Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bionic Woman

Okay, I know that many of you who read my blog are WAY too young to know what the heck I am talking about! Back in the seventies or so, there was a show called the Bionic Woman. She had "bionic" parts, like her hearing and other things; it's rather vague in my mind because I was 10 at the most in the seventies. :-)
So I am a bionic woman because I got my new pacemaker on Tuesday! Here's a pic of me I took of myself with my phone. I'm a dork, I know. LOL

Here's how the surgery went, I'll tell on myself.
The doctors came into my room and talked to me and Winston about my surgery. They were rather grim, because they were not sure of the best option. One option was to just change the pacemaker itself and that's it. That would be okay but one of the wires I have in my heart isn't conducting as well as it should. Instead of 7 mHz, it was only transmitting 2mHz (I think it was mHz).
Another option would be to extract one of the leads from my heart and put in a new one. The problem is, I have 4 wires or leads, in my heart right now. They said that the vein they had them in was occluded. Four wires in one vein is too much and there is no room left for even much blood to flow through. Two wires have been in there for 20 years and then they were recalled. So they put in two more leads about ten years ago. The bad thing is, by removing a wire that has been in the heart for that long cannot be removed without significant risk. They had another O.R. waiting in case I began to bleed out and they had to cut my chest open. Whew! While we were talking about all this, Winston got a phone call from Jordan, a guy who works on our farm and has become family to us. Anyhow, he took the call! The doctors stopped talking about it and just looked at me-- they put their hands up in the air as if to say "what the heck?". We laughed and when Winston got off the phone, we decided. We told the doctors to evaluated once they got in the surgery to see if they felt the 'bad wire' could conduct enough shock to keep me going. Hopefully I will not need to replace them before my next pacemaker, which should be in about 10 years.

Once I was in the O.R., the team had been assembled. There were about 8 all together. They gave me oxygen, put on my EKG electrodes, and the large pads on my chest and back that can shock you if you go into cardiac arrest. (These pads are like 4x7 inches). One of the nurses yells to me across the room, "Honey, how much do you weigh?". Keep in mind there are like 8 people in the room! I said to her in a joking voice, "Oh, well I can't tell you until you give me an intercom. I think 8 people in the room is not a large enough audience, I should announce it to the whole hospital!" They all got a good chuckle.
They administered the sedative in my I.V. and I began to get sleepy; I saw the cardiac monitors doing a little dance. It was taking effect. I said "okay.... goodnight. My monitors are dancing around, so I think I'm on my way out. See you on the flip side". Again, a chuckle, and the next thing I know, I'm in recovery with my husband at my side. :-)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm a loser

Okay, here's a picture of me and Sophie a few weeks ago. I just thought many of you are craving a Sophia pic! :)

I'm a loser. Many of you would agree. But I'm talking about I've lost 10 pounds since I have been sick! :-)
I got a fever and stomach pain on Saturday October 4th and today, the 14th of October, is the first day I've been without a fever since! I spent an evening in the ER and 2.5 days in the hospital. Sunday and Monday all day, my fever was 103 F. Eating Jell-O or drinking water made me cry out in pain. It was agony, I tell ya! Agony!

On Monday evening I called my doctor's office and told them what was going on, and they told me to go to the ER. By the way, did I mention that I was supposed to get my pacemaker replaced Monday morning??? Well, needless to say with a fever, they wouldn't do it. I had to cancel. I was told from one doctor in the ER that I had ulcers. I said "but that wouldn't cause a fever". And his response? "well it could" in a really dumb kind of voice. lol At least that is how I remember it. Anyhow, putting that medical degree to good use! "Well it could". Geesh! They told me to go to my family physician the next day; they said they didn't like sending me home with a fever after having it for 72 hours.

So, I made an appointment with my family doc. He's awesome, his name is Dr. Duncan. He knows a lot and has a really good bedside manner too. That is sometimes more important to me than their skill-but he's got both! Yay, Dr. D!

