Saturday, September 15, 2012

E.R. Games.

Calling 911 is really scary.  You realize you've just admitted that something is terribly wrong and there is nothing you can do about it.  NOTHING.

I hope this makes sense, because it is exhausting for me to type.  I just want to get it written down before it blurs together and I forget the way the story goes. :-/

On Thursday, I had attempted to nap with my daughter, but after an hour I still hadn't fallen asleep.  Not unusual for me.  I sat up to use the restroom and realized my heart was beating pretty hard.  Also not unusual for me.  I've always had a high metabolism, so a rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms are the norm.

I went downstairs to read a book and practicing some breathing exercises.  My heart rate stayed elevated, so after another hour I began to get a little worried. 

I called a friend, and she said it may be the effects of the cup of coffee I'd shared with her that morning, since I'm not a coffee drinker.  I couldn't catch my breath, so I got off of the phone to go make some juice.

I called my mom, and she told me she'd call me right back.

I called my mother-in-law, no answer.

I went over to the vortex of hypochondriasis that is the Internet and began researching what my resting heart rate SHOULD be, then timed what it really was, which was about 115-120.  That lit a fire under my butt to really get some help, because I knew something was wrong.

I was calling our local walk-in clinic to see if I could talk to a nurse about my symptoms, when I swooned and I knew I was about to faint.  I hung up and dialed 911 and was simultaneously gasping for air, trying to stay conscious, and banging on the door of my neighbor's house so I could get my daughter to a safe place before I fainted.

The ambulance arrived, and by that time I was shaking, nauseous, had a tightness in my chest and a rapid heart rate.  I could barely breathe, and I was scared out of my fucking mind.

E.R. Round One:  Mercy Medical Center. 3:00pm-7:00pm.

After being admitted and realizing I was healthy as a horse, then the head scratching began.  My heart rate would not drop below 130-140bpm, and a resting rate should only be about 50/60bpm to 90/100bpm.  I got over my initial fear of DYING after being picked up by the ambulance, so panic was not a reason for those numbers.  I've done yoga.  I've done meditation.  I KNOW how to calm myself down.  But I couldn't lower my heart rate.

DIAGNOSIS:  All tests came back normal.  Diagnosed with Palpitations (irregular heartbeat).  Told to go home, pop some Benedryl, drink some chamomile tea and go to sleep.  My heart rate was still high, and I still had tightness in my chest, trouble breathing, sweaty palms, dizziness, and nausea.

E.R. Round Two:  Mercy Medical Center.  Midnight-6:00am.

I took some Benedryl, drank my tea, tried watching a movie in bed with my kiddo.  I almost dozed off a few times, but when the movie ended she fell asleep and I got dizzy.  Like I was laying on a water bed.  I sat up, dizzy went away.  Lay down, dizzy came back.  I got up and went downstairs, sat on the couch and thought of Dori from Finding Nemo. I used the mantra for breathing instead of swimming.  I tuned in to my body and was scared to find I still had every symptom except the rapid heartbeat.  I called my mom and asked her to take me back to the hospital.

More tests, still healthy in every way possible.  I wanted to scream that SOMETHING is wrong with me, people!  Can't you see??!!

DIAGNOSIS:  All tests came back normal.  Diagnosed with Cardiac Arrhythmia.  Told to go home and take some Zofran for the nausea.  Heart rate was better, but I was still dizzy and having trouble breathing because of the tightness in my chest. 

E.R. Round Three: Shasta Regional Medical Center.  11:00pm-3:00am. 

Now it is Friday night.  I have not slept in about 48 hours.  My husband had worked out of town that week and was finally home just in time to take me to my last stint.

I was trying to sleep after another go of the Benedryl/chamo tea, but the dizziness was worse than ever, washing over me in waves every 30 seconds of lying down.  Breathing also became more difficult the more horizontal I was. 

I was actually scared that I would not wake up.  Just because the tests showed good health did not mean anything to me. I had a gut feeling that something was (and still is) wrong.  So off to the emergency room again.  I was determined to make this time my last.

More tests, shockingly healthy.  Surprise, surprise.  I broke down crying and told them that I just wanted to go to sleep.

DIAGNOSIS:  All tests came back normal.  Diagnosed with Acute Bronchospasm.  The final doctor basically told me that there wasn't ONE thing they could diagnose that would umbrella my symptoms, because my tests were clean.  Instead, he decided to give me a breathing treatment for the tight chest, and Lorazepam for anxiety (basically to help me go to sleep).

As I am sitting here now, my palms are sweaty, I feel dizzy when I am standing for more than 60 seconds, my breathing feels better after I use the inhaler, and the anxiety pill has helped me sleep AND take a nap.  I'm shaky and tired, and my heart hurts a little bit, but I'm still breathing.





