Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Friday, February 05, 2010

A little blip in the day

So this morning started out like any other morning. I got Angela up a little early so we could pick up Tyler at work. (22 miles away, he doesn't have a car.) I was going to drop Tyler off at home, then Angela at school since it was 15 minutes earlier than they're expecting her. (she starts school 90 minutes after the other kids.) But I realized I wasn't feeling quite right. Very tired and thought maybe I'd lay down and take a nap before I had to head to class. So I dropped her off, and Tyler and I headed for home.

We couldn't get the car up the driveway because of the snow last night. (those of you who've seen our nightmare driveway know what I'm talking about.) And, just as we came around the corner we met the snow plow, as he left a big pile of snow blocking the driveway. Grrrr... We parked the car on the street and walked up the very steep hill. Wow, was I ever tired! Not tired out of breath, but tired like I could curl up right there on the driveway and sleep.

Tyler had just worked a 13 hour overnight shift, so I asked him to start the snowblower for me so I could do the driveway. "Never mind, I'll do it." he said.

I went inside to pick up the kitchen quick. The cleaning person was coming sometime today and the sink was full of dishes.

As I stood at the sink, I realized I was out of breath., I'm REALLY out of just...can't....seem breath.

That's when I realized my heart was going to jump out of my chest, it was beating so fast.

It's called Supraventricular Tachycardia, and it's pretty common in my family.

Awwww man! I haven't had this problem in 8 years. Crap. I checked my pulse....230...crap.....catch my breath....crap....

Go to google, "When to call the doctor...."

Got off the computer and called my sister, who had to have surgery to correct her tachycardia. "How fast ...did....your heart..... rate get?

"Why? Are you tachy? What are you at?"


"Ok, how long has it been."

"10..min..minutes..or so. I' the doctor."

I called the doctors office, and started talking to the nurse, who quickly put me on hold so she could find the Triage nurse. She was on the phone in a few seconds.

" 2....230...but...think it's faster now."

"I want you to count it out loud for me. If it's gone up, it's going to keep going up. If it's stabilzed at 230 it's going to stop soon."

I started to count, the beats, but they were too fast for me to count really.

"You're at 270-280. You need to hang up and call 911. NOW!"

It was getting harder to breathe, and I was starting to feel a little panicky. As I dialed 911 I thought of Tyler outside who had no idea what was going on in the kitchen.

The operator talked to me for a few minutes. Asked if I was alone while she dispatched the ambulance. She asked me where Tyler was, and said to have him put any pets away.

I opened the door to holler for Tyler, only I didn't have the breath to holler, and he couldn't hear me over the snowblower. My sister was calling on the other phone. The operator said the ambulance was almost here, so she was going to hang up. ( I was a little surprised by this!) But DO NOT move out of your chair. Just SIT THERE.

I hung up the phone, and looked at the 4 big dogs staring at me. I told them all to "go kennel", and they looked at me like I was nuts. Mom's sick, we're NOT MOVING! I went downstairs so the dogs would follow, and they all went into their kennels like the good dogs they area.

Getting up the stairs wasn't so easy. I got back to the kitchen, and I was getting sooooo dizzy. Tyler came to the front door to ask me something, and I was bent over a kitchen chair. I told him, "I just.... called... an ambulance...formyheart. Go watch for 'em."

The phone rang again, and it was my sister. "Are they there yet?"

I'd been like this for about 30 minutes at this point, and it was taking it's toll. "' breath.....whew.....I...I hear the siren...."

From my chair in the kitchen I could see the ambulance at the end of the driveway.

And that's when it stopped.

Not my heart, but the tachycardia. That's the nature of Tachycardia. It's like someone has your heart on a light switch. Flip it on, and the heart goes from normal to racing. It doesn't "speed up" gradually, it's just suddenly FAST. And, it stops the same way. You go from tachy to normal as if someone turns the light switch off.

The paramedics came in the door. I was still VERY out of breath, but my heart wasn't going to crash through my chest anymore. It only took a second for them to get me on the monitor and the oxygen monitor. My heart rate, while down, was still at 120, (my normal resting heart rate is 64) and my sats were in the high 80's. My blood pressure 140/90 (normally I'm 90/70 or so.) I was still dizzy, and according to the paramedics I was quite pale. My heart had a normal sinus rhythm, it was just a very fast one. (in other words, no extra beats.)

They did a print out so I could see it. Asked me a gazillion questions, all the while it's getting a little easier to breathe.

After about 20 minutes, my heart rate was down to 99, and my blood pressure, while still a little elevated for me, was coming down to normal limits, and my sats were back to normal.

"You really need to go with us to the hospital"

Yeah, see, that's the problem with Tachycardia. If they don't catch you in the middle of an episode, there is no way to treat you or know what's going on. It took SEVERAL years for my sisters to be correctly diagnosed. Even wearing a holter monitor they weren't able to catch it, because she didn't have an episode that whole week. (but did have one like 2 days after the monitor came off!) When they did finally get hers diagnosed they realized she needed surgery to correct it.

So, I opted out of a ride in their very fun looking ambulance. Besides, I had a math test in 90 minutes. Can't miss that! LOL

They weren't very happy with me, but agreed, nothing can be done if I'm not tachy while being seen. They put me back on the monitor, and gave me another print out. It looked a lot different than the one when they first got there! I PROMISED to call if it started again, only this time I'd call RIGHT AWAY so hopefully we can get it on the monitor so we can see what's going on.

I wasn't feeling back to normal yet. Kinda shakey (from the adrenaline) and still slightly out of breath. They told me, "In an hour you're going to crash, and you'll want to sleep for several hours."

I did FEEL like crashing, but it was in the middle of my math test. All I really wanted to do was put my head down and close my eyes, instead of figuring out what to do with the fractions in front of me.

I came home and intended to sleep. I wanted to sleep. It just didn't happen.

I promised my mom (and my sister, and Dean, and whoever else happened to find out and call me today) that I would get into the doctor. I did call, and they were going to call me back with an appointment, but I missed the call. I'll call first thing Monday morning.

The annoying thing is, I could go another 10 years without a problem, or I could have another episode tonight.

I'm finally headed to be for the first time, 14 hours after the little blip in my day. I'm looking forward to the sleep


My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. Holy cow that must have been scary. Hope the doctor can help without having to wait for the next one to occur. Could an episode like this make you pass out? And if so, would Angela know what to do? I just had this conversation with another mom who has a teen with Ds and her husband travels alot so the two of them are home alone often and that is one of the things they are working on right now with the daughter. It got me thinking about Sarah and me especially when we are in Columbus just the two of us. We have a safety plan that we practice for a fire but I never thought about me passing out. I'm still thinking about how to go about that with her though so she will understand. Well hope you have no more tachy's until you get to the doc. Oh and I hope you Aced the math test:)

Lund7 said...

Wow Leah! That is really scary! I sure hope you don't have another one of those episodes any time soon! Just relax and feel better this weekend!!!

JennyH said...

Hope you did good on the math test.

How scary for you. Glad you are OK now.

Googsmom said...

OMG! {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

Kathie Brinkman said...

Oh Leah! Scary girl. glad you called 911 though. Could this have been caused by all the stress you've been under--school, angela, bulgaria, tyler, school, dogs, etc., etc.?