On Monday, after several days of pressure under my breastbone (I know, I know...) I reached a point where fear overcame what I thought was common sense, I called 911. The Fire Dept. was here in three minutes and the EMS arrived a few later. The four of them took stats and gave me a choice of hospitals.
I had a stress echocardiogram the Thursday before, which showed that my MVP had gotten to the stage "extreme", instead of "moderate" and is allowing some blood to regurgitate back into my heart instead of pumping through arteries and veins. I was to meet with that cardiologist on Tuesday for consultation, to learn my options.Since that test, I have felt as though someone had reached into my chest and is squeezing my heart, very tightly.
We proceeded to Wake Medical Center, where Jim was treated for stroke 7 years ago, and where my younger daughter was born. I was admitted and placed in the cardiac care unit for observation. Preliminary tests showed that I had not had a heart attack, but it was decided that I should have a catheterization, to determine the status of my mitral valve, as well as cardiac arteries. Results from the stress echocardiogram (obtained at another facility) were requested, and the catheterization (hereinafter known as cath) was scheduled for 3pm.
During the cath, the doctor opted to go through both my femoral artery and the one in my wrist. (I now have two extra holes in my body, along with 2 IV sticks and several blood drawings.) I fervently hope they will heal quickly, without infection or other incident.
The results of the cath contradicted the results of the stress echo, and the doc at the hospital says that a more definitive test for MVP will likely settle the degree of degradation of that valve. (Oh, joy.)
So, I am to make an appointment with the cardiologist to hear options and decide future testing, or not. My current dilemma is: Which one to choose? The first cardiologist was recommended by my primary doctor, and he works within the same hospital/university system that the primary doc does. The second cardiologist, who works at Wake Med. and has offices there, was chosen due to his availability on the day I was admitted. Also, I had had a previous stress test in his practice about 2 years ago (with another doctor.) Somehow that memory eluded me when I was first admitted and I said I had no cardiologist. I suppose the stress of the moment will do that to you. I really like both of them; the first has an added perk of being close to home.....and the second proves to be knowledgeable and able to transmit information very well.
My reasons for writing this out in such detail are twofold: 1. I can refer to it if my memory fails me with another 'emergency' and 2. it serves as a blog post and Facebook status, so that I don't have to type it more than once. A third possibility is that some of you may have similar issues in the future, and you will know some of what to expect, should the same symptoms befall you.
I am home now; they discharged me at 10pm last night. I doubt the wisdom of sending a 73 year old home to a husband who is nearly invalid due to stroke..... so late at night, but luckily my younger daughter stayed overnight with us and will be there throughout the next 24 hours, as suggested. During my stay at the hospital, my older daughter, cardiac nurse (in a different hospital) and wonderful caregiver/companion/interpreter of nurses and doctor's lingo/ and family go-between was with me overnight, from 5pm Monday to 7pm Tuesday. If you have to go to a hospital and you have a nurse in the family, take them with you! It assures you will have not only proper care, but get it more quickly than other patients. YAY!
My wonderful son came to Raleigh to care for his father while I was gone, and also came to visit me. I am so Blessed by God in the children department (along with others.)
There were two perplexing things that happened: 1. When I scooted over from the bed to the "plank" on which they perform the cath, I banged my tailbone. There is a tiny bruise, but in truth, it feels as though I've been hit by a 4x4. I am very sore, and I woke myself up several times last night moaning and trying to change position to take the pressure off it. 2. The cord from my laptop went missing and the nurses cannot find hide nor hair of it. You all know how lost I am without my computer, and it is especially hard at the moment. I have my iPhone and Jim's computer, neither of which are satisfactory for blogging and Facebooking. It is SO very frustrating. Another one will be bought - but it may take a while.