A nervous heart.

Our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is now comparing setting sick children free from detention with talking to people smugglers. Talking to doctors about the trauma of suffering children, and setting them free is negotiating with people smugglers. “We don’t negotiate on that issue”, he said with a broad smile. In the meantime his hatred is growing fatter.

I am feeling a bit tired and listless of late. I normally don’t gravitate to doctors. Helvi insisted I should get a check-up. “Every time I come downstairs you are sleeping,” she says. It started to get on my nerves. It reached a stage whereby I would quickly get up, when or if, I could hear her coming down. She had warned me she doesn’t want a sleepy husband. She would then hum a Dutch nursery rhyme, ” Slaap kindje, slaap. Sleep child, sleep.” Here it is. It has over 5 million hits. Helvi sings it perfectly. Not a child in Holland would grow up without that little song being sung to lull him or her to sleep. That’s why the Dutch are always on the yearly list of  ‘happiness’.


I went see the local doctor who referred me to get an X-ray and blood test done. Lungs are good and apart from an upward adjustment for my thyroid medication the only other problem was that I might have had a heart attack. Another referral was written to see the cardiologist. The same one that deals with Helvi’s heart after it was damaged through her chemo treatment. I went last Thursday. I was told to do a stress test. I very much looked forward to this. Nurse told me to undress and this was followed by getting lots of wires attached to my chest and back. I was put on a tread-mill.  It must have been a ridiculous sight. I was glad Helvi wasn’t there to see her husband struggling on this treadmill. Her Don Juan reduced pitifully. Old age does that.

The outcome was a script for a box full of medications. They all have impossibly difficult and lengthy names. I have an abnormal heart-beat rhythm and strange pulse. This too has a difficult name. I think it is non-valvular ATRIAL Fibrillation. I have five different tablets. Each morning I get up and together with Helvi attend to our medications. The humming of blood pressure machines before breakfast. The updating of charts etc is now common routine.  There is a box of Pradaxa, Candasan or Dabigatran etexilate and many others now. A couple of them are to extract fluids. The toilet is a hive of activity all day. Lucky we have three toilets. The prescriptions are handwritten and I don’t know how the Chemist can make sense of them. The Doctor’s account is crystal clear though.

Perhaps the events in our family a few years ago have overwhelmed. It might not have helped good health. Even so, together we laugh and live off the good memories. The sun still shines.

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31 Responses to “A nervous heart.”

  1. berlioz1935 Says:

    You can’t be sleeping that often because you are still outpouring your thoughts on the computer. I can’t concentrate long enough to write a sentence.

    I know all about visits to the doctors. They are living off us poor suckers. Next week I have to see a Radiology Oncogist who plans to blast away my toumors with nuclear radiation. I’m too Öls
    D to have an operation, and I don’t want one so they will weaken me more. And so it goes. Another friend of ours passed away and soon there won’t be many left we have known. My Dad would have been 118 today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, berlioz.
      I make efforts not to sleep during the days but that is hard. Next Thursday I will have to spend most of the day at a nuclear medical scanning facility. No coffee, tea, milo, or any stimulants before-hand.

      My heart will get a thorough look-in. Just hope I don’t get another prescription. I read that in Australia there is a massive wave of over-prescriptions. I hope I don’t sound like a mourner peeling onions.

      So far I have not been asked to provide a ‘specimen’. Except through my credit card. My dad died at the age I am now. I remember flying to Holland for his funeral and I cleaned his ashtray. He loved smoking!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. lifecameos Says:

    It really is disheartening what our bodies can do to us in our old age. On the many days that I am home after lunch I sleep. I have had all sorts of tests and am fortunately having relatively few medications, though I was certainly not expecting those. I hope yours do a good job for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Dear Gerard, I am so sorry that you too have entered the pill club related to the aging process. Afib can be managed but one must really be on guard at all times. Andrew had an ablation for his. I had the procedure set up four years ago and chickened out. One was set up again for late December (this year) and I have again nixed the two hour procedure for the second time. I manage my afib pretty well with careful attention to diet. No sugar, no caffeine (not even de-caf), no salt, no heavy lifting and I am careful to not over exercise. I must be careful to not get too stressed and I must drink lots of water. It is not all that hard to do but giving up coffee, sugar, and sweets was a real bummer.

    I take Verapamil and Sotolol to control my blood pressure and afib, plus Xraleto which is a blood thinner. Yes, the meds cause fatigue and a certain amount of weakness. But I manage. I know when my heart is beating fast and irregular. I get very weak and dizzy- take my blood pressure and take an extra blood pressure med. Currently, I have not had any episodes in several weeks since quitting all salt and drinking more water.

