Monday, December 5, 2011

Becoming the patient -Part 1

Well I once told a friend that maybe at some point he would see me write about being a patient.  I guess that will be now because of current events.
 So here is a bit more about what has happened over the last few days.  I have a history of super ventricular tachycardia - my heart beats too fast.  I have had since medical school. It used to beat at 210/minute.  I had it controlled with meds and eventually with an ablation (burn the inside of your heart to remove the extra electrical paths).  I actually had 2 of these done during medical school.  Mine turned out to be a bit more complicated.  They knew at the end of the 2nd one that it wasn't completely successful.  I also had major complications from it and lost half of my blood into my abdomen from one of the wires they had used.  I spent 4 days in the cardiac icu in Baltimore.   I refused a blood transfusion because I knew where that blood pool came from.  (it wasn't really life or death, I was just going to be extremely weak and fatigued without it).  I was so short of breath for the next month.  I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs or more than one block at a time.  But overtime I got better.  My cardiologist told me that there were only 3 places in the country that he could send me to for my crazy heart.  Mayo happened to be one of them and I had just matched there for residency.

This is what mine looked like (not my actual one but very similar).
For the next 7 years I was ok.  I was on meds for 4 years and I would occasionally have some short runs of the fast heart rate.  But I could get it to stop.   I stopped taking the meds for it and my heart was still ok.   That is until this past Saturday.   Then it started going crazy.   After the ablation, when I did get svt my heart would usually beat at 140-160 and not the 210.  After being stuck in it for over an hour, I started to get short of breath.  We figured out a plan for the kids, and I got dropped off at the ED.   I could barely talk, just said "I'm in SVT" and handed them my Id card so they could look up my info.  I was whisked off to the critical bay in about 3 seconds.  I was soon poked, prodded, placed on oxygen.
The ED happened to a bit busy with lots of really sick patients.  In order to get my heart to slow down, they wanted to give me a medication that stops your heart for a few seconds.  Then the heart restarts and hopefully at the normal rate.  I have had this before while I was under deep sedation.  It is a very unpleasant feeling and caused me to actually wake up out of sedation to see my heart flat lined on the monitor.  Needless to say, I wasn't really looking forward to this.  So after a few hours of dealing with sicker patients, they finally got back to me.  They pushed the med.  The only way I can describe it is - you feel like you are laying on the bottom of a 12 foot deep -but empty pool.  Then the medicine pumps through you and it feels like the pool is suddenly being filled with hot water - like a giant hot wave is crashing down on you.  You feel like you can't breathe - that you are kind of being crushed.  But then your realize you can breathe and your heart starts to beat again.  Well - I felt all those things - but my heart didn't stop.  Just kept going.  Not good.  I got another med pushed through my IV, and after a few minutes my heart finally slowed down (it had been stuck for 4 hours at this point).  If that hadn't worked, I would have had to be shocked.  Also not pleasant and would require some sedation to do so.

More to come later....
What a normal ECG looks like.

No comments:

Post a Comment