Sunday, August 12, 2012

6-month annibirthday

Monday August 6, 2012

This was supposed to be posted this last Monday. That didn't happen as you can see.

Hey all. I have finally taken time to make another blog post. Yeah, I'm running way behind on recipes. And I've got another series I haven't even got started yet. So much to do and so little time.

By the way, I hope you took note of the date up above as that is when I had planned on posting this. That date is a little special this year for me. It's been six monhs since my surgery. I had a visit with my cardiologist on Monday along with an Echo cardiogram of my heart.

My heart is healing, Praise the Lord! The Echo cardiogram shows that my heart is now pumping very well. There is a small area at the tip that is not pumping as vigorously as the rest of my heart but it will catch up in time.

The bypass has healed up nicely and I am no longer going to be taking Norvasc, which was a blood thinner that is used for a period of time after open heart surgery to allow the bypass to heal. It makes sure that the bypass arteries don't close up.

Dr. Robertson also reduced my Plavix from one pill a day to one pill every other day. All in all it was a good visit for me.

I thought I posted some pictures on Facebook of the storm damage we had a few weeks ago but now I don't see them. So I thought I'd post some here on the blog.

These first two were taken from the back door while the storm was going on. The table was blown over early during the storm. I kept expecting the grill to go over as well but it didn't.

These next two are some of the limbs that fell from the trees. In the top one, our cable line and clothes line have been knocked down.

Our very large Cottonwood suffered the most damage. The first picture shows the large limb that fell onto the shed. This is the limb that ended up falling on my head when Lisa and I were taking down. The middle and bottom picture show limbs from the Cottonwood in two other trees in the yard. The limbs from the Cottonwood were blown about 20 yards from the tree into these two other trees.

They said it was a "Land Hurricane". It was certainly something I'd never seen before and I'm not sure I'd want to see one again.

Well that's all I've got for now. See you next post :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 101 - Recovery plus Cooking with Kristin - Black Bean Burger

May 20, 2012

Day 101 since I came home. Well shoot, I meant to post this on day 100 and missed it by a day. And even then I'm uploading on day 102.

I've been back to work for two weeks now, full time at least. It's going okay. We had a customer complaint a week ago that turned into a week-long customer visit by various quality people. Plus I had to work yesterday (Saturday). Blargh! So yeah, it's been an interesting couple of weeks already.

How about some food? That always makes things a little better. LOL

This week we've got some Black Bean burgers. Good stuff :)

12 oz. drained black beans
1/2 diced green pepper
3/4 diced medium yellow onion
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cummin
1 egg
2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Mash beans in bowl. Mis in onions, pepper, and spices. Add egg and bread crumbs and mix. Form four patties and bake 10 minutes on each side.

Just a couple comments about this recipe. We all felt that the burgers were a little on the spicy side and that the red pepper and chili powder could be cut in half and there would still be plenty of heat in the burgers. The second thing is that this makes 4 really big burgers. You could easily make 6 burgers out of this recipe and they would still be large enough to be satisfying.

Next week: Hmm... more food but I'm not sure what. And I still have the other rehab to talk about :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 93 - Recovery plus cooking healthy with Kristin

May 12, 2012

I got my first full week back at work under my belt. It was good to see my coworkers again, as I expected it would be. It wasn't a real bad week although we did have a customer complaint on Thursday that had most of us scrambling. Such is the life in the automotive industry.

Lisa, Kristin, and I have joined the Parkview Health and Fitness Center. They've got all the equipment I used at rehab and a whole lot more. I'll talk more about that in a future post along with some pictures of course.

I have discovered something bad for me during this whole recovery process. You end up with a lot of time where you can't do much. Most people would watch TV, which I did. Most people might not watch the stations I watch though. Scifi, Food Network, History, HGTV. It's that last one that got me in trouble. One of my future posts will be about rehab for something other than myself. That should be a fun one to write. And I have lots of pictures :)

I've also come up with at least one more topic I want to blog about. And that is the foods that Kristin has started making for us once a week. She started this a few weeks back and she's made some really good dishes so far. And the great this is that they are all really healthy.

