Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

     Today was the big day of the year, as far as my husband's maintenance is concerned. Once a year, he has to go see the man we refer to as "the big doctor", one of the nation's leading specialists in Marfan's Syndrome. Fortunately for us, he just happens to reside in St. Louis. That was a happy coincidence as far as my husband is concerned, because he didn't move to the midwest for the medical care. (He moved here because of a girl, but that girl wasn't me, so let's move on, shall we?) While the care he was receiving in Charlotte was very good, I have to say I'm really, really happy that he's here in St. Louis.

     In preparation for today, my husband took a personal day from work and made sure to get a good night's sleep last night. He went in for his echocardiogram first, before his consultation with the doctor. It really didn't make me nervous, knowing that he was going in for testing and whatnot today. Part of me thought I would be, but I was really more concerned with what his bloodwork was going to look like. The echo came back fine and the doctor let him know that all was well for the time being. He was particularly pleased when my husband informed him that he'd quit smoking, as that's obviously a bad habit for anyone, but particularly stupid for someone with known cardiac issues to pick up.

      The best news was still to come, though. The specialist told my husband that he was so pleased with the echo results and his general state of being that he actually wanted him to exercise! Yay exercise! Of course, my husband's initial reaction was, "Uh, what?", since it's widely known that one of the key components to keeping him alive is maintaining a steady heart rate. Physical activity has not been on his agenda for many a moon and now to be told that he not only could (within reason, of course), but should? Hubby's brain was a bit boggled momentarily.

     The reason for the exercise order wasn't just because the doctor thought it sounded like fun, though - my husband has apparently gained twenty pounds since last September. As with just about everything else, his weight is a subject matter more complicated than a normal person's. He has a hard time gaining any sort of muscle mass (lucky for him I've always had a thing for the skinny ones) and when he does pick up some weight, it's oddly distributed. His legs and arms are about as big around as my calves and as I'm only 5'4" and about 150, that should tell you something. I think his doctor was more concerned with the added effort my husband's heart would have to put out in order to compensate for the excess weight than any aesthetic reasons.

     That's okay, though, because if our biggest issue at the moment is how to help his lose a bit of poundage, we're doing phenomenally well. AND, in another bit of happiness, when my husband went to the next medical meeting of the day, one with the doctor who monitors his INR, he was told that his levels of warfarin didn't need to be adjusted. Why is this significant, you ask? Remember a few weeks ago when I posted that we were starting Weight Watchers together and that I was worried because of the potential havoc the increased levels of vitamin K could wreak on his blood thinner? When the INR came back just fine, that was a clear indicator that we were okay to proceed as we had been with the leafiness of our new diet.

     INR, by the way, is an acronym for international normalized ratio, which measures the clotting tendency of blood. Always important to have this checked regularly when you're on a daily dose of warfarin, as my husband is. I was afraid that when we started eating more fresh green veggies, it was going to have a seriously adverse affect on him, but we're apparently in the clear, so long as we keep it consistent on the vitamin K intake.

     It's nice to feel sometimes that living with Marfan's isn't all gloom and doom and that we can be our own brand of normal, after a fashion. It's nice to know that if  I want to go for a walk with him, I can do so without fearing that he'll keel over from internal bleeding if we try to climb too steep a hill, or that we can change our diet to be healthier without fearing that it's slowly causing his blood to thicken to undesirable levels and putting him in danger of a clot. It's nice to feel that maybe the professionals aren't the only ones who know how to take care of him. Maybe I'm getting the hang of it, too.

1 comment:

Allie G said...

I'm just looking for a "like" button here, cause yay!