Speed Bumps Abound

2 Mar

So, January started off the year rather mundane. I had had a “bout” with SVT (SupraVentricularTachycardia) in November, I hadn’t had an “event” in almost 10 years, and figured it had moved out of my heart for “better digs”. I “self converted” after about an hour. (Rather than being “medicinally converted” or “electrically shocked”. I DID go to my cardiologist, Tri Nguyen, and he placed me on a 30 day “event” monitor. NOTHING! Except an “athletic” heart rate. I found this out on January 27th.

On Friday, January 31st, I had gone up to PCCU to do a bedside exam on a patient. The nurse, Brenda, was just about to remove a bloody dressing from the patients neck when it hit me. I calmly (I doubt), asked her to step outside the room, I then placed her fingers on my carotid artery. She quickly moved me to an area where I could sit, slapped a  5 lead EKG monitor on me, called the Emergency Department to advise them that there would be an “Employee” arriving via wheelchair with a “cardiac situation”. Well, at least now I had some hard “evidence” of this elusive little bugger. I had a rate of 150 beats per minute.  I found myself in the care of a nurse named Michael, I’d seen him several times while I was caring for his patients in the E.D., he had a look of concern, but not panic, and efficiently went about the tasks of starting an I.V. and drawing the appropriate lab work, getting all of the questions answered while keeping me calm as my heart was trying it’s best to beat its way out of my chest.

By the time the lazy, giggly EKG girls (yes, 2 of them!) got the EKG leads on, and started the strip, I’d converted to about 115 bpm.

It’s interesting how you can actually feel your heart converting to a more natural rate. I still wasn’t at my “normal” rate, but I was getting there. By the time the doctor actually came into the room, I had converted to 85 bpm. That is still a bit tachycardic for me, but closer to “normal”.

Back to the nurse Brenda: I had left my cell phone downstairs in my department to charge, therefore I had no way to contact my husband via texting. So, not only had Brenda been amazing at getting me “hooked up”, she also got in touch with my husband who works at another hospital he arrived not too long after the EKG, cool, calm and collected, as usual. I swear, NOTHING phases this man!

After a few hours the Emergency Room, the  physician came back in, gave me a choice of medication, or not, and advised I follow up with my cardiologist. No Shit Sherlock! I mean, seriously! I’ve had the experience of working with this “doctor” in the past. Let’s just say, it’s the luck of the draw in the E.D., and luckily, someone in a serious situation had the “luck” of getting a doctor that graduated a bit higher in their class instead of the doctor that was seeing me.

I went home and “rested” the rest of the week end. Okay, I’ve been resting since January 31st! As the title of this “chapter” says: “speed bumps”,  plural.

I followed up with Tri, and then made an appointment with Dr. Seifert, one of the electrophysiologists that works in the hospital system that I do. I returned to work later that day, and, as my department and hospital are known for, there was quiet concern. As you’ve no doubt noted, my life is pretty much an open book. I felt comfortable letting my colleagues know of my situation. When I mentioned Dr. Seifert, one of the nurses said, “Oh, no! I mean, he’s great and everything, but go to MY guy. He did my ablation, and did a “cryo” instead of an RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation.” So, I made the appointment, “dropping” my friends name. I was put off for a week.  (Yeah, some friend!) Then amazingly, I got a phone call asking if I could be there in two days! I said “Of course!”

Side note: Radio Frequency uses heat to scar down tissue. Cryo uses freezing. RFA is “immediate”, Cryo, you have quite a few seconds to “re warm” and try another location.  I’m all for “second chances”!

I met with Dr. Wilber Su, Banner Good Samaritan, Cavanagh Heart Clinic, Phoenix, AZ.
He spent more than an “ample” amount of time with me explaining everything from the difference between cryo ablation and radio frequency ablation, to whether he thought (from my EKG) it was AV re entry, or another form of SVT. Ultimately, THAT would be decided during the “pre” ablation portion of my ablation.

The appointment for the procedure was made, and off I went. As a side note, Dr. Su’s staff, from the person on the phone to the woman making the calls to the insurance company are absolutely top notch. I never felt the need to “double” check them.

The Next Speed Bump:


Next stop was my endodontist. I had a 6 month follow up from a “re do” of a root canal that was tricky and therefore “incomplete” 10 years in the past. Everything felt pretty good around that tooth “Number 4” as they called it. Evidently not. Long story short: I needed an apicoectomy, and PRONTO if I was going to have the ablation in the next few weeks. As I know, but not everyone does, having an infection in or around your teeth is one of the quickest ways to “grow veggies” on the valves in your heart. Trust me, that’s NOT something you EVER want! So, we scheduled the procedure for the next week. I have to tell ya’, I’ve never experienced anything that has had my stomach turn upside down like this one. Just the sound of my “gums” being torn away from the bone was giving me the “willies’, then the drilling, then the suturing. But, that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was two days later when the sutures started digging into the inside of my lip. Not just when I tried to eat. (Try keeping the food on one side of your mouth and not letting it get to the front side!) But when I talked. My gums, okay “gingiva” is still pretty tender and a bit numb, but the slashing from the sutures has healed!

So, everything is moving along. I have my ablation next week, with a few days to recover, mainly the healing of the entry site in my groin. Yes, I’ll keep you posted!

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