For this first week of "Cooking healthy with Kristin" I decided to showcase her Shepherd's Pie. I don't know how many of you have had shepherd's pie before but I really enjoy it. The combination of meats, veggies, and potatoes is...yum. So Kristin made a shepherd's pie a few weeks ago. The unique thing about hers is that it has no meat.

Here is the recipe.

Super Easy Cheesy Shepherd's Pie

24 oz. bag of frozen Green Giant broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and cheese sauce
1 pouch Betty Crocker Cheddar and Sour Cream mashed potatoes
2 cups frozen ground beef style soy crumbles

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place Veggies and sauce bag in large microwaveable bowl. Cover and microwave for 8-10 minutes. In medium-large bowl combine potatoes with 2 cups hotwater and stir until thickened. Spray 8x8 pan with non-stick spray. Add soy crumbles. Spoon veggies over soy crumbles. Top with potato mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Now doesn't that look yummy?

Next "Cooking healthy with Kristin": Black Bean Burgers

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 77 - Last day of cardio rehab

April 26, 2012

Okay, so its been a few weeks since my last post. I've got a couple really good posts started but they are stuck in the draft state. It seems I'm missing some pictures from my camera. A lot of pictures. So those two posts are stuck in draft state until those photos are found. At least for now. I kind of want the "Before" pictures to go with the "After" pictures. And there were a couple really cool "What the heck is this animal?" pictures as well.

So today I've got something else to talk about. More information about my recovery, as if you really wanted more. Hehe.

I go back to work full time in just a little over a week so today was my last day of cardio rehab. That gives me one week to get back to a work schedule of sorts. No more sleeping in until 8:30. No more staying up till 1:00 watching t.v. with Lisa. No like I'm retired. LOL (and here I am posting this at 12:30 AM. Hahaha)

I'll admit it will be good to get back to work, see my co-workers again. But today was a little
bittersweet for me at rehab. I've gone from feeling rather weak to feeling healthy. I owe Megan and Jim from Parkview Cardio Rehab a big thanks for that. They are the technician/therapists that have been in charge of my rehab routine. And they've been great.

Jim isn't really as short as he looks, he was sitting down at the time :)

I started my rehab at the Parkview on State Street until it was moved to the new Regional Hospital on Dupont. I've shown pictures from the new hospital in previous posts but I haven't shown any of the equipment I've been using at rehab. So how about I remedy that right now.
This is a NuStep machine. You sit and "walk" with your feet and hands. When I first started I used my feet only. My output was 33 watts the first time I did it. Today I finished with 120 watts using both hands and feet.

This is a treadmill. Most folks will recognize this machine. When I started I did 7 minutes at 1.5 mph with zero incline. Today I went 10 minutes at 2.9 mph with an incline of 2.5.

This is the beast. Yes, that's Beast. It's a Schwinn Evolution Comp Airdyne. When I first started rehab I did 7 minutes and reached level 1.3. That was legs only when I first started. Today I went 10 minutes at level 2.0 with my legs and 5 minutes at level 1.1 with my arms.

If there were only one piece of exercise equipment that I could have it would be an Airdyne. It works off of air resistance so the harder/faster you pedal, the more resistance/work you get. Or at least something like that. All I know is that this machine gets me sweating like nothing else. And gave my heart a good workout as well.

You might be asking where do I go from here now that I'm no longer going to rehab? Well, Parkview has a fitness center located only a few minutes from where we live. They've got all the equipment I used and then some. Lisa and I have toured the facility already and we plan on joining as a family next week. They will waive the application fee since I was at Cardio Rehab so we get to save a little money there.

We are also thinking about getting some exercise equipment here at home and converting Kristin's old playroom into an exercise room. It's not a real big space so we have to keep that in mind but I think we could get a few pieces that would compliment the exercise at Parkview Fitness.

Well that just about wraps up this post. The food pictures will return next time. I'm also going to try and put together charts of my progress at rehab from start to finish, if I can.

