Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dear Diary: August 13, 2014

I had a bit of a drama Wednesday, which landed me in the Emergency Room of the local hospital.  I was able to come home that evening.  Here's the account I sent to my sister and a couple of friends. 

Long story short: I just got home from the ER.  I'm ok, but doc tells me not to get far from home for the next 5 to 7 days.  So, alas, I will not go to Springfield tomorrow & Friday for the training.   
I woke up this morning feeling "weird."  Kinda shaky, dizzy, queasy, unsteady on my feet, and with a headache. I had had a rotten night of not good sleep.  Called in sick to the office and went back to bed.  Got up at noontime, not feeling a whole lot better, but determined to get to the office to prepare for the Springfield trip.  Finally went into the office about 2pm.  
While meeting with the Conservators in the lab from about 3 to 4pm, it got worse.  Got up from chair to get a pencil, and stumbled and nearly fell.  It happened again a bit later.  They were concerned, and I was increasingly concerned.  
Sandy suggested maybe it was low blood pressure, and urged me to go to my doc's office at JCMG, because they'll check blood pressure for walk ins.  I did a few more chores in the office.  I made it to the doctor’s office just before 5:00.
You need to know this about my blood pressure:  I joke that I have "lizard blood pressure."  The top # is usually in the 100 to 120 range, even when I race to the doctor because I'm running late.  In my life, that number has never been above 130.  
So they took me in.  BP was 160/82!   Then listened to my heart, and the nurse (glancing at me while listening), asked "Afib?"  I said, "No, not that I've ever known. Do I have it now?"  She kinda nodded and left the room.  She came back after talking with my doc, and told me to go straight to the ER.   
So I drove myself to St. Mary's and signed in.  I had to wait about 20 minutes before getting into triage.  I spent that time doing my best imitation of a Zen Buddhist: all calm and breathing deep. I think they called that "bio feedback" back in the day.  A way to calm your body's systems. Meanwhile, I was also terrified I was going to have a stroke or heart attack or something while waiting.  
Then they took me into the triage area.  Now my BP was 179 over 80'something.  Crap!  Nurse came and got me settled into a room, hooked me up to monitors, did the usual interview about symptoms.  
ER doc comes in.  Dr. Parks.  This is the same doc I saw several years ago when I woke up one morning with total paralysis of my right hand from the wrist down.  I'm sure she didn't recognize me, but I remembered her.  Liked her a lot.  
Over the course of the next two hours, they did an EKG.  Also monitored various things, like one test where they monitor you while lying down, then sitting up, then standing.  By this time, I was feeling better.  BP was down to the low 150s.  Still pretty darn high for me, but I wasn't feeling as horrible as I had been. 
There were long periods where they just left me alone, while continuing to monitor.  Dr. Parks comes back, having reviewed everything, and says she sees nothing critical.  She says I can go home.  She told me to (a) not travel for the next week and (b) check my blood pressure daily for the next week.  
I asked what the heck could cause my blood pressure to spike nearly 50 points higher than it has ever been.  She really didn't have an explanation.  Said that's why I need to do daily BP checks for the next week, to see if something's happening.  She also encouraged me to come back ASAP if it recurs.  
So here I am at home.  With no idea why this happened.   



Blogger JCF said...


Take CARE of yourself. Prayers ascending!

Tell us you have some kind of family&friend support, checking on you---as much as you can stand (if not moreso)?

8/15/2014 1:08 AM  
Blogger Robin+ said...

Dang, girl. Please find a friend nearby whom you can call to come and get you and take you to ER--or call 911--if this happens again. Don't drive if you're not feeling "normal."

I also normally have BP about 110/70. Onset of similar symptoms (and further testing) led to diagnosis of hyper-thyroidism (Graves' disease). Controllable with medication. Might check it out and have your Primary Care person consider it if the symptoms are consistent.

Be good to your own beautiful self!


8/15/2014 8:02 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you very much, JCF. Unfortunately, not really.
I used to joke that a Real Friend is one whom you can phone at 3 a.m. without a moment's hesitation, and they won't mind. I don't have one of those here.

