As I write this, our new kitten Pandora is asleep in her–yes–box. Yes, we have a Pandora’s box in our house now, and who knows what mischief its existence will unleash in the future. 

Her being tucked away is necessary for me being able to write. During her “awake” time, she is pretty rambunctious, a little tiger mighty huntress in training. Anything is fair game, including my fingers as I type on my keypad.

It’s almost 6 a.m. Wednesday and I’m waking after one of those delicious sleeps you enjoy after not sleeping much for a few days.  I have the window open in our bedroom and the nice chill air of autumn is biting my nose while I lay very warm and cozy beneath a comforter.  Everyone else in the house in asleep along with Pandora.

Life is good.

I was going to start writing this yesterday evening, when I was back at home and tasting the most blessed sense of well-being. Physically, I was feeling pretty good, just tired. Emotionally, spiritually, I was over the moon with gratitude for the wonderful family I have and all the wonderful friends, including those who read this blog.

Back to physically. . .

I now have a heart condition, and I have a cardiologist. That’s going to be something to take in over the next few months and years. I am only 48, too young for something like this, right?

But I was and am lucky in many ways. First, I went home on late Sunday morning rather than hit the farmers market, so I was in a safe place when I had my first syncope episode–fainting spell.

Family, friends and I are marveling at how quickly my irregular heart beat was diagnosed. Kudos to the triage nurse at John Muir Medical Center’s emergency room. She came out to greet me just after I arrived and immediately suspected a heart issue because of how the fainting came on while I was just sitting at the kitchen table. She got me into an examination room right away, and ordered an EKG.

I’m lucky I had more episodes while in the emergency room, where the staff could witness and record my heart rate and other vitals as I was passing out.  The emergency room doctor and the cardiologist–my new cardiologist–were able to quickly diagnose my condition, decide on the need for a pacemaker, and schedule me for the surgery to get it the next day.

I’m lucky I live in a time when such devices as pacemakers are available. All indications is that this device–small, sleek, efficient, computerized–will allow me to lead a full, long and active life.

“Will I be able to run marathons?” I asked the cardiologist.  Yes, he said. “That’s good, not that I ever want to run a marathon.”

But, in a month or two I will be able to run again and rock climb again with my son. I can start walking and go back to work. My only limitations have to do with my left arm and chest. I have to keep it pretty still over the next month as the pacemaker and its lead that extends into the vein and heart settle into my body.  Basically, I cannot raise my arm above my shoulder or I could dislodge the pacemaker and lead out of their snug spot in my upper chest. So, that means no shoulder presses, pushups or downward facing dogs. I also can’t use my left hand to reach to pull something down out of a cabinet. Simple, everyday things like drying my hair could prove to be a challenge. And, for the time being my husband has the pleasure of snapping on my bra.

It sounds like over time I will be able to go on with life as if this device didn’t exist in my body. Given the intermittent nature of my condition, my heart probably won’t call on its services that often. I’ll need to go in for device checkup every six months. The battery is supposed to last years, as is the pacemaker. But given technological advances, I can see my cardiologist suggesting I trade up to an ever sleeker model at some point.

So that’s me and my pacemaker.

I’m lucky on that score, and I’m lucky to have so much to be grateful for. I have an amazing husband and son, mother, sisters, brother, and sisters and brothers-in-law. I have amazing friends. Many thanks to former colleagues at Diablo (can’t wait to get my hands on the November food issue) and at Patch. Many thanks to new co-workers at the Diablo Regional Arts Association and the Lesher Center.

Many thanks to my friends in the Creek, notably readers of this blog and Facebook friends, and to new friends from CFR.

Your good thoughts mean so much to me, more than I can say. 

3 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. I bet you speak for lots of women facing/dealing with/learning about heart disease. And speak beautifully.
    Simply by sharing your thoughts, experience, and knowledge.


  2. So glad you are in good spirits and that the pacemaker will be effective for you to have a healthy long life!

    Such a cute kitty too 🙂 I'm sure she helps you take your mind off things for a bit.


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