Saturday, 10 July 2010

Because there wasn't enough drama

My daughter's surgery is done, and she did absolutely amazing. I just can't imagine being any more proud of her. It was a tough haul and she took it all in stride! Friday we were up rather early, and all she could eat was a bit of jello. Her surgery was at 10am, she was out by 10.45am, and discharged at 1.30ish.

The folks at CHEO were absolutely amazing, and they were a huge component to my daughter's overwhelming success. The doctors, nurses, support staff, facilities - EVERYTHING - was just amazing. There's a special place in heaven for those people. Absolutely phenomenal.

My daughter was completely amazing, and appeared fearless and calm through pretty much all of it. Tonsils and adenoids removed, and now we're just going through the recovery stuff now. The little one's finding it tough to eat only "dessert foods" and the medication is making her dizzy and nauseous, but she's doing oh so well. I just hope that she gets through the next two weeks easily and smoothly.

The extra drama I mentioned was not welcome, and came as a true surprise to me. I may have mentioned before how I am very uncomfortable around hospitals, needles, blood - stuff like that really spikes my anxiety, and there's usually a 50/50 chance of me passing out cold. Unfortunately, Friday was one of those days. I was perfectly fine until I got to see my daughter right after post-op - she was groggy and sobbing a bit, trying to get comfortable on the stretcher. It pulled my heartstrings HARD, and made worse by the thought that there was absolutely nothing I could do to help her. I patted her head, rubbed her back, and helped with the blankets. But when I saw her trying to turn to her side and have her IV get caught a bit on the stretcher, the buttons were pressed. My HR spiked, my chest tightened, tears welled, and the room started to spin. I gave an excuse to my barely-aware daughter and got my wife to go in with her. I sat on the floor trying to calm everything down, but it wasn't working. When my wife checked on me a few minutes later, I had past the point of no return.

Now I've had this reaction ever since I was 4 - over 30yrs now. The symptoms are always the same so I know all about what's coming. I get pissed when this happens because I always wonder about situations where it's just me - would I be able to do what is needed, or would this "episode" prevent me from that? I fear that a lot, and I get furious because I don't have a reason for this other than fear and anxiety, which I would have expected I would have grown out of. Over the years I've had tests done for epilepsy, brain scans, EKGs, bloodwork - you name it. And all of that turned up nothing.

But this time, they caught something of interest. And so the drama started.

When I passed out, I was out for about 1min, and when I came back to reality, there was my wife and a dozen doctors and nurses all helping out. As the stretcher was coming (it takes me about 15min to recover from this) they were trying to get an IV in but my veins were flat - my blood pressure was very low. They were quick to get me on the stretcher and into ER, and the probes were secured and leads in place. By that time, my HR was about 30bpm, and my BP was about 70/30. (In the past, paramedics measured my HR as low as 10bpm in the middle of the "episode.") If that wasn't enough, the EKG found something VERY evident - Stage 2 heart block.

Every so often for the next 30min, my heart would miss a beat. The atriums fire, but he ventricles don't. What concerned me is that I've felt this for a couple of years after a hard workout or race. Now I was worried, and the ER docs were too.

But remember that this is all at CHEO - kids only. They want me to see a cardiologist, but I have to go to the General Hospital. Just down the road on the same hospital campus. But because I'm in ER, I can't be wheeled over - they need an ambulance. After a while, the paramedics arrived and were given my history, which included something like this:
Nurse: "...he's in great shape, is a triathlete, but had a low HR and BP."
Paramedic: "Yeah, triathletes are like that."
Nurse: "BP was 70/30 and HR was 30."
Paramedic: "Whoa."
They took me for the 2min ride to General ER. When we got there, the paramedics gave the history to the nurse.
Paramedic: "He's a triathlete in good shape, but had low BP and HR."
Nurse: "Yeah, those endurance guys are like that."
Paramedic: "70/30 and BP of 30."
Nurse: "Whoa."
They put me in a room fast and cardiology was quick to see me too. Blood was taken to look for heart-related enzymes (all negative) and more tests done. When the cardiologist arrived, the nurse updated him.
Nurse: "Endurance athlete in good shape, BP and HR were low."
Cardiologist: "That's common in endurance athletes."
Nurse: "HR caught at 30, BP was 70/30."
Cardiologist: "Wow."
See a pattern here? :) And this just kept going on until the tests and stuff were done, and I was eventually discharged at 4.30pm.

I've got lots more to talk about (like how they kept putting more and more and more of those damned EKG pads on my hairy chest, and how they hurt like hell when you rip them off), but I'll stop for now. I'll worry about me after my daughter's recovered and back to her normal self. And speaking of which, I'll be heading to bed now just in case she's up through the night (I hope not).

More later!


Closet Artist said...

Never doubt whether or not you could do it if it was just you because you already have proven yourself- during the birth of our daughter.
From beginning to end you were there for me and then the wee.

Kim said...

To paraphrase: "Whoa".
So is there Stage 2 Heart Block? Follow up with a cardiologist?