Thursday, 23 January 2014

A piece of old crock

Last Monday I fainted again, and my daughter dragged me off to the doctor. Well, actually, she wanted to call an ambulance straight away, but I decided we should walk up to the GP just around the corner. And so we did, I was examined, and then the doctor called the ambulance, to take me to hospital while my daughter went home and gathered some things for me.

Once there, and having been processed in the Emergency Department, which took most of the day, I was admitted, and transferred to the ward which deals with strokes and other funny things which happen to the brain. My brother suddenly appeared. He was in Sydney to have a swim at Bondi.

These tests took up most of the following day, which was Tuesday. I had a ECG,  and then an MRI, which was perfectly horrid. I coped by concentrating on the pitch of the nasty noises made by this machine, by breathing as deeply as possible, and by playing in the mind lots of my favourite music, but once I came out, I got very cold and shaky. And cried a a lot. They keep you fasting while all of these things are done.

Eventually they decided to do an EEG, which involved coating my scalp with sticky stuff, so they could attach wires to my head, all the better to see what was going on in my brain. While I was sitting there being tested, I suddenly fainted again. This was a good move by my body, because all my brain activity was being captured on video tape, and they discovered that the brain was perfectly all right, but that my heart had stopped beating for 9 seconds. And this makes you faint, and/or die. They all got very excited, and ran the video to any interested medical person nearby, and it was thus declared that my brain was perfectly ok, and that it was my heart that was the problem.

So I was transferred very expeditiously to the cardiac care ward, and they decided to put in a pacemaker. But first they put in a temporary one, through the groin, and I had to lie perfectly still for very many hours, until the next afternoon, when the real operation was performed. The lying still was the worst part of it all, as my back rapidly became exceedingly uncomfortable and hurt a lot, and I cried rather a lot in the wee small hours of the night, while of course, keeping perfectly still. You cannot read, do anything, reach anything, it is extremely boring, frustrating and unpleasant, and sleeping is not readily achieved.

The operation was done the next afternoon. There is a lot of hanging around before and afterwards, which is not fun, but which enabled me to help them discover, minutes before I was wheeled into the operating theatre, that they had accidentally put in rather too much heparin into my blood, which would have been very bad for me. Least harm, soonest mended. Once the operation was completed, I was sent back to the cardiac ward, with a very very sore shoulder. However it is getting better, although it is swollen and painful.

I was sent home this afternoon, after they had removed all the wires, made appointments for follow up care, and gave me a booklet which tells you a little of what you need to know, and a card which states you have a pacemaker, so that you don't have to go through scanners at airports, but get frisked instead.

I was fortunate to have my daughter here, watching out for me, and who became very bossy. And my son and his boys came up here too, and it is perfectly lovely to be surrounded by and swathed in family love and care. They have all been so good to me. My other daughter will also come for a couple of days and so will one of my sisters.

I won't be allowed to drive for a while and have to notify the Road and Transport people of the pacemaker. Heavy lifting, and this and that are also not to be done, and in the meantime I must not lift the left arm above shoulder level, which limits what you can do, like getting dressed, hanging out the washing, and I suppose quite a few other things too. However it must be borne, and I am fortunate that the cardiac stopping and starting is something which can be regulated and controlled.

Off to bed now, and hoping for a good night's sleep.


Mary said...

Of course I have been keeping up with all of this via Caroline but you had a number of us very concerned. Hope your recovery is swift. xxx

Jan said...

That sounds messy and I'm glad you have it sorted. I hope things settle down very quickly.