SHOCKING!

From: Meridian, ID:

As I have mentioned – once or twice – in previous postings, last October I learned from a cardiologist that I have a type of irregular heartbeat called, atrial fibrillation, generally known as “A-Fib.” At that time (and since) the doctor has continued to assure me that (1) it is quite a common condition, and (2) it does not necessarily shorten one’s lifespan. The primary “downside” is that the person who has it has a statistically higher risk for stroke. (I suppose there are other negatives, but I’ve never really noticed any of them in my day-to-day comings and goings.) Because of the elevated risk of stroke, he prescribed a blood thinner medication and I have been taking it ever since (Eliquis…you’ve seen the commercials, I’m sure). He and I have, since then, been trying to cure/eliminate the condition. The latest effort, which was done yesterday, was “electrical cardioversion.”

(Chart showing the result of  a successful electrical cardioversion.)

(Chart showing the result of a successful electrical cardioversion.)

Essentially, this routine procedure consists of the administration of an electrical shock to the patient, based on the fact that such a shock has a good chance of “re-booting” the heart to a normal rhythm. (Another of the possible results is stopping the heart altogether, but we don’t like to dwell on that one.) In fact, the outcome of the process is often successful. (The article at Web MD says that is the case in “most” instances. Another reference says, “90 percent.”)

Again, the cardioversion is considered a “routine” procedure. Still, it is serious enough – and painful enough – that the patient is nearly always given drugs to go to sleep. (I was assured this is not being “put to sleep” in the same sense that the Humane Society uses the phrase.)

I’ve actually been “operated on” only twice in my life. The first was a very simple case of removing a .22 bullet from my thigh; the second was an appendectomy, rendered somewhat more serious than is usual because my infected appendix had, unbeknownst to me, ruptured before I got to the hospital. Both of these trips to the hospital were many years ago, but yesterday it seemed to me that the preparation for the cardioversion was much the same as had been the preparation for both of those previous times. I couldn’t eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure; I was hooked up to an IV for the delivery of fluids; I was hooked up to a heart/blood pressure/pulse monitor; and I was “put to sleep.”

I’ll admit it…I am pretty much a wuss about this kind of thing. I doubt that anybody likes going to a hospital or clinic, but my aversion feels a bit stronger than what I’ve observed in others. I really don’t like it, and this despite my rational self constantly reassuring my irrational self that, “…everything will be fine.” “The doctor does this stuff day in and day out…he has gotten very good at it.” Or, “Even if the worst happens, there you are, already in a hospital, and with a team of expert medical professionals standing by to handle any sort of emergency.” And, “Millions of people have had this done without making a big deal of it. You’re being a real scaredy cat!” (My irrational self almost always wins any discussion with my rational self.)

So all of the hospital people involved in my procedure yesterday were very good. They kept me informed of what was going on, what I should expect…all that stuff. “We will give you the sleep drug, and the next thing you know you will be waking up wondering when the actual shocking will start.” And of course they were right. I felt nothing for the short time I was “out” (something around 10 minutes, I was told),  even though the doctor had administered two shocks. (The first was one of 200 Joules, the second at 300 Joules. And, “No,” I’m not going to try to explain what a “Joule” might be. It’s technical talk.)

(An electrical cardioversion machine...similar to a battery charger, I think.)

(An electrical cardioversion machine…similar to a battery charger, I think.)

Before I went to the clinic – I should have already mentioned that Janet drove me there…and was required by the hospital rules to drive me home (Thanks, Hon!) – I had envisioned the electrical pads both being placed on my chest…like they always do in the television Emergency Rooms. Now I know that for an electrical cardioversion, one of the sticky-pads is placed on the patient’s left-side chest (above the heart), and the other goes on the back, directly opposite the one in the front. Definitely makes sense when you think about it…the positioning results in the heart being directly between the two electrical poles. Dr. Green said that after the first jolt didn’t work, he cranked up the juice a bit and even pressed down on the front pad in an attempt to reduce the distance between the two.

But to no avail…I went in to the room with A-Fib, and I left the room with A-Fib. Blast! Depending upon whom you ask, the success rate for cardioversion can be as high as 90 percent, so I definitely beat the odds in my case.

I was told that I would probably have some discomfort – similar to a mild sunburn – on my skin where the pads were placed, and that’s true. Happily, it was very minor, indeed…hardly worth mentioning. Now, as the healing process is underway in the area of the burn, I’ve got some itching. But that’s very minor, as well.

A-Fib has never been something that has caused me any discomfort, nor do I think it has been a limiting factor in any of my daily activities. (What limitations I encounter – and there are a few – I attribute to age, rather than A-Fib.) That being the case, it is not a crushing disappointment the procedure didn’t work, even though I truly would like to be done with it. On July 7th I will meet with Dr. Green again and learn what he suggests as a future plan. Another cardioversion attempt? A different procedure, in which the catheters are placed internally in the heart? A pacemaker? We’ll see.

