Sunday, June 30, 2019

recovery and observation

I vaguely remember them removing those big patches they put on me but I don't remember if it was in the ablation lab or the recovery room but I woke up uncomfortable with headache, nausea, and sore throat intact with orders to stay flat on my back and not bend the leg whose vein they had gone through. They had given me meds for the nausea and I asked for something for the headache both of which stubbornly refused to go away. Marc and my sister Pam came back after I woke, Pam had to leave because she had out of town guests but daughter Sarah arrived and she and Marc stayed with me in the recovery/prep cubical til they were ready to move me to my room. At one point I had to pee so Sarah went and got the nurse assigned to me, would I prefer a female nurse he asked? No, not necessary, so he got the small shallow plastic bedpan and slipped it under my butt and exited the room. Have you ever tried to pee in a bedpan laying flat on your back? I finally coaxed my body to release and by the time I was done my entire butt was wet. Another nurse, a woman came in when I was done because my guy wasn't in sight and got me on my side, took away the bedpan and dried me off. I'm just glad I didn't have to poop.

Marc had gone to get me a banana during the bedpan incident because I thought maybe I could get that down but the first little bite convinced me otherwise. Once in the room the nurse brought me some saltines which I thought I could possibly nibble on and get down but gave up after half a cracker and not because of the nausea but because it was terrible, tasted like cardboard. I remember when saltines were good. I remember when store bought cookies were good, so many things our food industry and greed have ruined.

I had a very nice private room, all the rooms in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Memorial Hermann Southwest are private rooms, but I had to laugh at the bed which had a large heavy duty puppy pad on top of the bottom sheet that covered the bed by about 3/4ths and a smaller puppy pad on top of that one under my butt (which by end of day Wednesday I had pushed to the foot of the bed because, for one I wasn't going to wet the bed and for two every time I got up I had to smooth it out before I got back in because I've got the whole princess and the pea thing going and even the smallest wrinkle feels like a stone and for three one thing to smooth out was enough).

Anyway, shortly after I was in my room Marc left. He had been up since 4 AM and had to go retrieve the dog from my sister's house and let the cat out that had been housebound all day but Sarah stayed and when the nausea and headache finally went away I was feeling pretty good, in a good mood, yukking it up with my daughter. I wasn't supposed to sit up til 5:30 according to the instructions from the recovery nurse. I waited til 5:45 to sit up. At 6 my day nurse came in to help with the sitting up, saw me sitting up...aaand she's sitting up, she said in an admonishing tone. Yep, I'm still me.

Apparently I was feeling entirely too cocky and about 6:30 PM I started having an afib episode during my dinner and I guess the heart monitor went nuts because the day nurse came in and fussed at me and told me to finish my dinner and lay back and relax. When it was still going on at 8 the night nurse started me on the new drug an hour early and it stopped about an hour later.

Wednesday all was well, I'd sort of figured out the menu and tried to order things I thought they couldn't ruin and the doctor came by noonish, the ablation was successful and I could probably go home the next day. And then at 3:30 I had another afib episode. The nurse came in with the EKG machine at 4, you're in afib she says so we're going to do another EKG. Yes, I said, it started at 3:30. You could tell, she asked? Yes, I can always tell, I know when they start and when they stop the medical professionals always seem surprised about that. Any chest pain, she asked, no, never have pain but I can feel it happening. So they did the test and called the doctor and he increased my dose of the sotalol but the EKG showed flutter as well, the thing the supposed successful ablation was supposed to stop.

next: Thursday


  1. Okay. Now I am extremely frustrated for you. I am hoping that you are going to report next that all is well which I suppose it must be because you are home.

  2. These matters of the heart are mysterious. Sending love.

  3. I realize this isn't the most important thing about this post, but I SO AGREE about saltines! The last few times I've tried to eat one it tasted like cardboard. Blech.

    I hope your procedure was more successful than this post makes it sound!

  4. I'm with Ms. Moon. We gotcha back.

  5. Oh wow. All that fuss and misery and it's not fixed? you must be fit to be tied (oh that's a bad turn of phrase here isn't it, you Were tied...) I too hope it turns out to be good enough.

  6. Every single holter monitor I had demonstrated that I could feel the onset of each episode of arrhythmia. I've had cardiologists tell me I couldn't possibly feel that, but I have metrics! It always surprises me that some people can not feel it when they leave NSR. I want a happy ending to this story!!!

  7. That really sucks. All for nothing. So, what's next on the menue for you?

  8. This is frustrating and awful to read. It feels like one of these true crime podcasts and I am almost dreading your next instalment. But you are home and typing this up so my hopes are you are better now. I hope the outcome is much better now. I really do.
    I have just disentangled myself from the longterm ekg monitor one day early because my skin is breaking out in sores and blisters despite hypoallergic patches etc.

    From my own experience: I used to puke the hell out of me after anesthesia of any kind and when I timidly mentioned this prior to yet another procedure (colonoscopy plus gastroscopy), I was told that there are people who react to the gas and/or mix of the anesthetic drugs and why didn't I say so in the first place because that can be fixed. (Oh thanks, why didn't YOU tell me.) Never had to puke since and don't intend to.
    Anyway, just telling you now in case you ever need an anesthetic again.

    The headache however is probably due to whatever they had to give you for the heart. I had to use a nitroglycerine spray for a day once and oh boy, that hits the head massively.

    Ellen, I am so glad you are back home and fit enough to write about it.

  9. Well, I'm glad you came through the procedure OK, but it's got to be frustrating as hell that you're still having the condition. Is there any chance it will go away given a short amount of time -- like maybe the ablation needs to heal first, or something? (Positive thinking! Or maybe just wishful.)

  10. Well, shoot. Let's hope it's just a blip (pardon the expression) and that everything will smooth out into whatever state it ideally should be in. I hope you are home and resting well. It's always better to be home.

  11. eek. I hope the afib situation is just a minor body-adjusting kind of thing.

  12. You have been through a lot this past year. I hope they did not let you go home till the AFIB was in check.


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