Coming To Terms with Congestive Heart Failure

In September 2021 I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. That explained why my feet and knees always hurt, why I was always short of breath, why my feet and ankles were swollen, why I had to urinate frequently, and why my blood pressure was so bad. I am saddened I wasn’t diagnosed sooner, but then covid was going full swing for almost two years before hand.

I have made my peace with the fact that I might die from this. Part of helping me make my peace with a possible early death came with going back to church services again. I am so thankful for online church as it’s sometimes tough for me to leave the house because of the heart failure and resulting limited mobility. I still have problems walking short distances without a walker. It is a bitter pill to swallow thinking I won’t live long enough to see cool things like colonies on the moon, people on Mars, really smart AI, green energy becoming a major part of the power grid, etc. But I guess it doesn’t matter the years of life if you had lots of life in your years.

I don’t have much for regrets about my life. I read many of the famous classics that most people only mention by name. I saw my Rockies play in the World Series. Got to see my Huskers have dominating football teams in my younger years. I fell in love a few times. I’m still best friends with my best friend from high school even though we’ve seen each other in person only a handful of times since age 18. I thank social media for that, first with myspace, and then later with facebook. I graduated from college even with a serious mental illness. I had some of my writing published. I actually made some money from my writing. I was even interviewed by local media for my writings a few times. I lived on my own for seventeen years even with schizophrenia.

Most of the things I do regret came from the mental illness, not from a lack of trying. I do regret not getting married and having kids, but the mental illness would have made this impossible, especially since I can’t hold a full time job.

I have come to accept that yes, I probably will die younger than normal with my heart failure. But I believe in the after life and am grateful I lived a good life with the life I have. It could be several years before I die, I don’t know. But I am grateful for having the opportunity to chase my dreams, even if I did come up short. Most of the coming up short was due to my various chronic illnesses.

There are worse things than an early death. I’ve been fighting mental illness for over twenty years. Been fighting heart failure for a few years now. Not sure if I have enough left in the tank to go another twenty years with mental illness, let alone mental illness with congestive heart failure. But it’s all right. I don’t have many regrets.


February 19 2023

I’ve been in Oklahoma for almost two weeks. I can now walk anywhere in the house. I use my wheelchair only when I’m outside. I’m lifting weights three times a week. I make it a point to stand up at least once an hour. I usually sleep in my recliner as it’s easier on my back and knees. I’m staying up to at least 930 most nights. I’m still not used to staying up late. Some of my meds make me sleepy.

I qualified for food stamps. I’m getting an Oklahoma bank account sometime this week. I’m also going to the park when we have a warm weather day. I shower with the help of a shower chair. My medicaid is in the process of transferring to Oklahoma. I’m on the waiting list for several low income housing units. I specifically requested handicap accessible. I don’t use my wheelchair in the house partly because the halls are too narrow to easily navigate and I’m trying to rebuild my walking endurance. I didn’t walk many places in my nursing home as things were far enough apart to use a wheelchair. But I get up and walk several times a day now, mostly short distances. I’m having less pains in my knees. I still walk kind of stiff but even that is coming back.

Attended church each of the last two weeks. It feels good to be going back and socializing regularly again. I usually weigh myself only twice per week. I’m still losing weight. Granted the progress doesn’t seem to be very fast when I’m lost in the day to day grinds. But last May I couldn’t stand up for longer than 5 seconds without the pain being unbearable.

February 13 2023

Hard to believe we are halfway done with February. My medications have been filled here in Oklahoma. My Nebraska Medicaid has been shut down, so I can now get Oklahoma Medicaid. I sent off an application for food stamps. I submitted applications for several low income housing units in the Oklahoma City area. I’m getting up and walking more than I did in the nursing home. I went to church on Sunday. And I got my mailing address transferred to Oklahoma.

I’m still losing weight. Watching my diet close. Still on fluid restrictions. The only time I have problems with incontenece is when I’m asleep. Woke up with some knee pain this morning that quickly cleared up. Most of my meds are only once a day, and usually in the morning. I’m almost out of the meds sent by my old pharmacy in Nebraska. But I got replacements ordered and delivered already.

Saw some of the Super Bowl the other day. Since the Broncos didn’t make playoffs I really didn’t follow them this year. I watched mainly for my mom’s cheese and meat dip. I still go to bed quite early, sometimes when it’s still light out. I still sleep like 10 to 12 hours a night, more than I would like. I still limit my caffeine intake. Haven’t had coffee in over a week.

