Friday, June 6, 2008

Arterial Fibru... What?!

For days, blog posts have been percolating in my somewhat jumbled head and I had good intentions of writing on Wednesday. I jumped in the truck with DH after dinner, camera in hand and headed out to check a few storage tanks and a well house. The well house wasn't pumping and we didn't have an extra box at the shop so we made a quick trip into town.

When DH came in for dinner a few hours earlier he had me lay my head on his chest and I didn't like what I heard. His heart was jumping all over the place, not racing, but very irregular. I asked him how long that had been going on and he replied, "Since last night".

I gave him the look.

You know, the look that says, "and I'm just NOW hearing about it?!"

I immediately placed a call to the doctor, but they could not see him until the next day. With all my being, I tried not to panic and went to the Lord in prayer. DH was not having any chest pains or any other discomfort, nor has he ever had any other problems. This guy is as healthy as they come. In 21 years, he has been to the doctor 3 times. Still, something was not right.

So anyway, we picked up the electrical box we needed and headed out of town. I beseeched DH to please go to the emergency room since we were already in town. He hesitated, but gave in.

I have always been one of those people who have a very firm belief about emergency rooms. They are there for just that - emergencies. They are not there because your child has a runny nose or your husband has a slight cold or you've had a stomach ache for 30 minutes. Then you claim you can't pay the bill so I end up paying it. OK, stepping off my soapbox now.

4:00 finds us in an ER room with DH hooked up to an EKG monitor. It's definitely abnormal. DH is in high spirits considering he has an aversion to waiting...for anything. We did a lot of waiting and more was on the horizon. He answered hundreds of questions, one of them being, "Who's your family doctor". His reply, "No gotti". The nurse looks at him with a perplexed expression, "Is he in Roswell? I've never heard of him." I cracked up. He elaborated and she turned red and laughed.

So arrangements were made to admit DH. We were a bit surprised, but we preferred that option to the next piece of information we received.

Then the doctor stepped back into the room and said that they were now making arrangements to fly DH to Lubbock by helicopter. HUH?! I think my heart started jumping around then. Apparently the state had yet to give the hospital (fairly new) the approval to treat matters of the heart. Now, don't get me wrong, if he really needed to be flown to Lubbock, we wouldn't have batted an eyelash, but everything they were telling us just didn't point in that direction. They were afraid that he would form a blood clot and that it would break lose and cause a stroke. Not good news. While they were making arrangements, the ER doctor called the cardiologist in Lubbock and he gave the ok to give DH a shot of blood thinner and let us drive to Lubbock.

DH laughed when we asked about the blood thinner and learned it was Heparin. He told the nurse, "Isn't that what they use to kill rats?" She was horrified; either because she wasn't aware of that piece of information or she was surprised that he knew it. He just chuckled at her. He said that the hardest part of all of this was that he didn't feel badly and he felt silly being in the ER.

It was after 6:30 when he was finally released with strict instructions to drive directly to the Heart Hospital in Lubbock. Good thing the house was on the way. We kind of rushed home and I started throwing things into a suitcase, all the while trying to reassure the kids and give them instructions at the same time. All they knew was that we had gone into town for a part and the next thing they knew, we were driving to Lubbock to see a specialist. Thankfully, we didn't have to worry about leaving them. They're 14 and 17 and jumped right in, tending to things that needed to be taken care of. DH's dad helps us part time and he was still here as well.

It was a long drive to Lubbock and almost 11 when we arrived at the hospital. The upside was that there was no waiting. There wasn't a soul around and the attending nurse whisked us right into a room and began hooking DH up to yet another EKG machine. They took x-rays and blood and he answered another 100 questions. This time the EKG was normal.

About an hour before we reached our destination, he said that he felt everything fall back into a normal rhythm. Good thing we had the original EKG or they might have thought we were pulling their leg. The doctor looked at all the lab and test results and changed his mind about admitting DH. He said that we could go to the hotel next door and see the cardiologist the next morning.

All we wanted at that point and time was to sleep. Alas, the hotel only had one room and it was a 2-room suite. Nope, we weren't paying and arm and a leg for 7 hours, so we drove to another hotel and crashed. By that time it was 1:30 in the morning. 2:30 Texas time. Both of us were tired so sleeping wasn't a problem and we were back to waiting to see the cardiologist the next morning. Another 2 hour wait, but what can you do. During the entire ordeal we actually felt quite at peace. I knew the Lord was in control and that I had better not get in His way.

We really liked the cardiologist, Dr.Brogan. He was very approachable and down to earth. He explained everything perfectly and welcomed our questions. The bottom line was that DH had experienced what is known as Atrial Fibrillation. The heart wasn't firing correctly and thus, it could not empty the blood from the atrium efficiently. The danger appears when that blood sits static and the possibility of blood clots comes into play. They look at about 3 days for that to happen. DH's heart jumped back into it's normal mode after 24 hours. The thing is, 99% of the time they don't know what causes it and this is one of those times. Dr. Brogan said that it's not really uncommon, but the majority of the people are unaware of it. DH did help the neighbor the day before and they sprayed their cattle with an insecticide. DH said he didn't get any on him, but the fumes were in the air. The doctor wasn't entirely sure that's what caused it, but it's possible. If it happens again, DH has instructions to call Dr. Brogan and make arrangements for further tests.

All I know is that I am thankful all is well. That kind of excitement we can do without and I want to have DH around for a very long time. I learned a couple of important lessons during those 24 hours as well.

One is that I don't ever want to take anything for granted. I think I'm generally pretty good about not doing that, but this experience put things back into perspective more clearly. It's not worth fussing over the little things. I'm not much of a fusser, but I've probably done my share. Thinking about how the Lord brought DH and I together has always made me teary eyed and ever thankful, but it's definitely more magnified now.

Second, I am going to beg you to seek a relationship with Lord. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING on this earth that can even begin to touch what He has in store for you. I was completely aware of His hand through this and the sense of peace that surrounded us was comforting. He longs to draw us closer. He loves you more than you love your husband and even your children. I want that for all of you. He wants that for all of you.

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