Art was discharged from the University of Arizona Medical Center on Tuesday, after three days of evaluation and monitoring. His arteries are clear and his heart is healthy. He now has a pacemaker/ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) to handle any future electrical issues. We think the episode was triggered by extremely low potassium levels. He's wearing a sling to remind him to keep his shoulder immobile until the incision heals. We hope it will come off on Tuesday when he has his first appointment with the pacemaker people. Then we will get back on our bicycles.
I am usually compliant with medical recommendations, and Art is sometimes not. I am relieved that he has not decided he can drive; he has an early morning meeting every day and has found rides to them all so I can sleep. He has not, however, decided to refrain from drinking coffee. I keep reminding myself that each person has a right to decide on his own quality of life. It is very hard for me to keep my mouth shut.
We went to a dance last night. It had been a week since Art got any kind of exercise and he got a little out of breath. He said he was fine - that the shortness of breath he experienced before he collapsed isn't the same thing as being out of breath. Still, I got paranoid. I told my friend Judy, a nurse, and she didn't say, "He should sit down and rest." She said, "You'll get over your paranoia."!
I called the woman who coordinates the CPR classes at the resort (it's actually called CCP, or Continuous Chest Compression, as the method has changed since I first took CPR decades ago). I told her I'd be interested in speaking at the resort and elsewhere about the importance of learning the technique.
So yesterday Art and I spoke to 300 people at the monthly coffee and doughnuts gathering. The meeting was broadcast via closed-circuit TV all over the resort. Art said, "My name is Art Myers. Last Saturday I was playing pickleball with my wife - and I was winning, 10-8 - when I got short of breath and dizzy. I went to sit down on the sideline. Then I died." He handed the microphone to me and I told the story. My concluding sentence was, "I am pleading with you to take the class. You never know when you might need to save a life." We'll see how attendance goes at the next class a couple of weeks from now.
The coordinator also sent our names and our story to the public health person in Tucson. I said I would be willing to speak any time until we leave here on March 22.
We have had wonderful support from family and friends, both here and at home. I had rides to and from the hospital every day (I lost my glasses that Saturday, and I have terrible night vision), visitors at the hospital, emails and text messages and phone calls - even a casserole! People stop us in the resort to ask how we're doing.
On the inside, I am still stressed. I have done some laughing, but no crying yet. I wonder if that will happen.
A long, hard week
7 hours ago