Adjusting to New Surroundings

Been in my new hometown for a few days now. The transfer of all my medicaid and social security from Nebraska to Oklahoma seems to be going smoothly. Haven’t had any real hiccups yet. Been on the phone alot the last few days. I also want to go back to church again. I’ve found a renewed enthusiasm for God and religion in the last several months. I guess having a near death experience can do that to a person. I’ve found myself praying several times a day now. Mainly being thankful for my progress and praying my health problems can be solved. I haven’t been out and about since I moved here. Had a nice visit with my brother and two of his sons the other night. I’m excited about developing a deeper relationship with my brother and his family. My brother and I weren’t close as kids, but I think the fact we no longer live together has helped the relationship in adulthood. I also think me having health problems and him having a family and a career forced us both to grow up.

I’m also wanting to go back to church. Even at my worst, I never lost respect for God or the good work done by religious organizations in general. I may not have believed in divine intervention for a long time, but that was mainly a defense mechanism to explain to myself why God shouldn’t favor me over millions of other people even more deserving of good things. I guess justice is when we get what we deserve. Mercy is when we don’t get what we deserve. Grace, I guess, is when God gives us what we haven’t earned or deserved. It also helps that my life was saved by doctors and nurses at a Catholic hospital, even though I myself isn’t Catholic. I grew up in the Church of Christ. Some churches can be kind of strict about somethings, but one will get a good education in what the Bible does and doesn’t say after a few years of attending the CofC. Even at my worst, I never lost respect for God or the Bible. At least not enough to close that part of life off permanently.

I’m continuing to lose weight. I cook some of our meals as a family, granted I’m still trying to get the hang of a gas stove. I have memorized my parents’ address. I found a new pharmacy and a potential new bank. I’ve started the process of canceling my Nebraska Medicaid in favor of my Oklahoma Medicaid. Qualified for food stamp benefits. Also found out from a really helpful social security agent that, since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 20, I might be able to requalify for social security disability payments based on my parents’ salary. Since my family was, more or less, upper middle class, I could be getting a substantial raise in my disability pension within the next few months.

I walk everywhere in my parents house. I still occasionally have issues with incontentience. To remedy this, I use pull up disposable briefs. While I am not proud of wearing adult diapers, it serves the purpose. Somedays I can go without issues. I certainly don’t have the problems I had previously. But if I continue to lose weight, the incontentience issues should resolve themselves.

Weight wise, I’m the lightest I’ve been since 2014. If I lose another 20 pounds, I’ll be lighter than I have been since 2010. I’m continuing to lose weight even outside of the nursing home. I was on a calorie restriction diet that helped me lose 90 pounds in seven months. My goal is to eventually get back to my old high school weight. Probably take a year or two, but I am making progress with every passing day. I’m not where I want to be just yet, but I am on the right track.

I’m still working on the process of setting up residency in Oklahoma. First have to transfer my social security disability and Medicaid over from Nebraska. That process is started. Once I establish residency, I’ll look into low income housing. I think I’ll qualify for section 8 housing, which will help me with my rent. It could take a few months to qualify. I’ve also decided to register to vote once my residency is established. I probably won’t join either political party as I feel both parties have valid points on various issues. I have both conservative and liberal friends, both of whom make valid arguments for their positions. It just breaks my heart to see congress fight among themselves so much. I guarantee that both China and Russia love seeing our politicians fight among themselves and not try to pass good legislation.

I’m also eventually thinking of finding a part time job. Either that or trying to make my writings as profitable as a part time job. Made some royalties from some of my ebooks I had published several years ago. I think there may be a market for my writings. I’ve also decided to republish my mental illness book, which was the original inspiration for this blog. I will find out if my promotions of my books bear fruit in a few months. The royalty payments are usually several months behind.

Overall things are getting easier with each passing day. I’m adapting to life in Oklahoma nicely. I’m getting things done. Maybe in a few months I can establish residency and qualify for my own place. Hopefully that’s part of the plan.

February 10 2023

I relocated to Oklahoma a few days ago. I’m still in the process of getting things transferred from Nebraska to Oklahoma. I’m still adhering to the diet and still losing weight. I sleep better and usually stay up later now. Overall the process is going smoothly but slowly. It’s a lot of work to do to move from one state to another while on disability.