So, I went to the doctor on Friday to have a stress test performed. As if i didn't have enough stress in my life, now my doc wants to intentionally add some more! But since I'm only a doctor wannabe, I decided to follow his advice and have the testing done. I showed up in my sweats, ready to jump on the treadmill and get this thing over with. But when they told me I would be on the treadmill for up to 15 minutes, I knew that wasn't going to happen. I have been out of breath lately just walking up a couple of flights of stairs.
The test began, and four minutes into it, I was feeling very nauseous and light-headed. The cardiologist was looking at the electrocardiogram, and said he saw something "very abnormal" and ordered the test stopped. He also told the nurse to give me some nitroglycerin. I had never had that before but it did add a little more stress to the test when they couldn't find any. But they scrambled and found some, squirted it under my tongue, and I started to feel better.
The doctor then got me set up for an angiogram, the test where they put a catheter in you and inject dye to see what your blood flow looks like. Not too far into the test, he saw a blockage and pointed it out to me on the screen. It was as clear as could be--full volume up to a certain point, and then a small restriction, with full volume again on the other side. He said it was a 99% restriction. Looked like I got my money's worth out of that little section.
The test proceeded, and then I remember feeling like everything was just "shutting down". That's not a very good description; it was kind of like going to sleep, but I couldn't move and couldn't speak. I was becoming unconscious.
When I woke up, I had an oxygen mask on my face, and people were asking me questions. The doctor came over and told me I had given everyone quite a scare (actually he was a little more crude than that). My heart had gone into cardiac fibrillation, and they had to use the defibrillator three times before it started beating normally again. Sarah says they "paddled me".
As it turns out, the hospital where all this was happening (Anderson) is not an "intervention" facility, so the staff there isn't used to dealing with un-cooperative hearts, and everyone was pretty rattled. As they regained their composure, I was told I needed a "stent" to keep the artery open, but stent procedures weren't performed there and I needed to be transferred to another hospital. But then the doctor called a colleague and got him to come to Anderson, and in very short order the stent was installed and I was all better.
I spent the night in the ICU and was released the next morning on my own recognizance for good behavior. As a punishment, my driving privileges were revoked for three days. I'll be jeep'n again Tuesday morning.
I forgot to say, Lisa was in Utah with Claire, and I had called her to let her know the stress test revealed more testing was required. I told her I would let her know what was going on, but that I was in good hands and not to worry. But she became impatient and called the hospital, and was able to get my doctor who ratted me out. What ever happened to confidential information? Despite my protests, she was on the next plane home. While I really didn't want her to have to leave Claire and Katie, seeing her around midnight that night was a sight for sore eyes (and a few other sore parts).
So, I'm on blood thinners and cholesterol medicine until further notice. Stay tuned and if I don't K-T-B I'll find something more interesting to blog about.
All kidding aside, what a blessing it was to be in the hospital when this happened--with a cardiologist and terrific staff by my side, catheter already installed, all the right equipment and medicines there, etc. This could have had a very different outcome had I been on a plane, or in a hotel, or sleeping, or in Houston, as was the case just a few hours earlier. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father, not only for all the marvelous technology that exists today, but especially for sustaining me until I could be in the right place to benefit from it all. My concerns and prayers were answered with a very real blessing.