    All I can say, is that life will get better but you will need to give up certain foods and activity. I wish you luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You are right Ivonne, especially with stress. Stress and I are good friends as well as my herrings. I now soak my herrings to get rid of the salt. As for stress. It is in my mental make-up. I wish I could relax better. It seems to be all the rage now. Is it contagious?

      I hope I don’t end up talking about what ails me. One of my bowling friends talks endlessly about his wife and his gout.

      Next Thursday I need to wear loose fitting clothes and walking shoes. No breakfast. You said you chickened out. Why? I will be injected by a tracer and put on a bike. WhAT are they planning?
      I noticed that a large Spathiphyllum had died in this facility. Not a good sign.

      Thank you for your kind advice which I will heed. I am not a sugar or cake fan but will have to cut back salt. Helvi needs salt she has very low blood pressure.
      I seem to get a fast heart beat just sitting down which I relieve by taking deep breaths.


  4. Yvonne Says:

    It is disheartening to come to our so called golden years and have something like your cardiac condition handed to us as though it is a gift. it sounds like you and your lovely helpmate are doing the right things. Take care, nice people.

    Your father and my mother were born in the same year. Mom died far too young, she was only 49.

    PS How is Milo? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Milo is as young as ever, Yvonne. He is 14 but super fit. All of a sudden he now insist on sleeping outside again. The possums are at it again and he seems to keep an eye on their antics.
      My dad died the day after he was still driving. He ignored the doctor. He was 78.
      The cardiologist took my temperature after the tread mill test. I am ‘just average for fitness’. I was surprised by that. Perhaps he says that to every patient.
      I asked him about diet. I said, ‘ what about wine’? He answered, ‘ it is still a bit early for me.’ I thought that very funny. It made me laugh.

      Thank you, Yvonne. How are you going?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    I’m sorry you are having these tribulations Gerard. A stress test is a horrible experience. Truly, I thought I mightn’t get off the treadmill alive. Luckily I didn’t have anything wrong except lack of fitness. It is so hard growing old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The stress test at the cardiologist was on the treadmill while hooked up on many wires, Jane. It went faster and faster till my body was almost parallel with the machine and nearly threw me off. I ran like Zapotec or was it Fanny Blankenzee?

      I now carry a card in case of an ambulance. . Two days in hospital and I might make a turn for the nurse. This is because my blood is very thin and it has trouble stopping.

      When I drink with people socially, we always wish for good health till we fall down. You are right; it is hard.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. auntyuta Says:

    I grew up with this song too, but in German. Here it is:

    When people say, you do not need as much sleep as you get older, I think this is not true. Experts say to have seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is best if you want to live longer! Some surveys apparently established that people who had on average seven hours uninterrupted sleep lived longer than people who had on average only six hours sleep! Maybe we should listen to our bodies. If we feel tired, we should not think that sleeping for a while is a waste of time. Maybe your body just needs this extra sleep to recover from something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I hear that this song is in many other languages. It is funny how I remember it, word by word.
      How is your health, Uta? You both are our patrons for healthy living and are amazed you two still get about so much.
      I sleep 7 hours but have several toilet breaks. With my latest medications I am now constantly between toilet stops. I meet up with Helvi half way near the settee just to say a brief hello before returning back again.
      I am heartened by your suggestion to catch sleep whenever possible. My mother always slept during the day and she reached almost 96.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you have been going through all of this, Gerard, and now have to take some new meds. 😦
    What’s that saying, “Growing older is not for sissies.” Our bodies change and it’s usually not in good ways. 😦
    I’m so glad you and Helvi can help take care of each other. AND your positive attitude and sense of humor will go a long way in helping you. 🙂
    I was born with a heart defect, so I’ve been through some stress tests. One time they handed me an ugly gown to put on…so, I asked the glum test-er if they sold the gowns in the hospital gift shop as I wanted to buy some for all of my friends. I was teasing her and wanting to get her to smile. She didn’t even acknowledge my joke, but another tester/tech in the room laughed loudly. 🙂
    Hang in there! One day at a time! Enjoy the shining sun! Laugh often, long, and loud!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That is true. We do share each others health routines. Most mornings we get together on the settee and start our medications. I prefer to take them before breakfast. Helvi lost one small tablets this morning. It rolled onto the floor. We both ended looking for it on the floor. Even Milo joined the search. It had rolled under the settee.

      The quantity of my medications is almost like a breakfast-meal on itself. Especially that large horse-tablet. It’s not as if I use knife and fork, but getting close.
      Afterwards we measure our blood pressure. It’s exhausting.

      Those hospital gowns are a dreadful invention. They are open at the back. I suppose for colonic irrigation. They make it sound like gardening. That’s something not to be sniffed at. I had to wear those gowns for regular colonoscopies years ago.

