Monday, March 9, 2015

Still in a Holding Pattern

I'm still in a holding pattern with respect to my career as an air traffic controller. The regional Flight Surgeon who determines the fate of my medical status to perform my duties is waiting on two last reports before making his decision to reinstate me or not.

I met with Dr Foley on Thursday morning for a follow-up and to go over the results of the event monitor I wore for 30 days for my heart. The results came back as clean as could be. He said he usually has a few pages of data to go through when analyzing 30 days of readings but in my case there was absolutely nothing to see. He said he had to make a phone call to make sure he was looking at the full analysis.

So, based on the findings of the monitor, my clots aren't forming as a result of atrial fibrillation which leaves Dr Foley "99.9% sure they're developing in my common iliac arteries". He told me how he's very much a binary person who's usually decisive in his decision making but in this case he's not sure which way to go. He said there's a strong case to be made for going ahead with surgery now to remedy both the clots and aneurysms but there's an equally good case to be made for not rushing the decision.  He's hopeful that my meeting with Dr Johnstone this coming Wednesday will give us a better idea about which way the wind is blowing and how best to proceed.

A trip to the mailbox typically yields at least one and sometimes a few insurance statements related to my hospitalization. The most recent one shows the costs to treat me are in excess of $100,000. Fortunately my out-of-pocket expenses aren't anywhere near that. I'm extremely thankful for medical science and health insurance!

I'm definitely feeling better. For the first month of my recovery I'd easily become fatigued but I'm much more my normal self now than not. It's nice.

One thing I've realized in this sort of practice retirement I've been living is that I need some structure to my day. It's way too easy to find that the afternoon has arrived and I've got nothing to show for my morning. That's not me. I'm in a limbo of sorts though so I'm not too worried about it. I'm still mentally preparing to go back to work in the next couple of weeks which means I'm not fully embracing this retirement thing just yet.

Vineland Tree Care was here Friday afternoon to trim our two large oak trees on the side of the house. I will never, ever again use the fly-by-night people who come through the neighborhood and charge every bit as much as Vineland but don't do nearly the job. I can't say enough good things about Vineland. They're so professional!

House of Cards was playing in our home late Friday night when we heard a ridiculously loud explosion that rattled our windows and felt like it was within a 100 feet of our house. I stepped outside the front door to see Alex across the street having a look around as well. There wasn't anything obviously wrong that we could see so we both stepped back inside. We'd find out the next morning what had happened.

Rachel stopped by Sunday night and spent a few hours with us. I love that. Tammy was still working in her office when she arrived (9 more shifts left) so I made some coffees for us and we chatted in the sun-porch before taking a walk to see the house where the explosion happened. What a mess! I'm only surprised that there weren't more windows blown out of nearby homes.

We talked a lot about so many things but much of that I really can't share here. She has a lot on her plate and a few important decisions to make in her near future. I'm so thankful for the relationship we have and the openness that goes with it. I never imagined that being a step-parent could be so rewarding.

I'm hesitant to say this but it appears we're looking at winter in the rear-view mirror. This past week started out with below zero temps but it warmed nicely to well above freezing. With a forecast calling for highs in the upper 50s this week we'll soon be out of snow. I'm not complaining but this does bring to an end my fat-biking on snow covered trails for the season.

Please indulge me in this one last snowy trail video. I promise you won't be disappointed...


Steve Claypatch said...

Its great to read of your progress. as you know I'm a big supporter of retiring. Congratulations to Tammy. As for you, surrendering to a non-structured life is kind of what retirement is. I know you want to go out on your terms so I only wish you happiness.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, Steve. Going out on my own terms would be nice but I have a hunch I'll somehow manage to find a way to accept however it is I leave the working world.

I still enjoy the work and my heart is still in it but the shift-work is less and less appealing when I have the option of leaving it all behind.

In the end the decision may not be mine to make. The Flight Surgeon may make it for me.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again before too long.

Jackie said...

And that's a wrap! What a great video! I really enjoyed it! I'm certain it must be difficult for you to wait on the decision of the flight surgeon to determine your future or the near future but it gives you time to weigh your options carefully on either side of the decision. Whatever the outcome I know you will embrace it and move on. You have had a wonderful career and done it well. Be proud of all you have accomplished not disappointed if you cannot continue.. When Dr Foley was talking about the surgery the day I was there at the hospital you seemed to want to go for it! I truly think Dr Foley is on your side and would want that for you as well but does not want you to feel pulled in any direction. Whatever your decision know we are all behind you and Tammy and Rachel. Praying for the best! Love you so much,Kev

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, Jackie.

Now that this winter appears to be mostly over, I wonder what that will do to my perspective? Being able to step outside and go for a walk or a ride without checking what the time is is nice. But, I'm also rapidly closing in on my goal of working until the end of the year. My thinking goes back and forth like that.

Andrea said...

Hi Kevin, odd in a sense we are in the same place. You with your health challenges and me with mine. I also am looking at retirement as I turn 62 in april, 2 days before my medical leave is up and I can file for ss. But, i could also see if I qualify for disability. My thoughts are clouded by what the next 6 months will bring. The common side effect of most of the drugs I am on is fatgue, which doesn't help major decision making either. I am very impressed with your level headedness. I think you could have a career as a bike videologist. That is a wondrous thing to have such a great relationship with your step-daughter as it is tough for any parent to develop. Good luck with whichever you choose or is handed to you. Cheers! Andrea

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks for your nice words, Andrea.

I'm feeling stronger with each day and more and more determined to resume my life where I last left off before being sidelined with this.

It's very likely that my days as a controller are behind me but I see no harm in following through with my plans to get back in the saddle and make that decision from behind the radar scope than anywhere else.

I feel for you trying to sort it all out through the haze of drugs and probably a good dose of anxiety as you try and make sense of everything that is happening in your life. Fatigue can be so debilitating.

I'm glad you've started a blog. Writing in it will be a good way for you to come to terms with your thoughts and least mine is for me.

Wishes for brighter days ahead for both of us. Thanks for stopping by and please stay in touch.