Sunday, November 27, 2011
Some Things are Out of Our Control
I am a person who likes to be in control, I readily admit it. Well, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, I definitely was not in control! I unexpectedly ended up spending the night in the hospital. I thought I was taking good care of myself, I've been walking two miles a day/five days a week for about 8 years or so. I've also been trying to watch my diet more closely. I had noticed that about the past six weeks I was getting short of breath while walking. I thought maybe it's because I was trying to talk too much at the same time I was walking (I do have a big mouth sometimes)! I also had been having some chest pain (during those six weeks), but thought it was because I am usually trying to do two or more things at the same time. I was at the hospital that Monday morning for a Stress Test and Echocardiogram. I was scheduled for those tests because towards the end of October when I donated blood to the Red Cross and was getting the mini-exam the nurse said, "do you know that you have an irregular heartbeat?" She and another nurse counted three irregular heartbeats in a minute. They suggested I see my regular doctor. About a week later, the doctor did an EKG in the office, which didn't show anything, but she highly suggested getting the Stress Test/Echocardiogram just to make sure. When I went for the test on Monday, within about five minutes the cardiologist found I had one abnormality, something called, "left bundle branch block." He suggested I get a heart catheterization since I was already at the hospital. I was lucky there was an opening at 1 p.m. I went for that test which showed I had no blockages (thank goodness), but it did show I have a heart condition called "non-ischemic cardiomyopathy." Shortly after the catheterization, they tried a heart medication to get my blood pressure down (it was kind of high). Within about an hour of that I started feeling faint - I buzzed for the nurse and within a minute I had three nurses and a doctor gathered around my bed injecting a different medication into my I.V. to bring it back up. It had dropped down to a pretty dangerous level. I remember the nurse telling another nurse, "we have a situation!" I've been called a lot of things in my life, but never a "situation." Another word tossed around regarding my blood pressure, was that it "tanked." To be sure I was okay, they kept me overnight. Before I was released on Tuesday afternoon, I asked one of the three cardiologists that I saw, what is the worst case scenario for my two heart problems, his response was, "heart transplant." That's not really the answer I was looking for. The cardiologists are hopeful both of my conditions can be treated with medications. One gigantic lesson I've learned from this whole experience is that I can't always be in "control" no matter how much I want to be. Life just doesn't work that way!