Friday, September 02, 2011

Do You Recognize the Red Mark?

I have a question to ask..

Does anyone know what the red mark on my chest is from?
It's the red outline, NOT the pimple
It's about 3.75 inches wide and 5.0 inches long.
There's a identical one on my upper back.
No, I didn't fall asleep in the sun with something on my chest.
I know how it got there, do you?


Click pic for bigger image!

Seeing as no one answered...I'll tell the story.

On 8-31-2011, around 8:00 p.m., I was sitting at my computer, when suddenly, I didn't feel so great. It felt like my heart was racing and that there was something wrong with me. I took my blood pressure, and was a little surprised by the results 185/95, pulse near 200. With a long family history of death by heart issues, I didn't want to delay getting checked out.
By about 9:15 p.m., I drove down to the Regina hospital E.R. in Hastings. When I told them I had a rapid pulse and a high BP, they looked at me like, ya OK, go have a seat in the waiting room and we'll get to ya when we can. A short time later a nurse wheeled over a cart to take my vitals. She took my BP and I was immediately brought into a room.
The E.R. Dr. had them take an EKG. He read the strip and told me I had an irregular heart rhythm called AF, or Atrial Fibrillation. He informed me that while AF is not "life threatening", failure to treat it can lead to blood clots forming that can cause strokes or even massive heart attacks. I was given a couple of different meds to help me. One to try and slow my heart rate and restore normal rhythm, and one to try and prevent clotting.
I was admitted for the night, while they continued to try and restore a normal rhythm.
Around 7:00 a.m. the next morning, another Dr. came and told me that they were going to send me to United Hospital, to see a cardiologist. She also told me that there was an elevated level of Troponin in my blood, and that I may have either heart damage or had a heart attack! Just what I wanted to hear first thing in the morning.
By 9:00 a.m I was being rolled through the hallways at United and was brought up to the 4th floor. A short time later I met Dr. Olson, a cardiologist. He was great! We discussed what they had planned for me.
By 9:45, I had a process called an Electro-cardioversion performed. I had been knocked out, given an electric shock that restored a normal rhythm, and was awake. That took all of about 2 minutes. While I was recovering, I had an Echocardiogram.
When that was over, I was rolled back to my room. I had to wait a bit until they could get me in for a heart CT scan. While I was waiting, they had to draw more blood from me. I think I was stuck at least 15 times while in the 2 hospitals. Some of the needle sticks were successful, some were not. I still have black and blue marks on my arms from all the pokes.
In the early afternoon, I was rolled down the hall again. I had a 2 CT scans of my heart. One with no drugs or dye, and one after a nitro pill, and contrast dye. The dye made me feel like I was going to pee my pants.
When it was all over, and Dr. Olson had time to check my results, we talked. He told me that sometimes people go into AF once, get treated for it and it might never have it happen again. Or that they can get treated and have reoccurring issues for a long time. He prescribed some meds, recommended a follow up visit with my regular Dr., and we discussed what to do if I feel that way again. He also said that he noticed no damage to my valves, and that I showed no signs of coronary artery disease! That was great news.
I was discharged from United around 4:30pm on Friday, 9-1. I had been in for around 18 hours, and had not had anything to eat for almost 21 hours. While I was being discharged, they brought me juice, graham crackers and peanut butter. It was the best snack I'd had in a long time!!!