Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sand, Ocean, Rocks, Boulders and Thunderstorms on the Rocky Road this Past Week and a Half

This past week and a half has been eventful to say the least.  I was having some major problems with my potassium level.  I got that up to low normal, but I was still not feeling my old self.  We decided to go ahead with our plans for the beach regardless.  We made sure we had a nice supply of  fresh tomatoes and avocados with us so I could supplement the potassium tablets.  Monday was a nice trip to Tybee Island.  It was a little windy and a bit of chill in the air, but very nice.  We arrived at our hotel that overlooked the beach, and stopped by the office to check-in.  Our room wasn't ready, so they gave us a room upgrade.  We had a super view of the ocean and the beach.  We went for a short walk along the shoreline once we got unpacked.  The hotel dining room is very nice, and the front of it is a huge arch (much like the St. Louis arch) that is all windows so that you have a fantastic view while you dine.  I had little access to the internet all week, but I did find out that on Friday, April 6th., the interview I had with Lloyd Paige was posted on his site, The Paige Today, at http://lloydpaige.com/?p=823.

Tuesday was a beautiful sunny day.  The sunrise was just gorgeous. Tom and I enjoyed every second of it and I was feeling fairly well.  We checked out the beach, and the shops.  We lounged on our balcony breathing the salt air, watching the people on the beach, and the birds.

On Wednesday, our friends showed up to spend a few days.  The day for the most part was very nice again until that evening when the storm clouds began to roll in from the east.  We had a couple of thunderstorms, and the wind picked up chilling the air.  I was having some breathing problems, but still doing fairly well. The sky was really interesting as the clouds for the second thunderstorm began to roll in over the beach.  There was one area that looked as if there was a large hole, the clouds were white and brightly illuminated.  The rain shower was heavy and short-lived.  The thunder and lightning did not begin until the storm was out over the ocean. The lightning shot out of the clouds like large ragged arrows aimed at the water out close to the horizon.  The waves began to build, and we watch them break farther and farther out on the ocean's surface. 

Thursday was cold and windy.  I tried to go for a walk about mid-day, but I just could breathe enough to do it.  It was as if the wind was taking all my oxygen.  I had to give up and return to the hotel.  The sea gulls and black birds were around everywhere, so we decided to have some fun feeding them.  We soon found out that the poor birds on the small parking area between our balcony and the beach didn't have a chance to get the bread we were throwing out.  The gulls that took to the air and swooped down as we would throw out a piece of bread would catch it in mid-air.  It became a game to see how close they would come to our balcony.  One of the black birds decided to even the odds by hopping on the rail to take his food before it was thrown up in the air. 

Friday morning it was still chilly and cloudy. However, the sunrise was beautiful.  I was feeling worse, and I did not want to go farther that our balcony.  Minimal walking took all my air, so we stayed in room and I sat on the balcony off and on.  Once more the birds were the main source of entertainment.  It was a pretty uneventful day, but nice to enjoy the ocean breeze.

Saturday morning we began to prepare to leave for home.  I was still not feeling up to par.  We made the trip home, and I unpacked.  On Sunday, I sorted the dirty clothes to wash and to get ready for work on Monday.  I was still short-winded.  I took one load of clothing out of the washer and put them in the dryer.  By the time I put the second load in the washer, I was completely breathless and felt as if I would pass out.  I told Tom that he would have to take over because I couldn't finish.  I decided to check my oxygen level.  It was in the upper 90's, and that puzzled me.  I decided to take my blood pressure.  It was about 258 over 158.  That scared me.  I decided I had better tell Tom.  We decided that I had better go to the emergency room to get checked out to see what was going on with me physically.

We arrived at the emergency room at about 2:15 p.m.  I told the lady at the check-in desk.  They took me back and ran an EKG.  They sent me back to the waiting room.  About an hour later, they called my name to go to the check-in desk.  They sent me back to the waiting area.  Finally, about 9 p.m., I was put in a "Decision Making" room.  I was told they were keeping me to run blood work, an echocardiogram and do a stress test.  I had not had a thing to eat since breakfast, and nothing to drink since I had left home.  I was thirsty, and hungry.  They let me have two small packets of graham crackers and some ice water.  The lab person came in and set up an IV cannula, hook me up to a heart monitor, and oxygen.  Then, another person came in to draw about five vials of blood.  I cautioned her that if she took too much, I would charge for it.  I don't think she saw the humor in my quip.  She didn't even crack a smile.

The next morning at seven in the morning, they were back again for more blood.  I was only allowed enough water to take my medicine.  Some of my medicine, they didn't have in the hospital pharmacy, and they didn't want me to take it even though I had it with me. They gave me a shot of radionuclide injected into my bloodstream.  Finally, about nine-thirty that morning they came to take me for the tests.  The first thing they did was to put me on a machine that take multiple pictures of the heart at all angles.  That meant lying on my back perfectly still with my arms above my head for about thirty minutes.

Once that was complete, they put me back on the stretcher and wheeled me to a "holding room" for quite some time.  I didn't see a clock, but it seemed like forever.  Then, a lady came to get me to run the echocardiogram.  After that, it was back to the "holding room" again.  Finally, a nurse came to get me to take the second part of the chemical stress test.  A chemical stress test uses an isotope medication that is inserted into the body via an IV. Its purpose it to take the heart to its highest extremes of stress. This is accomplished by forcing the arteries of the body wide open so that blood is allowed to flow at maximum volume.
I was hooked up to an EKG machine during the test so that my heart was monitored at all times. The temporary side effects of the test were severe.  The chemical opens the arteries in the manner used ensures certain symptoms,  and I was told could include, but are not limited to hot flashes, tingling or burning throughout the body, sweats, severe headache, nausea (and possible vomiting).

I personally thought that nothing could hurt as much as what I had envisioned for the pain of a heart attack itself.  I have never had a heart attack, but I think this had to be worse!  This test has to be as severe if not more so. Although it only takes about six minutes, the agony and pain of the test makes it feel more like six months. I felt as if my heart, lungs and every vein and artery in my body was going to explode.  I know the  purpose of the CST is to determine how the arteries respond; how well the blood flows through the heart; and whether or not any blockages are encountered in the process, and it apparently works well because much later I found out that  the doctor was satisfied with the results.  I, on the other hand, was not since it left me with a raging migraine, but it subsided fairly quickly. 

Again, I was taken to the "holding room" to wait my turn for more pictures of my heart.  I was finally returned to my room sometime after two that afternoon.  There was more waiting until a doctor came to give me the results, and to release me.  I found out about six that evening that I was going home, but it nine that evening before a doctor showed up to begin the hospital release for me to check-out.  The doctor who released me recommended that I make an appointment with a neurologist.

We arrived home about 9:30 p.m.  I stayed home today.  I am absolutely worn out, and I am not breathing any better than I was before I went to the emergency room???????  I did discover this morning that another review of my book had been posted on my Author's Den Page at: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewnews.asp?AuthorID=140046&id=38634
Who knows what will happen in the near future, but I will keep you posted.  I am still tackling it all with love, faith and guts.

More pictures taken at Tybee Island.

Check back who knows what is next.  Whatever it may be, it is never a boring minute! 


  1. Sylvia, I am catching up on your posts now after you told me about your health... You poor gal you. I have also had the experience of waiting long times in the waiting room and the frustration of the journey, my heart goes out to you my friend. Much love to you xx

  2. Oh well, just a reminder that I am not super woman! You are so right about ER waiting room and ER's, but that is the way it is anymore. Thank you so much for your support, it is appreciated. This experience reminds me that I am definitely not invincible...to slow down and smell the roses, which I forget to do sometimes.


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