Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Update and My New Best Friend

Yesterday was both really good and really bad:

Good: woke up feeling great, so I thought I'd do my usual morning routine of cleaning up the mess after everyone left for school, as well as dress Rachael and get her breakfast. (Brandon did most of the work getting everyone off, but then he had to go to work himself. Would be nice if he could just drop everything and sit here dabbing my forehead with a cool cloth, but somebody's got to pay my medical bills!)

Bad: had a random attack (sudden 'whoosh' followed by feeling faint with racing heart and tingling) just as someone was knocking on the door to come pick up Rachael.

Good: racing heart wasn't so bad and I got myself calmed down pretty soon after Rachael left, and got up again to go to the bathroom a little while later.

Bad: worse attack than before, got so freaked out I called a neighbor friend to come over and just be with me.

Good: my friend had one of her friends pick up her daughter from pre-school and bring her over to my house, and she came in to talk for a few minutes. Turned out she had an artificial heart valve put in when she was 15 and had so many crazy heart stories that I immediately calmed down as I sat looking at this young, healthy mother of three. After hearing what she had been through, it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps I wasn't on the brink of death after all. (As Brandon likes to say, "it takes a lot to die.")

Also good: Brandon got an appointment for me to see another cardiologist tomorrow, and while they were talking about my possible ASD/PFO, this doctor said, "which is it?" Apparently they are very different, and it's hard to tell the difference without a "better look." They talked about them at the hospital like they were interchangeable, but I guess not.  It was interesting, because around the same time I got a random comment on my blog from "anonymous" (thank you!) saying this very thing happened to her friend--she was diagnosed with a PFO, but when they went in to do the closure they discovered it was actually an ASD and luckily did the appropriate repair. (I can't explain the difference to you because I'm not sure myself!)

Better: not only did I get an appointment with this other cardiologist tomorrow, but there was also an opening in the afternoon to get the esophageal echo cardiagram done so we can see exactly what is going on in there. This does NOT sound fun (they go through the esophagus to get a closer look at the heart), but they'll use something called Versed to put me out, which has short term memory erasing properties, so I'm counting on not remembering a thing! (Brandon uses it for vasectomies all the time and says it's great.) I'm actually looking forward to getting knocked out. From the moment I was hoisted into the ambulance I have been thinking, "Someone just knock me out and wake me up when this is over!!" I seriously like the idea of having my crazy brain turned off for awhile. And deliberate short term memory loss? Brilliant.

BEST: after all my endless talking about how I suspect the attacks I've had since coming home are potentially self-induced (that crazy brain stuff: I'm a worrier, and not knowing what's wrong is not helping), someone suggested an anti-anxiety med. (Duh!) I'm not a drug taker so it never occurred to me, but Brandon brought some home last night and you know what?

XANAX is my new best friend!!

Interestingly, after not having another "attack" since the conversation with Ms. Chronic Heart Problems and taking the xanax, I have been reading online about panic attacks and am now HIGHLY suspicious that they could explain everything. We still need to rule absolutely everything out, especially since we know there is definitely some shunting happening in the heart from the small hole (but remember, 20-25% of the population does, mostly without symptoms), but I like the sound of unexplained panic attacks treated with mild medication better than an invasive heart procedure, right??

Meanwhile, I'm keeping myself calm and distracted with the Food Network and googling both family and couple vacation options.  In my parallel reality, I am getting paid to eat, travel, and talk about it. That sounds WAY more fun than an esophageal echo . . .

And if you thought YOU were worried about me?  Here's an email from my mom this morning titled, Trader Joe's:

"Woohoo!  We're getting one.  They are building a small mall out by the new Marriott in Coralville that will include a Trader Joe's.  I am excited.
I'll call you later to find out about your health, life, family and other minor things like that.
Love, Mom"

I copied and pasted that straight from my inbox. (If that doesn't explain some things about me, I don't know what does  . . .) 

Highlights of the last 24 hours: being sandwiched between Will and Elizabeth on my sick bed (the living room couch) watching "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" on the Food Network while enjoying my xanax buzz, seeing the pictures of Will and his 4th grade crush at their school play today (the teacher put them right next to each other), hearing Kate complain about having to carpool with a bunch of boys while I'm "sick" even though I can tell she's not being completely truthful, Rachael insisting that she is a puppy/I am her mommy dog while she pants and tries to lick me, and listening to Elizabeth crack up while reading Junie B. Jones to herself. 


  1. mmm, versed. yes, it's good stuff. Haven't tried xanax, but I'm glad it's working for you. And, seriously? YAY for a quick cardiology appt! That's unbelievable.

    I hope you get some answers soon. I HATE not knowing what's going on. Here's a hug from sunny SoCal.

  2. I hope you are able to get this all worked out soon so you know exactly what is wrong and causing you to feel any pain. I hope this is a better week for you.

  3. Oh, you make me laugh, Allyson! Glad you're kind-of doing better. Talk to you soon.


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