Instead of food this time I'll leave you with a picture of the water feature by the front entrance of Parkview Regional. It's inside the hospital rather than outside. I think it's pretty cool looking. And the sound of the waterfalls is awesome.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 58 - Pictures, Recipe, and News

April 7, 2012

Thursday's rehab went real good. I increased my watts on the Nustep. I also increased my walking speed and incline on the treadmill. It felt really good. I'm still working with the 5 pound weights. I had just enough time on the clock to get the first three weight exercises done. My time limit for now is 3 minutes of weigh lifting. I'm not sure when that gets increased, I just go by what the little sheet with the name "Gary" on it says to do.

I took a better picture of the Heart Institute this last week as well. My cardiologists office is on the first floor just to the right of the entrance.  My heart surgeon and the rehab area are both on the fifth floor. It's actually very nice to have them all located together like that. We had to stop by the cardiologists office Thursday on the way to rehab. Over at State Street we would have probably drove over to the cardiologists office since the doctors and rehab weren't all in the same building. In fact, my doctors were in different buildings on State as well. So the new Heart Institute puts everyone in the same building. Much nicer even if it is further away.

I took a few pictures of the view from the fifth floor. This is taken from the edge of the track at rehab. The bottom picture is a shot of the Samaritan helicopter. Unfortunately it was sitting backwards from normal.

Oh, I should answer a few questions from previous posts in case ya'll didn't see the answer.

Q: Have you ever seen Jim Gaffigan's hot pockets skit? Its hilarious. -Ar
A: No, Ar, I haven't. But now I will have to google it. I do hope it's online somewhere

Q: Is the food out there as good as on State St - Dad
A: The food is as good as on State Street. Some of it is even better. Or maybe that should be "different". They make the pasta right in front of you when you order it. Haven't tried that yet but it sounds really good. And the Gelato is really good. Lisa and I have shared a bowl of that twice now, different flavors each time.

Q: When will you be able to go back to work full time? - Aunt Shirley
A: May 7th will be my first day back at work. I'm able to work part time from home until then. but no more than 24 hours in a week.

After rehab Lisa and I stopped by Menard's to get new tires for the lawn mower, peanuts for me, and look at some bricks (or something) for around one of the trees. Lisa had never been to Menard's and didn't realize they had the variety of food stuffs that they do. Needless to say, we picked up a few extra things. They had Malt-O-Meal cereal on sale so we got some. It keeps for quite a while so why not. Haha. We also picked up a few snacks. I bought some small packages of a variety of snack foods to create my own trail mix.
Trail Mix Recipe:
8 oz. Chipotle Sunflower seeds
5 oz. Sesame Oat Bran sticks
5.5 oz. Banana chips
4.5 oz. Pumpkin seeds
5 oz. Soynuts

The snacks I used were on sale so I was able to make the entire mix for five dollars.

We went to Angel's Cafe for dinner Thursday. That's a little place down the way from our house, 5 miles or so. I had the Fried Chicken special. Lisa had Biscuits and Gravy with Scrambled Eggs. Looked really good.

My in-house nutritionist informed me when she got home from her lab that fried chicken wasn't really good for me and I should have had something else from the menu. Hmm. Am I paying her for advice? Geez, I hope not. This isn't the advice I really want to hear. Hehehe.

Ah shucks, she's a good daughter and means well. I will have to try and not eat too much fried foods in the future. After all, she is right about that one.

Had to take Lenny to the vets this morning. He did the splits on the tile floor in the kitchen the other day and his inner thigh was really red looking. His hock is also swollen a little. The vet thinks he might have pulled a muscle. At least that is what we and the vet are hoping. He is on meds for the pain and swelling. If it isn't better in a week I have to take him back in for an x-ray.

Tomorrow is Kristin's birthday. I can't believe how fast she has grown up. I guess I better do the same one of these days. Hardy Har Har Har.

Seriously, Kristin is a good daughter and Lisa and I are very blessed to have her. I thank the Lord for both Lisa and Kristin every day. If it weren't for them, I might not be here to celebrate Easter with them tomorrow.

Speaking of Easter tomorrow...Happy Easter everyone! He is Risen! God bless you all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 54 - Surgeon visit, hospital photos, and Food!

