Tales of my imminent demise

Posted by jdiakiw @jdiakiw, Dec 17, 2021

In January 2021, after an extensive battery of cardiac tests, I met with the TAVI cardiac team. at my Hospital. I was told that I need open heart surgery. But with all my other co-morbidities it was unlikely I would survive the operation. They regretted that there were no other viable options at this time. The valve replacement that I required was not yet possible via a TAVI intervention (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation.)

I was told, statistically it was unlikely I would last the year.
"A year, 12 months from now? " I asked,
"Yes, a year, I’m sorry "

I was given specific instructions such as "avoid all stairs, do not lift anything more than 10 lbs., amble, do not walk briskly, avoid slopes. Do not exert yourself" .
The thing is I believed them. I believe in science. They said they plugged in all my numbers and it spat out 1 year – 99% rate of demise!

One year max eh? Let me tell you that changes your behaviour. I left before I thought of other questions I should have asked. Does that mean no sky-diving or scuba diving? What about mountain climbing? Is ski-jumping ok if I don’t ski? Can I continue my equestrian qualifications? Can I still tapdance?

The nurse handed me two sugar cubes and advised me to not drive my car home until my blood sugar levels were back to normal.

As I left, I was handed a take home sheet

Tips for an Imminent Demise

Sell your snow tires you won’t need them anymore.
Say goodbye to Ann every time you nap. You won’t wake up from one of them.
Return all library books immediately
Your health card expires in December don’t bother renewing it;
Nor opt for the 2 year drivers licence.
If you plan to travel this year. Be sure to select the body bag return airfare insurance option .
If offered anaesthetic for any medical intervention . DO NOT ACCEPT IT!
Do try and visit with your children immediately. They should know you are on a short wick.
Don’t buy a 2 year planning calendar.
Purchase a life insurance policy if the payout is more than one year of payments.
Adding to your wardrobe is probably a waste of money. Besides there is little that can be done to improve your overall appearance. Your heart is bleeding everywhere!
I brought my recent issue of Fine Dining I picked up from my post box on my way to the meeting. They added, by hand "PS. Don’t renew your Fine Dining magazine you won’t be doing any cooking. In fact don’t renew any subscriptions

( Note: The above ‘tips’ are my poetic hyperbole. The instructions above the tips are verbatim. )

When you are told definitively, you are on a one year time clock, your behaviour changes. Tic tic tic! For one, every morning when I wake up , after confirming I am really still alive, I jump around, doing a little jig, shouting "holy shit I’m still alive".

I listen to my body very very carefully.
I look at the skin on my arms, rush down to the doc, (there is always one on call here). and I ask, "is this Epidermolysis bullosa (EB)? A terminal skin disease. He examines closely and says, that’s called ‘crepey skin’ due to aging. Hmmm. When I fart now I call 911 before I am even finished. I think my guts are falling out. Heartburn is the worst. I’m sure every time I have it, it is my final breath. "Annie! Call 911", I shout out at some point every day. Last night I had a funny little lightening bolt of pain in my head and sat bolt upright. That’s a stroke I thought. I waited with the medical alarm in my hand ready to press it if it returned. It didn’t. Sometimes someone will say after I complain,"you should go to the hospital and check that out"
"Are you kidding" I say. "People my age and condition don’t come ‘out of hospital"
How often have you heard, "Bill Webber went in for minor surgery and died of complications in the recovery room. I’m going in through emergency or not at all. "
I tell you, living out your last year is a pain in the ass! Wait. "Call 911" !

Stop talking about your death I’m told. "I’ve only got 11 days left. What else am I gonna talk about!"

I can hardly wait till Dec 31, ( if I make it) Boy am I gonna celebrate. Maybe I’ll hold a fake demise wake. January 1, -it’s the new me. . . Reborn! The energizer bunny. I’ll go down to some haberdasher and outfit myself with a new wardrobe. A wardrobe fit for having survived father death. Annus Horibilis! Gonna get out on Yonge Street and do some serious struttin’.
"Listen up everybody". I’ll shout, "I have something to say" . I’ll be tap dancing my way all the way to the ferry docks.

Then I’ll be booking my flight to Hong Kong, a train to Lhasa Tibet, then travelling overland with locals from Lhasa to Katmandu Nepal.
" Ouch, wait. What was that? Annie. Call 911". R

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Aging Well group.

Well, ok, Pfhew after releasing the pearls I was clutching too tightly at my throat while reading this, I can finally breathe again. You are a gifted writer, making this reader feel an enormous range of emotions! My eyes were wide in horror! Then tears and giggles, sadness and absolute understanding of your own range of emotions after being given a time clock about to expire.

Unfortunately we’re all given one of those clocks, except we don’t have the actual date of expiration. It can be a mixed bag, knowing. I had exposure to that almost 3 years ago. “Get your affairs in order” is basically the same ‘condition report’ on the state of the body clock. It was winding down.

