Saturday, April 7, 2018

That Wasn't So Bad

I had my Cardioversion done yesterday morning so my day started at around 0345 as UPMC Shadyside is about an hour  adn a half away and I needed to be there by 0600. So we got on the road a little after 0400 and arrived at around 0530. Had X-rays done then headed to the short stay unit right outside the Cath-Lab as my procedure was scheduled for 0800.

The procedure would start with a TEE then the electricity would flow shortly after that to place my heart back into NSR. Sounds simple enough right? I have never had a bad experience at this hospital and it would turn out that this day would be no different. The nurses came for me just before 0800 to wheel me into the lab. As we entered the lab I was met with smiling faces and an upbeat vibe.

The Lab Nurses started right away both prepping me and comforting me. The Anesthesiologist and Nurse Anesthetist followed not too far behind as well as my Cardiologist. I haven't been to see him in over 9 years but has stayed in contact through my Electrophisiologist. We had a brief conversation about how long we had known each other. I started seeing him when I was 23yo. Lets just say its been pretty much a lifetime at this point. He would be performing the TEE prior to the Cardioversion.

The room was a buzz with activity with everyone talking to me, letting me know what was going on and what to expect. One thing I noticed, and I have noticed this before, is that when anyone person in the room was talking directly to me and within arms length they placed their hand on me. This is really a nice touch IMHO, it gives you a feeling of connection between you and them. Now I have no idea if this is a part of their training or if it is just a natural reaction that those in the medical field have.

My EP then entered the room and it was game time. The Nurse Anesthetis asked me one more time what my weight was? I asked if she wanted real time weight or ideal/goal weight? Everyone laughed then it was time for the TEE which I actually despise and this time would be no different. A TEE (Transesophageal Echocardiography) is done prior to proceedures pertaining to the heart to look for any formation of blood clots on the back side of the heart. It aslo gives a look at the fuction of the heart. The one thing they did see is that it appears that  being in flutter for over a week may have done some short term damage to the heart. No diferent than if you would overuse any other muscle in your body. So all should return to normal on that particular front.

The Anesthesiologist said he would start administering the sedative and as soon as I started to swallow the probe he would give me more and I would not feel any discomfort. Major fail here folks. As I was trying to swallow and gag on the probe I was wondering what he considered to be discomfort because I was definitely feeling some at this point. At some point at this juncture I remember hearing a nurse yelling at him if he was going to administer the drug as I was obviously in distress at this point. He said he was then it was lights out. I woke up some time after that, everyone was gone, and I was back in wonderful NSR. They monitored me for a time then sent me back to the short say unit to continue monitoring me for a couple hours then I was home bound.

What' Next?

The current plan is to start me on a new drug to keep in in NSR as the Flecanide does not seem to be doing the trick. The new med I will be on for now is Ticosyn. It is another antirhithmic drug that will hopefully keep my heart in NSR while waiting for the next step. In order to take this drug I need to be off of the Flecanide for a few days then back in the hospital for a few more while they start the new one. I will have to have an EKG done every two hours as the new drug is administered for several days to be sure I can tolerate it. So as of today I am off the Flecanide and still in NSR. I will be keeping my activity level at a minimum for a few days to try to keep it that way as the concensus seems to be that the ablation in January did not completely solve the problem and the Cardioversion is only a temporary fix and there is no way of telling how long my heart will stay in NSR.

I have also started the process to see Dr Andrea Natele in Texas to do my next and what I hope to be my last Ablation. He is a pioneer in this procedure and one of  the top worldwide so needless to say I am excited to have the opporatunity. It is going to be a process but well worth the effort in the end.

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