Father’s Carbuncle Surgery With Temporary Pace Maker Device

Thursday 26 March 2015 @ 10:17 am

Last week father was hospitalized for a carbuncle surgery. Until last week, I had never heard of carbuncle before. A carbuncle is a red painful cluster of boils that are connected to each other under the skin. Dad’s carbuncle was the size of a palm located on his spine. The doctor said that management of the carbuncle by antibiotic was no longer good enough. Dad required surgery to clean the carbuncle and remove the pus and abscess. Only then will the wound start to heal.

Though the carbuncle surgery was simple by itself and did not pose any complication, the general anesthesia (GA) that is required for the operation made the operation risky for him because of his age. There was a risk that he may not wake up from the GA.

We had no choice but to sign the consent sign despite knowing the risk because not doing the surgery was not an option since there was a risk of sepsis (blood poisoning should the infection spread to the blood stream) which is a life threatening medical condition.

On the day of the operation we gathered at the waiting room as dad was wheeled into the operating theater to get him ready for the surgery. However after about an hour a doctor came out to inform us that the surgery could not be done. The reason was because while preparing him for the surgery, they discovered that dad had a total heart block. So we went back to the ward and waited all day and the next for the cardiologist to come and explain to us what that meant.

The cardiologist explained that a total heart block meant that there is a problem with the heart’s electrical pulses which causes the heart to beat more slowly. Dad’s heart rate is around 40 beats per minute. Wikipedia defines heart block as follows “heart block is a disease in the electrical system of the heart. This is opposed to coronary artery disease, which is disease of the blood vessels of the heart.” The doctor likened this to a house with water and electricity supply and it is the electricity supply that is disrupted, not the water.

That is why they could not do the surgery by GA as it may cause the heart to stop beating altogether. The cardiologist consulted with the team in charge of the carbuncle surgery to discuss whether doing the carbuncle surgery using local anesthesia was possible but it was ruled out. So a temporary pace maker was suggested. The cardiologist was however concerned that the pacemaker wires would get dislodged and therefore fail to do the task it was meant to do when dad was turned around for the surgery since the carbuncle was on his back. He expressed this to the other team of doctors who said that dad would be turned on the side.

Why a temporary pace maker? About two years ago, a doctor raised the possibility of having a permanent pace maker installed when dad’s slow heart rate was discovered. However, we were told that having one installed would not be of benefit to him. The reason is because dad is bed ridden. To a person who is walking about doing normal activities, having a permanent pacer would be beneficial because even standing up may cause dizziness due to the slow heart rate. However, dad is mostly either sitting or lying down. Having the pacer installed may require extra care and management and we were informed that in that sense it may not be of much benefit to him.

So, dad was installed with a temporary pacemaker for the operation. This procedure took about 15 minutes after which dad was wheeled back to the ward to wait for the carbuncle surgery. During that wait, dad was not supposed to move his right leg at all in case the wires get dislodged. (His left leg and hand is paralyzed from a previous stroke)

Apart from the fear of the wires getting dislodged, there was a risk that once the temporary pace maker was removed, the heart would “throw a tantrum” and the heart rate would slow down even more because the heart has gotten used to the newer rate as set by the pacer and the longer the temp pacemaker is in place, the higher this risk.

Eventually, dad had the carbuncle surgery and the temporary pace maker was removed. Dad had trouble passing urine after the surgery so a catheter had to be put in place. This was in addition to the stoma (a surgically created opening on the abdomen which allows stool to exit the body), the fresh wound from the carbuncle surgery and the removal site of the temporary pacemaker plus the many injections dad had to receive antibiotics intravenously. Dad was in a lot of pain. Poor dad.

Dad vomited a few times of the second day after the surgery, he also had a fever. Thankfully, the fever cleared and the vomiting went away and dad was discharged. The doctors said we have to manage the wound dressing for the carbuncle surgery site ourselves because allowing him to stay on in hospital increases the risk of infection for the elderly and those with low immunity. The wound would have to be dressed daily for 6 months and hopefully it heals nicely without any infection.

Dad is now back in 2nd sister’s house where he stays. We have engaged a professional nurse to do the daily dressing for the time being. Thank you God for keeping dad safe. Thank you to all the doctors and nurses who attended to dad during his hospital stay. Thank you to sister in law who took turns to look after dad too. Thank you to all those who prayed for dad’s well being.

What a week it has been. Fortunately the kids were on a one week school break so I could take my turn to sit with dad at the hospital.

We are glad that dad has gotten through the surgery which was a high risk surgery for him due to his age and because of the complications of the heart and the GA and temporary pacemaker in place. On another brighter note, it has been a while now that dad seems much better mentally. It appears as though he has recovered a lot from his stroke related dementia and is able to converse with and recognize us most of the time now.

Are You Maintaining Good Indoor Air Quality?

Tuesday 3 March 2015 @ 9:30 am

While there is a great deal in the news and the media about outdoor air pollution, many homeowners need to look inside their residences with real concern. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that many homes have air that is two to five times as polluted as the outdoor air, even in industrial cities.

The reason for this new phenomenon has its roots in the energy crisis of the 1970s. Since that time, homes and offices are constructed to eliminate heat loss, eliminating many drafts and sources of fresh air. As a result, many homes rapidly accumulate large levels of pollutants and irritants that represent health hazards. These pollutants include mold spores, dust, dirt, and microscopic materials that come from furniture, pets and even drapes. 

