Protimenow Update

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Protimenow

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I'm not sure if anyone noticed, and if not, that's okay.

I just spent eight days in the hospital and will try to keep this message short .

On the Friday before I was admitted to the hospital, I started feeling pulses in my right neck. At first, it was two pulses in my neck versus one pulse on my left wrist. By monday, the number varied from two to seven or eight. I called my cardiologist, explained the symptom, and he suggested that I double my dose of Bisoprol.

The next day, the thing persisted. I could only sleep comfortably on my left side. When I laid down, it felt as if I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I went to Urgent Care, not wanting to waste their resources. What the saw on EKG was a very wierd EKG - different areas on the result showed a major difference from the others. There were skipped beats, and overall strangeness. I assume that the conclusion was that I wasn't getting oxygenated blood into my system, and that failure was a possibilty. I was transferred by ambulance, across the street, the E.R.

I'll try to shorten this from here. The doctors and nurses who saw the EKG were surprised and amazed by my heart rhythms.

On Thursday, I had an angiogram, and got a stent in my oblique minor artery, which was 100% blocked. I was started on Amiotrone when I entered the E.R. and was getting I.V. since my admission. The only thing it seemed to do was shut my digestive system off and turn eveything I ate to concrete. I was discharged on Friday, rhythm still messed up, but my cardiologist was apparently hoping that it would resolve. On Friday afternoon, I called the cardio, complaining that this didn't seem to work, and that I was getting blocked up. He told me to stop taking it for a day or two. He had prescribed Plavix - I reminded him that I take Warfarin - he was aware of this and told me to keep my INR between 2 and 3. He said that Plavix is necessary to keep the stent from being blocked by platelets.

On Saturday, I still wasn't getting a lot of oxygen into my system, my adbomen was swollen and turgid, and I could still feel purlses in my neck.

A friend took me to the E.R. and I was admitted pretty quickly. My heart rhythm was still screwed up. In the room, the admitting doctor from my HMO prescribed a powerfrul laxative that took about six hours to work but, boy, did it work. The next day, I was visited by an electrophysiologist. He told me that I had a few choices. He could do an ablation below my valve and see if that helped. If I need an ablation above the aorta, this would be a much more difficult procedure. But, he said, medication works for 80% of his patients, and he wanted to try medication first.

It worked. I was nauseous as hell, and lost a lot of my meals, but the rhythm was mostly resolved. In the hospital, I wasn't getting any exercise other than walking to the bathroom and back - something they didn't trust me to the first few days. I was cramped on a bed that was too short. There wasn't much to do but watch TV or movies.

Yesterday (Thursday) they discharged me. I still had the nausea and was still unsteady on my feet. But I went home, anyway. I slept much of last night and until about noon today. I couldn't afford the co-pay from my medications yesterday, but borrowed some money so I can have them delivered today.

When I walked back into the bedroom, my wife said 'wow.' I asked her if it was my beard. No, said, 'you have color in your face.'

So now I'm hoping that I can handle the new medications, that I don't get any cuts or bump into anything because of the Plavix - Warfarin combination, and that the stuff works.
 

Paleowoman

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Sorry to hear what you've been through, sounds awful. Hope the new medications work and without side effects. Do keep us all posted.
 

Seaton

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Oh my. Very unsettling for you, Protimenow!
Really glad things worked out reasonably. It’s good you‘re home now. Hope things stay settled and the nausea recedes.
Best to you.
 
Last edited:

dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
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Glad your out of the hospital and on the mend. Now is not the time to be in a US hospital. I hope all goes well with the new meds.
 

rich01

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Sounds rough. I just got off Plavix after 6 months for stents. I never had any bleeding problems connected to Plavix.
 

epstns

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I've not been around much, so this is the first I am aware of your absence. I know how it feels to have an obvious issue with no ready approach to treatment. Hang in there, though, as it sounds like you're on the right road now.
 

KatherineA

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Wow! That sounds like a terrible and scary few days! I hope you stay on the mend.
 

