Friday, September 24, 2010


Yesterday the cardiac clinic called in the first of many-to-be reports.

Puzzling, yet  pleasing, was I aced the stress test. I also had an echo cardiogram which was not materially changed from 5 years ago-a leaky mitral valve common in women my age was all I remember.

I questioned them about arterial plaque I knew I had and had seen on various CT and PET scans. It was on the many pictures they took too, but was rated mild to moderate, far less than I expected. I had considered carrying my Bible and swearing I had at least one 100% blockage somewhere. I already knew the carotids were less than 30%.

Now if we can just find out the sudden acceleration of the atrial arrhythmia I also knew I had. I would bet on the drug Azithromycin which causes atrial fibrillation in 15% of trial groups, but then I have already lost one bet............................

I am now wearing an event monitor which I send signals over phone line to some company, every time I have a symptom no matter what, SOB, pain in big toe, whatever.

So I'm moving on down my social medical calendar, since Thursday night was open I chose to endure another emergency ambulance ride to the area local hospital, at least a tad earlier in the evening for my husband.

The rescue and EMT didn't know a woman could pee so much (6 times from transport to when I finally came home-twice in the ambulance--had to pull over the side of the road once). It is a life-long habit for me, evening/night is primary pee time. I know you all love such details.

Today we both have slept and slept and slept. After 3 other trips they just lay out the drugs and start injection. Blood works. X Rays never change.

I felt the fibrillation start and sent a event message to wherever the company is located. The next day the heart clinic called inquiring all the details. I was pretty amazed.

At the moment it appears I am looking at a pacemaker and/or defibrillator or something similar...and, yes, Medicare pays. It probably will not be a fancy gold-plated Cheney model (being facetious) but I will be happy if all this heart pounding stops . But we are all still speculating.

This facet of heart disease is scary, but the remedy overall is now more simply and more successful in the past. At least there is a symptom I can readily identify early, unlike strokes, most heart attacks, and TIAs (transient ischemic attacks).

Thanks to modern pharmaceutical advances I have a little box of advance 3 tablets to take at the first sign of trouble and a third added t day. I take them as blood pressure and heart rate pass a certain reading. This helps first responders, EMT, etc, who must communicate with the hospital where they are headed.

I may never be good and new, but I'm hoping and praying for a good enough used model for a while longer.

Awareness of this repetitious event is, of course, a major reason I have retired from political life and the opportune moment presented itself right under my nose. I did not let it pass. There will be some others. Then my church life group nicely offered us exemption from bringing food to come when we can. I may volunteer to bring the "bought" drink like Pepsi, etc. so I don't have to toil in the kitchen. I may take them up on that.

Some of my readers also have arterial fibrillation; it is more common than the name sounds. We appreciate the prayers and sympathetic remarks.  The ones whom you don't hear about are those who ignore the signs, the flutter, the heart pounding, the weird body symptoms. Never ignore the unusual. They need our thoughts and prayers, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Several of you have requested to see my resignation letter from City Council. With the exception of the formality of addressing includes names of elected persons, some innocent of my tirade, it is verbatim below starting with the generalities of the police & fire depts. and citizens, etc. NO identifying names but mine. 

September 10, 2010


Carol Ann Coward
Alderman, Ward 3, Position 2
616 Lynette Ave
Bull Shoals, AR 72619-3301


Recorder-Treasurer: XXX XXXXXXXX
Fire, Police and Public Works and City Hall employees
Citizens of Bull Shoals
Press Members

RE: Resignation

My husband and I have lived 30 years, 4 months in Bull Shoals.

For 5 years, 9 months (3 elected terms) as of Sept. 30, I served as alderman in the City of Bull Shoals. Serving Citizens of this City has been a joy, honor, privilege and pleasure.

I have served under 3 administrations: 3 Mayors, 2 Recorder-Treasurers, and basically the same council with a few changes from term to term. These relationships, with three exceptions, in the last nine months, has been congenial, with perhaps some personally perceived exclusive chauvinism by certain members within the council.

However it is troubling:

1. That an outside individual(s) in no official capacity seems to have more power and influence deciding city affairs for a select few elected officials, than the officials themselves. If not qualified for office, don’t become a puppet instead of a genuine leader.

2. That an alderman of 31 years experience in pharmacy is insulted by insinuating she did not know what classes of controlled substances, or for that matter prescriptions in general, that various classifications of medical practitioners may or may not write. [BS expletive.!]

3. That various officials accuse their contemporaries of ethics violations when they do not fully understand many facets of their own accusations.

Because of rapidly increasing deterioration in my personal health to a lesser extent, my husband’s health, and similar problems in our extended families over north-central and north-east Texas, North and South Carolina, I feel compelled to tender my resignation, EFFECTIVE September 10, 2010,  1:59 p.m.

