Tuesday 8 August 2017

Matters of the heart.....

I have got all my bits and bobs together NHS number, insurance number, authorisation number, phone number and am basically just waiting…
Waiting to go and visit the Cardiologist.
At present I am trying to work out whether or not I want all this to be a storm in a teacup or actually something serious…
I don't want it to be too serious but I do want there to be something wrong…
If you get what I mean.
Nothing too wrong, mind.
To put you in the picture ever since I was put on Tricyclics/serotonin for depression back in 1992 (Yes I do mean last century) I have had dizzy spells. I stopped taking anti-depressants more than 20 years ago but the dizzy spells have persisted. Every now and then I get them so badly I sway and a few times I have blacked out totally. However, after 25 years I am used to them - more or less.
However recently they have been a bit more noticeable and the other day in Finbows, while buying some kit for the builders (when am I ever without builders), I had such a bad turn that I frightened myself. It was horrid and I remember thinking that people must have thought I was drunk.
I decided to get hold of the Doctor and rang them up. There was a spare slot that very afternoon so I took it.
Not such a clever idea, I fancy.
Or maybe it was a lifesaving move...???
I am afraid the jury is still out on that one.
Anyway, I saw the Doctor she asked what had happened and took my blood pressure and pulse.
I thought she was going to pat me on the head and send me away admonishing me for getting worked up and stressing myself out.
She instead asked me to go immediately to the other clinic and get on the heart monitor.
OK says I a bit bewildered.
“Oh!” says she, “did you drive yourself?”
I looked at her as if she were mad – we live in the countryside FFS, its four o’clock in the afternoon in the middle of the week and bus services between villages are unheard of even at the best of times… “Yes.”
“Well you’ll have to leave your car here and get someone to take you.”
I was non-plussed to say the least, but so very forceful was she that I did as I was told.
I went to the other clinic, I was strapped into the monitor and the next thing I know an ambulance is called and I am on my way to hospital.
To cut a long story short I have low blood pressure coupled with a low heart rate of under 60bpm – which is fine if you are Mo Farah or Usain Bolt  - not so good if you are me - an overweight 50-year old mother of two who instead of exercising for the past 11 months has taken up chocolate eating as a past time.
I stayed I the hospital overnight and was released back in the community the next day a bit shaken up but more or less OK with the promise that I will be booked into have an ECG and 24 heart monitor at some point as an out patient.
Not really knowing what was going on  and keen to get to the bottom of this I went to speak to my GP the following Monday morning and what happened there put me in  a real spin.
I arrive, having driven myself. I get to see the doctor.
I ask what is happening and when will I get to know what is wrong. I say I am fed up with being dizzy and tiered all the time and not getting any headway as to what is wrong. I suggest perhaps it’s my thyroid.
I get told forcefully that I have had every blood test known to man over the past 10 years and that the problem lies with my heart.
For a moment I am silent.
My heart? Seriously?
Yes seriously – the heart should always be taken seriously.
And I would advise that you don't drive…
Oh! But I have to drive – FFS we live in the countryside, I am the sole carer of my children during the week, its the holidays, how can I shop….
It’s too risky for you to drive or take exercise
What do you mean too risky?
If your heart rate increases then the oxygen cannot get to your brain  and that is serious…
You need to talk to the DVLA and inform your insurance. I have written this down on  your medical notes…
The upshot is basically no driving at all. The DVLA are happy for me to drive but I am uninsurable so I am stuck…
This has necessitated me calling in the troops and my mother turning up to act as chauffeur for the time being and it has brought home to me that perhaps: THIS IS SERIOUS.
With that in mind I am afraid my imagination has run riot.
I am one of those people who have to know and understand what is going on or else I worry.
So for the last week I have worried.
I have also Googled but luckily - or unluckily depending on your point of view - my symptoms are not very normal so there is not much about it.
If you look up  slow heart rate and low blood pressure you get a lot of stuff about low blood pressure but the combo of the two  there is not so much…
When you look up the technical medical terms for low heart rate and low blood pressure (Bradycardia and Hypotension) it just becomes far too bizarre and way beyond my technical medical knowledge.
And thus I sit here trying to calm myself…
No kidding I have devised a worse case scenario but it wasn’t pleasant especially the first couple nights when I could not get to sleep for fear my heart would stop beating. I only managed to calm myself enough by writing out my will…
Now that that has not happened I have gone onto other scenarios – heart transplant was the worst I could think of and managed to reassure myself that I would be Ok as I have bulk standard ordinary blood: Type O Positive.
I have also worked out that if I am never able to drive again I could move to Framlingham quite happily and live in town. There are a number of very nice homes available with big enough gardens for the dogs that I can afford and we would be able to buy a pad in London too for Charlie to live in as Fram is just too far away  to comfortably commute with his long hours.
So I have crossed of the worst scenarios and found that I can survive quite happily.
But there is the thing…
What if there is actually nothing wrong with me at all?
The last week has been just a storm in a teacup..
THAT is a scenario I am totally unprepared for….and I will feel SUCH a fraud.
I have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t my fault especially if it IS a storm in the teacup. I didn’t take myself to hospital. I didn't just decide not to drive…
So there is:  I don't want there to be anything wrong and yet I do….

Go on you know you want to...


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