Midpack

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Hi. Glad to know you are doing well after such an ordeal. I wish you the best. Take care.
 

gerrychuck

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Wow. As if pandemic and quarantine wasn't providing enough stress...
So sorry to hear of your struggles, but so glad to hear that you seem to be getting things under control. Take care, my friend.
 

Protimenow

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Thanks to everyone for the good wishes.
When I returned to the E.R. -- this time by car, instead of ambulance, I was screened outside the hospital. My temperature was taken, and I had to explain why I wanted to be there.

It appears that the population of uninsured people who went to the E.R. for primary care or drugs has disappeared. I don't know what they're doing for healthcare now.

I was tested for Coronavirus while in the E.R. - apparently, it's standard for anyone who returns so soon after being released. I was told by a nurse that it wasn't very busy on his floor - elective procedures were canceled or rescheduled, and patients whose problems couldn't wait were being treated. He also said that there were floors for treating people who come in with the virus.

RIch - I've already experienced significant bruising (apparently from my chair). When they removed my IV, it took a few minutes to stop the bleeding. Did the doctor change your target INR? Were you extra careful not to get cuts or run into anything that can bruise you? The combination has me rather concerned.

As far as medications go -- I mismanaged my meds last night and was quite loopy - my wife said that I was carrying on a conversation with someone who wasn't there. I'll NEVER make that medication mistake again - at least, not intentionally. I don't know if I've finally recovered from that error -- I'm still a bit dizzy and tired. Maybe these will go away once my body adjusts to the medicatoin.

And yes, it ws scary - even more scary for my wife.

Again, thanks for all your nice comments.
 

daVinci

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Sorry to hear you've been so unwell with an arrhythmia. I'm glad you seem out of the woods now and all the best for a full recovery. Take care.
 

ottagal

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Wow. That is the last thing you needed to deal with, especially with a pandemic and COVID circulating. Hope you have a smooth recovery and only best wishes moving forward.
 

Protimenow

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I'm still fighting dizziness and sleepiness. I may have an infection where one of the IVs was removed -- but I expect to be on my feet soon. (I had slight edema in my lower legs - I thought this was somewhat normal, and my doctors didn't seem to care...but now, it's gone. I hope my shoes aren't suddenly too large.

Thanks
 

Protimenow

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I have another update today (Tuesday). When I was released, I was prescribed a second beta blocker, in addition to the one that I took in the hospital. The instructions said not to take it with a heart rate below 50. I was also not told to discontinue the beta blocker that I was already taking.

At bedtime, I took bisoprolol - the tiny dose that I was already taking. I already had Verapamil in my system, because it was 24 hour extended release. If I recall, at around 6 PM I took Sotalol. So I had ALL THREE in my system.

I was careful not to take them if my heart rate was below 50.

THat night was awful. I had trouble sleeping, I was thinking all night about getting my affairs in order, 'just in case.' My balance was off. I was short of breath.

The nurse practitioner at the hospital told me to go to the ememrgency room if it got worse. In the morning, I didn't take any of the medications (I wouldn't have, but the nurse practitioner also said to hold them). I wasn't getting any better by afternoon,, so I had a friend take me back to the hospital.

My heart rate was in the 30s. My blood pressure wasn't stable. I was admitted.

What it came down to were a few things:

The Sotolol probably shouldn't have been prescribed. In combination with Verapamil (and Bisoprolol) my heart rate plummeted.

Fitbit and other meters can't be relied on to be accurate if the heart rate isn't stable. (The best way is still the old fashioned way -- feel (or, for us valvers) your pulse at the wrist and time it on a clock or watch with a second hand (or seconds display) to get the actual rate or, perhaps, use a pulse oxygen meter to test your heart rate).

I was discharged yesterday afternoon, with a nice, healthy beard that my wife probably hates (I kind of like it -- I'll probably compromise with her about shaving it - I shave everything below my eyebrows, as she'lll probably request, and everything above the eyebrows is okay to leave alone.

I think my balance will take a day or two to return (I'm now walking on legs without edema - maybe this will affect my balance? My strength is coming back.

I expect things to continue improving -- now that I probably can't leave the house because of 'shelter in place' orders.
 
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