Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We dodged another Bullet-Part One

     Tuesday afternoon Richard had an appointment with his cardiologist. Just a follow-up for the carotid stent procedure that was done in October. Not a big deal. He was doing good. No problems. Or so we thought!
     We were shown to the exam room. The nurse took his BP and pulse. I asked what they were. Like I always do.BP 106/60. Not too bad. Pulse 112. WHAT?? He usually runs about 56-60. Okay, she probably didn't count right. After she leaves the room, I get up to take his pulse. WHAT?? It is 110. Well he did walk all the way back into this room. And climbed up on an exam table. That is all that it is. Exertion!
     The doctor comes into the room. He examines him. He sits down and begins to ask him questions. Richard looks to me for the answers. He has done this since his stroke. But this is a 'no nonsense' doctor who wants the patient to answer the questions. So.......he finally gets around to the elevated pulse and says that he would like to run an EKG. Okay. Good idea!
     So in comes the EKG machine. Now I can read an EKG....a little. I am not an expert by any means. But I do know a bad EKG...and this one didn't look good. Back into the room comes the doctor with the EKG in hand. He says 'this is a fatal rhythm and he needs to be admitted to ICU at the hospital' What did he say? FATAL!
     Now my darling husband does not like being in the hospital. Wait! Not like might be not a strong enough word. He HATES being in the hospital and he doesn't want to go. I tell him that the final decision is his. He is 78 years old and it should be his choice. But I make sure that he understands that it could be FATAL.
     He decides that maybe he should go to the hospital.
     So off to the hospital we go. It is just across the street. We make it through the admission process and off we go to the ICU. Hey, they remember us from our last stay. Several of the nurses come to the room to greet
They also know me. This is the same hospital where I worked for 23 years.
     He is hooked up to the heart monitor, an IV is started. The BP cuff is attached. An o2 sat monitor is taped to his finger. And the Lab people come in to draw his initial labs. We are on the way. And by the way, his heart rate doesn't look so bad right now. But he is going in and out of V-tach. For anyone who doesn't know....that is the FATAL rhythm. The nurse is waiting for the IV Amiodorone to come from the pharmacy. This will be the first line of action. And if the medication doesn't work...then in the morning they will plan to do a cardioversion. Shock him for all the lay people who are reading. Now we settle in to let the medication do it's magic.
     NOPE.....no relaxing here. The nurse comes in and says that his hemoglobin is 6.5. And his potassium is 2.0. Those are very low counts. She calls the doctor. Four units of blood are to be typed and cross/matched and 2 will be given now. And he will get two oral doses of potassium and four IV packets of potassium. He is a very sick man.......Again!
      But he doesn't look all that sick. And he doesn't act all that sick. But he must be. Because those kinds of lab results show that he is sick.
     The blood transfusion is started. They start a second IV site so that he can get the potassium. So, three IV sites are now going. They are monitoring his heart continuously and his BP is being taken every 15 minutes.
I go home for a short bit. Talk with the kids and my son. Make some phone calls. Grab a hamburger and a coke. And head back to the hospital to stay with him until he is ready to settle in and go to sleep for the night.......

(to be continued)
    






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