As these contaminants are allowed to circulate, they create deposits in the lungs and breathing passage, causing everything from minor irritations to major allergies and even asthma. This becomes a problem rapidly as the average human breathes in 6,000 gallons of air a day. In fact, the rate of allergies and asthma in American children has grown at an alarming rate to reach historical highs. In some cases, indoor air quality is so bad it can cause fatal medical conditions.

Everyone homeowner must take steps to deal with this problem air, especially if they have young children in the home. The first step starts with a quality in-home air filtering system, available from any qualified Trane heating and air conditioning service company. Clean air is vital to good health, and it’s important to understand and deal with this growing problem of poor indoor air quality.

Scribd Teams Up With Marvel Comics

Wednesday 11 February 2015 @ 7:39 am

I have an annual pass to Scribd for one year as an author of ebooks on Smashwords. My ebooks are listed on Scribd. Today I received an email from Scribd informing me that 10,000 comics and graphic novels have just been added to Scribd. Woohoo! They include titles from Marvel, IDW/Top Shelf, Valiant and more. My husband is a Marvel fan especially Thor, Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange. I just downloaded my first copy of Thor on my device. It looks great. I love it.




In addition, I’m going to be saving all this shelf space. I have no idea where to put all our comics as we keep on buying and loath to throw or give away because we re read them.




I’m so in love with Scribd. I think it is really worth it. Anytime I feel like reading anything from romance or action novels to self help books, all I have to do is search the genre and most of the time I will find something I want to read. In fact, I’ve got so many books stored in my library, all half read. They include the many Minecraft books for my boy. When my free annual subscription expires, I will be back for more monthly subs. I’m hooked.

Finding The Right Kitchen Contractor For Kitchen Renovation Projects

Monday 26 January 2015 @ 10:46 am

A kitchen remodel can be a difficult and complicated task. As much as you may want to do the project yourself, sometimes it’s best to just hire a good contractor if you want the job done right. Finding the right kitchen contractor can be a job in itself, but there are some things you can do to make things easier.

Know the Scope of The Project

Whether you are planning the project yourself or you’re hiring a contractor, you should know as much about the project as possible. Know the extent of your remodel, what kind of appliances you need and what kind of cabinets you want.

Get Referrals

Once you know exactly what you want for your kitchen, it’s time to find potential contractors. Ask people you know for referrals; those you trust will be a better source of information than any advertisement or online review.

Get Credentials

Any good contractor will have all the necessary licenses and permits necessary to do their job, so make sure you ask for credentials before making the decision to hire a contractor.

Get Everything in Writing

Finally, make sure you get everything in writing whenever you hire a contractor for any task. This definitely applies to kitchen remodels, but it also goes for roofing, basement remodels or making any other improvements to your home.


A Birthday Gift For My Star Trek Fan Spouse

Wednesday 3 December 2014 @ 3:13 pm

My husband is a Star Trek fan. We have the Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection and the Star Trek The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection in our DVD collection. He watches both these sets of DVD over and over again. So for his 50th birthday in early 2014, I have decided to include Star Trek The Complete Original Series DVD Seasons 1-3 in the gift basket I am doing for him.

Since it is his 50th birthday, I am doing something special by making a gift basket on my own. The gift basket will contain all his favorite things, favorite movies, favorite comics, favorite scent, favorite family pictures which I did into a photo book and more. It is so much fun to do all this planning. I have already started collecting all these things to be put into his gift basket since early this month even though his birthday isn’t until February 2014.

I think he will love the Star Trek The Complete Original Series DVD or Star Trek TOS the most. Although we watched them when they were playing on TV previously, it has been a long time since. He jokingly calls me “The Entertainment Officer” at home because I plan all of his entertainment needs. I know him very well and what he likes and Star Trek happens to be one of his favorite series. He will love to watch the Star Trek team boldly go where no man has gone before.

To me the best gift for a Star Trek fan would be this original TV series that first introduced the original Star Trek Crew; Captain James T Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy and all the adventures of the USS Enterprise.

How many episodes does the Star Trek TOS have?

Season 1 – 29 episodes
Season 2 – 26 episodes
Season 3 – 24 episodes

Here is a list of the Star Trek Original Series episodes with all the titles and the order in which they were broadcasted.

The DVD is the remastered version. It is amazing to watch. Even though the original series first began screening in 1966, they don’t look outdated at all. Highly recommended for all Star Trek fans. This is where it all began.

My Favorite Star Trek Captains

My favorite Star Trek Captain is Captain James T Kirk (1966-1969) followed by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (1987-1994) but that’s just my personal opinion. The other Star Trek Captains are Captain Benjamin Sisko (1993-1999), Captain Kathryn Janeway (1995-2001) and Captain Jonathan Archer. (2001-2005).

That is why I recommend Star Trek The Original Series and Movies as a starter gift for the Star Trek fan followed by Star Trek The Next Generation Series and Movies collection and I did not include Star Trek Voyager Complete Series in my recommendations.

Tip for Buying DVDs online:

Make sure you check the region code of the DVD when buying online. If you do not have a multi-region DVD player, you will not be able to play DVDs from other regions.

Region 0: Multi-Region

Region 1: USA, Canada, US Territories

Region 2: UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa, Middle East

Region 3: South East & East Asia

Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Central & South America

Region 5: Africa, Indian Sub-Continent, Russia, all former USSR countries, North Korea, Mongolia

Region 6: China

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