Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Home from the Hospital

I try to have a healthy and happy outlook toward the things which happen here on Earth. I will admit to being annoyed and concerned over four, six to ten hour episodes of symptomatic atrial fibrillation since January 29th.     Late last night I headed to the hospital for admission to a short stay cardiac unit for my fourth significant heart rhythm disturbance since the end of January.     My Dad passed of thirty plus years of controlled atrial fibrillation before passing in his eighties. Daniel is felt to have passed of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance, but since this is a functional issue, there were no indications of it, other than his obviously having passed, on autopsy.       One of my other sons had a cardiac ablation for paroxysmal a-fib more than a year ago. I should have a better outlook here. This is not a family health problem come now to roost upon me, to take my life and perhaps my mobility in slivers and slices.  It is a chance in which to obtain care, using the histories of these other beloved family members, so that I can remain on Earth as long as possible to help our four remaining children who also remain on Earth.. I need to see things as they are. Still, this is not easy.   I am not accustomed to feeling less energy, being dizzy, or taking medications.

Despite having the best electrophysiology cardiologist around, I am disillusioned with some of the resident and fellowship staff with whom he works. I am overwhelmed by the huge university medical center, the poor communication and lack of customer/patient concern. I find it hard to make it while in a-fib, from the parking deck to the lobby and registration center for my admission. As I make my way in this huge center, I cannot help but wonder how elderly people or those with nausea from chemotherapy navigate such a place. The hospital staff sometimes seems rude, abrupt, if not occasionally only marginally competent. I don't often bring up as a patient that I am a registered nurse with thirty years of experience including some as an instructor in a college for medical and nursing courses. Sadly, several times today I had to. I think it's time to look for another hospital with less ongoing construction, better patient service, calmer staff with better communication skills, etc.    I was there many hours. I received an i.v., an EKG, and was placed on a cardiac monitor. The plan was to administer the drug I had been given earlier, by mouth, to ensure that I could not only convert to a regular sinus rhythm, but that the drug given was safe for me. If this conversion did not occur, then I would have been cardioverted with electrical paddles. I entered atrial fibrillation at 0140, and was chemically cardioverted by about 1300.
According to my cardiologist, it is too soon to tell whether I can continue to take medication just when atrial fibrillation occurs, or whether I will need a drug to prevent arrhythmia on a regular basis. A cardiac ablation, not an easy procedure, may well be necessary in the future. Thus far, no one has asked about or referred me for the uptick in asthma I have noted since the viral respiratory infection I had in January which precipitated the first of the a-fib events. My Dad worked very hard to remain on Earth with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation which became intractable. Daniel was never diagnosed, and was asymptomatic until his passing. Adam for now, seems free of atrial fib. It looks as if I will fall somewhere in between all of them. I just can't wait to get all the bills for four episodes of a-fib with even brief hospitalizations.   As I speak, our insurance company is probably plotting ways in which to remove me from their rolls, and I don't know how much I am kidding about that.


Update:   We never did get the bills for this months hospitalizations.   They were sent to our insurance company who paid their share, and then rather than sending bills for the remainder to us, they were sent directly to a collection agency.  This has happened before.  Yes, it's time to find another hospital.                                                                                                                        

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