Posts Tagged With: living with an ICD

Day 2440: Angels

Yesterday, I noticed angels — first in my therapy group and then at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.  Do you see the angels in these photos?

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Michael is an angel to serve us the best tuna noodle casserole ever and my son Aaron is an angel to help me create the  poster for my Edinburgh Fringe show.

Also, my angel of a nurse, Melanie Marshall (who appears in this post with several other angels) …

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… has left Tufts Medical Center, which I found out yesterday at my device check appointment. In case my reading angels want to know whether there was any other disappointment at that appointment, I also found out that my implantable cardiac device has about four more years of life.

Here are some quotes about angels:

You don’t have to be an angel, just be someone who can give.  — Patti LaBelle
In heaven an angel is nobody in particular.  — George Bernard Shaw

Monsters will always exist. There’s one inside each of us. But an angel lives there, too. There is no more important agenda than figuring out how to slay one and nurture the other.  — Jacqueline Novogratz

I do not want to be the angel of any home: I want for myself what I want for other women, absolute equality. After that is secured, then men and women can take turns being angels.  — Agnes Macphail

A good teacher who can take the zero pay and help kids develop physically, emotionally, socially, is literally an angel.  — Eva Amurri

Books are like a mirror. If an ass looks in, you can’t expect an angel to look out.           —   B. C. Forbes
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  — Michelangelo

Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angel’s face.  — Lydia M. Child
When we are touched by something it’s as if we’re being brushed by an angel’s wings.  — Rita Dove

I also noticed this yesterday, regarding  a singer-songwriter with an angelic voice:

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I am grateful for all the angels in my life, including YOU!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 1384: Too ____ To Be True

About a week ago, I wrote a post about my very recent open heart surgery and how the outcome seemed too good to be true.

Today, I’m writing another post about a development that seems too weird/unlucky/odd/scary/infuriating/ distressing/unfair/sucky/ridiculous to be true.

Yesterday, I got a voicemail message from one of my too good to be true cardiologists, Dr. Mark Estes, requesting that I call him as soon as possible on his cell phone. This seemed too unusual to be true, since I’ve never gotten a message like that during all the decades of my working with Dr. Estes.

When I called Dr. Estes, he picked up immediately and told me this, which seemed too bizarre to be true:

Ann, St. Jude, the manufacturer of your pacemaker/defibrillator, which we implanted in you a year ago May, has  informed us that your device can suddenly  and prematurely completely lose  battery power.  We are informing all those patients with the device. You are one of seven patients we have who are completely dependent upon your ICD, so I am recommending that you have surgery to have the device replaced within the next two weeks.

I was too shocked by this unexpected news to believe it was true, but Dr. Estes did his too-calm-to-be-true best to clarify the situation, accept my reactions, and continue to push for surgery as soon as possible. It’s true that I was initially reluctant to agree to another surgery so soon, especially since my sternum/chest still feels too painful and tender to be true, three and a half weeks after my valve replacement surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Dr. Estes was too empathic and reassuring to be true, as he explained that the device replacement surgery would be day surgery and minor enough to allow me to resume my normal (?) activities a day later.

Dr. Estes suggested that I think about this too-strange-to-be-true development for a few days, while he informed my other too-good-to-be-true Boston-based medical team members about this new and too-ridiculous-to-be-true truth.

I hung up the phone and informed my boyfriend Michael and my ex-husband Leon (who had just driven me home from  another  one of my too-frequent-to-be-true medical  appointments) about this too-absurd-to-be-true necessity  for me to undergo another too-soon-to-be true surgical procedure. Michael and Leon are too-friendly-with-each-other-to-be-true, considering the complicated history there, and they were both  immediately too-sympathetic-to-be-true about this unexpected turn of events for me.

Then, I wrote a too-stunned-to-be-true post on my Facebook page, as follows:

Just found out that my pacemaker/defibrillator is being recalled and my doctors want me to have it replaced within the next two weeks. What kind of hashtag should I use for this news?