      The sun is still shining. For many years to come. You have a good heart, Carolyn.
      Hugs Gerard

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        You make me laugh, Gerard! Yes, those gowns are dreadful! 😀 We might as well laugh about our health-stuff! 🙂

        Yes, I have a few pills and a few supplements (like Vit D and C etc.) that I have to take. And after taking them, I’m full. 😛 No need for breakfast!

        Thank you! You have a good heart, too!
        HUGS to you and Helvi!!! 🙂
        PATS to Milo!!! 🙂


  8. shoreacres Says:

    I laughed at your comment that a Spathiphyllum had died in the medical facility you visited. That’s a problem with being a plant — you can’t get up and get your own drink of water, or move out of the way of the heat vent. Of course, that can turn into a human problem, too — one reason to maintain health as long as we can, with the help of everything from drugs to various devices. Staying out of institutions is my goal.

    I’ve been very lucky. Apart from the occasional minimal work injury, like a pulled tendon, and the eye drops I use to keep my glaucoma in check, I’m healthy — at least, I think I am. I have reduced my coffee intake to a couple cups each day, and I’m trying to curb my fondness for sweets. That’s an on-going project, and I may need to just eliminate the stuff for a while.

    That’s a cute go-to-sleep song. It may be common here, but I don’t remember ever hearing it. My lullaby was a Tennyson poem set to music — “Sweet and Low”. Whenever I hear it, the first thing I see in my mind’s eye is our old white rocking chair with the maroon naugahyde-like cushion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Both of us are keen on salty stuff. I now eat herrings after soaking the salt out of them. As for beverages. Each morning one cup of coffee for Helvi. I have tea mixed with a little coffee. Half a tea-spoonful of sugar is the daily total for both of us.

      Of course wine has sugar and so has fruit! We are cutting our wine intake as well. Also never eat biscuits or cakes. Ice-cream is in the fridge in case our grandsons visit. Those foods never appealed to us. My dad was the same.

      Of course, life has to be more than eating broccoli and chick peas in a cold draught, but this is where herbs and spices come into it. And then there are books and films, art and dandelions.
      I liked Betty Midler’s “Sweet and Low”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        It just occurred to me — one of the most popular artificial sweeteners in this country was called Sweet and Low. I wonder now if it was just an ad line that came from the qualities they wanted to highlight, or if someone else remembered their mother’s lullaby?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Julia Lund Says:

    Sorry to hear you need heart meds, but so glad you did the right thing and listened to Helvi. Wives usually know best … Well almost always, actually … Come to think about it, scrap the always with that always …

    Liked by 1 person

  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    So glad Helvi caught you sleeping and sent you for help. I certainly identify with you two, though Dr. A is disgustingly free from all meds. He recently was given a blood pressure med but that;s it. I on tje ptjer hand, have a couple shelves full of small bottle with unpronounceable names on them. I guess they know what they are doing. They gave me a stress test last year, but instead of a treadmill I was laid on a table connected to a machine which produced the same result. My latest which has kept me offline, is a fall I took last week. They put me in hospital and gave me blood to replace the tremendous amount I lost. Now health care nurse comes twice a week to rebandage and check to see if I am still alive. Meanwhile I am teaching myself a new method of painting and though I don’t see the result clearly, it does keep me “off the streets” so to speak. Keep taking you meds and stay awake to enjoy the beauty of Helvi and your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Sorry to hear about your fall, Kayti. I hope it wasn’t Charley swishing about. JRTs have a habit of walking between legs. Helvi’s rare falls was when Milo went nuts about a noisy motor-bike going past and moved between her legs. He did not even looked concerned.

      I have started falling too. I fell down first time feeding next door’s Harley’s chickens when they went away. I just fell spontaneously without tripping. No harm done. I was flabbergasted and so were the chooks.

      Glad to hear you are painting and ‘off the streets.’ Helvi and I are thinking deeply on what to replace all ‘our giving up’ with. Should we start smoking medical marijuana, drink medical whiskey?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Our book club met last week, Gerard. It’s composed of five couples. We started meeting 30 years ago when we were in our late 30s and 40s, so we have grown old together. Inevitably, a certain portion of each meeting is given over to a discussion of our various ailments! It takes more time than it did once! Fortunately, one of our members is an excellent diagnostic physician from the University of California. He keeps us focused, and quickly answers questions, giving excellent advice. Good luck. –Curt


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That’s a good choice of members, Curt. My bowling friends do have all sorts of ailments. Some have special gadgets for picking up the bowl. One man keeps going on about his wife and gout. Sometimes. I can’t tell the difference.
      Some are over ninety and still turn up as if there is no to-morrow. We do sign condolence cards for those that stopped coming.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        It’s neat that there is a sport that people can play regardless of age, Gerard. Laughed about the guy and his gout and his wife. I’m assuming the condolence cards suggest that some keep playing until they drop. Good for them! –Curt


  12. Dorothy Says:

    Another funny blog from you gerard and all your friends.


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