Sunday, February 20, 2022

New Medical Update- Things Get A Little Crazy

 Is this only Sunday? 

As you regular readers of my blog know, last week, on Tuesday, I underwent TAVR surgery, which is a non-invasive, catharized aortic valve replacement. It all went very well, as I wrote earlier, and I was back home on Wednesday. I had a list of symptoms that I should watch for, and on Friday, I hit one of them, dizziness and loss of balance.

I called my TAVR team contact and was advised to go to the nearest Kaiser Permanente clinic to have an ECG. That's what I did. When the technician finished, she just left quietly. Huh? Then she came back with three or four other staff from the clinic, they huddled, and then the attending doc said I was having a heart attack. WHAT?

I was transported by ambulance first to the local hospital but apparently there was some reason for me not to stay there and I was put on another ambulance and transported down the freeway to another hospital about 10-15 miles away. No sirens, and the strange part was that they kept getting normal vital signs. The King Co. Medic on that ride was wonderful, though, as were all of the medics. We chatted while all of this was going on and they learned I was a former teacher, and one of them even said, "Thank you for your service" when we parted. That was a first!

At St Frances Hospital in Federal way, not where I wanted to be, but considered the nearest, the staff began to run all the appropriate tests. There was a long list. Readings kept coming back normal. Finally after elimination of other more dire results, it was determined by the cardiologist there that I had pericarditis. This is serious but not life threatening. No, I was not having a heart attack.

All of this time, Tom was trying to keep up with me, where I was being taken, what was happening with me, what were there findings. He got quite the run around for too long a time. He had hurried home to grab a bag for me. When I was whisked away I didn't even have any identification, and no phone. Eventually he was able to talk to the cardiologist and get the diagnosis. I was still in a bit of a blur, but at least I knew now that I wasn't dying.!

To shorten this story, I went through a lot of processes.  I finally got my bag and phone delivered when Tom got their attention by saying I really needed it, not because my phone was in the bag, but  because "her bra is in it!" That worked.  Now I could check with Tom and make sure he was alright, and then I was settled in for an overnight stay in the ICU, because that was the only bed available. No visitors, of course. 

 There were a few more tests the next morning, and unbeknownst to me, the cardiologist signed me off, cleared me, once I was put on the appropriate medication. However the medical doc in charge wouldn't discharge me. Through my nurses, I learned that he wanted a head MRI to rule out stroke. There was no evidence of stroke. As the afternoon began to fade away I began to press for action. My nurses, who were wonderful, told me he wanted me to stay overnight to see a physical therapist. WHAT! Like I needed someone who had never even spoken to me (he never did) to assign me PT - ME, PT Queen, and to have to spend another night in the hospital to do it? I don't think so. 

Well, that did it! I called my sister, who is a retired nurse. She said "WHAT?!" With her advice to start pressing, I told my nurses what I though of the PT idea, that I wasn't staying. I had the most wonderful young nurse and she told me I didn't have to. I had the right to refuse further service. She brought me the papers, I signed them, got dressed and called Tom to come and get me. 

We were both so relieved to be out of there. We stopped on the way home for something to eat, and rejoiced in being back in our recliners and our bed. That night I called the KP consulting nurse and told her a shortened story and said I had come away with out my pericarditis medication. She ordered it for me and Tom drove into the city this morning to get it. On Tuesday when offices reopen, I will contact my TAVR team and my cardiologist, and we will go from there.

My health is back in the hands where I want it to be. These are people who are invested in me, know me. And all of this has underscored an important lesson: treat people the way you want to be treated.

All of this was scary for me, but I worked on not being scared. I was lighthearted and warm and friendly, full of thank you's and praise for all of the people who came to my service. I related to them anyway I could, including the lovely African man who did my final test, another echocardiogram. It's a long test and we had plenty of time to talk so I asked him about soccer. That was a hook I was pretty sure would work. Turns out soccer was one of his lifelines growing up in Africa. 

Through all of this I maintained a warm glow of almost love as they cared for me and I cared for them.  It's the feeling that is top most in my mind as I think back on this experience. 

If you made it through all of this, thank you. If not, that's OK too.

Be well. Stay well. 

Be kind. I will be returned to you. 


  1. Are you kidding, Linda? I hung on every word and am so glad to find out that you are okay. What an experience! I laughed to hear that it was the missing bra that got things going! Oh mercy me, and how glad I am that you are diagnosed and hopefully out of the woods now. And thanks for all the lovely flowers gracing your exciting post!!!

  2. OH.MY.GOODNESS. What a few days you had. I'm so glad you were well taken care of and although you had to take matters into your own hands and sign yourself out, you seem to be on the mend. Take good care.

  3. My goodness, that sounds like a very frightening experience. It's wonderful you were able to remain calm and stay in the moment throughout. I did laugh at Tom telling them you needed your bra. Whatever works!

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  4. So happy you didn't have a heart attack or stroke and are back home with proper meds and correct diagnosis. Your story was riveting, so I doubt anyone stopped reading half way through.

  5. Oh, my! You have underscored the importance of being an equal partner in medical care, with reserving the right to have the final say. In VT, PCP have hospital privileges so they can remain on your care team. It is not that way here in Florida -- scares me more than alligators! You also underscore the importance of being kind to medical staff, especially as they are so overwhelmed these days. People are always more cooperative with those who are not screaming at them. We all deserve to be treated with respect.
    I am so glad that you got through a glitch and feel both better and empowered.

  6. I think I just took a breath. Wow, what a scary time you had and just glad you had your sister to help you through. Amazed at your demeanor and kindness to the staff through out. You are the patient I am sure they are still talking about. Delighted you are home and on the proper meds. Do take care and keep us in the loop. We care.

  7. I did get all the way through, and I am glad you didn't die! The other lesson I've learned is that ultimately you have to be responsible for your own health.

  8. My God, what you went through!!! I don't envy you at all. Get well and regain your strength! Love you a lot, Linda. Take care.

  9. All those processes would be quite stressful However I'm glad that situation although serious is solvable. You wlll make it.

  10. What a frightening few days you have gone through! Tom must have been so stressed out too, trying to follow where they took you and worried about your condition. I am so thankful that you are home and improving. That is not the weekend you needed to have!

  11. This is why we remain with Kaiser. Our PCP knows what's going on, and there are plenty of resources and choices we can make. Very glad you are home and recuperating. I remember when my husband Art was carted off by ambulance, I had no idea where they had taken him!

  12. What a lot to go through. I'm glad you're home.

  13. wow you are amazing...attitude is so important. I went to a new skin doctor the other day and he greeted me with hello young lady how are you. Well, I HATE being called YOUNG LADY. I do have a name and am not just another older person. So I told him how I felt with that greeting and even later sent him a poem I had written in another doctor appt. Hope you can retain control of your health treatments...Hugs- Lin

  14. So glad you are okay! Far Guy has had pericarditis a few times, we know what to watch for now and what to do for it. The first time he had it he did the ambulance, helicopter, angiogram whole ICU was scary. Poor Tom I bet he was worried about you.

  15. What a harrowing experience that could have been far worse! Glad you are home and out of the circus.

  16. How terrifying! I'm glad that it was worked through. As someone who has dealt with the serious illnesses of loved ones, I know well the territorial/ego battles between one's regular doctors and hospitalists. There were several times when I had to take charge. Enjoy your time back at home and get well!


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