April 3, 2012

Author's Note: This post has been done for a couple days but sitting in my "drafts" waiting to be published. Don't ask why, I have no idea.

It's been almost a week since my last post. It seems the better I get the less I post on my blog. I start doing more things around the house and time gets away from me. And this made me spend a little time thinking. Once I'm "better" and there's no real recovery news, what do I post? Well, I've got a few things bouncing around in my brain that might make it into a blog post. Either that or they will damage the inside of my head. Hehe.

Anyway, on to the recovery news, pictures, and more pictures.

As for recovery news, I had a real good visit with my heart surgeon last Thursday, March 29. Dr. Sowden checked out my stiches, heart, and lungs. We had a little chat about how I was feeling. He said I made him look good with how well the surgery went and how well I am doing in recovery. I think he probably says that to all his patients.

We also had a chance to get some answers to a couple questions, like how long do I need to wait before getting back in the waterbed. He said I should be fine in the waterbed so I'm giving that a shot later this week.

Rehab has been going very good as well. I'm starting to feel like I want to push myself a little more though. According to the techs my numbers are good but on the days when I work up a little sweat I think I feel better than on the days when I just sort of maintain. So today I'm going to try and push up a level on most of the equipment. Just one level, nothing crazy.

I took some more pictures of the new Parkview Regional hospital last week. The top picture shows the Heart Institute on the left, Medical Park 11 in the middle, and the main hospital on the right.
The middle picture is the same buildings but from the other side, Medical Park 11 on the left, Heart Institute in the middle, and main hospital on the right.
 The bottom picture shows how far down the complex goes. All those buildings to the right of the main hospital are connected to each other.
Everything is connected with large hallways and you almost can't tell they are separate buildings. I'm not even sure they really are except they look like it externally. 

Hey, how about some pictures of all the food I've been eating. Note: This is not all from one day. Haha!

Pasta is always good

What, still only 2 pieces? Wah! LOL
Asian pot stickers. These were good!

Chicken & noodles, Mashed Potatoes, and Carrots. Nomnom

Mesquite Chicken with Mashed Red Potatoes

Gelato (Italian Ice Cream) at Parkview. Oh my, that was good.

Woot! Taco Bell. My first since sometime in January.

Lemon Herb Chicken. It says so right there in the picture :)

Dinner at Parkview on State. Soup, Beef & Mac, and Veggies.

Oatmeal and a bagel

Subway Black Forest Ham sub

Chicken and Broccoli stir fry made by Kristin. I helped a little

Asian Chicken with Veggies. Another good microwave entree.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 48 - So how much does heart surgery cost?

March 28, 2012

Covering a couple days news here. Food pictures are being held for the next post.

As the subject line says, So how much does heart surgery cost? We'll get to that in a minute. First, rehab news. And no cheating by skipping down a few paragraphs. lol

So yesterday I had rehab. It went okay from my perspective. The Airdyne bike gives me the best work out. Megan, one of my rehab techs, says that an airdyne bike gives a better workout than any other piece of equipment. And I believe it. The airdyne can either be used for your arms or your legs. I'm currently doing 3 minutes with my arms and am at level 0.6. With my legs I'm doing 7 minutes and reaching level 1.5. I don't know exactly how the level is determined but it reflects the amount of "work" or "energy" you are expending.

I also lifted some weights. A whole 3 pounds in each hand. Haha. Sadly, by the time I'm done with my 3 minute weightlifting, they feel more than 3 pounds. O_O I only get through about three-fourths of the exercises on the board but the techs have said they will be increasing the amount of time I'm allowed to do weights so I'll get to do the entire board eventually.

I also walk around the track and use a NuStep recumbent cross trainer. I get a decent workout from the cross trainer. Walking is at my pace so I can't say that's too hard or too easy.

But enough of my rehab info. Let's get to the stuff you really wanted to see. So, how much does open heart surgery cost these days?

