Friday, June 20, 2014

There will be bumps in the road...

Some bumps are bigger than others.  This bump was frustrating, but nothing that should not have been expected in hindsight.
I've been experiencing light-headedness and sometimes downright dizziness over the past month.  I mentioned it to a number of folks including doctors.. but opinions varied.
In May, I saw the cardiologist and he said the RBBB (right bundle branch block) was nothing more than a nuisance and not to be concerned about it.  That's a relief.  It came from a pulmonary embolus I had when I was pregnant.. yes, that many years ago.  He felt that I had a worse problem- pulmonary hypertension- and decided I need to be on a diuretic (Lasix) and wrote a script for 40mg daily.  I told him I wouldn't know if I lost weight due to fluid or body fat because I'd been losing a few pounds every other day or so.  He had me call in my weight in 4 days- 2# loss- I felt it was fat, not fluid.. and he thought I should take the med anyway twice a week.  I've taken 1 since that day.  He also told me things would go better if I would try to lose a few pounds.. like about 75 of them.  I laughed, as I intended to lose more than that.  On my next visit in September, I should be well on my way to that 75# mark.

Fast forward now to this past week.  I was slowing down, more tired, less energy.  As I stood outside on the back deck, I noticed something weird about my vision..  Like when you watch TV and they blot or blur out a person's face.  It was only in the right eye and not all the vision was affected.  It alarmed me since I've had 2 strokes already, and that day the dizziness was more pronounced where I was walking very slowly and hanging on to furniture and walls so I wouldn't fall.  I wondered if I should call the opthamologist or my PCP.. and opted for the latter.  "Find someone to take you to the ER and be evaluated.. the doctor is on call today and she can see you there too".
So I went and I walked in carefully.  They put me in a wheelchair immediately when I said I was there because of dizziness and eye disturbance.  
I was whisked away pretty quickly to the triage area where they asked me a few questions and then did an EKG on the spot before I was taken to have a CT of the head.  I warned the tech that I knew about the RBBB and had seen my cardiologist recently about it.. but he jumped up and said he'd be back, he wanted the doctor to see the strip.
In #10 room in the ER.. waiting.  IV started and lots of blood taken for workup.  I actually felt kind of guilty taking up a bed when other people had much worse problems than I.
ER doctor came in and did his exam.. more like a sobriety test than anything I can describe.  "walk on your toes, put one foot in front of the other, do you use alcohol?"  What?
I guess he had to ask.. I was a little unsteady on my feet.
Next thing I know, they are going to admit me for observation.  WHAT?  I hadn't seen that coming.
I hadn't eaten since 10am that day and it was after supper hours.. they offered me a sandwich.. I declined knowing I can't do the bread.. ugh.  I was very hungry.. and yes, I'm diabetic too.  Hello?
JJ got me cottage cheese. .. it was soooooo good.  Thank you JJ.
That night I just couldn't make anyone understand that I eat 6 small meals per day, am diabetic, under the care of a nutritionist and had so little to eat, I felt weak and needed a glass of water.
The water was chlorinated-really foul smelling stuff.  I could barely drink it.  I had no pitcher.. just a glass with ice and water that they gave me 8oz per shift.  
Next morning I found out that I was scheduled for an MRI/MRA .. and the opthamologist had to see me, and then I could likely go home.
Things seem to run together here time-wise.  I did see my PCP and she said my cholesterol was up to 240 and my triglycerides were up to 311.  "we need to talk about statins".. Oh, no... not again.
The neurologist came in and he said we'd talk later after I had the MRI.. and did his exam.. 
I was scheduled as an outpatient already on Thursday at the Heart Center for an echocardiogram, and the docs decided to do them while I was there in the hospital and added the carotid doppler too.
The report of my A1c wasn't back yet, but she was happy to report my blood sugar at 103 .. non fasting.
YAY!  She was impressed with my weight loss .. in that short a time.
I told her I was seeing a nutritionist and doing very well.
I regulate my diet with the clock.  I eat within 1 hour of awakening and go from there every 3 hours all day having a small amount of protein and carb to keep the blood sugar stable.  I always check BS in the morning right after I wake up and do a spot check most afternoons before 3pm snack time.  Bedtime snack was about 11pm.. not the 9pm that I needed.  "You can have saltless crackers, ice cream, sherbet, cookies..."  AAAAACCCKKK!  Wait! something is crazy here.. so I asked for an apple or piece of fresh fruit with peanut butter.. they didn't have that.. but.. but.. I'm diabetic and need a nutritional snack.. "sorry."

