This past September I came down with what I thought was a virus- a flue. I didn't feel right, just sluggish, achy, and tired! For those who know me, I've always had boundless energy, great strength, and good health. I laid low for a couple of days, then went back to my normal busy routine. But I didn't feel great. Fast forward to the Holidays, a very busy time for me. Between watching dogs while folks went on vacation, and my own Holiday plans, I was one busy lady. But I still felt "not myself". As always, I simply pushed on.
Thanksgiving day I ran up a flight of stairs when "Bam!"- it felt like someone pulled the stuffing out of me. My legs went weak, I felt shaky, and couldn't breath! What the heck! It passed, but that same thing came back from time to time during the next two months. I couldn't figure it out. Other things were happening as well. I had been developing deep creases in my face, my hair and skin (though always a bit on the dry side) were now flakey and super dry. And I was putting on weight. I was developing a tummy, something I had never had. My muscle tone was going fast, which made no sense, because I was exercising! And I was tired- beyond tired! Was this all due to age?
On January 2nd I got up early to go watch a couple of pets for friends going on vacation. I felt weak, shaky, out of breath. I was so weak that getting dressed seemed like a heroic effort! Once in the car I realized I wasn't going to make the 20 minute trip to my friends home! I had to call them as they reached the airport to let them know I was in medical trouble! Something was terribly wrong! There's an Urgent Care about 5 minutes from me, so I aimed for that. Once there my heart sank. It was 07:30 in the morning, they didn't open until 09:00! Damn!
I thought about calling 911. But to me, that call is for heart attacks, horrible accident injuries. So- I waited. When 09:00 rolled around, there was already a crowd at the door! A woman who had pulled in about 30 minutes before told everyone that I had been there for a while, and to let me go in first. (Angel #1!) Once inside, the nurse immediately took me in and took my heart rate and blood pressure. To be honest, I don't know if it was my blood pressure that was 200, or my heart rate, but they immediately told me I was going to the hospital!! I called my daughter-in-law to pick me up, but the urgent care Doctor said NO! You are going by ambulance! (Angel #2)
Now, strangely enough, my daughter-in-law's Father was in Saint Je's in Ann Arbor- the Heart Unit! So- that's where I requested to go. I told my daughter-in-law about the ambulance- hung up- and there was the "First Responder" at my side. Wow! That was fast! The gentleman set me up for an IV- he did such a good job it hardly hurt! He was gracious, calming, and reassuring! (Angel #3)
Now came the Ambulance- again gracious gentlemen! Are they trained in how to calm people? Or is it in their nature? However it happens, they were another great comfort. (make that Angel's #4 &5!) All I remember of that ride is the attendant telling me that my numbers were coming down, which was a good thing.
Once in Sait Joe's, I immediately went to the Cardiac Unit- exactly two doors down from my Daughter-In-Law's Father! I was diagnosed with A-Fib, a condition where the bottom of the heart is working, the top of the heart is quivering, not beating as it should!
Now came my stead fast Angel- my Daughter-In- Law, Mia Lawson! She had actually gotten to the hospital before my ambulance did! She must have driven like a bat out of "you know where"! Mia and Son Steven were my comfort and strength through the next four days of tests, medications, and doctors. Strangely still, I was diagnosed with the same condition as Mia's Father! What are the odds?
Both he and I had the same "invasive echocardiogram" on the same day! This is where they put you to sleep (thank God!), put a tube with camera down your throat, to see heart and lungs. He went home two days before me. After the Echocardiogram, they shocked my heart back into rhythm.
The whole staff at the Cardiac Unit of Saint Joe's was wonderful- Angels all! They struggled to get my heart rate down. And my heart rate was strange- fast, then slow, then fast again! Then came the "dreaded diagnosis"- possible Congestive Heart Failure! OH MY GOD!
I HATE feeling fear! For me, fear brings with it ANGER! I wanted to fight down that feeling of panic- that feeling of helplessness! I got up as soon as possible and started walking. I walked and walked. I wanted to see if I could gain a bit of strength back. I had to move, push aside that feeling of panic! If I was going to collapse . that was the place to do it! The exercise worked two fold. It relieved my sense of panic, and my heart rate came down. Next came a stress test. I passed it with a good report! Whew!
Four days after thinking I may not see another day, I was released from the hospital. My Cardiologist actually apologized for the length of time it took to get things under control! My reaction: "Are you kidding me? I came in here dying and four days later I'm walking out of here in good order! It's a miracle!"
So- my next blog will be about the regime I set up to gain back strength, what they finally decided may have caused my heart condition, and the results of my 2nd Echocardiogram!
As I said at the start of this blog- this has been a most personal journey- but one I've chosen to share with you all. It is in fact an adventure in itself- one that came as a complete surprise, So- until next time, dear readers. I wish you all a Happy Spring, Good Health, and the Joy of each day's Blessings!