He said he thought it was either a fever blister or thrush in my esophagus. Either would have been a pretty rare thing. He said it was a guess at this point because it be a very long time to get an appointment to get a scope down my throat. So he scheduled me for a barium swallow on Thursday, gave me 3 different kinds of medicines and sent me home. I was relatively satisfied because I trust him. The medicines were to be taken 4 and 5 times a day. I literally cried when I had to take it. I couldn't drink water without crying! When it would get close to time to take my medicine, I would watch the clock and begin to fret; I knew how much it would hurt. I didn't want to take the pills. I would hold the pills in my mouth with a swig of water, trying to coax myself to swallow them. I would psych myself up for it. "Okay, one, two, three, GO. Okay. One, two three, GOOO! Oh! I can't! Okay, yes I can. One, two threeeeeee...." You get it. It was awful.

So I went to bed on Wednesday night with fever still at 101 F and aching badly. I still couldn't swallow water or food. It had now been 4.5 days since I'd had food! The good news? I was dropping a pound or two, I could tell. I went into my dressing room to brush my teeth. I could tell that I had some soreness in my gums, but who knew something else was wrong? Everything on my body was aching, I thought it was part of the sick-deluxe package. :-) I looked in the mirror as I was preparing to go back to my bed. I couldn't get over how nasty my hair looked, how can a woman approaching 40 have greasy hair?? I began to brush my teeth and I looked in my mouth! White spots! Thrush!!! I thought I now had the answer to my stomach/esophagus pain. I couldn't eat or drink the next morning anyhow because I was due to get my barium swallow test. I looked it up online and found that adults usually don't get thrush unless their immune system is compromised. Hmm. What is going on with me??

The next morning I called for Dr. D at 6:15am, knowing that I needed to cancel my in-laws' trip over if I didn't need to get my procedure. I spoke to another doc because mine wasn't on-call until 7:00am. He suggested that I not go in until I got ahold of my doc. I waited until he came in and called him. He listened to my story about the thrush in my mouth and asked about my fever. He said he would call off my procedure and that he would call in some new medicine at 9:00. I agreed and hung up. He called me back about 10 minutes later and told me that he and other docs had a "conference" about me. He said that I needed to come in to the hospital and check in. He said that having a fever that long was not right and I need to get there that morning.

When I checked in, I learned that I had lost about 10 pounds! Whoohoo! Too bad I was too sick to care at the time. :-)
The nurses had a tough time getting in the IVs because I was so dehydrated. All in all, I have 10 holes/bruises on my arms. On Friday morning, they did a scope down my throat. The doctor found that I had viral ulcers on my esophagus and in my stomach. He said they were deep and to the nerve. He explained that is why I had such a high fever and big pain. He prescribed medicine and said it would take a total of ten days. I was already through 6 of them, I'm on the downhill side now! Wheee!

I still couldn't eat anything, so they gave me the medicine in my IV. Friday night the IV medicine was burning really bad! I hesitantly pushed the nurse call button. She came in and said it was fine. About ten minutes later, paged her again; I was ready to rip that IV out of my arm! It was swelling really big and felt like hot molten lava under my reddened flesh! When she returned she seemed a little annoyed but then one look at my arm and she apologized and brought ice and cold wash cloths to soothe it after she removed the huge stinger, known as an IV. The problem was, it was no longer in the vein, it was delivering the medicine under the skin. It didn't feel like medicine, it felt like poison! I still have a large bruise to show as my hospital battle scar. lol

On Friday night, I finally ate a popsicle! It hurt but I was ravenous at this point. I ate it despite it's stabbing pain. It tasted so good!

Saturday morning, I was released from the hospital. The discharging doc told me to make an appointment with my regular doc next week because he feels that my immune system is compromised; otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten so sick, kept a fever so long, or had thrush. I continue to feel better each day.

I am out of town with our youngest daughter, Sophie, at 4 days worth of doctor's visits and tests. I will return on Friday night and see my doctor on Monday, get my pre-op testing and then on Tuesday get my pacemaker. The thing is about that, I have to get the leads replaced! And as for me being a "loser"... I'm sure I'll pack it back on in no time. LOL