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Atrial Fibrillation

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"Anesthesia for six hours" or "Rhythm feels okay" [Sep. 12th, 2008|05:49 pm]
Atrial Fibrillation


[Current Location |Home]
[mood |relievedrelieved]
[music |"Day After Tomorrow" by Tom Waits]

Another day, another heart flutter.

Yesterday, I was out to lunch with a friend of my mom's who I'm also really friendly with. We had Mexican. Really. Really. Good. Mexican.

Once I've done eating, I feel it start up. I don't want to alarm my friend, so I say my good-byes, get into my car and call Mom. She suggests I either wait at our friend's gallery for Mom to pick me up, or ask our friend if she can give me a ride. I went back into my friend's gallery, and let her know the situation. She offered to give me a ride, and we picked mom up outside her office on the way.

I actually get into one of their triage rooms real quickly, where we are met by the nurse practitioner, who had a really pretty blue skirt on. They give me an EKG and it's confirmed: I'm in flutter and need a cardio-conversion. Unfortunately, I had just eaten, which means that they can't give me any anesthesia for six hours. Even more unfortunate, my doctor insists on being there, but he has to leave at around 4:30 that evening. However, he can do the cardio conversion the next morning - I just won't be able to eat anything after midnight (I hate not eating). So, it's either go home and come back the next morning, or stay overnight.

I'm on the verge of tears. I don't like staying at the hospital longer than I can help it, then again I don't like going home in a flutter. The nurse practitioner says she'll double check with the doctor, see if he has a preference. In the meantime, the nurse finds a vein a puts some numbing cream on the inside of my elbow so I won't feel it as much when they have to draw labs and put in an I.V. While that's working its magic, I also go to pee in a cup, because if they're going to tie me down with all their tubes and chords and wires, I like to go to the bathroom first. Plus I'm Lasix, so I'm peeing all the time anyway. The specimen was a "just in case the doctor wants it."

I get back with my sample, but they need the triage room for another patient, and all the beds in the ER are taken. So they put me in a wheelchair and park me out in the hallway, along with other patients who are waiting. Mom and I work on a few Sudokus in her Sudoku booklet to pass the time. The nurse practitioner comes back to talk to us, and while she is, I realize that my rhythm feels okay. They manage to quickly find me a bed where I can lay down for another EKG.

The doctor checks it and, sure enough, I've converted on my own. Still, because the numbing cream has taken effect, and because the last time they checked my coumadin levels was last week (they like to have that checked about once a week), they draw labs anyways. Then, the discharge papers. I was in and out in under three hours. Still, it was incredibly frustrating. Essentially wiped out my entire afternoon and evening. When I got home, I pretty much zonked out until 9 last night.

I'm feeling better now - fortunate, in fact, that I didn't have to stay overnight. Apparently my coumadin levels were a little high, and I'll be starting an oral dose of potassium. Tonight Dad's making pizza and we're picking out a movie. Should be a good time.

cross-posted to imperfecthearts, cherish_hearts & missy42