Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Trip to the ER

Okay, I guess it’s time for a much needed update on my various medical problems and recent visits to assorted physicians and hospitals.

When last we met I had just returned from a visit to Doctor Whoosh, taken off my cancer medication despite the cancer continuing to grow, and sent home to tend my leg wound. I had a routine visit to my cardiologist the following Tuesday and mentioned to him that I was experiencing weight gain and some increased shortness of breath. I returned the following week so he could test my O2 level under stress. While my oxygen level didn’t drop, my heart rate increased significantly. A prompt EKG revealed I was experiencing atrial fibrillation and was immediately sent to the hospital for observation and treatment. A new medication and four days of incarceration seemed to correct the problem and I was sent home on Friday. 

The next Monday I drove to the capital city for a regular follow-up with my kidney specialist. I mentioned the weight gain (20 pounds in 3 months). He decided I need to restrict my liquid intake to 2 liters daily and take a new diuretic in addition to the one I was already taking. That’s all I need…to pee more frequently. I can’t go much over 30 minutes without having to seek out somewhere to relieve myself as it is. I also need to up my potassium intake to compensate for what’s draining out of me. That started on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday evening I noticed my pulse rate was significantly elevated when I did my routine vitals check. I watched my pulse throughout the night and determined that I was back in afib, so I headed to the ER this morning to get it checked out.

It is my opinion that emergency rooms are one step above medieval torture chambers. After registering, I was shuttled off to a room and placed on a gurney that was designed by someone with a major sadistic problem. The bed might have been ergonomically correct, but comfortable was not in the equation. Next they poked a needle in me to draw blood. Ouch. They poked another needle in me in case an IV was needed. Ouch again. Eight electrodes were attached to my hairy chest (assuring more pain when they get ripped off) and I was tied to a heart monitor. An oximeter was placed on my finger, an oxygen cannula stuck under my nose, and a blood pressure cuff wrapped around my arm. Once I was effectively tied to the bed, they started a saline drip IV. This is on a guy pumped up with diuretics. I think the CIA might want to consider this treatment instead of waterboarding. After over an hour (remember I normally have to pee every 30 minutes) my bladder was screaming. After finally complaining to the nurses, they reluctantly unhooked me and let me visit the boy’s room. Whew! To reward them for their kindness I graciously provided them with a sample of my urine which they subsequently ignored.

After about four hours and some consulting over the phone with my cardiologist, they let me go with yet another prescription (that’s three new drugs in less than 2 weeks) and instructions to see the doctor on Friday.

Many thanks to my son who took a day of family medical leave to ferry me to and from the ER.

As for my leg wound, I’ve missed visiting the treatment center for two weeks now. I’m not sure how it’s doing, but I’m going to have it looked at tomorrow morning. It “feels” better, but I don’t think that’s much of an indication on how well it’s actually healing.

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