It’s a blessing I was born to a young mom, not to mention, a mom whose natural cheery disposition has kept her healthier than I am. In Part 3, I explained that Mom spent several days at my hospital bedside while I recuperated from a condition called pericarditis that is caused by rheumatoid arthritis disease.
I must have missed all that tender loving care because Mom was only home five days and I was back in the hospital a second time. This time I had to call an ambulance, I didn’t drive myself. My heart was racing, I had pain into my left underarm extending across my left chest area, difficulty breathing and a heavy feeling across my chest.
The paramedics took an ECG reading. They found my heart rate was 121 and they said the ECG print out wasn’t looking normal. At the hospital, I was examined by the ER doctor, a resident cardiologist and later the attending cardiologist. The examinations, a chest x-ray and ultrasound of the heart determined – fluid around the heart and a collapsed something something. Both cardiologist agreed that my heart sound muffled and like it was rubbing.
I complained, “Surely, there cannot be that much fluid accumulated in six days.”
The attending cardiologist replied, “Oh yes, there can be.”
Further, the cardiologist explained that I should not have been released without a prescription for prednisone. They gave me the drug while in the hospital the first time and it should have been continued. If taken off the drug too soon it creates a rebound effect and the body goes back into the mode it was in prior to the meds.
The cardiologist figured he would have to tap (drain) fluid and decided to have me stay overnight and tap the next day. That night they administered a dose of the prednisone and a healthy dose of an anti-inflammatory drug.
The next day, Mom jumped in her car and drove 2-1/2 hrs to the hospital.
The cardiologist ordered an Eco-cardiogram to determine the amount of fluid he anticipated draining. By mid-afternoon the technician arrived at the bedside with the equipment. Mom stayed and watched as the technician examined and re-examined all areas of my heart. Mom asked questions, the technician explained.
“I’m not seeing much fluid here, at least, to me it doesn’t look like enough to drain, but I’m not a doctor,” said the technician.
The cardiologist arrived, looked at the screen, agreed with the technician then he looked at me and noticed the great big smile on my face.
I was discharged the next day, this time with proper medication until my rheumatologist can help me sort all this out.
I have to mention that I have a correction to make since posting Part 3, (I’ll edit the post to reflect the hospital record details). When I had the fluid drained my nurse told me that they took 600 cc off initially. The tap was left in overnight to drain the leftover fluid. When they pulled it out my nurse said there was about another 150 cc which he poured down the drain in my ICU room. I totaled it up to get the 750 cc/ml number which was reflected in the previous post.
While in ER the second time, the nurse checked the last admission report and advised me that the amount recorded in the hospital records is 500 cc/ml. So that is the number I’m going with – 500 cc/ml.
The hospital released me on Tuesday, August 23rd. Still feeling shaken-up and frightened, I asked Mom to stay with me a few more days. Mom went home on Friday. Again, I am so blessed to have her.
I’m feeling better this week than last week, most likely due to proper medication for now. The entire experience prompted a plethora of thoughts and feelings that I will process for months to come yet (hopefully).
I must also acknowledge a few close friends who have supported me throughout the past three weeks: friends who came to visit in the hospital, friends who dropped by home with food, supplies, cards, flowers, and friends who I could call when I was really not feeling very well. I don’t know what I’d do without all you guys in my life either. Also, many many thanks to all who wished me well through the airwaves. Relationships are priceless.
Once again, thanks for reading. I wish the very best for everyone today. May all be well, get well and stay well.