Friday, July 17, 2009
I've had problems with Atrial Fibrillation since at least May of 2008. It more than likely was earlier than that. However in May of that year I was hospitalized three and a half days until the intraveneous medication, Amiodarone and digoxin, converted my heart beat to normal sinus rhythm.
However this May I once again found myself in the hospital with Atrial Tachacardia. The diagnosis was Atrial Flutter. This is akin to Atrial Fibrillation, but the atrium or top chambers of the heart are beating with a stronger irregular pattern.
The introveneous medication was not helpful this time. Yesterday I found myself in the cardiac catheterization lab of St. Elizabeth Hospital awaiting the electro-cardioversion procedure, accompianied by my poor nervous wife.
I don't know if I wasn't upset because I am just plain tired of feeling so tired or I am faithful that God is taking care of me. I just couldn't get upset about it. I'd read as much as I could about the procedure. In fact I view several videos on Youtube of cardioversion. I had to wait until my coumadin level was at least 2.0 for three weeks in a row before I could have the procedure. There is a risk of developing a blood clot, hence the coumadin therapy. The day prior I had to have blood work run. And then came yesterday. C-Day
I arrived at the hospital at 11 AM and was directed to the cardiac catheterization department. From here a nurse at the station in the room's center announced, "We have been waiting for you." She took some information from me and escorted me to an area that had a stretcher,a couple of chairs, some monitoring equipment and an IV pole. I was presented with a lovely green gown that was too small for me. My heinie stuck out the back and it ended about five or so inches below my crotch.
This attire would be fashionable for a 16 year underfed high school girl, but not so for a chubby boy of 57 years. How those young girls walk around without embarrassment is beyond me. But back to the subject at hand. At least I had a sheet to cover up with.
I was probed, prodded, stuck, squeezed and examined. You know all the usual hospital stuff. They had a very interesting new thermometer. It looked sort of like a rachet wrench that the nurse dragged across my forehead and down my left cheek. It instantly provided my temperature. We are getting closer to Star Trek technology all the time.
Shortly after that another nurse introduced herself as Casey. She unlocked the stretcher I had been lying on and wheeled me down the hall after I kissed my wife. I arrived in a catheterization lab. It had a panel of six 19" flatscreen computer monitors that were hanging from a boom attached to the ceiling. On one screen was a view of the prior patients heart and cardiac arteries. On another screen I could see the program that Casey was running when she moved the mouse.
Another nurse named Mary Ann helped loosen my tiny gown, while Casey attached a pad with a metallic undersurface to my left upper chest and another directly behind it on my back. Wires were connected to the pads. I also was fitted with some more sticky thingies to attach the EKG leads.
About this time Dr. Kevin Miller came in the room. The nurses kidded him because he had to wear a white coverall over his street clothes. They said he looked like the Sta-puff Marshmellow Man. He is far too skinny for that comparison. He looked more like he was wearing a white rabbit suit without the tail.
The nurse had drawn up a syringe full of a white substance she called "Mothers Milk", because it was so soothing. Dr. Miller told my I was getting Diprivan and commented, "This is the Michael Jackson drug", since it has been reported that Jackson was taking this as a sleep potion. The last thing I heard was one of the nurses commenting, "it will make you a great dancer." After that the ceiling started spinning and I was hallucinating that someone was asking me all these questions and I had to push around the computer mouse on my stretcher to click on the correct answers.
I started to awaken and found my right index finger still pressing on the scoll button of the hallucinigenic mouse. Dr. Miller announced I was back in normal sinus rhythm. I was cogniscent enough to ask how many times I had to be zapped. He said, "one time only." I then asked the nurses when the pain would kick in. They said if you are not in pain now, you will not be in pain. I was then covered up and wheeled back to my cubby hole. I had apparently had already been redressed and the patches were removed. Linny, my wife, was beaming. Dr. Miller had already spoken with her and told her I was a textbook case for cardioversion.
I had to stay around for about an hour until the Michael Jackson drug wore off. After a while I was told to get up and try walking around. I suggested I would, but could they find something to cover up my keister. So another gown was draped around my backside and I walked around just fine. I was offered some food, but I just wanted a big drink of water and to go home.
I was wheeled out by a nurse aide to the sidewalk outside to await Linny with our car.
I was making idle chit-chat with the nurse aide when a couple of girls were walking toward us. One of the girls had on a blouse that revealed just about all of what is usually not revealed. The nurse aide was going on how awful this was. I suggested perhaps she is a representative of the LaLeache League coming to do a demonstation of wet nursing. We had a laugh and I went home.