Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An update....

Soooo.....one hospital stay wasn't enough. I had to check out the accommodations here in town, too! Wednesday, January 6th, I was planning on visit school, have lunch with friends, and take in a Tiger's basketball game. But, chest pains put a kink in that plan. After a few calls to doctor's offices, it was decided I should head to the ER. The boys were at school, and Ken was off, so he took me to Carle. As soon as I said the words "chest pain" and "recent heart attack", I was in a wheelchair, being whisked to a treatment room. The EKG was "abnormal", which was a change from the ones done in Bloomington (they had all been "normal"). After three nurses, 5 needles, and 4 blown veins, I had an IV. They treated my chest pain with oxygen and morphine and was told I was being admitted. Since pouting did no good, I tried to get comfortable while Ken grabbed some lunch. A friend who worked at the hospital stopped by the ER to see me, and noticed that my arm (where the IV was) was covered in hives. We called the nurses, who determined the morphine had irritated my veins. After a bit, I was moved to a room on the Telemetry Floor, into the the hands of the heaven-sent Nurse Angel.

Nurse Angel got me settled, as I urged Ken to head out to the basketball game. The doctors came in and out, trying to make decisions on how to proceed. The intervention cardiologist and the cardiologist overseeing my care decided that they wanted to do an immediate cardiac cath. Immediate means.....when they get the team ready and all of the blood tests are done ;) The test that held them up? A pregnancy test, LOL! My dear friend Tina came to sit with me while I waited for the cath. One of the techs came in and told me, "If you can assure me you have not been attacked by some vicious sperm, we'll go ahead with the cath." After my assurance, they wheeled me off, Tina and I giggling the whole way.

In the cath lab, I'd like to tell ya I know everything that went on. I was awake for what I believed to be the whole thing. Truth is, Versed is good stuff, and if I was awake, I don't remember much. But, the good news is (here is where God really showed up), my heart started to go into another heart attack. Yes, that is good news! That means the doctors actually saw what was going on, and they were able to stop it, and learn from it.

So, here's the scoop. I have a condition (no idea if it has a name) that causes my vessels to constrict. What was happening in my heart is that the vessels were kinking, like one would kink off a hose, completely cutting off the blood supply to the heart, causing a heart attack. When it happened in the cath lab, they shot some nitro in through the cath, and it opened up immediately, showing the doctors that I would respond to that medication. They said my arteries were "pristine"--that, if there was a 50% blockage as the hospital in Bloomington had found, it was no longer there (probably had broken loose and "digested" by the body).

Now, for the treatment--sigh--the hard part. I have to be on medication for a LONG time to prevent this form happening again. The medication (named Imdur, in case you want to look it up) keeps the vessels from constricting. Here is where my migraine medication (Imitrex) comes in. It is a vessel dilator, which makes my condition worse. The Imdur will actually cause migraines, until my body gets used to it. My first dose, given on Thursday, made me want to crawl out of my skin!! The headache was soooo awful, and there was not much that could be used to treat the pain. They tried morphine again, though Nurse Angel was cautious, after my reaction in the ER. Not more than 2 cc's were in, and the hives began. Allergic reactions garner a quick response by a lot of people, in this case 4 nurses and 1 doctor! After some meds to fight the reaction, I was back to my agony once again.

They fought the migraine throughout the night, with packing my head in ice, IV meds, until it finally subsided. The doctor decided to keep me in the hospital an extra day, keep me on the heart monitors, and skip the next dose to let me rest. I slept on and off most of Friday. They gave me more meds to continue to treat the migraines, but there was a problem with the IV. It had infiltrated, so essentially it most of the migraine meds had been pumping into my muscle, and it wasn't until the meds began to soak my bed that the nurse noted a problem. (Nurse Angel had the day off, and I missed her immensely). After blowing another 3 veins trying to get a working IV, they put in a "midline" which was described as "essentially a central line" into my upper arm, and I was a happy camper. Meds can be given through it, and blood taken from it. No more sticks!

Saturday, I was up, showered, dressed, and pacing the halls. About 10 am, Nurse Angel gave me a half-dose of Imdur, intending to let me "hang out" until noon, to see if a headache would develop. At noon, the pain was minimal, and I was sent home. I rested, feeling he headache mounting. The boys were invited to a friend's house for an overnight, which was a reprieve, since the pain had gotten out of control. About 7:30 p.m. Ken took me to Convenient Care, since I was miserable. The doctor there reluctantly agreed to give me shots to fight the migraine, stating that I would need to talk to my doctor before any more would be given. Shots on board, I finally was able to sleep.

Sunday, I put a lot of thought into my situation. I devised a plan to get my body used to the Imdur, hopefully without losing my mind. Imdur is supposed to be taken in the morning, and will last 18 hours, with the remaining 6 hours (while you're sleeping) giving your body a break so it does not develop a resistance to the drug. I decided to start taking it in the evening, and beg the doctor for a sleep aid to help me sleep through the pain. Each night, I take the medication a little earlier. So far, my plan is working. From the information I have been able to find, it takes about 2 weeks for the body to adjust. My fingers are crossed, and my prayers are continuously being sent up that this process will work.

In the mean time, I am working a couple half days this week, see the cardiologist on Monday, then hope I will be fully "back in the saddle" on Tuesday, back in my classroom, where I belong!

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