Not such a good start…

Today it snowed. It’s very likely this is the only day of the year we’ll see snow in Limerick, and I had to see it in a photo taken by Ray from my bedroom window. That’s because I am not at home – I am back in hospital.

Continued 8 January 2021…

As I mentioned before, I had a long overdue surgery in November to remove an overactive parathyroid. So I had scheduled an appointment with my GP for blood tests on Monday 4th of January to check on the values post surgery. Routine tests, if we are to ignore the rebellious gallbladder that sent me to A&E before Christmas. On Monday evening I got a phone call that my potassium was out of whack, that it was probably a mistake, and I will have to repeat the test on Tuesday morning. Got the test done and forgot about it, until my GP rang at 7:30pm to tell me to pack and go to hospital, as it would not be safe to spend the night at home. It was a huge shock, and I needed a few moments to get used to the idea. I dreaded the hospital and I already knew I would have to go back to have the gallbladder stent taken out, but I didn’t expect to need another A&E trip. This time I arrived early, around 8:40pm. I waited for triage for more than 2h, and then another hour to get to a ward. I felt no pain, just a slight heart flutter. When I finally got to speak to a nurse and a doctor on the ward, I got transferred to the Critical Care unit, as they were worried about my body’s potential reaction to the electrolytes they were going to use to attempt to bring down my potassium. I had no clue where this new problem could have come from. I got connected to an ECG monitor, put on not one, but two IV drips, one in each arm, and had blood samples taken every 4h. I barely closed an eye – every time I fell asleep, one or another of the monitors in the room started beeping. The unit was really busy, staff coming and going, changing PPE for entering each and every cubicle. In the morning, a doctor came to talk to me saying they managed to lower potassium, but my heart beats were far too frequent and something had to be done about it.

They planned to move me to Acute Cardiac Care when a bed became available, which only happened that evening. I was looked after by an amazing team of nurses and doctors, who explained the procedures to me and did everything they could to put me at ease.

The next day, I was first sent for a thorough TTE upstairs. The team had warned me that they will have to check for possible blood clots through a procedure called TSE and only afterwards, if no clots were discovered, I would go through a cardioversion – basically a heart reboot using an electric shock. After 1pm, just as I was losing hope anything would get done, the team arrived to my ward and set everything up for both TSE and cardioversion. I was sedated, and I only remember feeling the endoscope going in and not finding its way. The nurse told me afterwards that they had to take it out and try again, but I don’t remember anything else. I woke up about two hours later, and the nurse told me all was well and the cardioversion succeeded to put my heart back into its proper rhythm and that I’ll be sent home that evening, which was a huge relief.

The following night at home, I woke up around 4am with a sore throat, wondering if I caught a bug in the hospital, and an itchy area on the right side of my chest, that was slightly red. Only in the morning I realised that this was all to be expected – the throat soreness was from the endoscope, and the itch – a slight burn from the defibrillator pad. Sweet sedation amnesia! So glad it worked out and I am back in action, although a bit tired!

January 07 2021 11:43 am | Limerick

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