27 comments:

  1. I am a brand new reader but did they do a pregnancy test? (Probably a stupid question) I was in the middle of losing weight and doing weight watchers and I started having heart palpitations and they got worse and worse so I went to the Emergency room. Turns out I was pregnant and the pregnancy was causing them. Had them throughout the pregnancy and I went back to normal after I had my daughter. Story of my life that the ER doctor told me I was pregnant. I hope you fee better soon!

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  2. Ou may also wat to get checked out for POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) or Meniere's disease.

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  3. They did a pregnancy test (or two or three), chest x-rays, tons of heart readings, blood tests, thyroid test, and a few others. I will keep those questions in mind for my doctor on Friday!

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  4. I was going to suggest POTS as well. I had a friend going through the same symptoms, and they treated her for everything. She finally went to a specialist at Vandy, and they diagnosed her with POTS.

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  5. Do you drink protein powder? My husband had a similar incident after drinking his protein powder for the first time in months. I don't know if it had gone bad or if was even related at all, but he was dizzy, heart racing, nausea/vomiting, vertigo and very loud ringing in his ears just an hour after he drank it. He felt better after about 4 hours but if it happens again, he knows I am taking him to the ER.

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  6. I had similar symptoms a few years ago and was given a diagnosis of Vasovagal syndrome. Not bad at all but you might want to look into that!

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  7. I suffer racing heart and scary palpatations. Mine is caused by lack of iron. Since I dont have enough iron in my blood to keep my enery levels up my heart takes over and over stimulates. My resting beat is around 120 and can go up over 180 just by walking up a couple of stairs. It can be very scary and I feel for you. I need regular b12 shots and occasionally an iron drip. Yuck.

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  8. Wow, scary stuff! I sure hope that you are feeling better!

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  9. I stumbled across your blog on Pinterest today, and Sara mentioned POTS (which is a form of dysautonomia). I have POTS and your fiasco sounds like symptoms I have on a regular basis.
    I went though three years of medical tests and many specialists. They all said I was normal. Not many people in the medical field know, or have ever heard of, POTS. If your symptoms persist it could be worth your while to look into! This website http://www.dynainc.org/ is a great resource. Even though it says it's for kids it's apply's to adults too.
    I hope you figure out what's causing this and you feel ship-shape soon!

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  10. I'm not sure if this will help because bodies are all different but it sounds like panic attacks/anxiety attacks. I've had your same situation happen to me numerous times and the most fustrating part of all of it is exactly what you went through... knowing something is wrong, having a plethera of REAL umbrella, everywhere symptoms and they basically write you off and tell you to take something to calm you down. I've been in and out of doctor offices for the last 8 years with the most random and fustrating symptoms and all test come back normal. All I can tell you from what I've learned it that its incredible what stress can do to the body. Also you don't have to be a stressed person to get attacks either, I'm a pretty easy going, calm person. Whenever I take any kind of stimulant, especially in medicine like Mucinex... what happened to you happens to me, almost exactly. And it lasts for days too. I know how miserable and hopeless it makes you feel so I'll be praying you feel better soon and can find some relief, regardless of what it turns out to be :)

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  11. Another option to check out could be hyperthyroidism. You did say you've always had a fast metabolism, my friend was diagnosed and treated for this and she was having awful dizzy spells and rapid heart rate consistently.

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  12. Go to a cardiologist electophysiologist who specializes in cardiac arrythmias. You probably need to wear a cardiac monitor to see what is actually going on. It sounds like you heart may be misfiring. People are often misdiagnosed and falsely reassured in ER. Keep on searching for answers.

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    1. Cindy is right! Don't go to just any cardiologist, go to an electrophysiologist. My husband and I both have heart arrhythmia and are doing much better with a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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    2. I am seconding this recommendation. See an electrophysiologist!! I also have a arrhythmia and it took the electrophysiologist to diagnose and treat me. I'm doing so much better after an ablation to fix the extra electic impulses and some medication. I know how scary it can be and it seems like no one is really listening to you.

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  13. Besides what has already been suggested, I have another possible diagnosis. A really rare adrenal tumor called a pheochromocytoma will also produce similar symptoms in an episodic fashion. As in, every so often your heart rate takes off, start sweating, you get really anxious, etc. for no apparent reason. The first simple test to rule this out as a cause is a urine VMA (Vanillylmandelic acid) test. You would just have to pee in a cup! It is not part of the routine urine testing because it is so rare. If your docs are stumped, it's time to start looking for less common explanations! Hope you can get this figured out and are feeling better!

