Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A heartbreaker

You may or may not have noticed, but I took a wee bit of a break from this blog.  Last post was July 16!  Summer has been busy, but the real reason I haven't been on here is because I've been a bit pre-occupied with some health/ heart issues.

I normally don't share super personal stuff like this on here, but I feel like if this reaches anyone going through the same thing, it would be nice to  swap experiences!  (so tell me if you know anyone!).

The way this all went down was kind of hilarious, really.   The last week in July, I drove down to Northwestern Hospital to visit a new heart doctor.  For those of you who don't know, I share something in common with the generation of my grandparents; I have a pacemaker.  I treat it as no big thing, and it isn't.  I have bradycardia, which is an abnormally slow heart rate.  So where your resting heart rate might be 55, mine is 38.  It tends to freak doctors out (which I kind of like, hee hee), because my body is used to this slow rate and it doesn't bother me really.  They expect me to be passed out at any rate under 40 i think.  ;-)

Anyway, I was going to visit with a new cardiologist because I wasn't really loving the clinic I was using up here on the North Shore.  So I sit down with my new doctor, she asks me some routine questions, and then she says she would like to do a routine EKG.  Totally normal procedure.  The totally NOT normal part of this was when, after the EKG was over, she walked into the room and said, "Mrs M, I don't mean to alarm you, but it seems that your pacemaker is not working at all.  We are going to have to admit you into the hospital right now.  I have some nurses bringing in a wheelchair and they'll escort you to the emergency room where you'll be admitted.  Then sometime tomorrow morning we'll probably send you into surgery to replace your battery, which we think isn't working."

Excuse me?  I am going to the hospital RIGHT NOW?  Keep in mind this was a typical Tuesday afternoon, and I had a sitter at the house till about 5 (this was 3pm), and the rest of the week was packed with plans.  Of course I burst into tears and then tried to call my husband 8,000 times.  It just so happened that as I was being transported via wheelchair in my Missoni sparkly flats (1st time wearing them, jeez), he was in a 2 hr meeting without either of his cell phones.  Yep he's that guy who has a work cell and a personal cell on him at all times.  Long story short, after witnessing some much worse-off situations and people in the emergency room downtown Chicago, I was checked into my room for the night and began to finally get ahold of people.  Of course, doctors were in and out of the room, but no one was giving me any good information.  Yes, you might have surgery, but then again, you might not.  And for that reason, you can't eat.  Good times.  I'm worried, missing my babies, and hungry.  And that all made me kind of mad (depriving me of food never ends well).  My wonderful Mom decided to book a flight and head to Chicago the next morning first thing, and for that I was really thankful. It was so nice to know that either way, surgery or no, my Mom was going to be there with me.

After a long night of very little sleep, made possible by nurses coming in to check my vitals every two hours (and one, who came in knowing full well i was alive and just asleep, shook me and said "Mrs M, are you ok!?  Your heart rate is 38!!!"  Yes, yes, nurse I am ok.  My pacemaker is broken.  But clearly as I'm hooked up to a heart rate machine and I'm still breathing I'm ok), I finally began to get some clarity on the situation.

The first docs to visit me that morning were Pacemaker clinic docs.  After a bunch of testing, they concluded that no, my battery was not dead, but my pacemaker leads were fractured.  I would have preferred a dead battery.  A battery change-out surgery is easy. Replacing leads is not so much.  We decided, after a lot of talks with the Cardiac Surgeon and the Electrophysiologist, that replacing my leads and removing the old ones is the way to go.  It's a slightly risky surgery, as they have to go in and laser off scar tissue bit by bit on the old leads until they are 'free,' remove them, and then put the new ones in.  The lasering is the yucky part, but my surgeon is one of the best and I KNOW things will be fine and I'll sail through the surgery.



However, that doesn't stop me from worrying.  I have been trying not to think about it during the day and I do a pretty great job at keeping myself busy (or should I say the kids do that for me), but at night, its always the last thing I think about before going to sleep.  I half want the 19th to get here fast (my surgery date) so I can get this over with.  And the other half of me wants to ignore the situation and the problem.  I know that I'll be SO nervous the morning we go in...........uugggg!  Hopefully the hubby can maintain a calm persona for me.  And for the record, him 'maintaining a cool and calm persona' usually results in a great story........

So that's what's going down over here at our household, along with back to school for Griff tomorrow, and Gemma starting a 2 day a week preschool next week (my big girl!).  Style Spies is doing fabulously, and we actually have a big announcement tomorrow so make sure to check in there if you're interested.  Again - if you know anyone who has a pacemaker or has had one replaced, tell me!  Just talking about it with someone else would help I'm sure.

Stay tuned as I get back into this blog for Fall fashion, kids pics, and more......

Thanks for listening today.