Here are the too-quick-and-empathic-to-be-true hashtag suggestions I got:

  • #defibrilatethis
  • #wtdf
  • #ohsh*t
  • #oyvey
  • #SMDH
  • #sucks
  • #thatispoop
  • #holyshit!
  • #unfairperiod
  • #annisnotaguineapig
  • #WTF?!
  • #gimmieabreak
  • #showmethemoney
  • #you’vegottobekidding
  • #It’sAlwaysSomething
  • #shoulda put in a zipper
  • #IWillSurvive
  • #areyoukidding
  • #speechless

Here was my too personal to be true suggestion for a hashtag about my too freaky to be true situation:

#INeedMyOwnTelethon

My ex-student, Chris, was my too-clever-to-be-true Facebook friend who came up with the too musical to be true hashtag above (here on too-popular-to-be-true YouTube):

 

Here are  the too-happy-to-be-true photographs I took yesterday at Mount Auburn Hospital (where I was registering for the too-awesome-to-be-true cardiac rehab program there), before I got the too-infuriating-to-be-true news from Dr. Estes:

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And here’s the too-delicious-to-be-true meal my boyfriend Michael cooked for me, last night, after I got the too-overwhelming-to-be-true phone call from Dr. Estes:

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Because I am having trouble sleeping tonight because of this too-outrageous-to-be-true need for more surgery so soon after my September 21 valve replacement, I just sent this email to my too-great-to-be-true Boston-based medical team:

Hi all,

Dr. Estes tells me that he recommends replacing my recalled St. Jude ICD within the next two weeks. I would like to comply with his recommendation but also feel the need to say these things:

  • My chest is still soooooo sore from the open heart surgery that the thought of another surgical violation, no matter how small, seems quite daunting to me.
  • I would like Dr. Carol Warnes and Dr. Joseph Dearani from Mayo to be informed and included in this decision process. Even though I understand that too many medical cooks can sometimes spoil the broth, adding the ingredients of their participation would help me feel better about moving forward with the plan.

 

Now that I have communicated these thoughts to my trusted Tufts team, I believe I can go back to the process of healing from the major surgery I so recently underwent.
As always, I am eager to hear any thoughts you want to share as we move forward.

All the best,
Ann

It would be too awesome to be true if you could leave a comment about this Too ____ To Be True post,  below.

I am too grateful to all those who helped me create this too-whatever-to-be-true post and to you — of course! — for reading it.  And in case you were wondering,  it’s all true!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Day 1098: Apricity

Yesterday, after appreciating the warmth of the sun on a winter’s day, I learned the definition of the word “apricity” at a taping of the National Public Radio show Says You! in Weston, Massachusetts.

Says You!, according to the show’s official website, is …

…a simple game with words played by two teams in front of live, enthusiastic audiences from coast to coast.  For two decades, we’ve offered our listeners the best quips, quotes and questions that public radio has to offer, all scored to the rhythms of our musical guest performers.

One of the segments of Says You! is similar to the game you might know as Dictionary or Balderdash — that is, people try to choose the right definition of a word among phony-baloney, made-up definitions. Yesterday, one of those words was apricity. 

I’m not going to make up phony definitions for apricity in this post, but I am going to ask you to guess its meaning.  I’ll give you a hint: I’ve already included the definition of apricity, above.

I’m also going to use “apricity” in a real-time, real-world paragraph, as follows:

Up until today, the combination of apricity and the malfunction of a heating system (or any other machine) would cause me significant stress and despair. (For more about that, see this previous post.)

Which of these photos, taken yesterday, are good-enough representations of apricity?

Do you think that the following two photos — which I took earlier this morning before I called for help with our heating system — are  visual representations of apricity?

In conclusion, I’d like to express apricity  — ooops!  I mean appreciation to my son Aaron and my ex-sister-in-law (ESIL) Deborah, who both accompanied me to yesterday’s taping of Says You!; to the witty, wise, and wonderful panel members of Says You!; to the late and greatly missed creator and host of Says You!, Richard Sher; to yesterday’s terrific host, Barry Nolan (who used to be a clinical social worker, like me);  to the New England Gilbert and Sullivan Society (who provided the enjoyable musical interludes during the taping of Says You!);  to the awesomely responsive and reliable Tom Prendergast of Prendergast Oil Company; to Oscar the laptop cat; and to you — of course! — for any winter warmth you bring here, no matter how you define this post.

Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Day 937: Everything’s falling into place

My boyfriend Michael, who fell into place in my life five years ago, likes to say

Everything’s falling into place

after I’ve fallen into relief after being in a place of

Michael has been saying

Everything’s falling into place

a lot lately, as I’ve been doing my best to let go of scary, health-threatening experiences that were falling into place in my life, starting in November of last year.

