im back!! this is going to be a long post but more than anything i want to have it for my own records so i can remember all the facts one day when i get old and forgetful :)
we got to rome, ga thursday to talk to the doctor about everything. i was kind of nervous but not so bad until the doctor said "i can best describe the procedure as a time where we're just going to torture your heart until it tells us whats wrong. you're not going to like it, no one does. it may feel really bad, as we can get your heart rate up to 275 beats per minute. its very unnatural feeling." alright. so after describing as torture not once but THREE different times during the convo i couldnt help but be a little bit uneasy. (for those of you who saw the pic matt put on FB, that was right after the doctor left, haha) so he also said that while i was there he was going to do another test called a tilt table test. to check for something called Neurocardiogenic Syncope (or Vasovagal syncope... aka... faiting, ha) the big words just basically describe the reason the loss of consciousness occurs. SO . now i was scheduled for 2 (possibly 3) procedures.
got there friday. nerves. of course, they couldnt draw blood from the original IV they put in so i had to get stuck again in the other arm. and was whisked off, WITHOUT the Xanax i was promised, to the tilt table test. i kept saying to the guy, "im sorry if i throw up, i usually throw up when i pass out. im sorry if i pass out" i was really just nervous bc this wasnt the first time i heard about the tilt test. they've "almost" scheduled it several times before, but havent.
the tilt table test is a really simple thing. they lay you on a table (imagine like a stretcher-type thing) only with a platform thing at the bottom so that when they raise you up, to the standing position, you will have something to stand on .... so you lay flat, they strap you in around your legs, waist, and chest. and then slowly just raise up the table until you're in the standing position. then you just wait!! i was standng there just talking to the nurse. asking all kinds of questions. "why cant they just tell you stand here, why strap to a table and raise you up, etc etc." answer: bc if you pass out you are strapped in and we can watch your vital signs as it happens and not be worrying about lying you down, etc. another ? "how many people pass out usually?" answer: i'd say about 1 in 20. not very many, most people test negative. so anyways. they have you stand for 20 minutes. and if you dont lose consciousness, they give you some medicine in your IV that increases your heart rate. they do that bc they are really trying to induce the syncope. If you have Vasovagal syncope.. most people dont pass out in just a normal standing situation, they are in a stressful situation or smething causes their heart rate to increase, thus causing the fainting. So they give you medicine to try to induce that, and if you STILL dont pass out, then you are negative for the condition.
ALRIGHT so what happened to me was i was talking to the nurse about anything and everything. her cows. the cute doctor they worked with and all had a crush on. how she likes her job..etc. then i guess she noticed something on the screen and said "does your heart usually race when youre about to pass out?" and i said "no. i just usually feel like....." (i was about to say, kind of nauseas, dizzy, woozy) but before i could finishing i said "...i this... oh gahh. i can't see." i could still here her but couldnt see at all and felt awful i remember her responding "you can't see?" next thing i know i was dreaming away, felt like id been laying in my own bed having a nice dream and then woke up to see the nurses, looking frantic as ever looking down on me and both said "she's back!!!!!" like they were so relieved! i was confused at first but immediately realized what had happened. and was soaking wet with sweat *ugh. then they were making all these calls and acting crazy and iwas like "how long was i out??" "she said "2 and 1/2 minutes. and you went asystolic for about 15 seconds." "asystolic?" "you had no heart beat." YIKES. "worst case i've ever seen anyways" she said. her her talking on the phone to my aunt (another nurse and the whole reason we went to GA for the procedures saying . "welp shes definitely positive. worst case ive seen, she went asystolic, nope havent really had one do that before." SO there's no cure for this and some people live with it and never have a spell for years... others who have a pretty bad case have hard time driving, grocery shopping, any normal, everyday errands you may run by yourself.. its nerveracking to know you may keel over at anytime. what they have prescribed me is a medicine called Midodrine. it raises blood pressure. to read more about vasovagal, this website describes it so well ... http://heartdisease.about.com/cs/arrhythmias/a/Syncope3_2.htm
so all of that... wasn't even supposed to happen, considering we didnt know i was even having that test when we left for GA. now onto the REASON we went ..
got to the EP lab. it was SO COLD . and the nurse had to put 3 catheters into my right leg and one in my left. talk about OUCH ! !! once i was past the pain in my leg... even weirder was that i could feel them snaking up to my heart. i will never be able to describle the way it felt but i would guess it most closely resembled worms crawling up my veins. it was SO weird. NOT COMFORTABLE> and once they were in my heart it was even more strange. then they started working. there isnt even anyone really "table-side" as the procedure is going on. i could see 5 big flatscreens ... some showing the catheters inside me... some showing a heart wave/rhythm thing. i watched that the whole time to keep my mind off of it . i could see the doctor but he was positioned behind some glass windows and sitting at a whole control panel of buttons and screens (looked like a recording studio). he "tortured" my heart for 45 minutes. reaching a heart rate of about 260 beats a minute... i kid you not, my heart was beating so hard, the entire table was shaking. it was not a nice feeling but anytime i would start moaning or being like "ahhhhh" he would say "thats me doing that!" then slow it down. so i realized he was definitely in control of it. the good news was... they found nothing to ablate. nothing to burn/kill. they said there was a little bit of "goofiness" going on there, strange bc, on its own, my heart rate would go anywhere from 50 up to 110 back down to 90 back up to 120. just all over the place. for that, he has prescribed me to a really low dose beta blocker. its kind of experimental, as naturally it would counteract the Midodrine (midodrine increases blood pressure and beta blockers lower it). we're going to see how they work out together and if they dont agree with each other, we'll drop the beta blocker.
so after all that. i had to lay flat for 2 HOURS and then be monitored for a third hour after that. i had to go to the bathroom (#1) SO SO SO bad and i absolutely could not make myself go in the bed pan. i tried really hard but i couldnt. so i had to get a catheter...which may have been worse than the groin caths. haha. ouch. but it was a great relief :) then we went on to my nanny's who lives about 30 min away and had a nice relaxing weekend. drove home today in HORRIBLE storm. was awful. matt's been so great! even blow drying and straightening my hair the night after everything and i didnt feel so good. and then drove back from rome today in the horrible weather. im so lucky!
finally, with the medicine im taking (midodrine) it works best if you are active, exercising, etc. bc it raises blood pressure and wouldnt be too healthy to lay around with a high bp. :) so matt and i are going to look at Sportsclub later this week. we've been wanting to join anyway bc matt wants to start swimming again. im also encouraged to ween out the ambien im dependent on. im confident i can do it, but i would love some prayers for that. its going to be hard. quite a lifestyle change. one strange instruction is to increase my salt intake and drink 2 quarts of water a day. (water follows salt. and the more water you have in your blood stream, the thicker the concentration, the higher your bp). funny, most people supposed to decrease salt intake :) alright. i think i wrote enough. ill have a great "journal entry" to look back on now. maybe ill even look back one day and think "haha! i cant believe i didnt exercise before that!" ... i could *maybe* survive a "health nut" lifestyle ... gonna try anyways.
thanks everyone so much for your concerns and sweet comments and prayers! it means so much to me!!! keep you updated and hopefully blog about less serious things later!!
6 hours ago