Sunday, October 04, 2009

Wake-Up Call

Sometimes the wake-up call doesn't come from the alarm clock. Sometimes it comes from a Blood Pressure cuff.

I was in my doctor's office to have my BP checked two weeks after having my meds changed. In those two weeks I'd continued with my new role as VP of Nursing, drove back and forth to Pittsburgh, worked on information for our facilities for the H1N1 virus, interviewed nurses for an open regional nurse position, plus the daily stuff. I'd been feeling exhausted for weeks, but really didn't take it seriously. After all I was almost 62 and working harder than I ever had.

During the doctor's visit I complained about some wobbly walking and some fuzzy thinking (joking of course). Well, my database was almost full and I had to reload some of the information in my gray cells to a thumb drive. Ha-Ha. But my doctor wasn't joking. He did my BP lying down, sitting up and standing. I was not very steady in either of those positions. And my BP was sky-high. High enough to be admitted to the hospital directly from his office.

Concerned that I may have had small strokes, my doctoron the first day ordered a CT Scan of my brain, an MRI of the brain, an EKG, blood work from nine tubes of blood and a doppler of my carotid arteries (that supply the brain). My BP after the doppler was 245/145 - death-mode. I was given medication to help bring it down.

Because I was on the telemetry unit (hooked to a heart monitor constantly), I was found to have ventricular tachycardia (rapid, irregular heart rate) one night, with no outward symptoms. I felt "fine" In fact I'd always felt "fine" - just tired, just exhausted - after all I work all week, drive all over and write and go to writers meetings on the weekend. I was just fine--NOT. That night I was give IV magnesium sulfate to bring my BP done and assist to regulate my heart rate.

My second day of admission (with a too low potassium level of 2.5), I had an echocardiogram, a stress test and two renal artery tests. Those test found that I had a narrowing of one of my renal arteries - decreasing blood flow to the kidney.

Blood work, intravenous hydration and rest my BP was better - finally out of the hospital on Saturday - with the agreement by all doctors that the stent needed for that narrow renal artery could wait until after my writers conference.

Yes - I did ask that. Writing and writers keep me sane and happy. As do my family friends and my very needy cats, and my medititation CDs.

The inevitable question: When can I go back to work? Not "when DO I go back to work" but when "CAN" I go back to work. One of my wonderful doctors said in his lovely Romanian accent, "We talk in office."

Right now I'm relaxing, reading, petting cats, watching old movies like Peter Lorre in "The Beast with Five Fingers", looking at my litte garden.

Somethings are more important than "when can I go back to work."
Living is one of those things. Probably the only thing.