Well, my situation is a little unique although maybe not as much as I think. If I hadn't had as much blockage as I did, I would have had a couple stents put in and been out of the hospital probably a week sooner than I was. Unfortunately, my left coronary artery had blockage on a couple of the "branches", one had 100% blockage and another had 90% at the top and 70% further down. It was the 100% and 90% blockage that was the problem, if I remember all of it correctly. So open heart surgery was the only other option. And from the reports I've got from my insurance company, that isn't cheap.

As of March 26, 2012, the total cost of my "visit" to the hospital has bee $182,450.30. Yes, you read that correctly, One hundred eighty-two thousand four-hundred fifty dollars and thirty cents. I'm glad I had insurance.

The Heart Institute visit cost $4,821.00. Surgery and related costs were $175,128.28. Post-op visits, etc. - $1,769.00. Drugs have cost $2,501.02 so far. I hope to be getting off of some of the drugs I'm taking in a few months. But I'll still be on the full batch until at least 3 months from now when I get my heart checked to see how the arteries and capillaries are doing.

And there will be more costs still. I have the rehab that I'm sure isn't free. Plus follow-up doctor appointments, blood work for cholesterol, an ultrasound to check my heart, drugs, etc.

Well, there it is. The cost of heart surgery here in northeast Indiana. Obviously that cost can be more or less depending on where you live. And that cost is without any discounts negotiated by your insurance company. Mine insurance company had discounts. The cost was still well over $100,000 but not the full $182k.

Next time we'll get back to pictures of food, more rehab news, and an update from my post-op visit with Dr. Sowden, my heart surgeon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 41-45 - Six week check-up and Food Gallery!

March 21-25, 2012

I've fallen behind. I don't know how I got this far behind but I did. It doesn't really matter, I'm here to fix that :)

I've only got 5 days of "Stuff" to cover so that should take long. Anyway, let's get on to the "Stuff".

Last week I went to see my cardiologist on Thursday. I was also supposed to see my surgeon but he was not in the office on Thursday so we had to reschedule that appointment. However, the cardiologist visit went well. Dr. Robertson said I looked a lot better than I did when he visited me in the hospital. He listened to my lungs and my heartbeat. Those are both sounding real good.

Then he answered some questions about things that I've been experiencing. For one, my back has been hurting at least since I've been home, maybe longer. It's hard to tell when you've been on pain medication how long something has been hurting. Dr. Robertson said the back pain is normal from the surgery I had. And it will go away in time.

I also feel pressure sometimes below my ribcage. Like my bottom ribs are "pushing" other body parts. Turns out that is what is actually going on as my body heals. Everything is settling back into place after having been pulled apart in the middle. Again, it's one of those things that will go away as my body heals. Knowing now that some of these "odd" things are normal makes me feel a lot better. I was beginning to wonder if I had messed something up by trying to do too much since I'd been home. Sounds like that's a no.

Lisa and I ate at the new cafeteria at Parkview Regional. It's bigger than the old one. And more up to date. And there is a bigger selection of food. sadly, the prices also went up a little. Not too much but enough that we noticed. The food bars in the picture are only half of all of them.

Every time we go out to the new hospital I'm amazed at how big the campus is and how much room they still have to grow. There's even a walking trail. If only they were a little closer to home.
Main building complex. Need to find a better place for a picture.

The little red roofed building is the start of the walking trail
 One thing I am enjoying is the chance to get outside. And now the flowers are starting to push through the ground and bloom.
Paperwhites in the backyard
Lisa and I also got in a lot of walking the last 5 days. Not sure which days we walked but we figured last night that we've done about two hours worth of walking. We walked 30 minutes last night alone. For those of you that know where we live, we went from our house almost to State St., turned around and then down past Lake Ave. to the gas station and back home.  We'll walk again today if the weather is good. It's cooled off a little bit here but still decent. Just not 70+ degrees outside.

That's really all the news I've got for the last few days. How about some food pictures?
The potatoes and broccoli was called an entree. That is not my kind of entree.

My kind of sandwich!

I made this!. hehe. I added in some chopped sweet peppers.

This was really good for micro-food. Really good

Chicken Stir Fry made by Kristin

That's it for today. Lenny is grumping about being stuck in the den with me. Poor boy. Cya next time!!!