For most, being given the head’s up that “your demise is eminent” there’s a paradigm shift in thought and time management. Once we assimilate to this new time frame we’ve been handed, those of us who have a spirit of endurance gather our wits and have a plan of attack. We live each day to the fullest, we avoid negativity. Priorities change and we spend time doing what we can to ease the loss of our passing. I was more worried for what my family would be going through which prompted many of my actions.
However, in my case, better living through chemistry. My clock got a new set of inner workings and it’s been reset. Though it doesn’t mean the main spring won’t go oingo boingo at any moment and then it’s a surprise ending. Until then, Mark Twain’s comment “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”, come to mind.

Thank you for sharing your last year. Your clock has certainly taken a licking, and I hope it keeps on ticking, for many years to come. You’re too amazing to have a premature demise. Careful with that tap dancing, you could and fall! ☺️

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It hurt to read your post. Hope come December 31 you’ll post that your strutting to the dock.

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@loribmt

Well, ok, Pfhew after releasing the pearls I was clutching too tightly at my throat while reading this, I can finally breathe again. You are a gifted writer, making this reader feel an enormous range of emotions! My eyes were wide in horror! Then tears and giggles, sadness and absolute understanding of your own range of emotions after being given a time clock about to expire.

Unfortunately we’re all given one of those clocks, except we don’t have the actual date of expiration. It can be a mixed bag, knowing. I had exposure to that almost 3 years ago. “Get your affairs in order” is basically the same ‘condition report’ on the state of the body clock. It was winding down.

For most, being given the head’s up that “your demise is eminent” there’s a paradigm shift in thought and time management. Once we assimilate to this new time frame we’ve been handed, those of us who have a spirit of endurance gather our wits and have a plan of attack. We live each day to the fullest, we avoid negativity. Priorities change and we spend time doing what we can to ease the loss of our passing. I was more worried for what my family would be going through which prompted many of my actions.
However, in my case, better living through chemistry. My clock got a new set of inner workings and it’s been reset. Though it doesn’t mean the main spring won’t go oingo boingo at any moment and then it’s a surprise ending. Until then, Mark Twain’s comment “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”, come to mind.

Thank you for sharing your last year. Your clock has certainly taken a licking, and I hope it keeps on ticking, for many years to come. You’re too amazing to have a premature demise. Careful with that tap dancing, you could and fall! ☺️

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Thanks for the support Lori, you know the feelings.

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I too am overwhelmed by the emotions and thought processes you brought out in me while reading your post @jdiakiw. I've always loved the saying from the Jurassic World movie – "Life finds a way". I don't believe anyone can tell us our expiration date. You are a great writer and I am looking forward to joining you virtually on your next adventure in 2022.

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@jdiakiw

Thanks for the support Lori, you know the feelings.

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I do indeed and it’s scary as hell. We have no recourse but to spend what could be our final days living life to the fullest. I’m saddened for others who ‘die’ the moment they’re given the prognosis. “It ain’t over til it’s over!”

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@loribmt

I do indeed and it’s scary as hell. We have no recourse but to spend what could be our final days living life to the fullest. I’m saddened for others who ‘die’ the moment they’re given the prognosis. “It ain’t over til it’s over!”

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@loribmt and all. I just got word this week, after a four month wait, that there's finally a bed for me at a Long Term Care facility in beautiful Victoria, BC. Gulp. Even the name of the place, Sunset Lodge, conjures up ideas of termination! I leave next Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021.
My sons planned to drive here from the Okanagan area to help with the move and offer moral support, but the highways and byways are all washed out from the floods, mudslides, landslides, sink holes, and many bridges washed away lately. BC has been declared a State of Emergency for some time.
So, I'll go it alone, on my virtual white charger, and bravely face this new adventure! You guys know me well enough to know that all will be well and I'll be just fine. The Sunset Lodge Social Worker, Dietician and Medication staff have phoned me numerous times, are sounding very nice, friendly, intelligent and welcoming, and say they're excited to have me join them. The building has the Gorge Waterway running along right in front of the building, beautiful gardens, looks and sounds like a great place. I'm excited, scared, nervous …
… I'll miss all my friends at Assisted Living but know I'll meet new friends there.
I'll still keep in regular contact with all my wonderful Connect friends, for SURE! My lifeline!! 😊
Merry Christmas, everyone! Laurie ❤

