Friday, October 1, 2010

Let's See How Far We've Come...

Wow, I can't believe it's been more than a month since I was on here. So much for my big plans to keep a blog going on all the changes that I was going to make to my life after my big wake-up call on August 12.

Anyway, no sense dwelling on it, it just means that I have a lot to catch up on. So much that it might take more than one post.

After my little stint in hospital, the first stint anyway, I went to see my Cardiologist. Well, he wasn't actually MY Cardiologist, he was my Dad's so I figured better the devil you know. I was supposed to have a stress test and was all eager and comfortably dressed. I sent the Other off to McDonalds with the kids so I could concentrate on passing the test (I was always a conscientious student, most of the time).

ANyway, I was all stipped off and hooked up while the technician (I guess tht's what she was called) played with the buttons on the machine. I just got my clothing back on and was looking at the display and thinking it must have been a test pattern, when she called the Dr into the room. He looked at the display monitors and said, "What? Finished the test already?"

I said, "No, I haven't been on the treadmill at all yet. Why?"

"Not at all?? You better just lay down. Who brought you here and how far away are they now?" he asked.

Panicking just a little, I said that my husband and kids were getting take-away for dinner and were about 5 minutes away. He suggested I call them right away, and to our mutual luck they were all out in the carpark already, eating in the car. They were all equally shocked to get the call to come and get me quickly.

After they all mustered themselves in, and we settled the kids in the waiting room, the Dr sat us down and delivered the verdict. It was pretty much "Go to Hospital. I hope you have Private Health Insurance. Go straight to Hospital. Do not Pass GO!!" OK. Panicking a LOT now (and crying, too, but you expect that from us girls). We had enough time to go home, phone a neighbour to look after the kids and pack a little bag before we were on the road again. This time the Hospital was 45minutes away, and they were expecting me!!

I spent 3 days in a Private Hospital and had a battery of tests including an Angiogram and a contrast CAT scan of my heart, chest, and lungs. All were good so, with no looming life threatening illnesses that could be detected, I was sent home again!!

The worst part of this little trip was the bruising. I don't kknow whether it was because I was younger than his average cardiac patient, whether it was because I try to kid myself that I am reasonably fit, or just some freaky physiological defect I might have, but it took Dr Simon 7 attempts to get the needle into my femoral artery in my groin. He tried on both sides, so at least I had matching bruises (from my bikini line about 3/4 the way to my knees on both legs). I figured that if anyone happened to see them I could suck it up and tell them that I got them riding the mechanical bull at the Texas Ranch!!

So, I was home again, and happy for it (apart from the bruising and the pain that came with that).

Thus ends Stage 2 of the beginning of my journey, and there's so much more to come. I just have to figure out a way to stop my stalkers standing over me every time I get near the computer asking, "What are you doing?", "What does that mean?", "What are you writing?", "Can we help?", "When is it my turn?".

So, to stop all the noises outside my head right now...I will see you soon. I have to get up early tomorrow morning for Boot Camp anyway, but that's a WHOLE 'nother story!!


Monday, August 23, 2010

The end of the beginning

"Oh God, Not now... not yet." I know it sounds cheesey and cliche, but that really was my first thought before I got up from my desk. A simple day at work had suddenly turned into a nightmare because all of a sudden my heart felt like it was beating so hard and so fast that my ribs were going to break. And the pain...the unbelievable pain. From my jaw, through my chest and back and down my left arm. I was sure I was having a heart attack.
For the first few hours after, I couldnt remember what I was doing when it happened, or what really happened next. Now that a few days have passed I remember getting up from my desk to reach my colleagues in the back office. I made it down the hall, but when I got there I couldn't remember why I was there. I was scared and out of breath, so I headed back to my desk, clutching my chest and gasping. When I went past the middle office, Kate noticed that something was really wrong, "Are you alright?".

The concern in her voice must have reached the others. Before I got half my answer out, I felt like I was surrounded by concerned colleagues (althought there was only two with me), and Kate was on the phone to the ambulance. With sympathy she looked at me, "I'm sorry, Sandy, but how old are you?". "43" I choked.

My office manager, Kathy, was trying to get me to calm down, feeling my forehead, holding me hand, trying to reassure me that everything was alright. Then we started joking, surprisingly. Kate was excited that, being epileptic, she got to call an ambulance for someone else, instead of having it called for her. Kath said, "Anything to get a day off, eh?". "What? And miss Party Friday? Are you kidding?" I said, managing a smile.

Party Friday, at the Occupational Therapy clinic where I do reception and admin, is any Friday where the only staff in, basically, are myself (Sandy) and the other receptionist/admin, Sandra. So it casual dress, office work and special brekkies and lunches. It's actually good because we get heaps of work done without interruption.

Back to me, though...and let's just skip forward quickly.

That Thursday in Hospital I spent in Casualty hooked up to monitors. I had another attack that night, and was given heart medication again, and more blood tests. My sister sat with me until nearly 11pm and I will be forever grateful for her company, her support and her humour that night. Friday I was still in Casualty until 3pm, when I was moved to Medical Ward, which unusually was full of dememtia and stroke patients.

I spent Friday evening, and another "cardiac event" in the Medical ward. The overworked, over-stressed and under resources nursing staff obviously had their hands full with all the geriatric, high-care patients, so I was left pretty much to myself. They even left the medication on my bedside table. Obviously they trusted me to medicate  myself if I should have another bout of crippling chest pain in their absence.

Come Saturday afternoon, with no further medical consultation, and having my family visit that alerted me to the state of affairs at home (obviously my self-employed hubby was NOT coping with also being a Dad for the first time in the 7 years since the birth of our first child), I decided to leave. The nursing staff allowed me to sign myself out, but told me that I had to wait for the Doctor to attend before they could provide me with any of the medication they had been giving me while I was an in-patient.

Luckily, after the meds had been left on my bedside table for the last 18 hours, I assumed they meant for me to have them, so I already packed them in my night bag.

There was soooooo much else wrong with my stay in the public hospital but there is way too little time to tell all. Needless to say, this is the first tme I have been a patient in a Public Hospital in many years, and up until this event I had always praised the staff and the care I had received at this hospital. My stay there this time actually affected my so badly that I changed my already preconceived voting preferences for the August 21 elections.

There is so much more that is going on, and I have not only decided to continue my blog... something that is not highly likely considering my "pledge" to start and continue a jounal in my younger years...but also start a "bucket list"w though I'm not quite sure where that wil go either.

I have decided to make the most of it though...and if there are any (reasonable) suggestions for my "50 things to do before I turn 50"bucket list, please let me know.

It has been 10 days since this initial incident, and I plan to make the next post all about my wonderful Cardiologist and the ongoing saga to actually find the cause for my spontaneous and significant chest pain. Any experiences or diagnoses you have had would be greatefully accepted.

Sandy!! xxxx