Dead Man Walking

Ahh the ups & downs.

Today went to a follow up appointment /check up with my PCP. Initially, when it was scheduled i had intended to discuss some smaller issues – a mild rash that comes & goes , maybe talk about some ever present reflux issues. But after the hospital stay of course, talk about my heart was the priority.

I had hoped i would feel better afterwards. I had been discharged Thursday and i have to tell you, it’s been days of PTSD for me ever since -wondering about so many things and on pins and needles for the chance to get some answers.

Why did my potassium level( and other electrolytes) just dip suddenly? Was that the cause or the result of 5 hours of extreme, erratic arrhythmias? Will this happen again? What about this new medication? Was this a severs adverse effect from the Covid vaccine? What precautions should i be taking? Can this be fixed?Or will i have to live with this new “condition” forever?

I asked these today and many other questions. Truly, even though i was able to obtain all of my hospital records ( i was in such a fog i barely remembered much except in spurts afterwards)- i was pretty much told once again that it’s unknown as to why this happened. Since i was not dieting, taking laxatives , drinking energy drinks or excessive amounts of water ( strangely- i was asked this multiple times) there is no explanation- although stress being a possibility.. I asked about the alcoholism thing and was told that it would have only happened for that reason if i had binge drank in the 24-48 hours prior- which i definitely had not. Not for almost a month in fact. Not from smoking unless i was a very heavy smoker ( pack a day plus) which i am not. But worse than that, i was told i may not go to the gym, lift more than 20 lbs , or push /pull anymore than 50 lbs. for the unforeseeable future. My doctor insinuated that i should not even go back to work until i’ve had my follow up with the cardio specialist. In his words “If they weren’t able to find cause after 3 days and all the testing that was done, this may happen again at any time. Sustained V-tach is life threatening. You may have to be admitted again, or it could be worse the next time.”

So, basically i am a Dead Man Walking.

I begged to be able to return to work and for him to lighten restrictions . No way would my agency allow me to return if i can only lift 20 lbs. And having missed 6 days of work in February due to vaccine side effects, Covid testing , and bad weather, i simply cannot afford to be off for another 10-12 days. After a few minutes he relented, but added that i must go in to have more bloodwork taken in this morning to check my levels and that he would be adding “as per allowed by cardiologist recommendations at follow up” to my clearance form.

We talked about the new med which will hopefully keep me in sinus rhythm . We talked about other possibilities such as ablation and a defibrillator.We talked about this being a possible adverse effect of the Covid vaccine. Of course he agrees that not enough data has been collected but would not commit to a yes or no answer. Just said to discuss it with the cardiologist.

So here i am. I am not trying to be dramatic, but i don’t know how to explain it other than feeling like less of a person somehow. There is no one to talk to, except my poor roommate, who gets the brunt of my emotions. And there is this blog- which often makes me feel in hindsight like a completely unstable human lately. Now more than ever, i understand why the phrase/insinuation “just get over it” is so upsetting to those who are struggling with anxiety and/or depression. How could i not feel traumatized?This came out of nowhere. How could i not feel stressed out? Just get over it indeed.

On a positive note, i am doing ok on the nicotine patch and today, i did not drink.

Namaste.

Day 1- Quit Smoking ( Again!)

This afternoon, after much deliberation i decided that rather than delay, i may as well dive in and take the next step-quit smoking. I debated, but eventually threw out all my tobacco. No turning back.

It was quicker this time around , no weaning down from 10 a day to 7, 6, 5 4, etc. After all, i didn’t have insurance last time round so nicotine patches weren’t covered. And, as i have recently blown through my deductable- i may as well use my insurance for all its worth, and for the best reasons.

I had already made the steps of not smoking outside my home- taking none with me anywhere. I had already moved my laptop out of the designated smoke area at home . I had already begun keeping track of my cigarettes daily. Then, 3 days in hospital without any gave me reason enough to believe i can live without.

It kind of sucks that i had made it 10 years once, and then again 5 months smoke free prior to the pandemic. I would have been over 13 months smoke free again by now. But, that’s life .

So, here we go…

and p.s. i did not drink today ( day 35)

Namaste!