December 13, 14, 15

Kage Baker bade me write every day once she was gone, and up until this last Sunday, I have fulfilled that contract. Even on the days when I was ill, tired or just plain lazy, I managed a few lines here to keep the channel open.

Alas, the last several days it’s been a carrier wave only. My apologies to those who wondered where the hell I was; my apologies also to those who knew and worried.

Sunday afternoon I finally admitted the pain in my chest and arm were likely not a pulled muscle and went to the ER. I was admitted to Glendale Memorial Cardiac Care Unit, and Monday a new stent was installed in my chest. (I had four already from two years ago – one of the great disappointments of my life is that they don’t glow like Iron Man’s.)

Anyway, my cardiac surgeon – a tall, stern Sikh in a blue turban – told me that one of my arteries was 100% occluded, and that I must not let this happen again … he was so tall and stern, and it was so much like being lectured by Captain Nemo, that I readily agreed to maintain this simple piece of personal hygiene.  (Besides, I simply cannot disagree with a man who can use a word like “occluded” during heart surgery, and generously expects his distracted patient to understand it. I felt that years of excessive vocabulary research was being honored.)  And I will  begin checking this daily, just as soon as someone send me a medical tricorder …

Apparently, sometime in the last year, some stress or other caused a slight shift in one of my existing stents. A gap developed in the section of artery it was meant to cover. That gap filled up – not with cholesterol (I have excellent and sparse cholesterol) but with a blood clot. Captain Nemo said there is no way to tell what made my heart bleed. As the only explanation I have for this is decidedly metaphysical, we shall leave it at that.

For those who are unaware of it, angioplasts are done under local anesthesia. This does not mean you do not feel anything. It means your sensations are right out of Alice In Wonderland, and very, very peculiar. During my first one, I exchanged many pleasant remarks with my anesthesiologist, who was (as far as I could tell) a giant raccoon. This time all I got was Captain Nemo; however, he was still Captain Nemo the next day, so I must assume he was real. The kid selling Swiss chocolate in the corner was, alas, apparently not.

Anyway, I am home now, with yet more disappointingly non-luminous platinum in my chest and many non-recreational drugs. Except that being not dead nor in pain is pretty much as fun as I can handle at the moment, and the drugs are sure helping that.

I am missing Dickens, however, but I will endeavour to post speculations, memories, and live reports from my many wonderful minions. If YOU have not yet gone to the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco – go this week! It’s the last weekend! It’s beautiful, it’s unique, it’s Extreme Christmas and you need to see it!

Tomorrow: we resume our regularly scheduled dementia

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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9 Responses to December 13, 14, 15

  1. Marc Bailey says:

    You didn’t write! You didn’t call! We worry. You don’t think we worry?

  2. Denise Elia says:

    Local anesthesia? You are so brave. Loved your Captain Nemo reference! David and I will miss you at Dickens this coming weekend, and hope you’re recovering well today.

    • Kate says:

      I’m not brave at all, Denise. I complained through the entire angioplasty, to the point where Captain Nemo told me I must be “as quiet as a mouse”. Which made me giggle extravagantly. Poor man – I am a lousy patient.

  3. Kate says:

    I was not permitted to have my Buke! And would have had to unplug my heart monitor to use it anyway. Bottom line, though, I never expected to be out of commission for three days. But now I am back. Thank you for worrying.

  4. Chris Rioux says:

    Glad you’re doing okay, Kathleen. You shouldn’t have been doing those cartwheels, gymnastics and calisthenics so much your heart moved! Please take it easy. And I’m sorry you’re having to miss more of the Dickens Christmas Fair.

  5. PJ says:

    Bless your heart—literally. I hope you feel better soon.

  6. Kathy says:

    I am so glad that you went into the ER. I was worrying about you ever so much. So glad that the raccoon and Captain Nemo did their jobs, and you tried to be as quiet as a (giggling) mouse. How is one supposed to avoid having occluded arteries from blood clots? My local pharmacy doesn’t have a Check Your Arteries little machine, like they do for blood pressure. Do take care of yourself, and let your body heal!

  7. Kate says:

    Kathy – I’m taking Plavix (which essentially prevents stuff in your veins from sticking to other stuff) Lipitor (in case I DO develop high cholesterol) and various drugs to lower my blood pressure, slow my heart and make it beat more strongly. The idea behind the last three is to maintain pump performance by subjecting it to less stress.

    It’s recommended, of course, that I lose wait – and as soon as I can take exercise without passing out, I shall do so again. It’s also recommended I avoid stress. Any and all suggestions as to how any morally engaged adult American does THAT will be gratefully considered.

  8. Susan Kramer says:

    Kathleen,
    My best wishes for your speedy and comfortable recovery. Perhaps you could pin onto your chest one of those glowy/twinkly Christmas pins-the type that flash. Then you could be Iron Woman!

    We all miss you and will be thinking of you this final weekend of the 2010 Dickens Fair.
    Blessings,
    Susan

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