Monday, December 6, 2010

my misbehaing heart saga

Thought I was having a heart attack Oct 20th. Guess not, as they let me go home.  Had the flu two weeks ago. Got better for a few days. Thought I came back down with it again Sat night. Heart did some crazy, relearning how to beat stuff, made me cough when it hit my lungs. Then I puked, got back in bed and back to sleep. No sore throat, no head cold, no cough. Just fever, body ache. Felt better Wed finally. Body ache started in the back of my hips, and worked upwards to my middle back, to head and neck yesterday. No headache today, yay! Round 11-ish headache is back. Take two generic ibuprofen. Noon-ish and I feel nauseous. Start dry heaving, nothing really comes up. I start feeling a little odd. Like my heart feels like its beating very hard/fast, but I'm sitting reading a book and it's 88bpm. Then I get that feeling like after you've had a diet pill, or a benedryl and the loopy wears off and you're twice as wired. I'm feeling rather like I've been hyperventilating, but I'm breathing normally, even slow. My upper body is hot and feeling odd. Almost like lactic acid is building up, but I'm not working the muscles. I'm a little tingly, dizzy-ish. I call my boss up at the house to ask her to come out to the shop to see if I'm a weenie and it's all in my head, or if something is wrong. Suddenly it's everything I can do to reach over and pick up the phone. My arms are so tired. She's not up at the house, and I start crying suddenly. I am the most calm person in a situation I know. Hell I drove myself to the ER after getting attacked by the rottie. She's on her way back to town. I'm sitting there and realizing I really can move my left arm. I can, but it's SO tired and just flops back down. I'm staring off at the wall and realize I'm having a conversation with myself in my head. "You really should take a breath now... Breath in... In and out now..." I just really had no inclination to breath. So I called 911. Balled out crying again to the operator, even though I was trying to be calm. Boss showed up, shortly followed by the sheriff. First Responders. Get my oxy. I never passed out. Shaking like a leaf all over, but not cold. Chest hurts, not bad, just seriously uncomfortable. Load me on the gurney, mask over my face. Breaths shallow, blood ox at like 98. It dips down to 94 or lower when the mask is off, but I really don't feel like breathing and I'm taking very shallow breaths. He feeds me a handful of chewable aspirin. It does help a little. Show up at the hospital, IV in arm. Same questions Ive answered five times. Nitro tabs under the tongue. Damn those things burn. Headache starts. Pain settles down and moves more into the center of my chest. Another nitro tab to burn under my tongue. Demerol, and Adavan. They think it's just anxiety. I have more wired hooked to me. CT scan of my head and my chest. X-Rays of the chest. And then they say they don't think I had a heart attack. Maybe some sort of mini stroke. Don't see any evidence of anything. All the blood comes back normal. So they send me home. I have to go back at 7:00am for more blood work enzyme stuff. Heart attack my not always show up straight away, and may not show on EKG. Brilliant day.

Followed up with my normal family doc a week later. He wants me to wear a Holter monitor for 24 hours. Gies me a script for Atavan.  The sticky pads on those things make me itch like crazy after about 13 hours.

Got a call from my Doc's office Fri. They finally have the results from my Holter Monitor test. I had to wear one of those 24 hour heart monitors. It was annoying. I was a bit concerned since it was the nurse calling saying I needed to come in for the results, if it were nothing she just would have said over the phone. At the same time I was a little not worried because the hospital said if they found anything bad, they would call the doc instead of waiting for him to give me the results. For the last three weeks I've been taking Atavan every time I feel my heart beating too hard, or adrenaline flooding my system. I can only take them in halves, or I'm stoopid, sitting on the couch and drooling.

Hit the Doc's office at 4:00pm. So I really did have an issue with my heart, and it wasn't all in my head. Normally resting, not doing anything heartbeat per min is around 70-80. While working out aerobically you want it to hit around 120 bpm. My resting doing nothing but reading a book was hitting 140! At night while I was sleep is would get back down to high 70's but was up over 115 once. As soon as I woke up I was over 100. Afternoon and early evening was when it was hitting 120, 140. We asked, Scott went with me so I didn't forget anything, and he has some knowledge of the way the body works, if it was anxiety and my head was getting into it too much. I kept complaining the I didn't want to breath. Scott thought I was just over thinking it. Doc says no, not anxiety. If it was, he would expect to see random episodes, when I was awake. Hit, and go away. My rapid heartbeat was lasting hours. And while I asleep. I kept a journal, when I felt weird or an adrenaline dump, I wrote it down. Unfortunately it didn't correlate with my heart being weird on the monitor. 

I asked so what happens if I just ignore it, don't do anything about it. Learn to just live with, or ignore the adrenaline, and the not wanting to breath. He said it's not going to kill me. Soon anyhow. Basically I'm hyperventilating without breathing any harder, and my body is trying to slow it down. With the rapid heartbeat I'm getting too much oxygen. My heart is working overtime and working under too much strain. So I won't die tomorrow, but the added strain is bad. 

He said to let's try putting me on beta blockers to slow my heartbeat down, and help the heart work more efficiently. Atenolol is what I'm on. I can only take half of one at a time because my blood pressure is already really low. It makes me a little tired, and a bit light headed. I have to try this for two weeks. If I don't feel any better, I have to see a cardiologist. My Dad thought of a really good question I didn't think of. Is the rapid heart beat causing the adrenaline dump? Or is it something making me have too much adrenaline that's making the heart beat fast, and I'm just covering that underlying cause with the beta blockers, while the original problem continues. ugh.

Went to the cardiologist Tues morning the 29th. I liked him. He listened to everything I had to say, took notes, and went back over everything to make sure we had it all. I didn't feel rushed, or like he already had an opinion and didn't need to listen to what I thought. I had another EKG, and an echo cardiogram. He even did it that morning in the office after I mentioned I was worried about ending up like a Hallmark movie. Sorry, you have a virus in your heart and now you're going to be dead. Size, shape, and function was all normal. I felt my family doc wasn't really concerned with my question, is the extra adrenaline causing the rapid heart rate, or the heart causing the adrenaline. Next time I don't open my bog mouth. I got to pee in a cup for 24 hours and keep it in a jug in my fridge. Had more blood work. All checking for the adrenaline level in my blood. I have a CT scan scheduled for Mon to check out my adrenal glands. He also had a finger pulse ox machine delivered to my house to measure if I stop breathing during the night. Since I've started the beta blockers I've noticed I wake up gasping like I haven't been breathing for a little bit. He also put me on Singular to help me breathe easier, and a different beta blocker that seems to work better.  He really seemed concerned with the way my heart is misbehaving. It's like if you're panting fast, your lungs never get a chance to really expand and push a lot of oxygen through. Well he said my heart is doing the same thing. Most people don't hit 125bpm when exercising, and I'm pushing 140. Not good. Not good at all. The new beta blockers get me down though. Lying in bed trying to fall asleep while my heart feels like it's going to beat out of my chest, I take my pulse and it's only at 62bpm. I'm guessing it's finally getting the chance to expand all the way, so it feels like it's beating really heard. My blood pressure was 109/68 at the docs and I felt like my heart was beating crazy hard, but the pressure said not so much. 

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