Saturday 16th March 2019:
Yesterday started incredibly well with a visit from therapy Labrador dog Sam but very quickly deteriorated into a grotty 24 hours.
For the first time since admission the nurses allowed me to get up and about and actually use the bathroom, alone, instead of wheeling a commode into my bay and drawing the curtains.
Well this is a bit more dignified, I thought, until the sister, Cheryl, asked: “Have you opened your bowels today Sue?”…showing me various poo pictures on a stool chart to choose from. Joy!
Then the chest pains came hard and fast, just like indigestion. All I wanted was a glass of milk. I’d felt that acidic flush at home occasionally too for the past few months. I’d only ever previously experienced it when I was pregnant but I had put it down to having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Not now though. I pressed the bell for the nurse who administered my GTN spray. A rush of warm rose up to my head and then down to my feet as the spray got to work, allowing greater blood flow. Within five minutes the pain was mild and manageable.
Dr Chung the cardiologist paid me a visit and diagnosed angina, adding yet another tablet to my growing daily list. “I’ll be rattling soon,” I joked.
I was absolutely exhausted so after my lunch of cauliflower, lentil and spinach curry I pressed the button to lay my bed back and snuggled onto my left side. Bad idea. I’d only been asleep for about 20 minutes when the alarm on the machine I was hooked up to started to ring. My eyes shot open, I looked at the nurses who were all looking over at me from their station and I said: “I felt that.” To which Adrian, the nurse, replied: “I saw it on the chart.” My heart rate had increased to about 127. Deep breaths and it came back down again. My blood pressure was fine. Then Cheryl brought over the print out from the machine from the moment I’d experienced my heart jiggle and flutter. “That was a palpitation,” she said. An irregular beat for just a few seconds possibly because I’d aggravated my heart by lying on my left side. I returned to my back. “I’m not bloody moving from this position now,” I said.
I still wasn’t safe though as for the rest of the afternoon I had several episodes where my heart rate rose quickly and I had hot sweats. It wasn’t a usual panic attack but it was happening every time I tried to drop off for a snooze. Cheryl again brought over the print offs. This time my heart rate had not been irregular, just fast. Thankfully it hadn’t gone into fibrillation, but that didn’t stop me worrying.
In a fit of terror I rang my friend Liam, who like my other mate Lucie – whom I called the night before when I was having a wobble – is medically trained. I wailed and blubbed down the receiver: “I don’t want to die.” What I actually expected him to do all the way from London I have no idea but for the first time that day I felt safe.
It all happened during the time Sooty’s funeral was taking place. He’d previously sold used cars to Cheryl. Small world. I turned to her and said: “He’s determined I don’t forget about him even if I couldn’t make it to the church.”
Until we meet again Sooty…