Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Wish I Had A Crystal Ball

I wasn't going to share much of what is going on with my life right now with you here on the blog. But my whole life is being so affected by the shit going on that I have to get some of it off my chest. I scared, worried and constantly wondering what is going to strike me next.

As you know, I was finally diagnosed with high blood pressure a little over a month ago. Despite going on medicine for it, it continued to give me problems with daily readings averaging 180/130. I was finally able to see a cardiologist at Galenia Hospital in Cancun last week. A fine facility with good doctors. The diagnosis there was arterial blockage to the heart. Probably another gift from Marlboro for 49 years of being a faithful customer.

He changed my medications and put me on three different pills, taken daily for the rest of my life. I have a color doppler electrocardiogram scheduled for early January. The Rx says "ecocardiogram" but I am assuming that is just the Spanish translation. He will be able to tell the extent of the blockage at that point and either 1)keep me on the same regime, 2) change up my medications or 3) recommend surgery to try to correct it. Needless to say, I would get another opinion if #3 is the plan. I also have one of those little pills I have to carry with me constantly should I experience sudden, intense chest pain.

Then came Sunday night. Saturday had been an awful day for me, heart rate continuing to run faster than a Formula One race car revving up. Blood pressure still too high. I spent most of the day in bed or on the computer. I am getting quite good at Match 3 games! Sunday dawned like a whole new day. I felt fine. I couldn't feel my heart beating in my chest and my blood pressure had dropped to 170/120. I was even able to iron 4 shirts before my energy gave out and I had to go back to being lazy. We even made plans to go downtown and visit with friends we haven't seen for weeks. No big outing, just a couple of hours maybe. Let people know I am fine. Plus there was some sort of lighting festival going on and I wanted to get pictures.

I had put a chicken on the rotisserie and Bob was making 7 grain wild rice. The house was full of the aroma of grilling chicken. Life seemed good at that moment. While waiting for things to cook, I was sitting at my laptop playing another mindless Match 3 game and Bob was busy matching jewels on Bejeweled, his current addiction. Then it hit.

Out of nowhere, I suddenly felt like somebody had walked up to a campfire, grabbed a burning stick and shoved it squarely and deeply into my left eye. The pain was intense and I immediately had a burning headache on the whole left side of my head. My computer screen went all out of focus and I was so dizzy that I thought I was going to throw up. I think it was the understatement of the week when I turned to Bob and said, "I don't feel good." His reaction was to immediately jump up and grab an aspirin. For me, not him, although I'm sure he could have used one too at that point! (later, the doctor told him that that was exactly the right thing to do and a stroke of genius. I'm so lucky to have him as a caregiver)

I assured him that I was not having chest pain. I stood up, thinking I needed to go lie down or something. I could hardly see. It was like opening your eyes under water when everything had been stirred up by a storm. He had to take me by the arm and lead me. I could only walk to the left! No matter how I tried to put one foot in front of the other, I only went in circles to the left.

There is no 911 here. Only the shitty, understaffed with rude people who think they are God but have no idea, hospital downtown. And the Red Cross, which is a fine organization and deserves more respect and money. I sat on the edge of my bed with my fist pressed into my eye socket and Bob quickly got on the computer. He read me the symptoms, by way of asking me questions, and I had 3 out of 5 symptoms for Stroke. I called my doctor and he told me to get to the hospital and he would meet me there.

This is getting to be too long of a post so I will continue with the second part tomorrow. As you may have guessed, I am fine and still alive though!

26 comments:

Life's a Beach! said...

Oh Wayne. Glad you're still alive, but I'm more than worried. As far as surgery for heart blockages, it can be a lifesaver! My father had bypass surgery done by DeBakey back in the 1970's and lived another 30 years until something else got him. So blockages can be taken care of and your quality of life totally restored! Hope they're doing something now to get your B.P. down. I'm thinking of you and hoping you get it all taken care of quickly! And I obviously can't wait for the next installment to find out what happened. Hang in there and get this solved!

Jackie said...

How scary! You need to get this under control ASAP.Please take care.

Leah Flinn said...

Hope you are ok, will be praying for you today.

Anonymous said...

wayne, you have mail
carl/debbie

threecollie said...

That is so frightening. I really hope the rest of this story contains better news. You take care!

Anonymous said...

Well, Wayne, it sounds as if you've been taking the correct reactive steps, but it also sounds like you need to go somewhere very competent to have a complete physical and get to the bottom of all of this.

I know it can be scary .... at 63, I've gone through a bunch of equally frightening scenarios, but you need to find out everything that's going on.

Is a trip back to the states feasible?

I'm thinking of you, my man....

O Robert

Steve Cotton said...

This is just plain scary.

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you. I hope you and the docs can get everything under control.

Isla Deb said...

That is very scarey, Wayne. I'm glad you're okay for now, but I hope you get these problems resolved. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I second the suggestion of coming to the US for heart issues...not sure of the test in Jan. but based on personal experience seems like next step is Angiogram and if they don't like what they see they usually want surgery asap. Also with heart issues I would not be comfortable waiting until Jan. and maybe that has changed with part two of your story. I hope it all works out...good luck.

Jonna said...

