Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to: scare your kid

Just come home from the cardiologist's office with a bunch of wires hooked to you.

Yeah, that's what I did today.

I'm sorry I haven't gotten my Kroger Shakedowns from the past two weeks posted, but I've been dealing with a bit of a health issue over here.

I've had issues with my heart for years. In fact, before I was born, the doctor detected an irregular hearbeat. We've always chalked it up to my size (I was over nine pounds when I was born) and a stressful pregnancy (my mom was going to the city hospital because they were broke, and it was August in Memphis. 'Nuff said.)

When I was in college, right before I graduated, I ended up in the ER because of my heart rhythm. To be fair, I was 100 lbs. overweight, not taking care of myself AT ALL, eating a steady diet of junk, planning a wedding, and trying to finish school. Know what set off the episode? I opened my Visa bill from ordering my invitations.

Of course, that EKG came back perfectly normal.

Since I have lost weight, I haven't worried so much about my heart. I was still having the odd palpitation, but it really wasn't that serious - until last year.

For some reason, I was having episodes where I'd lay down at night to sleep, and my heart was pounding so hard I thought it would beat out of my chest. During the day, not only would my heart flutter, it would skip so many beats that it felt like it was turning flips trying to catch back up.

I almost fainted a couple of times walking around Walmart. And just sitting at my desk or in the car would bring a severe shortness of breath.

Since I didn't have insurance, I didn't feel like there was much I could do. I prayed. A lot. And it would get better. And then it would come back.

And then last year, I was able to buy insurance. The heart issues continued, but I'd visited an OBGYN who thought my uterus was tipped over and too big, and ordered an ultrasound. I figured I'd let myself get through one health crisis at a time, you know.

Well, my uterus is some sort of gymnast, because by golly, it's back where it needs to be. But my heart kept giving me problems.

So last week, after losing my breath while sitting at my desk, I asked a co-worker what cardiologist she used and made an appointment. I figured if my insurance didn't require a referral, it didn't make much sense to go to a general practitioner first, and waste that time and money just to end up at the specialist anyway.

So, Tuesday, I went. They performed an EKG, which showed my resting heart rate at over 100 bpm. Normal is under 80! I explained to the doctor that it felt like that at night when I was trying to sleep. He drew blood to check my thyroid, and scheduled me for a Holter Monitor and an echo cardiogram (basically an ultrasound of my heart - who knew?)

They were out of monitors yesterday, so I went back today. It was actually pretty cool to see my heart beating on that screen! The tech didn't say anything about what she saw, so I'm hoping it was normal.

Then, they put me into a monitor.

I've got five electrodes hooked to different parts of my body, and a small device the size of a cell phone on a lanyard around my neck. And I have to wear this contraption for 24 hours, meaning I not only have to sleep in it, but I also cannot shower tomorrow morning.

This ought to be fun.

I've been very open with Anna Marie about all of this, answering her questions about what happened at the doctor's office. But tonight, as I was putting her to bed, I could tell she was concerned about my condition.

So, we had a long talk. I told her that it was OK to admit she was concerned about me, and a little freaked out by all the wires stuck to me. I assured her that God was in control, and that no matter what happened, He would take care of all of us.

And then she asked me how much this visit was costing.

I explained about co-pays, and how I'd get a bill for part of the rest. From what I can gather, she was afraid that we wouldn't have the money to send her to camp this summer! I assured her that we had money set aside for camp, and that she didn't need to worry about that either.

I don't like sensing that she's upset. I want her to feel free to tell me how she feels, without worrying about whether those feelings are OK or not. I think she's just a little freaked out because she's never known me to go to doctors - I haven't had insurance since she was a baby.

Hopefully, this little experience will be good for the both of us. I will find out what's up with the old ticker, and Anna Marie will learn that she can talk to me about how she's feeling.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to get as much rest at this medical equipment will allow!


doodlebugmom said...

good luck, keep us posted. I had an echo and some other tests last winter. Thank the Lord you have insurnance now!

Rachel said...

Praying for you! I remember that health scare before the wedding! Keep us updated!

Lissete said...

Hope all is well! Keep us posted.

Wendster said...

My heart races sometimes too. I pretty much ignore it. Good plan, huh? lol

Seriously ... I'm glad you have insurance and are having your heart looked at. Information seems to me like a good thing.

I'm glad you have this opportunity to talk to AM about "freedom to express concerns as well as joys, frustrations, etc." If you're feeling it ... say it. Seems like a good motto for kids. :) AND adults.

It seems to me like you handled it well. Good parenting, Mom!~