The Phantom (Ghost who walks, man who cannot die)
Well, a man doesn’t have a horse called Hero, a dog called Devil, nor does he know any pygmies, …but it’s all action!
Tuesday 28th was Holter Monitor Day. That’s a little box that one wears for 24Hrs with 5 or 6 pick-ups to track the heart action for a day.
I get to the 1430 appointment early and voila, it’s all fitted up by 1438, however, nursey seems concerned and wants to give me an ECG! (I’m thinking, FFS, I had an Echo the other day and all that other stuff a month or so ago,) …but I go with the flow.
It’s complete within a few minutes, but now nursey is more concerned and wants to talk to doctor and for doctor t talk to me, ….so I take a seat. She waffled about a slow heart rate and possible inconsistency in the pattern, but mainly too slow. (I’m thinking, FFS, it’s always been low as in my late teens and early 20’s (when I was sort of fit) my resting rate was 45,) …but I take a seat and wait.
Nursey comes back and advises that I need to go to ED to see a doctor! (I’m thinking, whaaat, FFS, all the experts are here so what can ED do,) …..but I stroll down to Emergency, (where all the sick people are, and go through the hoops as if I was in Texas and Covid-19 was rampant) ….then I take a seat and wait.
By about 1530 I get called up to be interrogated by the Triage Nurse, answer all 20+ questions, mentioning that no, I’m not tired, run-down, in pain, blacking-out etc, etc. That I’ve been working out daily, feeling somewhat fitter than I have for awhile, that heartrate has always been slow (but it should be closer to 60 than 40) and I feel fine. She mentions that she’ll get one of the Cardio Doctors to come and see me!! (I bet you can’t guess what I thought??!!)
By 1630 a man is getting a little frustrated, so he strolls up to the desk and casually mentions that he needs to go. That didn’t really go down that well and nursey explains how ED is full and there are no rooms available for a consult ….so the man mentions, “Oh well since I need to see a Cardio Doctor, I’m happy to go back to Cardiology and see him there!”, Nursey responds that no, that won’t do because Cardio will be shut and no-one there! To which the man counters, “Oh, so if there’s no one about to visit him, then he might as well go then?! Nursey appeared to be getting a little testy at this point and there was mention of recording if a man left the ED “Against Medical Advice”, so the man mentioned that he would wait 10 more minutes!! …and resumed his post amidst the sick people.
He actually waited 20 minutes, then went back and gave a nod to Nursey, she nodded back and he gapped it to hook-up with Ann and head home.
As they were meandering, the man gets a call, …it’s Andrew (a Cardio Dr) and they chat about this unusual turn of events, with mentions of things like a heart block and the likelihood of a heart just stopping, how the man has had no symptoms, has not felt sick and in fact that he is somewhat fitter and in better condition than he has been for some time …and that in fact, he’s had no problems at all getting the heart rate up to 145 on recent visits to the gym, although generally he operates under 110 on fat-burn days and generally between 125-135 on cardio days, when he’s pushing a little harder. Andrew mentions that he will ring the head of dept and call back with a time for the man to visit.
Before the pair get home, Andrew rings again and says the man should present to the hospital “tonight” to get fitted with a pacemaker within the next day or so!!! (I thought FFS!!!! ….but I’m not even sick!)
The couple go home, have dinner, pack a few things and head back to the hospital …..only to get sent back to ED!!! (FFS). That’s back through the Covid screening and into the waiting room, where the man identifies several individuals, on both sides of the counter, that were there during the afternoon. He eventually (it only took an hour) gets picked-up by Andrew, taken to the Heart & Lung Ward, checked-in, gowned-up, bedded-down and tucked in for the night.
I should mention here that discussions revealed that this circumstance would be unrelated and is unlikely to have contributed in any way to the three TIA’s that the man has suffered ….although I suppose suffered isn’t really the right word to use since the man barely knew that anything had ever happened!!?? ..in fact, he even asked if they were just doing this because they wanted some practice.
Not much happened. The night was spent in a pod of 6 beds ……but all the other people sounded like they were quite unwell. It seemed like I’d wakened several times through the night, but had a reasonable nights sleep, although a couple of times (midnight & 0445) my eyes shot open to see the grim reaper hovering over me ……but it just turned out to be the night nurse coming to check blood pressure and temp.
I got moved to a Duplex at about 0900, Doctors came about 10’ish, Ann turned up about 11, I couldn’t get into the Wi-Fi and it was a fairly bland day. There was a reasonable chance that the procedure might get done that day but that was not to be the case, however, I was advised in the evening that I was scheduled for 1100 the next day.
