I only went for an appointment with a Cardiologist - I didn't expect to come back out of hospital permanently three weeks later!!!
Right now your friendly Blogger is feeling very guilty for not posting anything on here for the past month and a bit. It was my original intention to post a blog after my appointment with my Cardiologist - except I had not got my laptop with me at that time and it turned out that being attached to a wall by your nose isn't exactly conducive for blogging anyway (particularly when you are having severe trouble breathing on your own).
Please accept my apologies for the sarcasm but - it has honestly been one of those situations where if I am not sarcastic about it I will probably offer myself up as target practice for one or two Firearms Officers I know from Twitter to put me out of my misery.
The ironic thing was I actually learned that my heart's function/capacity has increased somewhat - it is now 45% in the left side and 25% in the right side. (Considering that 50% is considered to be "normal" optimum capacity for each side my left side isn't too bad.)
Anyway. I realised I had a bit of a slight problem when I was trying to get to my appointment. Correction - I realised I had a bit of a problem when I was trying to get to the bus stop in the video I posted in the blog post about me and sunshine. I felt "puffy"- almost to the same point I was before I was admitted last year.
I had planned it so I could go to the Oncology Department at Leicester Royal Infirmary to pick up some Bloodtest forms (which I needed for the next week) then catch a bus to Glenfield Hospital to go to my appointment. Well - I kind of managed to do that. Just not at my normal speed. In fact, I felt so bad that I ended up doing something which I hate it when other people do it - I caught a bus between two bus stops within 30 metres of each other (I usually think people are lazy when they do that).
Anyway - I got to Glenfield approximately an hour before my appointment time (this is very unsual for me). When it came to getting my blood pressure measured I got very scared (but I didn't say anything to anyone) - from what I remember my blood pressure at that point was 134. Not only is this very high for me - it is high for most people at rest.
Then I saw Dr Chin (Cardiologist) - who gave me the good news about my heart. Unfortunately I told him about some symptoms I had been having at night (waking up unable to breathe full stop one night and waking up - going to the loo, going back to bed, then feeling like I was not long for this world whilst gasping for breath). Dr Chin didn't like the sound of that very much so he sent me for a chest xray - on foot. When I arrived back in his office I had difficulty breathing - so he subjected me to a Blood Sats check - that came up at 88% (anything under 90% gets you free bed and board in a hospital), then he got me to do a "Peak Flow" test (before he did the "Peak Flow" test he did say that he was trying not to admit me - that didn't work). So I ended up being admitted into Glenfield Hospital. I didn't mind that bit - what I did mind, however, was being told it could either be a blood clot on the lung (potential immediate death) or asthma (potential not-so-immediate death). My English Grandma had had asthma and she seemed to cope with it. (Remember the Asthma thing - we will come back to it later.)
To cut a very long story short - it turned out that the original cause of my breathlessness was actually fluid in the lung (potentially caused by the cancer - the words "Lymph fluid" were mentioned). This was drained. You won't be surprised to learn how relieved I was that it was only 600 millilitres and not the "500 litres" which I originally misheard the amount as.
Then I was discharged. This turned out to be a major mistake. Luckily Glenfield had done themselves (and me) a major favour by booking me a Dr's appointment for the day after I was discharged. (I should have had my implant implanted and my Vitamin D injection injected on the day I was discharged but Glenfield didn't have them in stock so they talked to the surgery and booked the appointment.)
I got home feeling absolutely fine. Then I went to bed and started to have trouble breathing again. I put this down to the usual thing of "come out of hospital - go downhill and then start recovering properly" - except it didn't quite turn out like that.
I didn't sleep very well the night I was discharged. In fact - I had the worst night's sleep I have ever had. I eventually got what I call "proper" snooze between 6am and 9.45am the next morning. My appointment for my injection and implant was at 11.50am - and I had to go to the Chemist's and attempt to collect both the injection and the implant on my way to the surgery (the surgery is across the road from the Chemist's). There were two major red flags which alerted me to the fact that I might not exactly have been functioning at 100% at that point. These were (1) I ended up clinging to lampposts so I could catch my breath whilst walking up the hill (usually I can walk it in a matter of minutes without stopping) and I had to prop myself up against the counter whilst I was waiting to be served. (2) When I found out that the injection hadn't turned up I didn't have either the energy or the breath to argue with the staff in the Chemist's (if you have read my Facebook statuses you will know that I usually argue and have a go at them if my prescriptions are not available when I expect them to be).
Then I made my way to the Surgery. The nurse who implanted the implant took one look at me and decided I was not really in a fit state for anything. She told me I sounded "wheezy" and I obviously had trouble breathing. She spoke to the Dr who gave me two doses of Sabutamol and promptly attached me to an oxygen tank - before calling an ambulance. (After the Sabutamol I actually felt as though I could have walked back home. Thank goodness I didn't.)
The "fun" part came when I was installed in the ambulance. Apparantly, Glenfield didn't have any spaces for trollies when I was due to go straight there. So, the next question was - how am I going to be transported to A & E at Leicester Royal Infirmary??? I could go as a "blue lights" case or I could go as what I classify as a "van" case. Apparantly, had I not been stable when attached to the wall of the ambulance by my nose (on oxygen in other words) I would have been a "blue lights" case. Phew.
What really upset me was the fact that one of the Drs in A & E told me that I might be going home instead of to Glenfield. Why was I so upset by this??? At that point I was on 8 litres per minute of oxygen and I actually was at the point where even I admitted that a hospital was the best place for me. Let's just say that I hate hospitals with a passion you can only dream of - and getting me to admit I should actually be admitted into one really means that things are extremely serious (to the point of "potentially life-threatening").
Eventually, I got a chest xray (they thought that the fluid might have come back into the lung they had drained). I had discounted the return of the fluid for one very simple reason - the timespan between the draining and the recurrence of the symptoms was too great (when the fluid came back into my chest last year after the initial drainage I had severe difficulty breathing after 12 hours instead of over 24 hours).
I was working on the (eventually proved 95% certain) assumption that it was in fact asthma which had caused my readmission. More to the point - I was actually working on the assumption (which was also proven correct) that the readmission could have been prevented by fitting me up with at least one inhaler before I was originally discharged. The inhalers were actually mentioned on my original discharge letter - I just hadn't seen any, let alone touched any. (There again - the discharge letter admitted that it had "been typed from notes instead of seeing the patient".)
Just to confuse both me and the situation completely there was a question mark as to whether or not it was actually asthma or something called "Cardiac Asthma" - which is when seemingly asthma symptoms show up as a result of Heart Failure.
Eventually, I was given the diagnosis that it was indeed a 95% chance of being asthma (am now waiting for further tests) as well as two inhalers (hooray).
Now I am just waiting for the tests to prove whether or not it is asthma - as well as the next appointment with my Oncologist.
I did take it easy for the first few days after I came out of hospital - then I got bored of being at home and decided to go into town for a while today. I survived the experience better than I thought I would - no breathing troubles, no exhaustion, etc. Don't worry - I am not planning on doing any marathon trips for the next couple of weeks.
If you are one of my friends I would like to take this opportunity to send you a BIG THANK YOU HUG for your support and friendship during this escapade. Yes - I know I may sound like a broken record but it really means a lot to know I have got people standing next to me.
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