Saturday, November 17, 2007

so this is what happened

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about how I don't know anything about vital signs and we decided to take my blood pressure so they could explain it to me. It was ridiculously high. So then the next day we took it again just to see and it wasn't as high but it was still higher than it should be. I had someone take it every day and I wrote it down and made an appointment with a general practitioner that was on Thursday morning.

I stayed up too late Wednesday night on accident and then didn't sleep well anyway. So I was exhausted when I got up to go to the doctor. I got there on time and then had to wait literally an hour before I got to go back for anything at all. I liked the doctor but she just kind of freaked me out. I guess it all sunk in. High blood pressure can mean a heart attack or a stroke. Those are really bad. She asked me to come back today for blood work and said I needed to fast for twelve hours. As she wrote out all the labs she wanted, I realized it was kind of the standard set of things I enter in for patients plus a few extras. She even ordered an EKG.

All the people I see come into my unit of the hospital are sick. I know that's a really obvious thing to point out, but sometimes I don't think about it so much because I don't have a lot of interaction with patients. But they come in to be admitted to the hospital to try to fix something that is serious and the doctors need some centralized time to figure out. The tests they use to help figure out what is wrong, as the patients are being admitted, were what was ordered for me. My doctor gave me samples of four different drugs and I had visions of the people that come in with bags of medicine and it just freaked me out. I don't want to be sick. I want to be healthy. I called in and I think my boss was actually expecting it a little because I barely even had to explain why I felt like I couldn't go in to work.

I fasted and yesterday morning I went to get blood drawn and the EKG. I'm a hard stick which means it is difficult for people to find a vein to draw blood from. The nurse ended up taking three vials of blood from the back of my right hand. But at least she only stuck me once! The worst is when someone sticks the needle in and then digs around for a vein. Then it was time for the EKG. I've never had one before so it was kind of cool and weird. Until the doctor looked at the printout and said it wasn't what she had expected at all and there were abnomalities she didn't understand and I needed to go to a cardiologist. She's asking for another EKG, an echo which is like an ultrasound of the heart, and a holter monitor which I think means I'll be hooked up to a monitor for a day or two but I'm not positive on that one.

It's just kind of scary. I feel a lot better now after spending some time online researching ways to lower blood pressure and talking to the nurses. We also did an impromptu EKG while I was at work. One of the techs taught me where all the electrodes go and had me put them on myself. Then I laid down and one of the nurses took a look at the monitor and told us what she saw. There are a few spots that are probably slightly elevated but she said usually it's not a cause for alarm unless it's a full box on the graph paper that it prints out on, and it was 1/4 to 1/2 of a box. I'm still going to the cardiologist, but that makes me feel better.

The weirdest thing is that as upset as I was on Thursday and Friday, a lot of people figured it would be comforting to me to know they were having medical issues in their life. Now it's different when my dad talks to me because he had high blood pressure and got it under control and is still monitoring himself. It's the same exact issue. I know it's rude, but I don't particularly care about anyone else's asthma or allergy problems at the moment. We're talking about my heart and we're talking about the possibility of heart attack and stroke. Yes, breathing is important, but it's not the silent killer high blood pressure is touted as. I don't want to be hurtful or rude, but it just isn't the same at all. If anything, it just makes me feel bad that this other person is having health issues too.

Last night I went grocery shopping and got a lot of heart healthy items and things to cook to make fantastic meals to take to work with me. This morning I had some shredded wheat with a banana in it and I did a little yoga. I think it's going to be okay, but sometimes it is hard to just take deep breaths and understand that I have to take a gazillion baby steps to make it all be okay. No one wants to hear their doctor say "Wow, I really wasn't expecting that. This is a very abnormal test result." I will know more on Tuesday after the bloodwork comes back and then after whenever my cardiologist appointment is too.

So that's what happened to me this week. K brought me flowers on Wednesday night though, before the doctors appointments and all the tears. And that's how I know I've got me a good one. :) It's also nice that I live in the same city as my parents and my sister and her family. I know I can go to either of their houses any time and just hang out. That's nice. Everyone should have some point of retreat that they can rely on. I'm a really blessed girl to have three spots I can go and just sit and be loved all within 20 minutes of driving.

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