she uses to describe her former style of movement. She thought that symptom was a result of her fibromyalgia, but now it seems that it must have been cardiac-related.

Every day she is more chipper and active than she was the previous one, so both of us are optimistic.

The pain from the surgery is still there, but it is receding. On Monday we will return to the hospital to have her dressing removed, so we’ll see what the surgeon says then. She doesn’t have any of the symptoms they warned us to watch out for, so I think she’s doing OK. She has an occasional slight fever, but it doesn’t approach 100°F (37.8°C), which is the point when the instructions say we should start worrying.

As you’ve probably noticed, Dymphna has been leaving a few comments here and there. I hope we’ll hear more from her over the next several days.

36 thoughts on “A Medical Update

    • That’s exactly the color, Sissy! As in NOT blue – no blue lips or fingernails.

      Hmm…I guess it takes a photographer to pick a metaphor of the right hue.

  1. That’s wonderful to hear. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and it is wonderful to read such an uplifting story about you and Dymphna. At this point, chances of infection developing are minimal so a fever will most likely be something unrelated to surgery such as a cold or some viral illness. The only exception I can think of would be development of gastrointestinal problems related to being on antibiotics during the operation and disrupting the normal gut flora. While she is frequenting the kitchen, eat some yogurt with active cultures as a ward against the above. Also start going for walks as exercise will do wonders for her.

    • Thanks for your advice, Vinny. I was hoping you’d check in.

      We eat a fair amount of fermented foods including daily doses of a variety of fermented vegetable juices. I like the “green” ones best – e.g., garlicky cabbage, with the turmeric blends next. I am careful about maintaining my gut flora since I have severe diverticulosis and do NOT want any complications from that.

      Developmental PTSD (acquired in early childhood, in other words) caused pervasive problems . Besides affecting the structure of the brain, it also leaves its heavy hand on all the major organs and their systems. I must have begun life as a very healthy organism because I’ve managed to either overcome or work around the worst of them. Some, like the diverticulosis – rampant throughout my colon – I have learned to manage carefully. Others, e.g., my vascular disorders, have been harder to prevent/ manage. Others are due to poor medical advice.

      It’s been hard to find good medical care, even in – or especially in – a place near a teaching hospital. However, I think the tide is turning re what constitutes “health”. You might enjoy this:


      The title is sensationalist and not accurate but the article is spot-on when it comes to my own philosophy. For example, I have aortic stenosis, but I plan to refuse open heart surgery when the time comes. There are worse things than dying and the after-effects of open heart surgery on someone with d-PTSD is one of them.

      IMHO Robin Williams was an extreme example of someone who suffered the ravages of d-PTSD. That was obvious the first time I saw him perform. He had open heart surgery four years before he committed suicide and I don’t think the two are un-related. A sad, unnecessary death. I feel sorry for his family.

  2. Dymphna
    I am sure you will feel much better soon. From what the Baron has related to us, you are showing some very positive signs of improvement. Good for you and may your health continue to improve.
    All the best.

  3. Keep getting better Dymphna, you’re truly a bright star in the night sky. I look forward regularly to both you and Baron’s dispatches.

  4. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Dymphna. And Baron, you are the perfect example of why monogamy is so fundamental to our society: a loving, caring husband in sickness and in health.

  5. Well Dymphna, glad YOU are getting better.!! Who can I blame for my sore thumb big toe problem. I am trying to cure it by walking my blind deaf 15 year old maltipom at least a km a day, followed by my young maltipom, cutest dogs in the universe, Every day I hurt, but in a different place, wondering why. I just take a pill and wait. I suppose I should have put down our dog when at 15 she had uveitis, , eyeball could xplode. WHOA, said I. They would scoop out her eyeballs, imagine that. No said I… She is blind and deaf and she loves life at 15. Our lives continue, slower walks as her snes kick in. I imagine her life is dark, I cry about it, but Janey,s life is as full and happy as anyone’s could

  6. Dymphna, you mean so much to so many of us. I hope you took m wee dog story as it was meant. Your recovery happily coincided with our malipoms. She may be deaf and blind, and how we fought to keep her alive. Wonderful vets, understanding, giving us cheap rates, knowing we would help them in dealing with old blind deaf dogs. So far, so good, all is well, most people ask us how our pretty puppy is. I only say blind and deaf and 15 wh she feels threatened. Janey is perfect, kind of like you..All is well. Dymphna makes us happy too.

  7. You are in my prayers. Thanks for all you do together to inform us you are a great example to the rest of us.

  8. I’m so pleased to hear this, Dymphna!

    Actually I expect the recovery to continue for quite a while. My father had a severe heart condition, and when he got a pacemaker, his body was able to recover much strength.

    As for diet, keep an eye on Fructose. It’s dangerous.

    • Well said, Guest! It holds equally true for loving, caring wives, too. I’m not able to pull my share of the load anymore but for many years I did…and the Baron was always there too- sometimes carrying more than his share, as he did in nursing my mother through her last year of life.

      If being a dutiful son-in-law isn’t enough karma for a life time, being a stepparent is the Karma Dude’s little jest. For sure, whatever the children haven’t worked out with their original parent will fall on the shoulders of the “new” parent – i.e., the Permanent Stranger, the “I-don’t-hafta. YOU’re not MY dad” – that person.

      It takes a greater depth of wisdom, discernment, and patience than most people are given. Especially if they inherit teenaged stepchildren. A case where good will and a desire to do the right thing don’t even begin to cover the pre-existing conditions. It is deeply sad when nothing you do can ever cure the wounds inflicted before you were there.

      So here’s to monogamy. There is no better balm against the world’s slings and arrows than a faithful heart, a loving companion who likes your jokes.

  9. Speedy recovery Dymphna. Considering Williams, his alimony situation might have had some part in his depression as well.

    • Yes. He was enslaved to his ex-wives’ greed. No wonder Mr. Williams despaired. But being in that situation is paradoxically part of his condition – i.e., his broken heart beyond repair was created by his poor judgement and thus led him down the path to hopelessness.

      There is a lot wrong with our culture, and the divorce/alimony situation is a big part of it. When you add fame to the mix, it’s surprising more people don’t choose his way out.

  10. Great news to hear you! May your “bellowing from one end of the house to the other” be constant! 🙂 I pray for an excellent report from your fine doctor Monday.

  11. So glad to hear of your recovery and improvement! How cool that you have other unintended benefits as well. Blessings! C

  12. I hope you are feeling better, Dymphna. You make feel very grateful that my worst problem right now is a bad knee — which can be fixed, but not until Oct. 13. Stay well, dear lady and you too, Baron.

  13. Baron and Dympfna , even if I am not normally a religious person , I suddenly found myself silently prying for your health ..

  14. I wish you the best of recoveries. It doesn’t happen to everyone but a few people find seat belt shoulder harnesses difficult after a pacemaker insertion. My family member was greatly helped by one these seat belt pads. https://www.aboutsofttouch.com/ I hope you won’t need it but they are not generally known by doctors so I am sending the info.

  15. So glad you pulled through Dymphna! I knew you were too smart (and strong) to take any bs..Keep on chooglin’!

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