I hope to maintain interest in several volunteer projects, TeleCare, public service or charitable projects, included my chosen faith, as long as I have fortitude and can contribute positively. I will voice my opinions on any subject I choose, including my political experiences, openly in any and all public forums I may choose.

My husband’s 14.5 years in Bull Shoals Public Works, my nearly 6 years in public office, as well as time served on an early Park Commission and working for several Planning Commissions, City Hall building committee and public officials equates to 20-25+ years of our 30+ years in this City for the betterment of this City.

My husband and I hope for positive time together fishing, traveling or even seeing the Grand Canyon, if we find solutions to our current health problems, which will permit these activities. We desire more personal time to concentrate on these solutions and sustain some serenity and sanity in the remainder of our lives, however long God has determined.

With Prayers of Peace for our City,

Carol Ann Coward

Monday, September 20, 2010


In case you wonder where I've been since retiring from politics....
1. Retiring as alderman and eliminating all the piles of papers that accumulate during politics, except a select few for future references
2. Keeping my social medical calendar full
3. Surviving a very hard week included a death
4. LEARNING TO USE MY KINDLE--it has a bit of a learning curve, but I love loading 10 books for $27 (rounded off), three of which were free.

The week included a stress test, my resignation as alderman after the Mayor (male) and the husband of my female physician had a yelling match over $5 that two women in a cat fight would envy.

I had my resignation written for Oct. 1, but because I suspected this kind of meeting, I simply changed the date to 11:59 p.m the self-same day. When the fighting paused for commercial (a joke) I became the commercial., I stated in public I had tolerated this kind of mess for nearly six years and I was through. I immediately handed out the resignations first to council, and then to anyone who was interested.

Amazingly almost the roomful of people wanted a copy, because it was not just "I resign for personal reasons" normal resignation. It was a full page detail of my discontent with current government (by the way we are not party elected). 
I ran out of copies and had to go make more. As I progressed down the aisle to the back, there was applause. Not sure it was "glad you are gone" or "you have guts.'

As I reflect I'm not sure I went down in flames, or soared away on wings of the eagle.

DEATH: then there was the death and funeral of a friend. I was not able to attend the funeral because of a stress test the exact same time. The funeral director in my town I know well and she let me sign a page including that I was dressed in a neon chartreuse shirt and a fishing hat. (The friend's request was no one dressed in black- wear bright colors.) I know she would have loved it.

KINDLE - gift for my retirement from politics and rekindle my love of reading without tons of books to store or dispose.
Never before bought a Bible for $1.99. But struggled with controls in Sunday. Came home and did some practicing.

Two of the books my 10 were my favorite spiritual inspiration-Max Lucado. I don't think his paperbacks are selling at $2.39.

I downloaded the complete works of the Bronte family, I wanted to re-read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

I am currently reading a limited time version of Hippocrates and Medicine. Interestingly Hippy (no disrespect-saves typing) explored medicine in two respects: Medicine sorta like we consider it today, but certainly few pills, and alternative medicine-hardly at all what we consider alternative today.

As I finish it I will review it for you.

AND IT IS FOOTBALL SEASON. Even though I have two favorite Texas NFL teams, I watch any channel at any time that a football is flying.

So gimme a F, gimme a O, well you know how the cheer goes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My dear friend with the brain tumor died relatively quietly Tuesday at a local Hospice House with her daughter and son-in-law with her.

I am saddened I have a complicated stress test during her Celebration of Life Friday.

One of her requests was no one was to wear black, but bright cheerful colors. So like her! I wish I could be there to tell some of the very funny things she, I and my best friend did and said that kept us in peals of laughter. Today I have chosen a font color of Autumn in honor of her request.

She was one of few with whom I could discuss both politics and religions. We giggled and laughed at her extreme liberalism and my self-described one-step-right-of-center--nobody-cares-till-it-is-time-to-vote-stance. On religious issues we agreed far more than not, plus contributed to charitable efforts of our respective churches, not so much because of the church efforts but our respect for each other's devotion to the efforts. 

We talked and listened to gospel music, especially the Gaithers, one of which was SITTING AT THE FEET OF JESUS.

I, being the perpetual student, wondered what it would be like to sit at the feet of the only Perfect Master Teacher I perceive walked the earth. She being the more impetuous thinker, said, (I remember verbatim to this day), "The first thing I am going to do when I get to Heaven is jump in His Lap and Hug His Neck."

Her remark reminded me of the Master's admonition we had to change and become as little children to enter heaven. (Matthew 18:3ff)

Tearfully and joyfully tonight, Jan, I know you are sitting on the Lap of the Holy One. Some day, hopefully, I will join you and hope you will be among the throng waiting to welcome me, and my many pets from Rainbow Bridge, walk into the Land of NO TEARS, PEACE and FOREVER LIGHT.