***

When you get to be my age, you eventually realize that a lot of technology is passing you by. Know what I mean? Like smartphones. (For all I know, even those are now passé.) Like whatever the current format for what we oldsters once called “records.” (Music.) You get the idea. One such thing, although technically not a “thing,” but rather a process or “activity,” is Craig’s List on the Internet. Now I’m not so old or out of touch with modern stuff that I haven’t heard of Craig’s List…I have. But I’ve also heard a few nightmarish stories about buying and/or selling on the site. Crank telephone calls for the rest of your life; burglars “casing” your home; clandestine meetings where one or the parties gets mugged; etc. So I’ve never used the site. Despite my trepidation, though, Janet finally made me realize that she “really means it” when she tells me to get rid of the towbar we used to pull the Buick behind the motorhome we had a few years back.

I could have simply put it out beside the garbage next collection day…we’ve often gotten rid of out and out worthless junk that way in the past. I did ask a couple of RV dealers if they wanted it to sell it on consignment, like. (No dice, there.) Sooo, I thought again about Craig’s List.

(A Blue Ox "Aventa" towbar.)

(A Blue Ox “Aventa” towbar.)

Two days ago, I managed to work through the process of establishing an account on the site, and successfully posted a listing for our “Blue Ox Aventa Towbar.” During this process of listing, I kept looking for the part concerning the charges from the company. The subject never came up…at least not directly. In the User Agreement verbiage I notice a reference to “charges” being payable by a credit card on file…but no such charges were ever described, and I was never asked to enter a credit card number. “Perhaps they only charge when a listing is successful,” I thought to myself.

Still being as cautious as I could, I did not enter my address anywhere; I did not include my telephone number in the listing. As the means of contact, I entered my Hotmail email address, which I use specifically for entering a called-for address when I really would prefer not getting email from such a person or company. I should also mention that I gave an asking price for the towbar that was very low. Almost ridiculously low. (The whole point was to get the sonuvagun out of my garage…not to recoup the money we paid for it in the first place.) The things retail for over $600 bucks!

I had what appeared to be a legitimate “contact” within hours. And the prospective buyer included his telephone number in his query. I suppose I could have responded via email, and it would have gone through Craig’s List, as his email to me apparently did.

Instead, I waited until I was home from my cardioversion thingee and called the fellow. During our conversation (very short), I suggested we meet in the parking lot of the coffee shop, which I think was roughly halfway between our homes. (I was still being cautious, fearful of giving the mugger any assistance in learning where I live.) He quickly agreed. (And didn’t offer me the opportunity to come to his house, by the way.)

(This ball is where I should have applied some lubrication.)

(This ball is where I should have applied some lubrication.)

After I had completed the listing I spent some time in the garage, cleaning both the towbar, itself, and the “receiver” apparatus (“base plate”) that had been installed on the Buick. Both pieces looked good, although not so good that I used the words, “like new,” in the listing. I should also have thought of lubricating the moving parts on the towbar, because the dang thing was very stiff when I went to demonstrate the operation to the buyer. It also didn’t help that due to the three years that have elapsed since I so much as looked at it, I wasn’t all that certain how it was supposed to work. Happily, I was able – finally – to make it work, and the buyer concurred with my “needs a little lubrication” assessment.

(The base plate that affixes to the towed vehicle.)

(The base plate that affixes to the towed vehicle.)

When looking at the base plate that affixes to the vehicle being towed, he was a bit hesitant, knowing that it probably wouldn’t work on the jeep he would be towing. At this I told him, “Well, I can understand your reluctance, but let me put it this way: “If you don’t take the attachment, I’ll have to charge you more for the towbar.” “I’ll take it,” he quickly responded…and he had money in his hand in an instant.

Finally, then, after our deal was concluded, and after I got home, I logged in to my Craig’s List account and deleted my listing, thinking that perhaps that would be the point when I would be charged something for the servicer. But that didn’t happen, either, and I would be very surprised to get any billing from them now, being after the fact of the sale as it is.

Soo, given the fact that everything seems to have gone so swimmingly, Janet and I are looking around the garage for other unwanted, unneeded items (a.k.a., “junk”) that we might be able to sell and, by so doing, become wealthy. (I have to quickly add that the towbar didn’t fall in to the category of “junk.” It was definitely worth the price the buyer paid.)

Have a great weekend.

Bud

 

 

 

4 Responses

  1. Jerry Howard says:

    Oh no, you are hooked! After you sell all of your stuff you will be going to yard sales to buy stuff so you can sell it at a profit on Craig’s list. When you sell that Ruger 17HMR let me know! :)

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hi Jer, Nah, nah…I can quit Craig’s List any time I want. Which reminds me, I did manage to smoke up those Pall Malls. After which I went and bought another pack of smokes. Blah! One of Janet’s friends told me today that she quit cigarettes and started “vaping.” Hmmmm. Maybe it’s worth a try… Later, Ol’ Bud
      PS: When that 17 HMR goes up for sale, it will be because one of my grandchildren is selling it. :-)

  2. Donnelle says:

    We use Craig’s List all the time, there is never a charge, which is why it is so popular. I’m glad you had a good experience.

    • Bud Larson says:

      Hi Donnelle, That’s great to hear, about Craig’s List not charging anything. But how do they make their money? I haven’t noticed any advertisements. Love ya, Uncle Bud

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