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  14. THANK YOU for all of your comments! Like I figured, all of my blood tests came back normal, so my doctor is going to run a few more and refer me to a cardiologist. I am going to wear a "Holter monitor" for 24 hours so they can study my heart rhythms. I have read each one of your suggestions, and I have compiled a nice little list that I am going to shove down every doctor's throat if nobody can figure out what is wrong. Ha ha. So, I'm keeping my spirits up (and still juicing) through it all. I appreciate the help and kind words, and I will post again as soon as I have any news. :-)

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  15. Hoping you feel all better soon!!!

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  16. Found you via a friend's pin on Pinterest..came for the fitness, but leaving prayers for good health and a calm heart!

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  17. I'm going to suggest what someone else did. this sounds like a panic attack. The feeling like you are having heart attack and there is nothing you can do... the overwhelming fear that you are dying, and yet nothing is wrong. I suffered from this nearly every night for half a year. Several doctors, including a cardiologist and still nothing. Until I traced it back to a copper IUD which I had put in a a few months before it started. Once it was removed my body reset within a few hours. I'm not sure if that helps at all but if you have been taking anything with that contains a high amount of copper, or drinking from copper taps or ave a copper IUD , I'd target that first.

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  18. Stumbled on your blog, and was surprised to see some of your symptoms matched my own, I also like the person above have low iron/B-12, Pernicious Anemia, I need B-12 shots every month now and iron daily. But I also have adrenal insufficiency, which is getting more common (it's like Addison's and can cause thyroid symptoms). I would get your doc to run an am Cortisol test on you. I also have Orthostatc Hypotension(?), caused from it, when I stand up my blood pressure drops and I get dizzy. Hope you feel better soon.

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  19. A few years back, I added flaxseed oil to my oatmeal in the morning. I started to have dizzy spells that got progressivly worse. I almost passed out several times at the gym when I got up from an exercise, everything would go black and I had to grab onto something to regain my balance. I also went to the doctor, they did many tests, checked thyroid and blood, and said I was healthy. I realized that the dizzy spells started about the same time as the flaxseed. I cut it out of my diet and returned to normal. I recenlty bought a protein powder and didn't realize it contained flaxseed until I got dizzy. I already have low blood pressure, so the flaxseed drops it too low. I would suggest looking at any changes in your diet you made that would coincide with when the symptoms started. Good luck! Hope you figure it out!

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  20. Hello! I wore the holter monitor as you are about to do for what i was thinking was that I was having a heart attack. Same as you, palpitations, nervousness. Went to ER all reading fine and normal. I wore the monitor and they said I had palpitations but they were in the "normal" range. I dont know if you have a lot of stress in your life, but mine have calmed down since I cut back work and caffein. I still get them everyday but not as much as I used to. You would be supprised how much your body is affected by stress or anxiety. Mine started after a random panic attack...never went completely away. The more you think about it the worse it gets because you stress out about it, even when u dont think you are. Good luck with everything!

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  21. I found your blog through Pinterest, and as I was reading your blog your story started to sound familiar. My younger sister was having the same symptoms & she ended up in the ER few times and each time she was told she was healthy and that she needed to go home & relax. After about 7 or 8 months of being told the same thing by different doctors she finally turned to a friend of hers that just so happens to be a Gastro Dr., She performed a procedure called a Hida Scan & found that my sister's Gallbladder was beyond non-functioning. She's since had her Gallbladder removed & is back to her healthy non rapid heart beating self. She still sticks to decaf, though. Hope this helps!

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  22. This sounds like POTS. I have it. Contact me and I can get you into some awesome support groups. ((hugs))

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  23. Hi, I found your blog via Pinterest. I was having the same symptoms you described a couple of years ago. I was seen in the ER with a heart rate of 140 laying completely still. For months I would have episodes where my heart rate was high and figured I was out of shape and it was just me. They tried a few things in the ER to bring my heart rate down including Adenosine. Not fun. I was admitted and went through a battery of tests. I lucked out and was assigned a wonderful cardiologist who did not blow me off and think my symptoms were all in my head. It turns out I have Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. My heart is way to sensitive to adrenaline and stress can set it off. I take a low dose of Bystolic everyday, a beta-blocker which has minimal impact on your blood pressure if you have normal to low blood pressure like me. I would ask to try it if you are still having symptoms.

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  24. If all your tests came back normal it could have been a panic attack. There absolutely dreadful. But it sounds just like a panic attack, tests always come back normal and they just happen at random exactly as you described. Try asking your doctor about them and if thats what it could be if so you could always ask for a very low dose of Ativan to calm you if you ever feel like one is about to come on again. Its not something you take every day. Only when you feel like your losing control again. I had a panic attack after my second baby. It was also the first time I had coffee in 8 months. But I felt just like you, thought I was having a heart attack and could not breath.

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