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.