Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My trip to the ICU

About 10 years ago, I was working for as a research assistant for a company doing research at Stanford. It was a very enjoyable job. It was stress full, and the hours were long, but I helped save lives. I also had amazing access to top doctors. When I went into arterial fibrillation with a tachycardia rhythm of over 250 beats per minute, the doctors in the Stanford ER were able to convert my heart to a normal rhythm within a few hours. After several trips to a cardiologist, and all kinds of test, nothing was found. The doctor told me that I need to get more exercise , better sleep, work less and avoid stress. Nothing was wrong, it was an unexplained event. I didn't really think that was a good answer, but it was the only one they had.

For 10 years, I didn't have any heart issues. There were a hand full of times I felt tired and light headed and was told to go to the ER to get check out because of my history. Nothing. Until last Saturday. Now I have had other heath problems in the last 10 years. I have Fibromyalgia and Lupus, which has caused all sorts of problems, including arthritis. My current doctor, who is normally very vigilant, and a good doctor, started me on a new medication for the arthritis. Unfortunately it increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. I didn't think anything about it since I have never had either of these issues. Unfortunately it reacted badly with what I am now being told is Lone Aortic Fibrillation Disorder. Basically, it means that my heart can slip out of rhythm for no real apparent reason. The new arthritis medication didn't cause the arrhythmia, but it contributed to the problem. So now I have to get a full cardiac work up. The best case scenario would be that I don't have to take any heart medications, and that I will only need to be monitored occasionally. At worst I will need surgery to relax the muscles in my heart, or possibly a pace maker.

The worst part of the experience was the effect it had on my boys. I am a stay-at-home mom to my ID twin boys who are 20 months old. They were with my when it started. We were only a few blocks from the church where my DH was working. Thankfully I was still able to drive. If I had to pull over I would have had to call an ambulance. He took us to the ER, where I almost fainted. I ended up laying in the middle of the ambulance bay, waiting for them to come out and get me. My DH was getting the boys out of the car in the parking lot. I told him I was feeling fine, but as soon as he pulled away, I almost collapsed. The boys saw me in the ER, and both of them freaked out. Joseph is more sensitive, and he was screaming so I told my DH to take them home and ask his mom to come over. We live out in the country and it took him almost 2 hours to get back. The next day, because we didn't have anyone to watch the boys, my DH brought them to visit so he could at least see me for a few minutes. They were both upset, and Joseph was clinging to my whimpering.Every time one of the machines beeped he would scream. That night (Sunday) he was crying when my DH went to put him down for the night and kept asking for mama and saying "mama medicine". On Monday when they picked me up from the hospital, I thought that little boy was going to explode. He wouldn't let go of me, or let me out of his sight. If I so much as went to the bathroom, he would scream "mama no bye-bye". They have both been very snuggly with me, and have said "mama medicine", and "mama no bye-bye".

My hope is that I will be able to get my Fibromyalgia under control without medications, or at least find one that won't have such severe side effects. I also hope that I will be able to take care of my babies. The exhaustion this week as been unexplainable and unbelievable. I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I love my babies more then anything. I just want to be healthy and my babies to be happy. I don't think that is too much to ask! If you read this please say a prayer for me, and for all moms who live with a cronic illness.

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