Sunday, April 12, 2009

No, thank you. May I have a new diagnosis, please?

By now, most of you know of my misadventures at the gym two weeks ago. Run three miles no problem. Stop running, and the grim reaper is standing beside me. While that really is dramatic, it was a totally frightening experience that no one could explain. $30,000 of medical testing later, they send me home with no answers. Six days later, I walk into a concert hall and it's like a recurring nightmare. Asthma trigger leads to coughing leads to...blackness and dizziness that just won't stop. The medic looks at my oxygen saturation and says, "You should be unconscious." I can't respond because that would take oxygen and then I would be unconscious!

My condition makes said medic unhappy, so he calls in the rescue squad. Oh joy. My second ride in an ambulance in less than a week. These guys are late on the scene. I'm still dizzy, but improving. Oxygen saturation is actually almost 90! Woohoo! So they take me to the ER. The doc there decides I'm having a panic attack and thrusts a sedative at me. Uh, no thank you. Seeing as he cannot explain why my oxygen saturation would be 78 with a panic attack (and I know that those two don't go together!), I decline the sedative and tell him he's wrong. I don't think he appreciated that. :)

So, off to the pulmonologist I go. He says, "You need industrial strength asthma medication." :) Yes, thank you! In five minutes, this guy looks at us and says, "It's your ASD."

An ASD is a (birth defect) hole between the atria of the heart. (Mine was diagnosed last year.) Normally, the blood flows through the hole in a direction that is of no concern. However, the coughing from the asthma causes an increase in pressure that then reverses the flow through the hole such that the blood never actually makes it to the lungs to pick up oxygen. So, I black out and get chest pain. The brain and the heart don't like to be without oxygen. As the coughing eases, the pressure goes down and the flow returns to normal and the dizziness and chest pain ease.

So, now I get to see a cardiothoracic surgeon to get the hole in my heart repaired. We meet him this Wednesday...Am I nervous? A little. Am I afraid of the surgery? Not really. Do I understand His plan? Um. No. But I do trust that the Lord has me firmly in His hand. I just pray that the children will be able to see His grace throughout this whole process.

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