May 22
esBee , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Who Knew?

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After 8 days dealing with a cold, I finally went to the dr and was diagnosed with bronchitis.  Three days later, I was in the hospital barely able to breathe.  I didn't have bronchitis.  I had pneumonia.  While in the hospital, my heart started acting wonky.  I was flip-flopping between bradycardia and tachycardia.  In addition, a CT-scan indicated I had a pulmonary embolism so I was transferred to a larger hospital about an hour away for additional tests, including a heart cath.

The evening after the heart cath, I felt peculiar.  I was 'drifting' between wakefulness and sleep, so the nurse called the cardiologist.  He thought it was a reaction to the tranquilizers for the heart cath.  Eventuallly I went to sleep.  I next woke to a code team standing over me asking me questions like my name, "do you know where you are?"  "what year is it?"  Someone explained that my heart had stopped.  I was shocked.  Literally and figuratively.

When I asked how long I had been gone, I was told "not long."  After 23yr in the medical field, I wanted to know EXACTLY how long it took to resusitate me.  I knew very well the longer it took, the less likely I had come back 100%.

I am not 100%.  I struggle with memory and balance  issues, but these may be from the previous stroke that showed up on the MRI conducted while I was in the hospital.  Who knew?  Not me.  I had no idea I had had a small stroke nor that I had previously suffered a septal infarct.  I could identify when both 'might' have happened, but I am loathe to go to the emergency room because I fear I'll be told it's "just a headache" or "simply indigestion."

I still struggle with when to go to the hospital.  I recognize the matrix of symptoms, but if all I am is breathless or all I feel is a headache, it's hard to imabine that alone could spell heart attack or stroke.

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