16 October 2011

ER Visits - CHD Post

I'm fine.  I have made NO visits to the ER in almost 3 1/2 yrs thankfully.  It's been awhile since I posted something about CHD to all my CHD blog readers and after being woken up at 2:30 am by red flashing lights from an ambulance next door, it made me think about my ER visits.  I found out Friday afternoon when I saw our neighbor's wife outside that he has atrial fib issues and the doctors had made a change to one of his medicines and he didn't deal with it well and went into an A-Fib episode and took a trip to the ER in the middle of the night.  He is fine and she hopes the meds will start working the way they should.

Anyhow, while standing at the window watching the flashing lights, I thought about my 1 ER trip in an ambulance when Lane and I were living near DC.  I was being seen at Johns Hopkins.  Lane was out of town and I was supposed to go pick him up at the airport sometime that evening.  Well, my heart had different ideas.  I went into a pretty bad A-Fib episode that would not go away.  When I was having A-Fib episodes, my doctor told me to take another dose of one of the meds I was on in attempt to slow down the heart rate which would allow it to convert on its own and return to a normal rhythm.  Well it wasn't happening and it was getting bad enough to the point where I had to call 911 and have an ambulance take me since I didn't have anyone else around to do it.

Thinking back on it, it was kind of funny because although our dog at the time Sydney was harmless, I was told by the 911 operator that I had to lock him up when the EMT's arrived.  I felt so bad for him being locked up because he was going to be locked up for quite some time.  But he handled it like a trooper when all was said and done.  It was also fun calling Lane and telling him that he was going to have to take a cab from the airport to the hospital and then a cab home from the hospital.  Those were some expensive cab rides.  After I was loaded up in the ambulance I got the lights and all ride through town.  It was kind of exciting!  Out the back window I could see the cars that had to pull over to let us go by.  The EMT's thought it was pretty weird too that I was in such high spirits considering my 120-150 heart rate and the fact that I looked terrible.  All the color had drained from my face and they told me I looked pretty white.  I told them that A-Fib was no longer anything new to me and I'd learned to take it with a grain of salt.  I knew I was going to be dealing with this for a long time.

After pumping me full of Cardizem/Diltiazem, my heart converted.  I spent the night in the hospital just in case and then Lane got to take me home.

Then there was that one time, Lane was busy with work.  I think he was flying actually.  I did have him called to return because I had another A-Fib episode but instead of calling an ambulance, I drove myself to the ER.  I don't recommend this.  I wasn't feeling that bad and figured I didn't want to deal with an ambulance and the 20 minute drive wasn't that bad.  My mom had a cow.  I swear if she could've, she would've reached through the phone and strangled me for doing it.  I'm sure she tried.

So what's the real purpose of this post?  I guess it's learning how to deal with this stuff as an adult when you have to deal with this when you're no longer living at home.  I had a small handful of ER visits as a kid all for broken bones or sprained ankles, but I never made an ER visit for my CHD.  So when I started having the A-Fib issues, I had to decide when it was time to go to the hospital and how I was going to get there.  Luckily I was married and had my husband around the 1st time I had to make an ER trip because of my CHD.  It wasn't too bad before we adopted Eriks.  Lane was around 99% of the time and could take me to the hospital.  When Eriks came into the picture it became a bit more complicated.  When he was a baby we just took him with us.  As he got older there were times he still went with us and other times we scrambled to find someone to take care of him so that we didn't have to worry about Eriks having to go with us.  Being a military wife, never having family around when I had to go to the hospital was bad.  I highly recommend to other CHDers and parents of CHDers, if you move away from home, make sure you have a strong network of people you can count on if you need help and have to make an unexpected trip to the hospital.  I wish we would've had a long list of people to count on in all the different places we lived.

If any CHDers reading my blog or parents of CHDers have questions to ask me, please email me.  I'd love to do a Q & A blog post sometime.

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