Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm Free!


Well, I feel that free in spirit. I can assure you that I'm not doing all that running around for real, just in my mind.

Ok, so for you that don't know, I'll back up and start at the beginning.

Yesterday afternoon, sitting comfortably in my recliner, I had one hell of a chest pain. It felt like someone was in the chest cavity and slugged out right over my heart (between my left nipple and the zipper incision scar) as hard as they could. Sharp pain that got worse when I breathed deep, coughed or whatever. I have had a pain or three there, and in my old chest incision as well. I've always figured some of that was some sort of bone pain from the surgery some time ago, because my cardiologist has told me that happens.

This time my head started spinning some, I was hearing buzzing, balance was a problem and I just felt completely out of sorts. My vision was even blurry. I was getting pretty worked up and worried.

It did occur to me that perhaps on top of this new pain, I might be going through a low sugar episode. It checked out at 87, which isn't real high or low, but I've always been able to tell if I'm crashing. I figured if I checked it again in five or ten, it would be a lot lower. I've usually got something sugary around, so I had a little box of raisins.

That usually takes care of things, but not this time. Pain the same, still out of sorts, no improvement. So, I fretted for a while and finally decided to get dressed in case I had to go immediately if not before. I called Road Pig to see if he'd drive me to the hospital in Dodge City. I really wasn't convinced this was worth an ambulance ride. Even with insurance, they're pretty expensive.

But RP was pretty skittish about hauling a potential heart attack to Dodge and having no way to help me if something was seriously wrong and go totally awry. I should go ahead and call the 'bolance.

Of course he was right and that is what I did. My blood sugar was up at 107 on their meter, and as I rode over, my head started clearing. Pain still in my chest.

And just to show you how precise and accurate glucose meters are - the hospital's meter had me at 91 when I rolled in and they checked it. Of course they took an X-ray and some blood plus ran an EKG to compare to one they had on file. No difference in the EKGs, and there was nothing there with either the X-ray or the blood work to indicate a heart attack. So, it was off to a room for overnight observation.

I calmed down considerably, and after all things settled down, and consultation with my cardiologist in Wichita, it was determined that I had not had any sort of heart event. My pain was musculoskeletal, in their opinion. Along with low blood sugar, I'd also probably had a panic attack of sorts.

Originally, I had thought that maybe either I'd popped something and was bleeding internally, filling up my cardiac sac, or maybe it was just too full of fluid. I had taken another diuretic, and it had little effect, so if I had a bunch of extra fluid, the diuretic was failing.

But it was not, there was just nothing there to work on.

When I woke up this morning, I felt a pain under my left scapula, where I hurt when I've got a rib out back there. It was directly below my original point. I've had that sucker out plenty of times, and my chiropractor (The Young Doctor) generally puts it back in. Not an easy task, considering how much like a barrel (plus sized like one) I am. I've got a huge chest.

My main doctor usually doesn't come on until noon a lot of days, so I had to wait today until she got done at the office and came up to the hospital to see me before she'd let me go.

Turns out I've got atrial fibrillation again. I'd had it before, and the ablation/cryo-maze procedure done during the quad bypass was supposed to take care of that. It did for all these years, but now it's back.

The danger is that when the heart beats out of rhythm, the ventricles never really flush clear of blood. Some always remains behind gathering around the valves. This can build up, then a chunk breaks loose, then it's stroke time, baybee.

So the solution is to prescribe Coumadin, which I call rat poison. Sorry, that is what it is - the stuff liquefies the innards of rodents. Too much of it in ol' Jeffro, and his innards become liquefied. If she and my cardiologist decided that was the way to go, I'd still be there so they could find the appropriate dosage and adjust it until they had it right. Then I could come home.

Or we could try a new drug Xarelto. It's gonna be high dollar - don't think there is a generic yet. I will be dropping Clopidogrel, which is the generic for Plavix. I also have to cut back on the daily aspirin - instead of a full one, gotta get a child's version (81gr, I think). She also adjusted some other meds because some levels were a little off whack.

I like her because she is so damned insistent on checking all this stuff and making me do something about it. It gets pretty irritating at times, but she is really on the ball and knows what the hells she's up to. So, I listen, grumble and go on.

Believe me, when she scheduled me for the procedure where no man had gone before (a little over a year ago), I grumbled a lot.

But I really do appreciate her efforts, and I trust her completely.

If you know me personally, you know I rarely encounter a stranger. I enjoyed talking up the nurses and making them laugh, and just cutting up in general. All that aside, I'm damned glad to be home and leave all that to them. I just try to make the experience easier for them and myself while I'm there. I hate to see the demanding prick in action in similar situations, and don't ever wanna be associated with that behavior.

So, the cat is pawing around at my feet wanting some attention. Best get to it.


threecollie said...

You had your fans pretty darned worried. We were milking cows when your FB update on this came up the other night. Liz gasped and told us all and....and...we were pretty upset. Take care and be well!

Jess said...

Years ago, my wife was prescribed Coumadin after severe chest pains after surgery.

They determined it was blood clot.

Long story short: they balanced her meds and she never had any problems due to the "rat poison".

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if that would happen while you were on the road, in the middle of a field somewhere.

Take care, Jeffro, please do.

jed said...

Well dangit, Jeffro, that's a heck of a scare. Glad it wasn't worse than it is.

That new-fangled drug -- noticed there's not a reversal drug. That's a bit scary too. But all these things are trade-offs. Noted too, that some rat populations are developing resistance to coumadin.

drjim said...

I'm glad to hear things are going better, Jeffro.

Since we're both heart patients, it's good to know you trust your Doctor.

I was very lucky that mr regular Doctor, who's also a Cardiologist, was on duty at the walk-in clinic the day I went in.

He looked at the EKG as it was running, said "Oh, my....", and it was off to the ER at the local hospital for me.

Hang tough, buddy!

If you need any moral support contact me and we can chew the fat for a while.

The Old Man said...

You will do fine. I had my a-fib toasted by my cardio surgeon and now it works most ric-tic. Pancreatitus got me then, but the heart did very well.