8/15/2014 8:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Robin. Luckily, I live just 4 blocks from my preferred hospital. [And I may tell you a funny story about that.]

Tell me more about your "similar symptoms." As instructed, I got BP tested the next two days, and it's running in the 130s over low 80s. The 1st number is elevated for me, compared to the past. I'll keep monitoring for a week, as the ER doc suggested, and contact my primary doc [yes, thank goodness, I have one with whom I started when I got here in '98] if it stays up there.

Here's a funny symptom to which I hadn't paid attention 'til today. It feels like my eyes are "bugging out of my head." I've been aware of feeling increased pressure in my head, but this "eyes bugging out" sensation is weird.

Thanks for your encouragement and support.

8/15/2014 8:20 PM  
Blogger Apostle In Exile said...

Actually, the bulging eyes are a common symptom of hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease). Robin may have made a good guess. And as she said, thoroughly treatable.

Keep listing your symptoms here, and we'll have you safely diagnosed, treated and back to bouncing happily along, before you even get in to see your doctor!

(And you can call me any time at 3 a.m. Although the drive from California might not be the fastest way to get you to a hospital that's only 4 blocks from your house.)

Andee (despite the name Google is going to attach to my comment)

8/15/2014 9:42 PM  
Blogger IT said...

Thyroid disorders are pretty common in women Of a Certain Age. Mine is hypo, not hyper. Generally very medically treatable. Diagnosis starts with a simple blood test.

8/16/2014 2:00 PM  
Blogger IT said...

To add a bit: the thyroid is the regulator of your metabolism. An over-active thyroid is like having the idle on your car set too high--everything runs too fast. Sounds like time to see your Dr.

8/16/2014 2:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Wow! Thank you, Andee and I.T. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Hyperthyroidism! Who'd have thought??

Andee, thanks for your sweet offer. But I think I can walk to the ER before you can get here from California. ;) And thanks for giving me your real name; I wouldn't have known "Apostle in Exile."

IT, the ER doc said to come back if necessary, but otherwise to do BP monitoring for 1 week then contact my doc if things persist. So that's what I'm doing.

8/16/2014 8:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

BTW, I don't own a BP monitor, and am loathe to spend $60 or more on one unless I really have to. So I've been getting readings at local pharmacies and grocery stores that have those devices. Here are the readings so far:
Th., 10:30: 136/81
Fri., 11am: 133/78
Sat., 12:20p: 143/80

Thanks to all for your support.

8/16/2014 8:06 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Better readings today. Hooray! After church, I went to HyVee. I hadn't had coffee since 9:15 (before our 9:30 service), and hadn't had a cigarette since 10:45 (between the service and coffee hour). I also sat in the parking lot for about 5 minutes before going in, just to Get My Zen On. BP reading was 116/78, and pulse 93. That's normal for me. Yippee!

I've been wondering whether driving, coffee, and/or smoking may affect the readings. So after that good reading, I got my Starbucks double tall latte, went out to car, had a cigarette, and drank maybe 1/3 of the latte. Went back to the same machine about 15 minutes after the 1st reading, and this one was 122/79 with pulse of 93. Not much difference.

I'm very, very pleased to see these lower numbers! Shall I give credit to the Eucharist? :)

8/17/2014 3:25 PM  
Blogger Apostle In Exile said...

Absolutely! And to the cats. Never forget to give thanks to the cats, even if they didn't have anything to do with it.

And get your thyroid checked anyway. At least in cats, it sometimes fluctuates wildly when it's first starting to go hyper.

Hope you're starting to feel better too!


8/17/2014 8:19 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I shall definitely give thanks to the cats, though they had nothing to do with it.

8/18/2014 11:06 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm really tired of going to various stores and wondering whether their BP monitors are in synch. So yesterday I bought my own BP monitor. My reading this morning was 129/73. That's slightly elevated, but much more like what is normal for me.

I should add that I took a vacation day from work today.

8/18/2014 11:10 PM  

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