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@artist01

@loribmt and all. I just got word this week, after a four month wait, that there's finally a bed for me at a Long Term Care facility in beautiful Victoria, BC. Gulp. Even the name of the place, Sunset Lodge, conjures up ideas of termination! I leave next Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021.
My sons planned to drive here from the Okanagan area to help with the move and offer moral support, but the highways and byways are all washed out from the floods, mudslides, landslides, sink holes, and many bridges washed away lately. BC has been declared a State of Emergency for some time.
So, I'll go it alone, on my virtual white charger, and bravely face this new adventure! You guys know me well enough to know that all will be well and I'll be just fine. The Sunset Lodge Social Worker, Dietician and Medication staff have phoned me numerous times, are sounding very nice, friendly, intelligent and welcoming, and say they're excited to have me join them. The building has the Gorge Waterway running along right in front of the building, beautiful gardens, looks and sounds like a great place. I'm excited, scared, nervous …
… I'll miss all my friends at Assisted Living but know I'll meet new friends there.
I'll still keep in regular contact with all my wonderful Connect friends, for SURE! My lifeline!! 😊
Merry Christmas, everyone! Laurie ❤

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Laurie – I know you have been waiting and preparing for this – but it is still daunting, to be sure.
I will be with you in spirit as you make the journey, and can't wait to hear about your next adventure.
Your spirit is an inspiration.
Hugs and Safe travels.
Sue

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@sueinmn

Laurie – I know you have been waiting and preparing for this – but it is still daunting, to be sure.
I will be with you in spirit as you make the journey, and can't wait to hear about your next adventure.
Your spirit is an inspiration.
Hugs and Safe travels.
Sue

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@sueinmn Thankyou, Sue! I'll be sure to report! I'll even be able to send pictures at last of
"What's Outside Your Picture Window"! 😊 ❤ Laurie

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@artist01

@sueinmn Thankyou, Sue! I'll be sure to report! I'll even be able to send pictures at last of
"What's Outside Your Picture Window"! 😊 ❤ Laurie

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@artist01, @loribmt, @sueinmn, @johnbishop, and all..Well, Laurie, here you go! Off on another big adventure. I'm so proud of you and pleased for you. But, for goodness sake, they need to change the name of that lovely community. I think I'd rename it to something lovely as the location and the people.

I can't wait to see your pictures. I love your section of the world, so magnificent and truly lovely. I didn't realize the extent of the damage to the infrastructure. What a crazy world in which we live. I also will enjoy your writings of your new digs and experiences. You also enjoy writing….right? Well, here's your chance to include your Connect friends in your move and your experiences.

Laurie, you've been so blessed with your family helping you. They moved you into the assisted living, didn't they? I think I remember them helping you with packing and moving. Cherish that family! I have my precious son, but his ability to help me with decisions and such is quite limited. So, I do what we do when decisions must be made, tough sometimes painful decisions. Suck it up and do what needs to be done. Period.

So, Laurie, be your wonderfully strong, steel spine self and do what needs to be done; you are surrounded by your friends with so much love and caring giving you support with every step or roll of the wheelchair. We're with tiy.
Blessings my friend May this journey be filled with good things, good people, and much peace and love.
elizabeth

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@ess77 Thankyou for your wonderful message, Elizabeth. I'll be back. Lol
Laurie ❤

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@artist01

@loribmt and all. I just got word this week, after a four month wait, that there's finally a bed for me at a Long Term Care facility in beautiful Victoria, BC. Gulp. Even the name of the place, Sunset Lodge, conjures up ideas of termination! I leave next Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021.
My sons planned to drive here from the Okanagan area to help with the move and offer moral support, but the highways and byways are all washed out from the floods, mudslides, landslides, sink holes, and many bridges washed away lately. BC has been declared a State of Emergency for some time.
So, I'll go it alone, on my virtual white charger, and bravely face this new adventure! You guys know me well enough to know that all will be well and I'll be just fine. The Sunset Lodge Social Worker, Dietician and Medication staff have phoned me numerous times, are sounding very nice, friendly, intelligent and welcoming, and say they're excited to have me join them. The building has the Gorge Waterway running along right in front of the building, beautiful gardens, looks and sounds like a great place. I'm excited, scared, nervous …
… I'll miss all my friends at Assisted Living but know I'll meet new friends there.
I'll still keep in regular contact with all my wonderful Connect friends, for SURE! My lifeline!! 😊
Merry Christmas, everyone! Laurie ❤

Jump to this post

@artist01

Moving from one place to another is always difficult, but your gracious attitude will help you greatly. Just reading your post has helped me!!

The outdoor environment sounds lovely and I'm sure you will find the gardens and the Waterway to be relaxing and peaceful. Perhaps you could ask them to change the name to Sunshine Lodge? I'm sure your sunny disposition will encourage them.

It's so nice to hear that you will keep in touch with your Connect friends. I'm glad to hear that Connect has been a lifeline for you as it has been for so many others.

I look forward to hearing from you again and seeing the view outside of your window. Be assured of the care and concern we all have for you.

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Hello @jdiakiw

I read your post above, finding it hard to believe that doctors would really give you a time limit on your life. Well, here you are, almost at the end of the time limit and you are extremely articulate and able to find humor in the situation. That is so good as well as encouraging.

I hope you have the energy to keep enjoying your family and the life you have. As we think of entering 2022, I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts. I'm rooting for you and hope that you continue to prove the doctors wrong, wrong, wrong!!

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