Since May, when an Implantable Cardiac Device fell into place in my heart, I’ve been gradually falling into a place of hope about the future.

Now that Michael’s oft-repeated phrase

Everything’s falling into place

has fallen into place in my blog, I’m wondering what Michael means, exactly, when he says those words, a smile falling into place on his face.

For example,

  1. What are these things that are falling?
  2. Where is this place they are falling into?
  3. Will they break when they land?

I can’t ask Michael those questions  (because he’s fallen into a place of slumber) but this is falling into place for me: Question #3 , which fell into place above, reflects how catastrophizing — and other automatic cognitive distortions  — can so easily fall into place in the human mind.

Do unhelpful, fearful, and unnecessary thoughts fall into place, sometimes, in your mind?

If so, let them fall into place where they belong:

The trash.

Let’s see if any other photos fall into place, in this post.

Lots of chocolate candies have fallen into place in that display case.

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Two pieces of candy and coin have fallen into place on that countertop.

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Harley has fallen into place on that rug, which — if my memory is falling into place correctly  — also has fallen into place somewhere in the home of WordPresser Diana Schwenk.

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Oscar seems glad that some water has fallen into place in his dish.

Because I was so busy, yesterday, making sure that informational messages about my 45th high school reunion were falling into place for my classmates, no other photos fell into place on my phone.

However, here‘s some music that falls into place, right now:

The Beatles song “I’ve Just Seen a Face” fell into place quite nicely there, don’t you agree?

Which parts of this post fell into place for you?

My thanks are now falling into place for Michael, my Implantable Cardiac Device, our cats, chocolate,  the Beatles, the Loading Dock, and faces I like to see, including yours!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 911: Does that ring a bell?

Does the expression “ring a bell” ring a bell for you?

Here’s the definition, from Google:

1. informal

 revive a distant recollection; sound familiar. 

“the name Woodall rings a bell”

For me, the name Woodall does NOT ring a bell. Does that name ring a bell for you?

Here are some things that have been ringing bells for me lately, but differently than they’ve rung in the past:

  • Technology and machines have been misbehaving. For example, my WordPress phone application froze this morning, so I deleted it (despite the daunting  message “If you delete WordPress you will delete all data”) and then reinstalled it — feeling almost no fear  about that.
  • I’ve been summoned to a meeting today at work that’s supposed to be very important, with somebody I don’t know, with no explanation about who, why, or what I am expected to do, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • As I’m writing this, I’m aware of my newly implanted large  cardiac device that’s causing me some physical discomfort, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • I’ve been asked to give a training presentation about my “Coping and Healing” therapy groups in August, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • I am realizing that I may conceivably hurt somebody’s feelings or offend somebody at some point  (an inevitable occurrence in human interactions), but I am feeling almost no fear about that.

Is this post ringing any bells for you, so far?

I thought of the  title for today’s post yesterday, when I was walking and listening to music that rings bells for me.

Does that ring any bells?

Here’s the tune — which used to be my phone ring tone — that rang that bell for me, yesterday:

Booker T & the MGs are ringing bells and playing lots of instruments  on  “Green Onions,” here at YouTube.

Typing “Booker T & the MGs” just now rang this bell for me:  Talking to WordPresser Mark Bialczak, a few weekends ago, about spelling the names of bands accurately.

Perhaps these photos I took yesterday will ring some bells:


  
  
  
  
  
  

If you leave a comment about this post, that will definitely ring my bell.

Bell-ringing thanks to all people, pets, food, and places that helped me write today’s post and special thanks to you — of course! — for whatever bells are ringing, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 893: Mood Changes

I wonder if this post will change your mood, or mine?

Here’s something that changed my mood yesterday, at Tufts Medical Center.


It was not that sign that changed  my mood. What changed my mood was Bob —


the great guy who has been checking my pacemakers for many years — and Dr. Mark Estes (not pictured), telling me that everything is good with my new Implantable Cardiac Device.

Here is some dialog, from yesterday, that changed my mood:

Dr. Estes: Ann, you look better than you have in years.
Me: Maybe that’s because of this (gesturing to my new blue hair extension).

