Taking the Pulse of Grumpy’s Gumption: CATARACT SURGERY #2


Taking the Pulse of Grumpy’s Gumption

surgeryGrumpy had his second cataract surgery the other day but there were complications. No, he’s not referring to some deliberate attempt at indecent exposure from his hospital gown.

The admitting nurse after inspecting Grumpy up one side and then down the next remarked, “Hmmmmmm, you have a bit of an irregular heartbeat, Mr. Grumpy. Are you being treated for that?”

Now when it comes to irregularity, Grumpy has never had a problem. He is as regular as rain. But, when the word “heartbeat” entered the discussion he nearly made a mess right there on the hospital bed.

“Well, yes,” Grumpy whimpered. “I had that all checked out a few months ago. My Doctor said my EKG and rhythm strip showed all was good with the old ticker.”

“Hmmmmmm,” replied my nurse as she scribbled nefarious notes on the chart. The look on her face and the hand holding her chin had Grumpy doing quick Life Insurance calculations in his head.

A nurse tickling Grumpy always gets this reaction.

A nurse tickling Grumpy always gets this reaction.

Years ago, Grumpy had an elevated resting heart rate of over 100 beats per minutes – but he takes meds for that. And, as you well know, Grumpy is into a fitness regimen that involves at least four walks a day.

His resting heart rate usually pitter-patters at 70 beats/minute. Just three weeks ago, at his sixth month check-up, his cholesterol was normal and his BP was 117/77.

He felt as if he was one with the universe.

On the other hand, today’s news was like a kick in the onions, making the old guy feel, well – OLDER. Heck, he’s 63 years young and here with 70 and 80 year olds for cataract surgery and suddenly, and unexpectedly, he’s joined their club – The Geriatric Cardiac Kids.

And so, he went through the entire cataract procedure with the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head. It was as if this irregular heartbeat “thang” had become the primary focus of the day.

But listen, wouldn’t this out-in-the open concern have you on adrenaline overdrive. The old flight-fight response surely gets my heart a rockin’.

When he was wheeled to the OR Grumpy’s admitting nurse warned, “You need to know he’s got a bit of an irregular heartbeat.”

“Oh,” said the receiving OR nurse, “We’ll have to keep a close eye on that!”

When Grumpy was wired up to all the monitoring equipment he could hear beeps which, to his ears, did not form either a rhythmic or musical pattern. Hey, he’s watched a lot of movies see. Like the big guy at Christmas, he knows what’s good and what’s bad.

This was confirmed when the OR nurse remarked, “Oh, yes, those beats are irregular, aren’t they, Hmmmmmmm!”

Well, later that day Grumpy learned from a nurse friend, who was on OR duty that day, that several cataract patients turned up with undiagnosed cardiac issues. That was a problem because anesthesia is a whole different ball game under these conditions.

Putting someone too far under might result in the shovelling of six feet of dirt.

AAAanethesiaHence, old Grumpy received the low dose “putting you under” treatment – meaning he was neither here nor there, nor was he in or was he out. He was somewhere between “La-La Land” and fully “baked”. Yes, it was back to the 1960’s for Grumps.

Grumpy remembers thinking he was driving in a snowstorm with deep snow covering the road. The roads were slippery and white. So he loudly remarked, “Wow, there sure is a lot of snow!”

The answer he received, in a voice he recognized as his ophthalmologist, was “It’s alright, Mr. Grumpy, we’re almost done.”

Everything was surreal from that point on as Grumpy could see the tool working within his eye, hear the hum of the motors providing suction, feel the spray of cool water irrigating his socket and hear the voices of the OR crew as they discussed their golf games. The annoying beeps from that heart monitor kept him on Red Alert.

Fortunately, everything went very well.

Afterwards, the anesthesiologist dropped in on Grumpy for a consultation.

“I’ve booked you in for an Echo-Cardiogram and a visit to a cardiologist in Simcoe,” he deadpanned.” And, I’m upping your Apo-Atenol by 25 mg. just as a precaution.”

All in a day’s work at Tillsonburg General Hospital, I guess.

Grumpy actual felt perfectly normal when he entered the hospital that day. He’s thinking the “white-coat” syndrome he suffers from might have just put his ticker into an irregular beat.

In this particular situation, Grumpy experienced a lot of hands on by a bevy of young attractive nurses. Hey, there may be snow on Grumpy’s roof but there’s surely fire in his furnace, even though the thermostat might be turned down.

Mr. Grumpy you look a little flushed.

Mr. Grumpy you look a little flushed.

Nevertheless, the Good Wife was there to observe these molestations and Grumpy felt as if she might be on the verge of taking executive action. (She is the CEO of Grumpy Villa)

Is it any wonder that his heartbeat would be irregular?

And, after he heard that first, “Hmmmmmm,” his flight response was readying him to engage in a mad dash run for it. In that case there would be no doubt about indecent exposure from his hospital gown. The last thing Tillsonburg Hospital would see is Grumpy’s “hinny” as he made his way to the Clown Car.

The bottom line is this. Grumpy is eternally grateful for the fine care he received from his surgeon and the OR team at Tillsonburg Hospital. Their due diligence turned up a cardiac anomaly that now can be dealt with by a specialist.

Hopefully, medical intervention will assist Grumpy in his ultimate goal of continuing “to grow older, but never to grow up.”

BTW- the upping of the meds has turned Grump into a zombie. He doesn’t eat people but he moves around in a shuffle and nearly drags his hands on the carpet.

The pharmacist said it will take your body awhile to get accustomed to the new dose. “You might feel really tired,” he added.

Ya, you got that right, because I feel like frigging 90 year old now. My get-up-and-go got up and went. All I want to do is sleep. Pumba the Farting dog and I are more alike than ever now.

But, the good thing is, when and if my eyes are open, I’ve got my 20/20 vision back – thanks to my two new inocular implants.

The  only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
Helen  Keller

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