Friday, September 24, 2010


Yesterday the cardiac clinic called in the first of many-to-be reports.

Puzzling, yet  pleasing, was I aced the stress test. I also had an echo cardiogram which was not materially changed from 5 years ago-a leaky mitral valve common in women my age was all I remember.

I questioned them about arterial plaque I knew I had and had seen on various CT and PET scans. It was on the many pictures they took too, but was rated mild to moderate, far less than I expected. I had considered carrying my Bible and swearing I had at least one 100% blockage somewhere. I already knew the carotids were less than 30%.

Now if we can just find out the sudden acceleration of the atrial arrhythmia I also knew I had. I would bet on the drug Azithromycin which causes atrial fibrillation in 15% of trial groups, but then I have already lost one bet............................

I am now wearing an event monitor which I send signals over phone line to some company, every time I have a symptom no matter what, SOB, pain in big toe, whatever.

So I'm moving on down my social medical calendar, since Thursday night was open I chose to endure another emergency ambulance ride to the area local hospital, at least a tad earlier in the evening for my husband.

The rescue and EMT didn't know a woman could pee so much (6 times from transport to when I finally came home-twice in the ambulance--had to pull over the side of the road once). It is a life-long habit for me, evening/night is primary pee time. I know you all love such details.

Today we both have slept and slept and slept. After 3 other trips they just lay out the drugs and start injection. Blood works. X Rays never change.

I felt the fibrillation start and sent a event message to wherever the company is located. The next day the heart clinic called inquiring all the details. I was pretty amazed.

At the moment it appears I am looking at a pacemaker and/or defibrillator or something similar...and, yes, Medicare pays. It probably will not be a fancy gold-plated Cheney model (being facetious) but I will be happy if all this heart pounding stops . But we are all still speculating.

This facet of heart disease is scary, but the remedy overall is now more simply and more successful in the past. At least there is a symptom I can readily identify early, unlike strokes, most heart attacks, and TIAs (transient ischemic attacks).

Thanks to modern pharmaceutical advances I have a little box of advance 3 tablets to take at the first sign of trouble and a third added t day. I take them as blood pressure and heart rate pass a certain reading. This helps first responders, EMT, etc, who must communicate with the hospital where they are headed.

I may never be good and new, but I'm hoping and praying for a good enough used model for a while longer.

Awareness of this repetitious event is, of course, a major reason I have retired from political life and the opportune moment presented itself right under my nose. I did not let it pass. There will be some others. Then my church life group nicely offered us exemption from bringing food to come when we can. I may volunteer to bring the "bought" drink like Pepsi, etc. so I don't have to toil in the kitchen. I may take them up on that.

Some of my readers also have arterial fibrillation; it is more common than the name sounds. We appreciate the prayers and sympathetic remarks.  The ones whom you don't hear about are those who ignore the signs, the flutter, the heart pounding, the weird body symptoms. Never ignore the unusual. They need our thoughts and prayers, too.


CHERI said...

Bless your heart! You have really been through it....yet you still keep your sense of humor about it! I fell 6 weeks ago and it's been unnerving to me that it's taking so long to get "back to normal." We don't bounce back up as fast as we used to! Take care and I do pray that all goes well.

Linda said...

I would say that report sounds better than I would have expected.
A-Fib drives some people up the wall with symptoms and other have it but don't have a lot of symptoms. Really strange. Bob has the latter. My only clue with him is when he can no longer hold out to walk across the room.

His cardiologist refers to him as being "stuck" in it. Because of that he's a candidate for all kinds of drug studies. He's always on the road to the cardiologist's office but I figure that's good. It never hurts for your cardiologist to know you by your first name.

Bob is also on track for a pacemaker, but like you, we hope it will be a while.

I could make a nasty crack about using Cheney's heart for a transplant because it's never been used, but since his has actually pooped out I guess that's out.

Arkansas Patti said...

Glad you aced the stress test but sorry you haven't resolved the problem yet.
I realize you are a retired pharmacist and also agree that the drugs prescribed for you could actually cause the problem.
I have a friend who is just now recovering from toxic overload from meds the doctors prescribed. All her symptoms were either side effects from the prescriptions or the scripts themselves actually causing medical problems, some are long term.
Hope you get some answers soon and if you have to---hope you get the Chaney model.

Liz said...

Catching up as usual.

You sound in pretty good form considering! Hope everything is sorted soon for you though.

Great resignation letter.

Anonymous said...

I see you still have lots going on and still more to do to get better. Sure glad your stress test went well, that is great news. Will continue to pray for you. Take care of yourself, rest when you can and I will be looking forward to hearing you are getting better and better. Hugs

lakeviewer said...

You'll enjoy your pacemaker. My husband has had one for a decade now.

Lorna said...

I find your casual approach to those circumstances so admirable. I wonder if it's because you know the medium. I have steadfastly refused to learn anything about medicine. Maybe I'll regret it later but it's given me all these years of freedom from fear, so I'll stick with it for now.

Virginia Mallon-Ackermann said...

Jeeze...things are tough for you. I was hoping the Autumn would bring you some relief. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. None of us know when we too might have the same. Please take care and know that your fan in Crab Meadow has her fingers crossed that you are right as rain soon!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, Carol...what a time you are having!!! I need to pray even more for you, it seems!!! Glad, at least, that they are on top of things. Love you!!! Janine XO

Pat - Arkansas said...

Hey Ho, Miss Carol. Everything under control up there? I've been playing catch up with my blog reading today, after taking advantage of the cooler temps to do some yard work.

I am slightly envious of your Kindle, but like the feel of paper in my hands, so will continue to do my reading from the local library.

Hope you are feeling OK.

Hugs to all and Luckie.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just checking in on you, dear Carol!!! Love you!! Janine XO