Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The weekend I went to Chicago to see Billy Joel and almost came home with a pacemaker ~ 7/18 - 7/21/14 - Part 2 of 2

Saturday morning in Chicago. What could be better? We walked a few blocks away to a recommended restaurant, The Yolk. Our Concierge recommended it and gave us a business card to use if the restaurant was crowded. And Zing! It worked. We were brought to the front of line and seated immediately. We ordered coffee and juice, and that's the last I remember. Apparently I passed out and took a header on the table. 911 was called, EMS was there in about 4 minutes, and I had my first ever ambulance ride to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In the ER, I continued to have dizzy spells and the heart monitor showed my heart rate dropping precipitously each time.
Finally in the afternoon I was transferred to the Cardiac ICU where the paddles and atrophine were a constant presence.
I was tethered to the wall by the heart monitor and could only reach my bathroom, where the first day I wasn't allowed to use it by myself. No food was also permitted until the doctors could rule out imminent surgery, which they finally did later that night. I hadn't eaten since Billy Goat Tavern's cheezborger Friday night, so whatever this was, I was eating it.
No one can sleep in an ICU unit, particularly when hooked up to a blood pressure cuff that goes off every hour, nurses that draw blood every 4 hours, and a doctor who determines you're not getting enough oxygen when you start to fall asleep, so oxygen is added to the mix. But seriously, thank you all for taking such good care of me and keeping me alive!

Sunday morning brought a last visit from our friends with whom we came to Chicago. They were hitching a ride back to Grand Rapids with a friend who also was here for the Billy Joel concert. Breakfast then arrived, along with a passel of doctors discussing my case. It appears a pacemaker might be in order since my heart rate was continuing to intermittently drop.
A visit from my sister & her husband was timed to the electrophysiologist dropping in to say, yes, she definitely needs a pacemaker.
Later that day, two Michigan friends who were in Chicago also stopped by with cheers and snacks.
The pacemaker was on the schedule.
Later Sunday, another electrophysiologist came to talk with me about tomorrow's procedure and about my history. When he heard about the beta blocker blood pressure medication, he had a little freak-out and immediately consulted with the cardiology team. There may be an issue with my heart electrical system but it may have been exacerbated by the medication. Dinner was served.

But being still scheduled for the pacemaker by morning, no food or beverage was allowed after midnight into the morning, until finally we got the all-clear that the pacemaker was cancelled. My wonderful nurse saved me a very late breakfast.
Along with my promise of release, Monday also brought me visits from both of my brothers.

And finally, I was sprung, with a 30-day heart monitor to be worn 24/7, and a follow-up visit with the electrophysiologist in 6 weeks. Total happiness. Inches away from a pacemaker that's maybe just kicked down the road but happy all the same. Our hotel had been extended night by night so we enjoyed Monday late afternoon and night in Chicago before heading home to Grand Rapids on Tuesday. We started at Tavern at the Park.



Hearing it was my first day out of the hospital, we got a free, delicious dessert - score!
We walked around Millennium Park ~


and enjoyed a concert by Pillars & Tongues, and The Both.


We walked back to our hotel along the River Walk, enjoyed a drink and the river view at O'Brien's, found a Vietnam War Memorial, and had a last drink/snack at CityScape. Until next time, Chicago!



Billy Joel-Chicago-Pacemaker ~ Part 1 of 2


Sunday, July 27, 2014

The weekend I went to Chicago to see Billy Joel and almost came home with a pacemaker ~ 7/18 - 7/21/14 - Part 1 of 2

Yeah that happened. We left Grand Rapids for Chicago Friday morning to enjoy Chicago before the 8pm concert in Wrigley Field. And it was a lovely day. We checked into the Holiday Inn, Mart Plaza, River North, and were delighted with our view of the river, the lobby, the cityscape bar, and the nearby Pez Heads outside of the Merchandise Mart.




We needed appetizers and a beverage and so stopped at the first sidewalk place we found, Moe's Cantina.
Then we strolled around town and took in the ambiance that is Chicago.




 

Time for dinner before the 8:30 concert at Wrigley Field, and we started out just to imbibe at the Billy Goat Tavern but ended up digging into their cheezborgers. But before that we crashed the Kuo dinner party :-)








Then we were off on the train to Wrigley Field.
Waiting for Billy Joel ~ in the nose bleed section but the performance was incredible, even from here.


 
His 5 number encore was amazing as well as the entire slick performance. He and his entourage know how to put on a show, although we could do without the blinding lights shining into the audience, uh, our eyes. The long line to catch the train back to our hotel was disconcerting but we persevered and made it back without calling a cab. Nightcap back at the CityScape Bar was a fitting ending to this excellent day. Tomorrow everything would change.