Tuesday morning I asked for REAL coffee, as I found a cup of decaf on my tray.  "NO.. you are on a healthy heart diet and we can't give you any".  But I need some coffee... "sorry- I can give you 2 cups of decaf"... No, don't bother.. I use coffeemate or 1/2 & 1/2 in my coffee.. but here I was given a tiny little container of I suppose whitener is the best description.. and I drank it because I was thirsty and the chlorine flavor was masked.  JJ shared a bit of her cup later that day.. angel to the rescue!
Now, breakfast Tues morning came at 8am.  I'm not being hypercritical, but I'd been awake most of the night and needed something to ease my belly that was hungry.  I was tired and hungry and just wanted to go home and make a nice cup of coffee in my Keurig. 
They gave me oatmeal.  2 packs of real sugar and a cup of watered down lactaid.  WAIT!  I can deal with oatmeal, but this oatmeal was more like soupy wallpaper paste because they used nothing to season it before it arrived.  SUGAR?   Wait!  I'm diabetic and I don't use white sugar...
Eggs and homefries... I know not to ever order scrambled eggs anywhere because they always end up powdered eggs which are gaggy.  There is one thing worse than this and that is no salt for the eggs.. just plain watery "scrambled eggs".  They gave me pepper.. yay!  but salt substitute doesn't make it.
I was sent to MRI for testing and while I was gone, the opthamologist had been there but couldn't wait around.. he said he'd see me in the next morning.. WHAT?  WAIT!  Another night here??
No wonder my BP was elevated.  (systolic hit the 150s.. diastolic was 4-50 range)  I had had a horrific night with little sleep , certainly not good sleep.  My roommate had an amputated leg and cried most of the night.  I felt so sorry for her and wanted to help her,but the nurses came in often and moved her about and tried to ease her pain.  I do want to say, I had a really great bunch of nurses who cared for me as well.  I was using an O2 nasal cannula to sleep- I use a CPAP and can't really go without it.. and of course, not expecting to stay over .. It was at home.
Dietary came by to see what they could serve me for lunch.. I requested a LARGE grilled chicken salad with Italian dressing.. "how about some brussel sprouts?"  OH, YES!  I love those.. and some cottage cheese with pineapple?   YES YES!  "would you like a fresh fruit cup ?"  OH.. finally .. yes!
And .. tomato soup?  why , yes!  I'm very hungry.
I got a very tasty grilled chicken salad.. about a cup worth.  Brussel sprouts were boiled and looked great- about 8 of them- but no seasoning at all.. there was that packet of Nu-Salt substitute.. no!  I put a  bit of my salad dressing on them and ate them all.  The cottage cheese I'd envisioned ended up approximately 1 Tablespoon with something yellow garnishing the top.. and though the fruit cup was delicious, 4 small pieces of fresh melon and pineapple didn't make it.. I eat more fruit at my snack time than this.  After 2-3 bites of the tomato soup, I realized this was likely a joke- it tasted nothing like real tomato.. more like watered down thin juice with corn starch to thicken it.  Never in my life have I had soup like this.. no seasoning at all.  and there were saltless saltines- 2 of them.. I'm gluten free.
That night I ordered chicken marsala , beets, and scandinavian blend veggies (I told the girl I would eat a lot of veggies), tossed salad, and fruit cup.
the chicken was good- thin flavorless sauce with 2 tiny slices of mushroom.  The beets ended up Harvard beets loaded with sugar.  I ate them anyway.  The scandinavian blend veggies ended up about 1c of the stickiest, gelatinous rice I have ever seen.  The rice kernels were as big as corn kernels.
The peaches were delicious as was the mini green salad.
Time for snack- you know.. 11pm?  I asked for an apple with peanut butter.  she gave me 2 packs of peanut butter and an apology for not having any apples.  I smeared the peanut butter on the saltless saltines and ate it.  Awful.  I had a belly ache for hours after- okay it was my own fault- I've been gluten free for several months and this is what happens when you try to go back.  I dared not tell anyone about the bellyache or I'd end up with Mylanta or some acid reducer which would add insult to injury.
That evening I asked the dietary lady for just a banana and peanut butter for breakfast.  'Well, that's not very nourishing and not enough food for breakfast.  I'll send you juice and 2 bananas".. I didn't argue.  I ended up bringing the banana home.

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