Sunday, December 19, 2010

DAY 1076 - Day 834 in Recovery Paradise

My 5-Star accommodations at the ER
Another trip to the ER this past week.  On Monday, at work, I started feeling chest discomfort (I won't say pain) but very disconcerting.  I seemed to be a little light-headed and developed a good sized headache. Delving into the philosophical aspects of the  power of the mind, I also started feeling tingling in my left forearm and fingers.  Classic heart attack symptoms.  This begs the questions:  Did my mind "recognize" the other symptoms after my chest began aching or did my mind "create" the symptoms?  So, off I go to the ER about 9:30 am- about 15 miles away.  The only positive note about going to the ER with "heart attack" symptoms is that they check you in real fast.  They hooked me up to an EKG machine and took my blood pressure and pulse.  I thought that it also could be my A-Fib coming back, with a racing heart.  Everything was fine, no racing heart, blood pressure was fine and the x-ray didn't show any signs of a heart attack.

They hooked me up to an IV and took a blood sample to test if there were any signs of a heart attack recently (I had also gone home from work early on the previous Friday with chest discomfort).  The blood test takes about 1.5 hours so it was "wear the open-backed dress and wait" game.  Fortunately for me, my wife had gotten my message on her work voice mail and had come down to hang out with me.

The nurse came back in about an hour and  said the first blood test was not working and took another tube of fresh blood and started the 1.5 hour test again.  Now it was about noon and they didn't want me to have food or water until they had some results.

About two o'clock they came back and said the second test proved negative; meaning no heart-attack, but wanted to do another round of blood tests to make sure (add 1.5 more hours to the fun).  

Those tests came back negative also, but it was still not explaining the symptoms, so they scheduled me for a Cardiac Perfusion Scan.  Finally got out of the ER about 4 pm.

Bob's pre-Christmas lighting ceremony
I had the scan (sometimes called myocardial perfusion imaging) this past Thursday at 9 am.  It was a two part series.  Since I was taking meds to slow my heart rate down for the A-Fib issues, they opted for the nuclear stress testing vs. the treadmill test. They hooked me up to a lot of wires and injected adenosine into my IV to simulate stress on my heart, as related to heavy exercise.  The feeling was very odd.  I felt a bit dizzy and nauseous.  Most of the symptoms went away within  about 15 minutes. After they took all their tests, another physician came in and injected a radioactive tracer into my IV and sent me over to another room and a scan area to photograph the movement of the radioactive tracer as it moved into and out of my heart muscle.

Cardiac Perfusion Scan camera
The Cardiac Perfusion Scan (CPscan) wasn't as bad at the PET-scan and the CT-scan  which are very (PT) and somewhat (CT) claustrophobic.  It was basically a big camera that rotated around my chest (so my head was out- whew).  It took about a half-hour and I was released to wait for awhile to make sure I was ok to drive.

That was Thursday.  Now, more waiting for results.  Possibilities: Coronary Artery Disease, damaged heart muscle, or some "other" innocuous unknown. A guy I know on the Tonsil Cancer Forum was about two years out (like me) from Tonsil cancer radiation and chemo treatments when he went to the doctor for chest pains and was subsequently diagnosed with lung cancer.  So, one has to be cautious about hoping for "other"...might be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I am supposed to hear from my doctor tomorrow.  It is somewhat like buying your future on the installment plan.  But I got a blog out of it...ha.

"Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat." - Napoleon Hill

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