Gotcha You Ba$tard!
To be honest, this has been going on for as long as - if not longer than - the Triglyceride Saga. Over the last few years, she's dealt with it, felt sick from it, been to the doctor about it, been referred to the Cardiac Unit at the hospital about it, worn 5-day monitoring hardware, had paramedics out about it, and been taken to the Critical Dependency Unit section of Accident & Emergency over it.
At no point has anything been found, nor has Kellie been taken that seriously. From "it's all in your head" to "Panic Attacks" to "Arrhythmia" she's been told different things by different medical "professionals"
Her Lipid Doctor, a few months ago, took a look at one of her old ECG Traces and decided she could see Atrial Fibrillation. So that's what Kellie has "had" since then. Her heart goes funny due to Atrial Fibrillation.
So today... I was in Asda, after spending the morning traipsing around town with the 0dd Sister shopping. I had a basket of shopping, was hot, tired and miserable thanks to the old farts bumping and shoving around the shop. My phone rang, and it was Kellie.
"I don't want you to start to panic... But..."
Words you know will actually do the very opposite.
James was taking Kellie up to A&E. She had had one of her funny turns, lost all her colour, went sweaty, had a crushing pain on her chest, pain in her left arm... No good things at all. So I dropped the basket, hastily apologised to the sister, and flew out of Asda, ran to the bus station, and jumped on a bus to hospital.
I got there PDQ, just in time for Kellie to come out of triage with James acting as bouncer/bodyguard/human wall, and we sat with the woman, watching her sway and look like shit-on-a-stick. Got her booked in, and within ten minutes, we were called through.
I didn't tell her she was flagged as "Urgent Priority"
We said bye to James, thanked him, and followed the nurse into the Critical Dependency Unit, and got her settled onto one of the beds, answering some basic questions as she did so. She wandered off, and a Senior Staff Nurse came in to take some bloods. However, she already had some taken yesterday at one of her "How Much Gross Stuff Is In Your Blood" checkups, so all her results should be on the system. Huzzah! No needle!
He then started asking questions about how she felt, what was going on, describe how it felt - all this stuff that we've gone through a squillion times before. But, she explained how she felt, me adding bits she missed, and him sort of listening. He decided to do an ECG, so put the stickers on her body - some that I feel were in a strange place, compared to where I've seen them done usually - and ran the machine.
It did it's ten-second trace, spat out the paper, and he had a look at it. Hmm'd a bit, "Your heart is fine" he decided "There is no Atrial Fibrillation on here at all. Your heart is healthier than mine!" he proclaimed.
I wasn't happy.
He then started down the route of "Do you know what a panic attack is....?" which is another term for "I'm going to fob you off now" especially as her wonky heartbeats have woken her up in the night. There is NO panic involved whatsoever. Kellie cut him off dead there. She was tired, felt crappy, and didn't want to be there..
"It is NOT a panic attack, I have had panic attacks before now!"
He shook his head and looked back at the ECG. "But your heart is fine. I will go and ask a doctor to give you a second opinion if you like?" Damn right you can do that. Go find a doctor to look, to talk to us, to explain. For several years, we've been fobbed off, so yes, he went to get a doctor to give us a second opinion.
A short time later, a pretty little doctor came in. She was young, and about three inches tall. VERY friendly and nice, and she went through everything, listening to both Kellie and myself. We went through history, examples, symptoms, triglycerides, how it made her feel before-during-and-after, described it in her own strange words, and generally took note of everything she was told.
It was decided that Kellie would be hooked up to a proper monitor, so they could see her heart beat, rate, blood pressure, sats, respiration's - the whole medical shebang. A nurse came in and set it up, or, at least, attempted to... She put the stickers on Kellie, wired her up, but nothing. She went then got called out to a properly poorly patient.
Step in Super Dan.
I've done my fair share of setting up heart monitors and ECG machines. I know where the pads go. I also know - as apparently the nurse did NOT, that in order to get a reading, the sticky pads need to be connected to the patients skin.
NOT the patients work tee shirt.
And NOT the patients bra.
So, Super Dan removed and reattached the pads, and low and behold... Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep - one functional heart monitor.
Nursey came back in and noticed it was now working (I said I jiggled it!) and started doing Kellies Observations. Low and Behold - the Sats Monitor wasn't working. Out goes the nurse, in steps Super Dan and using the technical-know-how of "Unplug It, Count to Ten, Plug It Back In" the little red light came on JUST as the nurse walked in.
Kellies Sats seemed a little low to me - 95/96 or so, fluctuating up to 99... Hmmm.
And so, left alone, Kellie and I sit quietly. I watch the heart monitor (I don't know why, they are just mesmerising) and try to keep my mind occupied on the in the present, not the past when I used to watch other heart monitors...
I hate hospitals.
While watching, I notice a funny sort of blip on her heart trace. At the same time, Kellie says "Ooh there's another one, that felt weird..."
Proof! Something was there, and there was no one medical around to witness it. Cue the phone! Out comes the phone, and the camera, and Click! One photo.
I run out the cubical up to the doctor and show her the phone picture. "Oh wow, good catch!" she says, and borrows it. She goes off to show her boss, who in turn gets ahold of the Cardiac Registrar, and explains to him what Kellie is going through, and what I caught.
I go back to Kellie, feeling a little smug that someone has finally seen what she's going through. And proof it is. Over the next hour, she has many of the bastard things, usually a minute or two apart, some several minutes apart, some happening twice on the same trace.
Now, I didn't snap them ALL, but I did take some pictures. Hey, I was bored and trying to stay awake. But I got some of them!
The normal "little" peaks are Kellies "normal" heart beats, pumping away like a little, er, pump. The big peaks with the big drops - THEY are what are causing the problems. Every time it happened, Kellie felt it, felt a bit wonky, felt icky, sick, all the rest of it.
They are NOT right, and they are NOT normal.
These are just a few of them we saw. And yes, her heart rate is wonky to, ranging from 60 up to 90 in the space of minutes or even seconds.
After a while, our lovely doctor came back in. She had been talking with the Cardiology department, going through Kellies previous results, and checking the 6-day trace she had done. They decided that yes, there were these anomolies in that trace, but they were very few and far between.
NOW, they are happening on a regular basis, which means it has gotten worse and needs some sort of attending. The Doctor explained it is NOT Atrial Fibrillation (which is mainly for old people!), but a Ventricular Eptopic Heartbeat. Basically, her heart is beating in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
So, she has prescribed her Beta-Blockers which will regulate her heart beat. She now has answers as to what has been going wrong for so long. She has a longer-term plan of getting through it. Her Lipid doctor will also be referring her to the Cardiology Department to get another checking out.
Aside from the stress, the hassle, the shit, the grief and the worry of today, Kellie finally has answers as to what is wrong, and how to make it better. Reading up on it, it's not a great thing to have, it's not the best thing you can deal with, but it's treatable and managable, so it's not too difficult.
Now, I KNOW some of you have or deal with Eptopic Heartbeats, please feel free to mail me, Facebook me, Tweet me or contact me - ESPECIALLY if you have Ventricular Eptopic Heartbeats.
A VERY big thank you to those keeping my company via text, those that were sending their love (I didn't tell everyone, you didn't miss it) and a big thank you to James for rushing her up to A&E.
And apologies to the Asda worker that had to replace all my shopping that I threw into the corner when I ran out.