Sorry to worry anyone. On Friday N and I went to lunch with his family and everything was going great. Suddenly, just after we’d paid the bill but were still sitting around talking, I felt awful. I felt sick to my stomach and I had pain radiating down my right arm (which would be my “heart attack” arm because of my anatomy). I told N I just wanted to go to the house, but when I described the pain to him he said he was taking me to the ER. I did not want to go at all and kept telling him I was fine and just needed to rest. Well, being the cardiac nurse he is, he didn’t take no for an answer and took me anyway.
We got taken back almost right away, despite the full ER waiting room (they were getting slammed, what with it being the day after Christmas). They took blood, gave me aspirin, some morphine for the pain, and put a nitro patch on my chest. I then got the WORST head ache of my life (later found out it was the nitro). The blood work came back normal, but they wanted to keep me overnight for observation and to continue to do the blood work every 6 hours to make sure everything was okay. Well, to our surprise, the 3 AM blood draw showed a bump in my troponin level (it was a 0.4) even though it had been completely normal 12 and 6 hours earlier. For those of you that don’t know (I didn’t until yesterday), troponin is an enzyme that is produced when there has been damage to the heart muscle (like in a heart attack). So with this bit of news they decided they’d need to continue to take my blood every 6 hours and possibly run some other tests as well. They did a CT scan (can’t do MRI on me because of my ICD), which came back normal. The troponin level continued to be slightly elevated, but it gradually went down with each blood draw. By this morning I was feeling very much like a pin cushion (and looking like one big bruise!). The troponin had gone down to “normal” finally and I was told I could go home as long as my INR was looking better (it had been 1.7 when I arrived on Friday). Unfortunately, someone forgot to order that for the morning’s blood draw, so they had to come back and stick me once again! Around noon the number came back at 3.1!! Yippy! I was cleared to go home. We still have NO clue what caused the bump in my troponin numbers, but at least I’m back to “normal.”
I’m still in lots of pain from the surgical site, but after talking to the surgical resident today, this isn’t unusual. I sure wish they had warned me that this would be more painful than open heart surgery had been! He said that I should expect to have soreness for the next two months! Yikes! I am hoping that I’ll at least be good enough to drive next week, since I will need to get back to work. We shall see…
Thanks for the thoughts and prayers!