Thursday, April 22, 2010

August 27, 2009

This is the day my life changed.

My husband and I were on a work out kick. We were at the gym 5-6 times a week. I had finally started to enjoy running and was starting to see results. I remember we didn't have much time that morning because Steve had patients that afternoon. I was planning on a quick run on the treadmill and skip weights due to time constraints. Sounded like a good morning. Normal.

My mind has the next moments memorized like it was yesterday (although when it really was yesterday I couldn't remember much... but we'll get there). I had my iPod blasting, sweat dripping, and a good stride going. I looked down and saw that I was just over 1 mile and had just hit 13 minutes on the timer. That was the last thing I remember.

I woke up on the floor of the gym with 5 or so strangers around me. One holding my legs up and one holding my head still. I was confused and nauseous. Then the pain set in. My head. What the hell happened to my head? Who are these people and why are they asking me questions? "Husband. Bike. Bald" was all I could manage to whisper. They found him, called 911, and told me everything would be ok. Once the paramedics arrived I had learned that I passed out - MID RUN - on the treadmill. Lucky for my face, I fell back. Unlucky for my head, the floor is concrete. The lady on the machine behind me was now holding my head. She told paramedics she is a nurse and thought I had a seizure because I was shaking on the floor once I fell. But I don't have a history of seizures.

My head was put into a neck collar, my body strapped to a board, and I was wheeled out of the gym (in front of everyone) on a gurney. A quick ambulance ride later and I was in the ER being seen by multiple doctors and nurses. This little gem below was taken to assure my parents I was ok. They were in DC visiting my sister and were of course worried. I made Steve email this picture to my mom. At the time I was sure this was going to calm them down. (laughing out loud looking at this)

{Don't worry Mom and Dad! I'm giving you
the universal sign that I'm fine!}

Steve and I were told that the ER doctor was calling in a cardiologist. Until she arrived, I had to wait. They could run basic tests and would be hooking me up to a heart monitor. By now they had ruled out a seizure, but couldn't explain the shaking witnesses had described. Due to the fall, I also had a concussion, and the pain was excruciating. I was so dizzy, the room spun round and round and a large bump was forming on the back of my scull.

The cardiologist arrived who knows when. She sat down and explained that she sees people all day that have fainted. Not that big of a deal. However, it is a big deal to faint while you are exercising and with no warning. She therefore was admitting me for a full workup. I was wheeled up to the cardiology wing of the hospital where my nurse laughed when she saw me because I was the youngest patient there. She said the average cardiology patient is like 75 and can barely move. When she saw my birth date on her computer, saying I was admitted, she thought the year had been mistyped. I didn't care what she thought, she came with Morphine.

That night is a bit blurry in my mind. Every 4 hours my vitals were checked and I was given a new dose of morphine. A lovely lady came to the room to give me a more comfortable IV in my hand, and I was told I would be seen by another cardiologist in the morning. Poor hubbs had to try and sleep in those tiny hospital so-called recliners that really don't recline. Good husband.

{This is the best IV I've ever had. She even made a protective gauze glove, which Steve referred to as my "Michael Jackson Glove". The yellow band screams FALL RISK. I wasn't allowed to get up alone.}

{couples pic... as if we are having a good time}

In the morning I was seen by another cardiologist. More tests, more headache, more morphine. I failed a stress test, duh. By the way, a stress test is running on a treadmill. HELLO?! Did you not hear how I got into this hospital? Do you not see my fall risk band? Why would you think I could complete this test? Stupid.

By the end of the day my parents had flown back to Atlanta and joined Steve at the hospital. The doctor was explaining that they didn't have answers and that I would most likely stay for 5-6 days. OMG. Normally I wouldn't have cared as long as they kept the morphine coming, but I had a huge installation for a client in Florida and had to be there. So my doctor says he has one more test he can do, a Tilt Table Test. This means that you, the patient, gets strapped to a board while laying down. You have all kinds of heart monitors applied to you and are then lifted to an almost upright/standing position. Then you wait, in silence, while the doctor and two nurses stare at you, waiting to see if you will faint. I'm not kidding.

So at 20 minutes, I'm starting to feel sick, but haven't passed out so they give me a pill to put under my tongue which somehow speeds up the process. Within two minutes the room was getting dark and I felt puky... out. I woke up with them screaming at me. Apparently I had passed out, my blood pressure dropped to a dangerous 85/25 and my heart "paused", or in real person terms - stopped - for 10 seconds. It took almost 2 minutes for me to come back around, hence the screaming. Luckily my body restarted itself, causing me to shake - this explains what happened at the gym and why people said I had a seizure.

I still don't understand this, but this positive test got me released from the hospital. Go figure. Heart stops, you get to go home. What? My current doctor doesn't get it either. He says that my test results are highly abnormal for a tilt table and that I should not have been discharged.

Because of this, we started down the cardiology road. Having some sort of heart condition explains the fatigue, edema, and fainting. I saw a total of 4 cardiologist and spent 3 months looking for something that was never there. MRI, CT, more stress tests, EKG, EEG, 2 week heart monitor, blah blah blah... my heart is fine. Great. What is wrong then?


  1. Love Love Love your blog! Finally someone who understands exactly how I feel. Keep blogging!