After watching a movie, I settled down about 11, only awakened for the checks, slipping straight back into the coma until 0730.
I was up and scrubbed by 0800, came back to find food had been delivered, settled back into the bed and prepared the porridge to be consumed, had 3 or 4 spoons when Lynn (the specialist Pacemaker Nurse) came in and advised ‘no Kava for Johnnie’, which was a bit off really as I’m sure the bowl off fruit salad was screaming for me to consume it …and there was a serving of jam to go on the toast! (even if I didn’t buy the bread, I wasn’t going to be rude and not consume it).
Ann arrived shortly after and in no time at all, I was being prepped with feeds of antibiotics into the line, a sponge down with alcohol wipes around the left chest, shoulder and arm, then a cluster
of doctors arrived …and that dropped another clanger!!
Apparently, further study of the various tests revealed that I was born with a hole in my heart and that could well be the cause of the strokes! …So, …
And then we were off and I was taken down to Surgical.
A lay about down there for a bit then was taken into the theatre at about 1045, I shuffled across onto the slab, then got wired-up etc etc. The surgeon came in, introduced himself, didn’t fart around and before you knew it I was done, getting unwired, stripped of dressings etc …without really knowing what the hell had just happened because one of the precautionary features is a shield under my face so I’m not breathing germs on the area being cut. I was wheeled back up to the ward, fed, Ann rewarded me with a piece of chocolate and now I’m just waiting on a chest x-ray to check placement, a test of the device, another ECG …..and an expected release to go home at 1630!
So, it dragged out a bit and the day finished with the scan to check the unit, then X-ray to check the placement, a quick run down and briefing with Andrew from Cardio and finally getting released at 1900.
At this stage Long-John-Phantom-Walker-Silver is feeling a bit confused and somewhat blessed. He’s had three strokes with sod all symptoms or after effects, he’s fitted with a pacemaker without ever feeling sick and has managed to perform quite well as an athlete in my younger days with a hole in my heart.
I haven’t been doing any updates as there hasn’t been anything happening!
Basically, the last month has just been a big struggle with getting any weight off, which has drifted between 91 & 90kg. It did dip to 90 at one stage, then back up a bit, thanks to having visitors, then Carmelita’s birthday and other things, but today I hit 88.8kg, so that was a big milestone.
I’ve ridden the pushbike to work a couple of times but the weather has been so crappy that that has been rare. I’ve been to the gym a few times, but that’s only been on weekends and I’ve found that if I don’t get the exercise, the weight drifts back up, so the last couple of weeks has seen a minimum of 30 minutes on the spin-bike each day. I include weights at the gym but at home I’m limited to a couple of light hand weights ….and some press-ups! I eventually upped the count to 25 and have done that a few times …but being careful not to burn out, I try not to do it too frequently!
Today I had another session at the hospital and this time it was for an Echo Cardiagram. That’s done with an ultrasound and took an hour.
It started on my back with my left arm raised to open up the ribs so the thingy can get an unobscured view of the heart, then on my side but still looking in from the front, then she dropped a section of the bed out so she could look in from the side, then from under the solar plexus to look up, then from the bottom of my neck to look down.
At times I would have to breath in, then breath out and hold it and although I could see the screen, I didn’t really know what I was looking at so soon tired of that. At times though, she would be measuring distances on between peaks on the heart rate, or the height of the pulses, then at other times she appeared to be measuring sections of the heart chambers etc.
Finally, a doctor came in to insert a line into my arm, then I had to get back on my side and they did their thing again, then injected some stuff which caused the blood to bubble as it went though the heart and apparently, this was see if any blood was leaking from the right chamber into the left.
The nurse later explained that the left atrium feeds the body and right feeds the lungs and brain and as foetus, the lungs are one of the last things to develop and therefore very stiff, so there’s a flap between them that provides blood to the baby’s heart and brain. Then once it’s born and starts to breath, that pressurises the flap shut and it seals up. This test was to see if that was damaged and potential clots caused by the likes of DVT could be making their way into the right and on to the brain.
As part of this test I had to breath in and push, as if I was constipated and trying to have a crap, as that helps identify if there’s a weakness …I was just worried I’d pooh my pants so I pushed …but not too hard!!
I’m back in on Tuesday to get a Holter Heart Monitor fitted and I have to wear that for 24hrs and I suppose after that the experts might have a better idea of what’s caused the strokes and now I’m hoping like hell that it’s more cholesterol related than this type of heart issue because I want a clearance to drive again and I imagine that if it’s heart related, that just ain’t gonna happen …and I’ve got a 1600km ride to do in October!!
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.