Today has been the sort of ‘interesting’ that most people avoid at all costs.
I was sat, perfectly well, and had seen a different doctor who once again told me that my heart wasn’t pumping properly, and that the amount of health issues I had were abnormal for someone so young. We discussed moving me to the specialist heart hospital in London where my cardiologist is based.
“Dizzy” was my answer to the question how do you feel? My chest still hurt but my blood pressure was too low for them to give me the medication they wanted to, so they gave me some incredibly ineffective tablets and waited to see if they worked.
“I feel like I’m going to pass out” was the next thing I said to anyone. The nurse looked with alarm at the monitor beside me,
“I need to lay you flatter. Now. I’m going to get a doctor, ok?” I looked at the screen. My pulse, for the first time in 2 years, was a steady and sensible 70bpm while I was awake. Great, right? It would have been, had I not looked at the pink numbers beneath it to discover that my blood pressure was a feeble 55/27. Oh heart, you complete idiot, I would have thought, had I actually been able to think over the pain. Or been with it enough to think at all.
Then my oxygen levels started to drop, and several repeated blood pressure readings confirmed that yes, that was an accurate blood pressure and Houston, we had a major problem. Two doctors. Two nurses. Some other people. All crammed into my teeny tiny side room, all panicking. An oxygen mask was at some point placed over my face…
“We need an arterial blood gas. Now.” Says the doctor. (Ok so apparently I’m changing tense now… I guess we’re just going to have to roll with it) I can’t put my hand in his, I can’t even move. He loses my arterial pulse. He pokes my radial artery anyway and nothing comes out. He backtracks to the crease of my elbow and tries to draw blood from an artery there – nothing. He tries my groin. Nothing. Another doctor. He can’t find an arterial pulse. Somehow he gets bloods from the artery in my groin anyway. They are pumping me full of IV fluids to try and raise my blood pressure even though I’ve already drank 2 litres in an attempt to do the same. It won’t go higher than 70/50.
“My exam!” I wrestle with the oxygen mask and just about manage to faintly utter the words.
“Seriously, I really understand where you’re coming from and I know this is completely s**t, but you aren’t even well enough to stand.” My brain chooses to ignore this and continues to cling to the deluded hope that I will somehow manage to sit my exam tomorrow morning, because it can’t deal with the thought of giving up on that right now.
The technician comes to scan my heart twice, and is sent away twice. I’m not well enough. I can’t breathe. There are people everywhere. There’s an oxygen mask on my face and I am still suffocating. I have a pathetic moment and start pleading with people to make it stop. When they ask me how I am, I tell them I’m fine (if you know me, you’ll be aware that this means I am far from fine).
They bring me lunch. I sit up to eat it and I’m so dizzy I lay back immediately, exhausted. I inject myself and fall asleep. I have never uttered the words “help me”, “I’m so sorry for the bother/ fuss” or “thank you” so many times in my entire life.
“You gave everyone quite a scare” I’m told when I wake up. The cardiac technician shows up and scans my (now below 70bpm) heart. They sit me up and take my top off for me. I feel like an idiot, but there isn’t anything I can do to save myself the indignity.
The endocrine consultant walks into the room. He is far from happy with that side of my health. He adds a bunch of bloods onto those they already want to do, and tells me that I will see a cardiologist every day that I’m here… This is starting to sound a little too long-term
A cardiologist with the same area of expertise as my London consultant walks into the room to wake me up again a while later. I think I saw him earlier, although I can’t keep my eyes open long enough to maintain eye contact. He says he wouldn’t even consider the surgery I’m waiting for in a heart like mine. At this point, I decide I’m leaving to sit that exam. (Keep in mind the fact that at this point I couldn’t actually lift my head and sitting up without anything to lean against made me feel awful)
The nurse walks into the room about half an hour later to find me near tears. I apologise to her for the bother and say I don’t need to be here. She says the doctor made a poor word choice, and that blood pressure readings as low as mine became are not normal at all, and that the consultant said I need to remain in coronary care. But I feel stupid.
… I’m going to have to go now, I’m starting to feel ridiculously dizzy again. I’m just confused, I guess. And I feel like a waste of time. Thanks for reading whatever this was, I apologise for the changes in tense etc. I’m not quite with it