Life is a roller coaster, hang on and enjoy the ride
Life is 10% what happened to you and 90% how you react to it. ~ Charles R. Swindoll
So it was a bit of a roller coaster of a week. Well, actually, it all started a few weeks ago. I’ve been having some issues with regulating my blood pressure and needed to up my medication dosage. At the same time I was also in the process of scheduling a small elective surgery. Well, the day of the surgery my blood pressure spiked to frightening, stroke type levels, at one point 233 over 105. So they both cancelled me out of my surgery and then sent me to the cardiologist to get cleared before I can reschedule.
The cardiologist happily put me on some new medications that have my blood pressure back into the normal range. He also heard a heart murmur so he scheduled an echocardiagram and a stress test. So on Thursday, I went in to have pictures taken of my heart. About half-way through the echocardiagram the technician got obviously twitchy and asked me if I had recently had an illness with a high fever. I hadn’t and she continued on.
When she finished, she asked me to sit in the hall and not leave. She then hurried off to what I assumed was my cardiologist’s office and then came back about 5 minutes later. She sat down next to me the same way funeral directors sit next to you at the funeral home. Hands folded in her lap, soft voice, uber serious and she said, “we’re concerned.” We saw something on the echocardiagram, an infection of your aortic valve and you are being immediately admitted to the ER for endocarditis. I started to get up, she stopped me and made me wait for a nurse. Apparently she was too afraid to let me walk the 45 feet to the admitting desk. The nurse, who was somewhat confused asked me how I felt (great) any chest pains (no) any shortness of breath (no). Then I asked if I could run out to my car to get my phone charger and he said yes, although it turned out to not be in my car.
So I was admitted, injected, inspected and detected including taking a good deal of blood. I was hooked into the monitors like a cyborg and left in the ER to envision the idea that in the next 24 hours I was likely about to have open heart surgery. I have to admit, the thing I was most upset about was the idea that heart surgery might screw up my plans to soon be unemployed and move to Mexico. After a small 2 minute freak-out, I hit the point of acceptance and relaxed. At least I was wearing cool socks although I forgot to take a picture of them in the ER.
The cardiologist came in an explained that I likely had a severe bacteriological infection on my aortic valve that would destroy the valve and that they needed to immediately do an internal ultrasound of my heart by doing a procedure that feeds the emitter down your esophagus. Unfortunately, being a small rural hospital they don’t have the equipment here so I would need to be transported two hours away to another hospital. So that process started and I have to say the ER doctor and nurses in the ER were absolutely fantastic.
Eventually I heard the nurse talking to the ER doctor, my blood work was back and I over-heard, wow, these look great. Then a quick discussion about how I looked good, was alert and joking around. Eventually the ER doctor came and talked to me, if I had a massive infection on my heart valve my white blood cell count would be through the roof. It was below normal, so there was no infection. From there, everything started spiraling down to less excited levels. The fact that I had an echocardiagram 35 yeas ago that showed an abnormality was probably the cause of the issue. To be safe, I’m still going to have the trans-esophageal procedure in a couple of weeks to check everything out. Of course my cardiologists is still scared. His office calls me each day to see if I’m alive and how I’m feeling. Of course, I have never felt bad. So almost certainly I’m fine, just a congenital valve defect that I’ve been dealing with for over half a century.
But it will be good to know for certain, get my stress test done and then have my elective surgery rescheduled and done. So hopefully, my move to Mexico, is still on full steam ahead and I’m looking forward to happy days south of the border. The quote I used tonight is really pertinent, Thursday could have been a truly awful day. I could have gotten angry about the unfairness of it all, and even angry when it turned out not to be an emergency and upset that I’d been hospitalized. But that would have accomplished nothing. One thing that writing this blog over the last 8 years has really taught me is it’s not what happens, but how you deal with it. So I try to always deal with things positively, it’s not always easy, but it’s always a good choice.
As always I hope you have a happy day as well my friends. Oh, and get your blood pressure checked, they don’t call it the silent killer for nothing. ~ Rev Kane