Last night, at the Coping and Healing therapy group I facilitated, the group members chose “Mood Changes” as the the topic. Here’s something I created, at that group session:


Here are some other mood changers, from yesterday:


                  

 

               

Here are some potential mood changers, in my near future:

  1. Today, before noon, I will find out whether I’ve been called back for the Concord Massachusetts Players production of the Sondheim musical “Follies.”
  2. Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting fellow WordPresser Mark Bialczak and his lovely wife Karen.
  3. In August, my 17-year-old son Aaron and I (and, perhaps, my excellente ex-sister-in-law Deborah) will be attending the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  4. In September, I’ll be going to my 45th high school reunion.

What mood changers are in your life, today?

Here‘s a mood-changing tune:

“Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington is changing moods on YouTube, right now.

Thanks to all things that change my mood, including the people, creatures, places, and apparel in this post. And thanks to you — of course! — no matter what mood you’re in, today.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 880: Art (Not Art)

It’s often difficult for us to tell the difference between Art and Not Art.

I just asked my artful boyfriend, Michael, to describe that difference, and he said:

That’s an age-old question, baby. I’m not sure if I can answer that. Oh! I know what art is. It’s stuff  I like.

Because Art (Not Art) is such a subjective experience, I probably can’t really describe that difference in my blog (which, by the way, I’ve described to others as “my art.”) However, I can show you some things I saw yesterday that might be considered  Art, by Michael and other people:

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I also saw Not Art yesterday:

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I included the people shown above because none of them are named Art, as far as I know. The names I do know include Cameron,  Clark, and Aaron.

Here’s my Art (Not Art) song for today:  “Somewhere in America There’s a Street Named After My Dad,” by Was (Not Was).

Somewhere in America, there’s a boy named after my dad:


That’s my son, Aaron David Fairbanks.

Art (Not Art) thanks to Aaron, to my late father Aaron Koplow, to Michael, to Cameron (who wrote and directed “Serious Economics” with Aaron), to Clark (who played Satan in “Serious Economics”), to Was (Not Was), to the woman painting Fenway Park yesterday, to the patient who made a cake pop likeness of her doctor, to the person who drew the cover art for my high school yearbook, to all the other high school (not high school) artists who helped me create this post, to defibrillators everywhere, to Emack & Bolio’s and  Rancatore’s Ice Cream,  and to you — of course! — for the art of observing, here and now.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 878: Bangs!

Bangs are:

  1. loud noises and
  2. a hairstyle.

Bang!

I knew “Bangs!” would be the post title today.

Bang!

I am sensitive to noises, so loud ones can make me jump.

Bang!

I’m seeing Mia, my fabulous hair stylist, in two days and I have an idea for a perhaps bangingly radical new look, which includes bangs.

Bang!

I saw my EMDR therapist yesterday, and we are working on getting rid of the following unhelpful, habitual, very old thought that can bang around, painfully, in my head:

My needs and feelings don’t matter.

Bang!

Every so often, I have a moment of fear regarding the June 6 workshop presentation I’ll be giving about my therapy groups (coming up in bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang 9 days).

Bang!

I let go of that fear, in the very next moment.

Bang!

If my heart stops, for any reason, my new Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD) will automatically start it again, with a

Bang!

bang, bang,  bang, bang, bang,  bang, bang …

Every time my ICD paces my heartbeat, I can feel that, in my core.

Bang!

I sometimes have trouble sleeping, when there are too many thoughts banging around in my head.

Bang! I took each of these photos yesterday;

      

                                                      


Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Those guinea pigs my bf Michael and I saw at PetSmart last night kept jumping, as if they were hearing bangs.

Bang! Bang! Bang!  Michael and I made these comments at PetSmart:

  • “Look! It’s the Orson Welles of guinea pigs.”
  • “According to that vaccine date, Squeaky’s a cat from the future.”
  • “Those guinea pigs jump like pop corn.”

Bang! Bang! 

Here are two songs about Bangs:

Bang!

That’s the sound of you, leaving a comment.

Bang! I’m thanking Michael the boyfriend, Mia the hairstylist, George the EMDR therapist, Harley and Winston and Squeaky the cats, my ICD and other things that go Bang,  the Orson Welles and the popcorns of guinea pigs, They Might be Giants, Nancy Sinatra, and — bang! — you, for whatever noises you make today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

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