March Madness – Moving on to the Next Round

What a day this has been. As has been the case all week, I didn’t sleep much last night. As has also been the case all week, despite only 2 or 3 hours of sleep, I was grateful and relieved to see the light of dawn creep through our bedroom window.

I requested prayer this morning for five things:

1. For no problems getting to the hospital.

– None whatsoever. We arrived early brought by our teammate Bryan Smith who drove all the way from his home in Querétaro early this morning to pick us up and take us there and to be with us for help translating as needed, and he did a whole lot more. Originally, our team leader was going to be our driver and helper, but his wife awoke to a terrible migraine and Bryan got the early morning call and he didn’t hesitate to change his plans for the day. Thanks Bryan! You get the Player of the Game Award today!

2. For productive meeting with the nutritionist. 

– This went very well. I think she was impressed with Bethie’s detailed notes on everything I had consumed, and her food preparation methods have been spot-on. The only things to change were to scale back to 2 whole eggs a week (from one a day which our cardio doctors had approved last week), a little too much fruit, including to scale back the hand-squeezed orange juice a little. Every time we moved on to describe a different meal I’ve had this week, the nutritionist was in agreement down to rather fine details. Thanks Bethie! You get the MVP Award today!

3. For a clean heart check by the cardiologist.

– The cardio doctor ran a couple of tests that I couldn’t spell in Spanish or in English, but electrocardiohangontoyourhat tests. Actually, they’re not at all painful and no needle poking required. Thank God! He saw nothing in any test metric or view that indicated anything happening that wasn’t positive. Not that everything is positive, but nothing has gotten worse and overall, everything is looking better than last week. Despite the lack of rest/sleep, my heart is hanging tough and appears to be getting closer to making a comeback. I can’t really repeat this accurately in the correct medical context, but he told us that a normal heart beats while using 60-65% of its capacity. No one, not even world athletes come close to 100%. My heart is at 30% capacity, so half of what it normally should be. Nonetheless, I am very close to beginning rehabilitation (set for an initial evaluation on March 28). Praise God for these results! God gets the Coach of the Year Forever Award!

4. For a positive outlook/prognosis, including being allowed to continue recovery at home. We are financially up to our shoulders and another stay in the hospital would take us in over our head.

– As noted above, it’s an encouraging outlook, and there was not even a hint that my current situation might require returning to the hospital for overnight treatment. And from a financial standpoint, they moved an expensive charge for one of today’s tests and put it on the rehabilitation bill which comes as a package. As far as the rehabilitation, it will be a challenge to drive to the hospital multiple times a week for a number of weeks. They would have liked us to do this 32 times plus the evaluation session. That’s a LOT of travel and would take well into summer to make it happen. While we understand the rehabilitation is very important, most of it is designed just to make sure that effort is being sustained. We can do that on a lot fewer visits. So, we agreed to the evaluation session and 16 rehab sessions ending with the last week of April. This coincides with our team retreat the first week of May and then our planned travels to the USA a few days later. They had no problem with this and they cut the package price for rehab exactly in-half which at half is still a little under $1,000 USD (a bargain, right?). After having to pay so much out-of-pocket within the past week, we’re grateful for their flexibility and understanding, and for the hospital’s head accountant for her help in managing costs. The accountant gets the Most Improved Player Award!

5. For potential adjustments to the cpap device that might help it to help me.

– This one was answered a little less directly than I phrased it but to the same positive end. The cardiologist was concerned about the breathing/sleep issue. However, he felt the real problem at this point is probably not the CPAP device itself but my lungs. He thinks there is probably liquid in the lungs and because my heart is so weak (only 30% capacity remember), he decided to give me another prescription to add to my daily meal of pills to help my lungs move the liquids off (a diuretic).

ME: “Wait, ‘diuretic’ like coffee?” (asked with hopefulness).

CARDIO DOC: “Oh yes, like coffee. You can drink coffee if you’d like.”

ME: “Yes!”

CARDIO DOC: “Decaffeinated.”

ME: (dejected) “Oh. Never mind. Why bother?”

CARDIO DOC: “Well, you could have a little regular coffee…say half a cup.”

ME: “Half a cup? OK. (thinking) Double espresso with steamed light milk!”

CARDIO DOC:—…—“

So for the good report today and the permission to have a LITTLE caffeinated coffee and for hopefully being correct on the lung issue, my cardiologist (don’t ask me to come up with his name, I can’t even read it in one breath) receives the Team’s Favorite Player Award!

And finally, thanks again for praying for us, and especially for me and my ongoing recovery along with the assortment of medical and financial issues we’re dealing with…YOU get the Sixth Man Award!

One more week of absolute rest and then hopefully, my body will be ready for some intensive rehabilitation. I have trouble moving very far without experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue. It will take the commitment of an all-star athlete to make some relatively small advances. I’m looking forward to it!

It truly is March Madness…on to the next round!

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