Whew, Good Visit

One of the side effects, if you will, of being hit by lightning is that you tend to collect doctors and other medical types. At least for a while, I had my GP, a cardiologist, a cardiac surgeon, a couple of different rehab people, a neurologist, the doctor who did my cognitive evaluation, my ENT, a dermatologist, and even a podiatrist. I feel like I may be leaving one or two out, but you get the idea.

We have spent a bit over a year now trying to get everything fixed, make sure nothing else needs fixing or is trying to develop, and otherwise slowly trying to get the number of medical types back down to a manageable level (by my standards). We’ve had to rule out a couple of types of cancer, identify and deal with issues in my digestive system, monitor shoulder joints that need replacement (I really want the funds to try some regenerative medicine), confirm the amount of hearing loss and the nerve death associated with some of it, do cognitive and physical therapy, and other such fun things.

When I get asked why I haven’t yet moved, I tend to point to the above. I will also point out that my current insurance will not transfer out of state, and within the limits of what it covers, has been a champ. Their call center rates a 10 to the negative 14 Tor on customer service, but they have paid the bills and even gotten creative on a few things much to my surprise. I suspect that one thing they did not only benefits me but earns them extra money, but I can’t complain about it.

Let’s look at the good news, and give some thanks. First, I’m alive. By all rights, I really should not be alive.

Second, the heart seems to be doing very good after the open heart surgery and the three procedures done. I’m not up to weights and such (working towards it) but am to the point I am walking several times a week; and, as much as possible, 3 or more miles on each walk. Thanks to the new shoes you helped me get, I’m hoping to do another 7+ mile walk here soon. I still tire easily and am nowhere close to being able to do all I used to do, but I am working to get to as close to that as I can. May take a few years, but….

Third, we did rule out a number of bad things as possibilities, though it also meant confirming a condition that effects the digestive system. There may be some other in there, but it’s not major (yet). Also, thanks to this one, I may not need another colonoscopy for five years instead of three.

Fourth, the cognitive therapy has given me some coping mechanisms for the short-term memory issues. Things can derail, but if I stay with routine and am careful, most days are not too bad. I joke that I have the short-term memory of a mayfly, but lists and such get me by much of the time. Just far too easy to lose the train of thought multiple times in an hour. They think all of the long-term memories are still there, just scrambled for now. I liken it to my memories being a room full of filing cabinets, where someone went in, pulled drawers at random, and dumped them — then the jerk cut on a fan. They say my mind should heal in about 3 years or so, and then we can make sure nothing was lost.

Fifth, and final for today, my liver, kidneys, such seem to be in good shape. I honestly would not have been surprised at more internal damage, but God was merciful. Given the amount of power that went through my body and left a small melt trail over the sole of my shoe, it really should have been worse. To say I’m grateful it’s not is an understatement.

Oh, before I forget, I’m down to just two doctors monitoring me on a regular basis! Now, to get them to coordinate their blood draws…

For almost all these things, except for the digestive track issues, time will heal. It may take 3-5 years, but if I keep working at it there is hope for improvement. It just takes time, patience, and a bit more.

In the learn-to-live-with-it department, the hearing damage is permanent and a hearing aid or advanced system isn’t going to do anything. Both ears took a hit on general hearing and tinnitus levels, but the right side (where the lightning hit) saw all of my high-frequency hearing lost, and the nerves for that range are dead. The ENT wants to do yearly tests to be sure there is not a continuing drop-off and monitor. Something I didn’t mention earlier is that long-term effects are possible in all areas. Hence, the monitoring by the GP and cardiologist (and ENT). In some ways, this bothers me the most since I lost up to 50 percent of my hearing range on one side. It makes things sound different and it throws off my ability to locate sources of sounds. Heck, it even makes things sound different since I can’t hear all of the sound. Bites on music. The digestive track issues are something I will just have to live with too.

In the your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine department, there are the shoulders, the lower back, and other issues related to an interesting life. The lightning strike has not helped some of them, as I’ve had to change up how I do a number of things which puts more stress on them. Net result, the shoulders are getting worse faster than hoped. Painful and limits arm movement. Not amused. The back, well, we will see.

And, yes, I’m giving the best possible case here. I am, at heart, an optimist. A cynic and a few other things, but still an optimist who has given thanks that he is still here. At best, I’m going to be sidelined for 3 years if all goes well, and if it doesn’t go well, well… Thankfully, I can still reason and write though not as well or as fast as I used to be able to do a story. What used to take an hour tends to take a fair bit more than that these days. Even then, there are likely to be typos and such: some by me, some by autocorrect, and some I’m going to blame on the landlord’s cats just because. Furry little stalkers.

With today’s visit and results, I see a way forward on moving. I thought I did earlier, but now that both docs are showing clear, much better. I can and will hope for the best on everything. Onwards.


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.