Lyrics: J. H. (author unknown except by initials)
Music: Asa Hull

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest,

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.

Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Thy feet;
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;

Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Life is full of large and small decisions, size and impact of them I suppose is dependent on several factors.

My local primary care physician, a woman, whom I greatly admire, is leaving for important and personal reasons. Her only son has special needs unavailable in our area. He is a bright little boy, but whatever the family perceives he needs is not available in our rather rural area.

Although she will occasionally be in our local clinic, it will hopefully be kept open by a lovely Advanced Nurse Practitioner, whom I also have used and plan to continue to use.

For the first time Wednesday a.m., my primary care physician's day off, I called her cell phone (which few patients had) for a special favor to get in a cardiology clinic that self-same day. I rarely impose on other's time or cell numbers, etc., as I worked on-call a lot as a pharmacist for various large and small chains in 4 states.

I never resented a call to open a store for an emergency prescription, but when it was a refill that could have been called in no later than early in the morning and picked up before closing, I was a tad annoyed.

In less than 15 minutes Doc called to see my discomfort was a second night of scary atrial fibrillation. I already have an appointment with a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology Sept.30.

 I offered to drive to Little Rock Wednesday, if I could get in earlier than Sept. 30. I hate driving to Little Rock so you know I was desperate!!!

In less than 15 additional minutes at 8:30 a.m. (approx.) Doc called back with an appointment at 11 a.m. with a Registered Nurse Practitioner in the local cardiology clinic. I accepted  -- no questions asked.

The man was so like my Dad- (I almost hugged him). He made my husband and I so comfortable it was amazing. By the time I got there my heart was in rhythm, a small test showed no significant water in the heart and lung area, so no immediate congestive failure--all in all not bad.

I was put on a very old drug, Digoxin 0.125mg- dose for kidney compromised persons---I was very impressed. My one kidney's continued health is very important in a number of areas to treatments and my daily functions, being as I only have one, which is getting rather elderly.

As of today I have had two nights without arrhthmia fibrillations or the need to take additional drugs, other than the one prescribed for me. No daytime problems either.

Of course a number of tests, including the dreaded stress tests are scheduled. I have nurses (and maybe my husband, if allowed) promising to hold my hand and they've never killed anybody. And I still have the appointment with the cardiologist specialist.

All in all, it was a wonderful, comfortable decision and outcome I could not have anticipated on such short notice.

I cannot thank Doc enough as I believe I have found the place to resolve heart problems in a very pleasant, caring clinic. I called them three times the next day-once to fax my revised drug list, once for an appointment I could read, and once for and explanation of the "water test," a new test to me.

Now this is the end of my saga, but a postscript includes my housekeeper. Little did I know how bad a stomach disorder she had, but had noticed she quit eating a lot of her usual diet. I called her when I got home from my good experience to see if she was coming Friday.

She sounded so bad, I lectured her she had to take the proverbial bull by the horns. She had been to ER once and suffered through a very obnoxious gastroenterologist with which I am acquainted and agree. Next thing I knew she went to ER, had an array of tests, and got appointment with the gastroenterologist she wanted and I liked, plus some medicines that may enable her to eat normally again.


I'd like to think I influenced her to "move it" but she is very much a person that plans differently than I do. But at least we both feel better today we are in good hands.

And again I am eternally grateful to my primary care physician and hope her and her family's decisions are perfect for her professional and personal needs.

No! my housekeeper won't be here Friday, maybe Monday or Tuesday, but I'm elated we both took control of ourselves.

Fear of not knowing is 1000 times worse than knowing the facts, however dire they may seem to be.

Have you ever feared knowing the unknown? Having you ever waited too, long to find out? (I may, or may not, have-won't know for awhile.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010


A brief check-in . I am keeping records of my blood pressure and heart rate for my physician which I am soon losing.

Even though a tedious task, patterns evolve; I am no exception. My readings are significantly higher in the morning than the evening.

As commonly said the word 'medicine' is not preceded by the phrase, 'the practice of' facetiously. One of the modern marvels of pharmaceuticals is the 12-hour and 24-hour duration of action medications. But do they really?

The current thinking with me is the medications are lasting more like 16 hours. So we have added additional dosage in the evening, but the medication time  has not been nailed down exactly.

Things are somewhat better; a specialist being established for me with a very impressive sub-speciality name: electro-physiology cardiologist.

The very best news came from my oncologist who declared me the only 15 year survivor of kidney cancer he had known. There are probably others, so I am grateful but not boastful.

ENJOY THE COOLER WEATHER. We had nearly an inch of rain yesterday afternoon!

I have always been a hit-the-floor-running person in my younger years, but no more. YEAH! Waking Up Is Hard to Do!