Friday, August 3, 2012

The ER, 7/30/12

The ER was packed. I had to wait a little bit, but it wasn't too bad. David went home to feed the kids and the dog. And you'll see that if David wasn't here, I was definitely ok with that. He became both mom and dad overnight, I didn't want him here this entire time, especially when there was nothing he could do. My main concern through all of this was that we try to keep the babies as much on their normal schedule as possible. When I was called back, a nice, older gentleman named Calvin had to do an EKG. Now, let me take a second to introduce Calvin properly, bc I believe he was one of my heroes, as he didn't give up when searching for what was wrong with me. He was determined to understand why a 30 yr old, relatively healthy woman was having such bad EKG results. Calvin has been an EMS for 27 years, and is now working on a bridge program to become an RN. He was called in that night, basically to do whatever was needed. He helped calm me down, and he's going to be a great RN one day. After that EKG got the same results as my 1st one that lead me to this hospital, I was put in a room. They were thinking I was probably dehydrated. I so wish that were the case. I was hooked up to IVs, and had tons of bloodwork done. I have been told numerous times here that I'm an interesting case. I don't like this sound of interesting...can't I just be boring again??? Calvin was asked to come do some orthostatics on me. These are blood pressure readings they take while I lay flat, then sitting up, then standing. I got a little dizzy the 1st time, but not too major. What in the heck was wrong with me?! I'm sure the nurses and doctor were ready to close this case. Calvin was asked to come back and do another orthostatic on me. When I laid down flat, I started having trouble. I was having the seeing spots episodes. Calvin said, "are you feeling this?" I couldn't speak but I could nod. He said that my beats per min had gone up to 181. He sat me up, and took my blood pressure again, and I had another episode, 181 bpm. Calvin ran from the room to get the doctor. He couldn't press print quickly enough on the monitor to record these things, so he prepared to hang out with me to see if he could catch another one. Then, he remembered that since I sent alarms off, that I should have the printouts at the desk. He informed the doctor, found the printouts, and started cutting and pasting on a piece of paper to fax to the on-call cardiologist. Calvin then had to take a quick break bc he has diabetes and needed to eat. I told him to go ahead, and I'd see him soon. Boy-I didn't realize that he wouldn't get a bite to eat right away. I had another episode of what I'd been having, but this one was worse. I was just lying there and I saw Calvin walk by with a Chick-fil-A bag, and he mouthed something to me. I couldn't respond, I was frozen, and he shouted. 6 people came rushing into my room, and started shouting orders. I had tears running down my face, and I was terrified that I would be crashing. Let me tell you-it is super scary when you are frozen, can see and hear what's going on, but can't speak.

What was happening is that I was having VTACs. Those are rapid heartbeats that start in the ventricles of the heart. These are crazy arrythmias. This was what I was experiencing at home! The doctor came in and said that I was definitely not dehydrated, and I was spending the night. I was transferred to the Heart and Vascular Institute, and this is where I am today. I think Calvin was my hero, bc I had a lot of people scratching their heads at me. Calvin was determined to figure this out, and he did. He is so smart, and so caring, with a determination that will make him a fantastic RN. I'm going to get him a thank you card or some little something when I get out of here.

So it's 3am, and I've just arrived at the University Hilton, haha. That's what they call it. Anyway, I've got IVs in both arms, tests that I'm having to take, questions that I've already answered, and still-puzzled looks on everyone's faces. What could be wrong with me? My blood pressure was horrible during this time. I went from 79/51 to 83/72 to different others. I think the highest it's been since I've been here is 120/90. I was instructed not to get up bc of it. So...time for sleep, but I'm too wrecked for sleep. I was terrified of going to sleep. What if I don't wake up? That was one of my thoughts, the other being that I was about to leave my children motherless.

Later that morning, I had an echocardiogram done. That was what showed my hole in my heart. The cardiologist, Dr. Lane came in and explained how interesting my case was. She said that she had about 8 different cardiologists looking at that echo, wondering what in the world let me live 30 years with this, with no complications. So, she came back in and said that the echo revealed that I had septum primum ASD, an atrial septum disorder. Basically, a hole in my heart. It means that I am missing that septum that prevents arterial blood (high oxygen content) from mixing with venous blood (low oxygen content). They aren't supposed to mix, and mine has been for 30 years. It's congenital, I was born with it. No one caught on during these years, bc for one, I was asymptomatic, and two, they thought it was a heart murmur that I would grow out of. Time to talk...

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