Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I'm Like The "John Wayne" of Health

Yes, I've been gone for a while.  I had a "little" issue that landed me in ICU for two days, and 3 days in a "regular" room after that.  Here's the story:

First, in my own defense, I did not recognize any different symptoms.  With RA-Lung, some shortness of breath and lightheadedness just goes with the territory.  And I'm on pain killer, so I didn't notice any worsening or "new" pain.  That being said, once again, I faced down death.  Apparently, God still has a plan in action for me, because I really should not have walked away from this one.

I went to bed Saturday night, 19 November, as I usually do.  Nothing to report, all systems normal (my RA "normal").  Sunday morning when I woke up to go to the bathroom (and its only about 15 feet from my bed to the bath door), I had to stop 1/2 way there, gasping for breath, like I'd just run a 5K, heart racing and pounding.  WTF now???  So all day Sunday, I just laid around in the chair.  I couldn't move around without feeling like I was going to faint.  And of course, I'm so predictable, I got up the next morning, dressed and came to work.

I already have my own handicap parking spot right next to the building, 30 maybe 40 feet from the front door.  By the time I got thru the door, I almost buckled.  The security guy came running around with a chair and then helped me to my office.  The whole time I'm thinking "I should have stayed home....something is very wrong".  Once I got to my office, I called my friend Pam in the safety office which is where we keep the nurse too, but who was not yet in.  Pam came up with that little Sat meter that measures how much oxygen is getting to the blood.  As long as I was sitting, it was 95, perfect.  Then I got up and walked around my desk one time, and my sat rate dropped to 78.  Pam tried to talk me into calling 911.  She got the work nurse on the phone, and told her and she agreed, 911.  I was not about to be hauled out of here in an ambulance.  Pam had also brought up the wheel chair, of which I was MOST grateful, got me out to the car, drove me home and Leslie (another dear friend) followed her to bring her back.  Tim took me to the ER.

Got there, got checked in.  Leslie's son is an RN in the ER, so she had already called him to tell him I was on the way, and he brought me straight back, no waiting.  LOVE HIM!!  As long as I was still and calm, no problem.  Soon as I'd start talking, or get up and walk, my sat rate plummeted.  In my mind, I'm thinking "well, the ILD is progressing, I guess I'm going to be on oxygen now"  which, by the way, they did shove the oxygen thingy in my nose, and I was mucho better immediately.  but anyway, the ER doctor got in touch with Dr. G, and he ordered a CT with contrast.  People, when the ER doctor came in and told me the results, you could have knocked me over with a feather.  Pulmonary Embolism never even hit my radar.    Blood clots in both lungs, and both legs.  5 days in the hospital.  I had a DVT in my left leg with complete obstruction back in 2012, it just never occurred to me that I had them in my lungs.  The symptoms of PE are the same as the ILD, only magnified by 1,000.

My Rheumy, Dr. I, came to see me, she said "Do you know how blessed you are?"  I said "ummm yes!"  Apparently, a couple of the clots stopped just before they reached my heart.  I came close this time.  Bad news, as if it could get more bad, there is "infarction", which simply means the tissue around the clots in my lungs has already died.  In short, I will never breath the same again.  I have a new drug now, for life.  Blood thinner.

Depression.  Despair.  And trying to keep a good attitude.  Still putting together my papers to take early retirement/disability.  There's so much going around in my head, that I think I'll leave it for tomorrow.  At the moment, I am back at work, and playing catch up.  And...well, there's just a LOT going around in my head that I need to get down in writing.  Just maybe not today.

So yes, back at work.  But moving at a snails pace.  I can't let my heart rate go up, or my chest will hurt and I get very dizzy.  I have to be careful not to even let myself get angry or upset, nothing that makes my heart beat faster.  People.....I am a slug.  But I'm a living slug.  I walked away, again, from a serious blood clot condition.  That's twice now!  God is good.  :)

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