Thursday, March 4, 2010

The pleasures of sleeping in one's own bed

I am at home. Spring appears to be just around the corner, we have sun and above zero (Celsius) temperatures all week. There's hardly any snow around, I would love to go for a nice long walk or bike ride, it is so lovely out.

Gretel came to pick me up at St Joe's on Tuesday morning with a little bag of potato chips, my first food request after a nearly salt-free week. It was great, I truly savoured all that salt.

I signed myself out of the hospital, I did not wait for the doctor to sign me out. Several people advised me against doing that, but I was just so fed up with being there. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about why I was fed up, just to say it was a lot of unnecessary little irritants, both for me and for other patients I came to know over my time there. Somewhere along the line it got to me, I stopped trying to be polite and patient about it. When the nurse said I couldn't leave, I said, Is this a jail?

On the positive side, the cardiologist who treated me at St Mike's was wonderful, bedside manner coming out his ears. He actually came by after the procedure to apologize for causing me pain. I looked him up on the internet when I got home, turns out he is the head of cardiology at St Mike's and a professor at the U of T school of medicine.

My half-day at St Mike's was a bit of a contrast with St Joe's, I think if I ever have to go to hospital again, I will do my darndest to go to St Mike's. I saw Emmanual on Monday evening and he said pretty much the same about Western, so if I can't get to St Mike's, Western will be my second choice. St Joe's will be down around the frozen reaches of hell.

Emmanual had an angiogram and two angioplasties, he also was going home on Tuesday. I could see that he had finally reached his breaking point too, he was pretty grim about being back at St Joe's.

I still have whatever my original condition is, if anything somewhat worse. However I think I have had every possible test for heart-related problems and nothing significant showed up. So we can rule out the worst case scenario.

My breathlessness is now so bad that I cannot go outdoors without panting. Even walking from one end of my small apartment to the other is problematic, it wasn't like that before. However, I managed to see a doctor today and she's ordering a breathing test, presumably for asthma or something like that. She feels confident that I don't have any serious heart or lung issues after all the tests they ran while I was at St Joe's.

Yesterday I went to my Mimico Adult Ed classes and it was so nice to get out and about! I just popped in to the carving class because I didn't think I was up to the physical effort of carving just yet, but it turns out that another person in that class had also had an angiogram (plus three angioplasties) the same time I did. He was still at home but the instructor was passing around a card to him for everyone to sign.

I said I would be back to normal next week, and Bill, the guy that only comes for the coffee break laughed and said anybody who checks herself out of the hospital is sure to be just fine next week. Well, I hope I can live up to that.

Later that evening though I called Telehealth because I noticed a bruise forming near the angiogram site, a nurse called me back after a few minutes. Turns out he (it was a male nurse) was the same age as me and he said he'd had an angiogram too so he understood my concern.

He said, They call it the Golden Years but I think they are colour-blind, it's really the Rust Years!

Anyway, he asked some questions and gave me some useful advice, I am glad I called. He said it didn't sound urgent but I should probably get it looked at by a doctor within 24 hours. After I got off the phone, a friend of Gretel's recommended a clinic out in Mississauga (west of Toronto) as better than any clinic in Toronto for wait times, and since we live not too far from the highway it was just as easy to go there as to a clinic downtown, so Isaac and I drove there shortly after the Telehealth phone call.

However, it turned out the clinic was in a hospital and I was so turned off of hospitals that I made Isaac take me to a walk-in clinic down the road from the hospital. I just couldn't bear setting foot inside a hospital, even if it was only an outpatient clinic!

About half an hour later a doctor had examined my bruise and said it wasn't serious, so we headed home again. A spot of whiskey to calm my nerves and I was off to bed. I sure do appreciate my very own bed now.

Next time I am tempted to call 911, I'm gonna call Telehealth instead.

Unless I really do want four burly firemen on the doorstep.


Wisewebwoman said...

That shortness of breath is a bit of a worry, Annie. I developed bronchitis when I was in TO for the 4 months last year and I sometimes wonder about the pollutants in TO, my naturopathic doctor raced out of there a few years ago after doing research on the air and the lake. Left a hugely busy practice. It makes one wonder. No 'browncitis' for me so far this year. Maybe TO in smaller chunks or something, who knows?

Annie said...

Yeah WWW, it is worrying, but the doctors have pretty much ruled out all the really serious stuff. Since it's been a kind of gradual onset thing and I first noticed it last summer in Nova Scotia, I can't say it is TO that is doing it to me. One of my neighbours in the Harbour has serious chemical sensitivities brought on by exposure to agricultural pollution there. City air is not the only suspicious candidate.

Barbara Anne said...

So glad you're home!

AMIL had never had breathing problems until her heart arrhythmia began, but like you just walking in the house would make her breathless and so very tired. She was at the point of walking from chair to chair to rest in each one when the cardio doctor said it wasn't heart related.

I hope your lung function test is really soon.

Big hugs!