Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since I started on the oral antibiotic, and the side effects are kicking in. Hard. The past couple of days have been particularly miserable. Not only does it give me acid reflux, but it makes me extremely nauseated. Dry heaving, and worse yet, heaving bile every morning has been horrible. I don’t remember having such a hard time with it the last time I was on this particular med, but then again the last couple of years has been a big blobby blur of medicinal side effects tumbling about.
The worst part is that in addition to the nausea, my taste buds are being affected. Things are once again starting to taste sort of fuzzy and… off, for lack of a better word. For lunch I attempted to enjoy a cobb salad. I know I’m doomed when chicken tenders, bacon and avocado doesn’t taste good. I need to keep reminding myself that this is better than having to go through getting a PICC and having a home care nurse monitor me on iv meds.
On another cheery note, let me tell you about the lovely experience I had on Monday. Being a patient with lots of problems at a research driven teaching hospital means lots of request to access your medical records and participation in various studies. I signed away my old organs in the name of research, and I seem to find myself signing consent forms to use my blood and test results whenever I’m in the hospital. So, it came as no surprise when I got a call from this guy at UC asking if I’d participate in a study they’re doing on patients who has had a left heart cath within the last month. I was told it would be a one time CT scan. Thinking it would be just like a regular old CT that I always get before clinic, I agreed to come in.
What the guy failed to tell me was that it wasn’t just a regular old CT scan. It was a coronary CTA. Had I had a CT scan for my heart in the past it would have been obvious, but seeing as I had never had one before I made the wrong assumption. When I got to radiology, the doctor who is heading the study came out to meet me, and we sat down to sign consent. As soon as she started talk of the holding room and iv access I should have bailed.
As soon as she said contrast I knew I should have been fasting. I told her that the guy failed to inform me that I had to fast and that I would have to have contrast. I had just eaten a full meal for lunch not half an hour ago. Because of this she asked if I could stay an hour longer so that we can still get the scan. Being the idiot that I am, I agreed. Knowing how hospital time ran, I sent my mother home and told her I’d call when I was done.
I was eventually taken to the holding room where I was to have my vitals taken and an iv put in. It’s the same place I go to before and after my routine bronchoscopy. I really appreciated that I already knew the nurse who was helping me and was familiar with the routines. As I am sitting there getting my blood pressure and o2 stat measured, I learned that the study involved taking a normal heart rate and slowing it down to around 60 using drugs in order to capture the image on the CT and then reconstructed for a 3d image. The idea is that this procedure would replace the more invasive left heart caths.
My normal heart rate is around 110 because of my transplant. Since going from 110 to 60 is ridiculous, the goal was to get me down to around 80. Since this was out of the norm, the nurse called to consult with cardiology to make sure I had clearance from them before we proceeded. She was given the a-okay so they started the arduous process of finding a good vein for the iv. Since the contrast has to be pushed in at a higher rate, they needed to put in a 20 gauge catheter or larger. After two failed attempts, she called in a different nurse, and he was able to put in an appropriate iv into my right hand on the first shot with very minimal pain. My hero.
I think my nurse was still uncomfortable with my vitals, because she called the head nurse to come and take a look see. When the nurse came in, she immediately recognized me, greeted me by name and took over. When she decided to hook me up to the EKG ‘just to make sure’ I knew I was in over my head. At that point I should have left. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. Why is it so damn hard to just say no? It’s not like that saying wasn’t drilled into my head the whole of my childhood.
Finally we were ready to roll. For some reason we were set up to get the CT done in the ER. I get wheeled down there and put on the table only to find out that my diastolic blood pressure was too low. It was in the normal range in the holding room, but for some reason it decided to drop. After a couple of re-tries and then a manual reading, it was determined that this would be a no-go. Concerned, the research doctor sent me back to the holding room while she called my cardiologist.
My cardiologist said that if I wasn’t feeling faint or light headed she wasn’t too concerned because apparently my base line diastolic blood pressure is on the low side. Really!? Really?! Was my high resting heart rate and low blood pressure not an issue when they decided to ask me to be in the study? They couldn’t have figured this all out BEFORE I was called in, hooked up to an iv, EKGed, and on the CT table?! I ended up leaving a little after 2:30 and was home just before 3.
In order to inject some sort of positive energy into this pathetic post, here is a peek at the socks I’m currently working on.
Aren’t the little sheepies so cute?