March 14, 2012

Matters of the heart

Well, it's been an interesting few days. If you are not familiar with the history of the health issue I've been dealing with, you can read more here:

Now that you are up to speed, here is the latest:

Friday, March 2
I have a follow up appointment with my cardiologist. He tells me all the things that aren't causing my symptoms: heart attack, blood clot, structural problems with the heart, thyroid disease, diabetes, metabolic imbalances, anxiety and stress. He is perplexed and concerned. He wants to get to the bottom of things. He orders more blood work and a portable heart monitor, which I am to wear for 30 days.

Sunday, March 4
I suffer from severe dizziness and light headedness, briefly blacking out while sitting in a chair. I do not go to the hospital.

Friday, March 9
The heart monitor arrives. After SB goes to bed and I get my shower in, I put it on. It is an event monitor. Every time I experience a symptom, I am to push a button on the device to initiate an EKG recording. That is wirelessly transmitted to the monitoring company. I am also to call them and report what the symptom is and what I was doing when it occurred.

Saturday, March 10
By 2PM I have pushed the button over 100 times for palpitations. The monitoring company informs me that each palpitation is a "PVC." (I had to look that up; it is a premature ventricular contraction.) They said I should stop pushing my button for palpitations, because each one looks the same on the EKG and my cardiologist will have to review every single one. I am instructed only to push the button and call if I experience a different symptom.

Later that day, I begin to experience shortness of breath. It is so bad I am unable to carry on conversation. While sitting in a chair. I report this to the monitoring company.

Sunday, March 11
I am short of breath from the moment I wake up, which I report. As the day progresses, I become light headed and feel pressure and discomfort in my chest. When I report this to the monitoring company, they advice me to go to the ER.

Stubbornly, I do not go to the hospital. I figure it will be just like the last time - I will spend hours there and go home with no answers or resolution. So instead, I get into bed. After two hours, I am feeling much worse. When I begin to experience sharp pains in my chest, we load SB in the car and hubby drives me to the ER (which is only 3 miles away from our home).

Hours and many tests later, they have no idea what is going on. But the ER doctor is not comfortable sending me home. He feels I am too unstable. I am admitted, and spend a miserable night in the hospital during which I do not get much sleep.

Monday, March 12
My cardiologist is not in, but his partner and PA (physician's assistant) take over my care and order more tests, which include another echocardiogram. Nothing shows up as abnormal in that or any of the blood work. I am told there is an electrical problem with my heart. The cause is at this time unknown.

Any further testing would be invasive, and my doctors prefer to avoid that if possible. I have been placed on a beta blocker medication to regulate my heart's rate and rhythm, as well as improve circulation. I will continue to wear the heart monitor for 30 days so they can see how I respond. It can be tricky to find the right dose of the medication, so I am to be on the lookout for certain things, and report them to my cardiologist if they occur.

Tuesday, March 13
Home and feeling much better. Some palpitations throughout the day, but with considerably less frequency and strength, and no other symptoms. Took it very easy. SB wanted to go to the park after speech therapy, and I felt like I just wasn't up for it. Especially since we were having summer-like weather. We settled for playing on the back deck at home (where she does have a climber with a slide).

I have a follow up appointment with my cardiologist in early May. Obviously, I'll be in touch with him sooner should I have any problems. I'll keep you up to date. For now, I am happy to be home and feeling better!

And to all who shared prayers, virtual hugs and get well wishes as I was going through this, a sincere thank you! I really appreciate it.
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