2 hours ago
Saturday, 13 September 2008
What a Drama Queen!
Well, I did it again - called an ambulance and raced off to hospital.
It's over two weeks since the heart procedure that was supposed to stop my (infrequent but very serious) bouts of VT. While recovering I've been feeling tired and knocked-around. Several days ago, I started feeling a bit fluttery in the chest, and it didn't feel right. I saw the GP, and one of my specialists (who got on the phone to the other specialist) and they all agreed I should take it easy, and they'd like more information. I was booked in for a few tests on Friday, but late on Thursday night I woke up feeling worse than ever.
Obviously we save up ambulance rides for crises, but it's hard to tell when it's a crisis, so we called 000. They were there in minutes, and the two paramedics hooked me up and got an ECG right there in the lounge room. Cool use of technology! It showed enough odd stuff that I "won a trip to hospital" as they said. But it wasn't the dreaded VT, just a bunch of funny beats that were worth investigating.
It settled right down in the ambulance. Natch. By the time I arrived I was well enough to go home, but there's no escaping it once they've opened a file. I shuffled down the importance list, and both paramedics hovered, keeping an eye on me. We chatted about eBay, Lego, chess, and other stuff. One of them told me how to jump the queue at the emergency department. Just examine your left hand, and wiggle the fingers, looking puzzled, as if you are wondering why it hurts. All smart Emergency medicine people are looking for behaviour like that. OK, I promise never to use the trick, but it's good to know that non-technological methods are used so effectively.
Soon I had a spot (Resus 1). Two nurses started sticking sticky dots all over me (more sticky dots, I should say) to hook me up to the heavy duty monitor. It was cold, and being handled started the flutters again. What followed was many hours of lying in bed, looking at my monitor, seeing it beep whenever something bad enough happened to justify a beep. I played a quick word game on the iPod, and when the novelty of being in hospital wore off, asked them to lower the back of the bed so I could sleep. Didn't sleep more than a few minutes, of course (all the observations). The monitor beeps when you heart rate goes below 60, which is actually quite normal when you are juuust about asleep, so that helps heaps.
I had Skippy cornflakes for breakfast. Not my favourite cereal, but hey. Also stewed pears.
When the sun came up and all normal people were at work, they got my specialist on the phone (the one who was expecting me at 11 that morning anyway). He still wanted to see me, so I had to call Jeff, get him to oversee the kids going to school; drop Thomas at a Chess tournament; get my clothes; and, just quickly, drive me to the city. Oh, and not go to work.
We got to the specialist's office just a few minutes before we were expected, and I looked lovingly at the cafe next door. Jeff said it was smarter to check in with the receptionist straight away. She was expecting us, and said "Ah, yes, he wants to see you - take a seat". We worked out he was busy with a patient for a few minutes, but we could sneak a coffee, and she'd call us when we were needed.
Jeff had a big hunk of Hedgehog - not as nice as home made, but very acceptable. My coffee was yummy. Yes, I was allowed, I checked.
So, a quick echo cardiogram, and a visit to the good doctor, and he tells me that what is happening is normal enough that it definitely won't cause me to drop dead (well, that's my handy summary), and if I feel yucky I should have some serious rest. I'm on a new tablet, which has the job of just helping me feel better (it doesn't "fix" anything, but with any luck it's stop me being such a drama queen). It seems to work. We compare notes again next week.
That photo is an ECG from the hospital stay. Cool, huh? Anyway, I'm fine, and I guess there's some chance of more work being done to me, but it's also quite possible that I'm just "settling down".
It was a lovely day in Melbourne today, and Jeff took me out to a fete (see the next post!).