Five years ago, as Mr. Larger Than Life lay panting in an ICU bed down at the Detroit Medical Center, the RN caring for him pulled his chest xray up on the monitor. What I saw was the largest cardiac silhouette I think I've ever seen. It looked 3 times bigger than the normal fist sized heart. Now when you think about the Grinch, whose heart grew three sizes to envelope a love of Christmas and spirit, you'd think MLTL's heart would make him all warm and fuzzy.
Not so, my friends, not so.
The size of his heart seems to enable him to hold that much more hatred that he stores up and then dumps on the people who take care of him...his family.
The size of his heart is directly related to an infection, viral myocarditis, that he encountered 23 years ago. A heart this size doesn't beat correctly. It doesn't perfuse correctly, and it's getting tired of doing its share of the work. Late last week, MLTL wore a 24 hour heart monitor. The doctor's office called today, telling him he needed to see the doctor this morning, and to bring a family member with him. He told the doctor he has no family. When asked if he is sure, he said, "no, I am alone." Now the doctor knows this isn't true as both my husband and son have gone with him on these appointments.
Instead of one of us, he took a friend this morning and afterward, all we heard is that he needs a pacemaker on Tuesday and he doesn't know why. In other words, MLTL's sky is falling.
I called the doctor myself and spoke with his nurse practitioner. MLTL has underlying atrial fibrillation (live long enough and we will all likely have this), but way too much ventricular ectopy and frequent 3 second pauses. Because he is deaf, demented and scared, he misunderstood what's going to happen Tuesday, immediately called his daughter and made her cry and has everyone convinced this is the end of his world. Tuesday's appointment is actually with the cardiologist again, not the surgeon, and he was told to bring family with him. Family he denies having.
When I conveyed my conversation with the doctor's office, my sister in law was shocked he'd have told the doctor he has no family. The friend that he took is someone who has stayed close to him to help alleviate the weight of what he carries in his pocket. I just don't get it, but at this point, I've stopped trying to interpret the motivations behind the things he says and does.
While I may have had a sleep-in planned for next Tuesday, I am now supposed to be accompanying this mean old man to see the doctor. As he hates waiting, it's his idea to book the first available appointment at 8 AM. If you're 83 years old, you have time to wait. I hope he doesn't have a heart attack when he learns we're changing the appointment to a more respectable hour.
In the meantime, MLTL believes the doctor is trying to bilk him out of money--as though the Medicare belongs solely to him--and there is no reason for a pacemaker. In his narcissistic mind, it simply isn't possible that anything untoward could have occurred between one doctor visit to the next. What he's failing to forget in his simplistic equation is that it's this cardiologist that he owes his last quarter century to in the first place. Without him, he'd have likely died from the severity of the infection he had. Perhaps he should show more faith in the man.
Lord, this is going to be a difficult weekend.