Oh Wayne! How horribly frightening. I know what a good caregiver you have and also know you are brave, so while I'm sure you will do all you can to find an answer to this I am scared. If you need (or want) a 2nd opinion in Mérida, let me know. I'm at your service.

Leslie Limon said...

I'm usually a silent reader of your blog, but I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Leslie Limon said...

I'm usually a silent reader of your blog, but I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

john said...

Wayne-I have to agree with those who urge you to go to the states for this. I had a heart attack in Mexico, was treated in a Mexican hospital, then went north for a followup where my doctor wouldn't let me out of his office except by ambulance because my rhythms were so bad. These days I visit the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Hospital in Houston--the gold standard in heart care.

"Ecocardiogram" is Spanish for echocardiogram. It's a kind of sonogram that will let your doctor see how well blood moves through your heart.

I hope you don't delay getting treatment. When your heart and circulation goes south, things can happen quickly and damage can be permanent. I waited two weeks from my first angina pains and the subsequent attack scarred a third of my heart.

I'm praying for you.

IslaZina said...

Ecocardiogram is like a regular EKG with the operly of ultrasound, so they can see the little heart spasms or whatever is happened on the graph and take a picture.
The eye thing is scary! Did anyone suggest you take fish oil? That an baby aspirin can keep your platlets from sticking together so you don't throw a clot. oh my oh my. The cardiologist did tell you to cease and disist the Marlboro's, right? Need anything, shot me an email. Hugs.

Brenda said...

Sounds like a stroke; but hoping that the next installment says that it wasn't.
Take care, get off that island and get some decent health care!
Thinking of you.

Andrea Healey said...

Hang in there Wayne. You are doing all the right things (I hope you are NOT smoking!). Get a second opinion, I know surgery is scary but it can resore your quality of life. I am sending good karma and loving thoughts.

Nancy said...

Wayne,

Maybe I am just a little Pollyanna over here but I am hoping that this is the scare you need to get off cigarettes and make some changes to let you live many many more enjoyable years.

I believe you can get excellent care in Mexico but I guess I am surprised that you are waiting until January for an echo. Seems like that is the diagnosis tool that should be done first. If I were you I would go to Merida to the cardiologist someone recommended (I can't remember who) and get the echo while you're there.

Please please please.

Love you, Nancy

KfromMichigan said...

Getting that B.P. under control is a must. My hubby changed pills three times til the right one was working. Now he is taking two different B.P. pills to control his pressure. If you come NOB and need a great heart doctor .. let me know. Hubby has a great one. My prayers are with you. And please try NOT to worry!

Kathy said...

first off, HUGE hugs Wayne-O. I'm sending huge waves of positive energy (don't laugh!) northward. :) For everyone else worried about the care here, Hospiten is an excellent facility (I personally know someone whose wife is an RN and had an emergency quad bypass there and they had NO complaints - nor did their stateside docs) in CUN and Star Medica in Merida is even better. Many many DF docs and US-trained docs live and work here in Merida and Cancun. The only worry I have for Wayne and his care is being so isolated there on the island. I know that you can get immediate tests and treatment here - Wayne can you ask your cardio to bump up your tests? Maybe stay mainland-side until you find out what's what?

You know you always have a bed here but our Hospiten doesn't have a resident cardio like CUN does.

Huge hugs and impatiently awaiting the 2nd installment. You know how to titilate your audience. :)

Kathy said...

first off, HUGE hugs Wayne-O. I'm sending huge waves of positive energy (don't laugh!) northward. :) For everyone else worried about the care here, Hospiten is an excellent facility (I personally know someone whose wife is an RN and had an emergency quad bypass there and they had NO complaints - nor did their stateside docs) in CUN and Star Medica in Merida is even better. Many many DF docs and US-trained docs live and work here in Merida and Cancun. The only worry I have for Wayne and his care is being so isolated there on the island. I know that you can get immediate tests and treatment here - Wayne can you ask your cardio to bump up your tests? Maybe stay mainland-side until you find out what's what?

You know you always have a bed here but our Hospiten doesn't have a resident cardio like CUN does.

Huge hugs and impatiently awaiting the 2nd installment. You know how to titilate your audience. :)

Mary said...

Wayne, I am sending your good thoughts and positive energy from snowy Iowa.

Anonymous said...

GIP, I 2nd and 3rd what others have said. Do not want to scare you but with a BP like that you are a walking time bomb. I heard that Hospiten in Cancun is the only place they do angiograms and rated hghly for cardiac disorders. Galenia is a beautiful and modern hosp.(my husband was in patient there,rooms like a 5 star hotel. BUT, if he had cardiac promblem off to Hospiten we would go. PLEASE, get that BP down ! USA guidelines for BP are 120 or lower over 70 or lower. Take that baby asprin every day.

D and B W said...

Hang in there Wayne, take care of yourself and please keep us posted.

lisa said...

As you can read, we all care and hope you can get things under control. High blood pressure sure is not fun, my hubby has it and the medicine is a pain alone. I hope that everything else turns out. We are thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read blogs since Monday, and am upset to hear this news. Do all you can to get the BP down - smoking is bad for a LOT of things, BP and heart included.

I pray for better health for you.

Linda
IC