Friday, 10 May 2013

From Bad to Worse and Worser Still

Since I last posted things have gone according to the title of this post. Since I can't sit at the computer for more than about five minutes at a time, I'll do this in small stages and post the whole thing when it's done.

Ever feel like you're slowly falling down a rabbit hole, not knowing when (or if) you'll hit bottom? And then, if you do hit bottom, you'll have to find your way through an unfamiliar and scary land until you can find your way back home? Just call me Alice.

The last post ended on a fairly positive note, and believe me I've tried to remain positive, but I am just not made of the right stuff for this. Things started sliding again, with pain and swelling increasing. Early mornings are almost unbearable. Once I actually make it out of bed, I start shuffling around doing what I call my "laps", around and around the living room and kitchen. I stop for very gentle stretching to my limits. I don't sit down for a long while as I won't be able to get back up without incredible pain. My "sweet spots' in the afternoon aren't quite as sweet.

1. May 4: I can't get out of bed. I seem frozen in place by pain. We decide to set up a higher bed downstairs for me. Mornings get worse.

2. May 6: Went for my bone scan. The technician was a sweetheart and worked with me and my limitations. There was only one part of it I couldn't do because I just couldn't bend that way. She counted down the rest for me and approached it like a half marathon: even though I was reaching the end of my resources, I hung in there past mile 12.5.
The same day, we went "shopping" for things to make my life better, things from the "Home Health" store, things to modify my living space (including a raised toilet seat - sorry for being indelicate, but you don't know how low the regular ones are until you can't bend your knees!). We also bought a high twin bed frame and fairly thick mattress to be set up on the main floor for me. I can slide off of it a little easier in the mornings and don't have to negotiate the stairs.
Then things got really weird.

3. May 6, part 2: Before I relate the main event, I need to rewind to 2003. I had episodes of SVT (supra ventricular tachycardia) due to an extra electrical connection in my heart. An episode can easily raise your HR over 200 just sitting still. I had a catheter ablation to destroy the extra connection. I'm told at that time that it's possible that the connection will grow back. Guess what? It did. Fast forward to now. 10:00 pm: I'm sitting on the edge of the bed getting ready to retire when it starts. At least I know what it is and try to stay calm. I was shown physical methods to try to convert it back to normal. I try several times. No go. It's probably because I can't squat down low enough due to my knees. I wait twenty minutes (standard for this), then call the paramedics. One of them turns out to be a sweet girl I taught years ago! She's 38 now, but we recognised each other right away. The paramedics managed to eventually convert me to a slightly more reasonable HR with a different method, then loaded me in the meat wagon for a very painful ride (not their fault: my joints) and off we go.
The ER doctor and nurses are amazing. They keep me for a while, monitoring things. Jamie (the paramedic) uses clout to bring Mike to me from the waiting room. Told ya she was a sweet girl! Some meds to get my HR down. The ER doc tells me I'll likely have to repeat the catheter ablation. He apparently doesn't like what he sees on the monitors (something more than just the SVT) and gets me into a cardiologist for the very next day! I'm eventually released, and two tired cowpokes drive home in the wee hours. I babble something about voodoo dolls and that I wished they'd stop sticking pins in me.
During the night, my over-fertile brain starts doing some equations: severe bone/joint pain; irregular heartbeat; the tick that came in on Mike's shirt after cutting the lawn. I look into it early the next morning. Lyme disease raises its ugly head. We decide to go to a walk-in clinic after the cardio app't to get a requisition for the necessary bloodwork.

4. May 7: Today, we visited the very impressive Windsor Cardiac Centre and Dr. Tarhuni. This place is exactly what you would want a medical facility to be. I go through several tests, including a treadmill one which they obviously had to adapt for me. When I saw the "speed" I was going I almost wanted to laugh except the desire to cry was stronger; I did neither. There's a lovely full wall photo of a wooded hiking trail in front of me and the lights are a bit low, but I can see the monitor from the treadmill that there are some pretty irregular things going on. After this, they fitted me with a state-of-the-art monitor that I'll wear for two weeks. These are the folks who were written up in Runner's World for the cutting edge experiment they did with runners using these monitors at the Amherstburg Marathon. You can read about it here: . I did the 10K at that event and was able to watch at the monitoring booth for a while when I was done. Never in a million years did I think I would be wearing one.
Then we went for a summative meeting with the main cardiologist. He had all of the printouts and info from the tests right there and also my history. He put me on some meds and asked about my difficulty walking. We asked if Lyme disease could cause this and heart problems. He turned to us and said, "Oh, yes!" He gives us the blood requisition. He's also going to book the London app't for surgery once all of the info is in finalized format AND will "talk to" my GP (now I didn't say anything except that he's been very difficult to get in to see, which is the exact truth), as well as take care of several other things.
I guess sometimes bad things happen for good reasons (ER trip to getting in here). I am totally impressed with this clinic.

5. May 8: Bloodwork for Lyme. Won't have results for at least three days. I call my GP's office to see if they've made the Rheumatologist appointment yet. The request was sent, but it can take a long time. She offers to give me the specialist's phone number, which I take. I promise I won't heckle.
 Late this evening, before bed, we notice that not only my left ankle, but my left foot has also started to swell monstrously. This is getting kind of ridiculous.

6. The near future: Barring any phone calls on the bloodwork, an MRI on May 14; app't with GP May 15; back to cardio clinic May 21. There may be more stuff in there. Nice, pleasant ordinary stuff I hope.

And now I must take a few moments for an Ode to Mike. This man is incredible, and a damned good nurse, too. He has been doing so many things for me that I just can't do, makes sure I have what I need, modified the house for me, drives me everywhere, even has become a chef! His own pursuits and pastimes have been put on hold and he's been focussed entirely on me for the last month and a half. Some may say it's his duty, but I say it's just who he is: an extraordinarily caring and loving guy. I feel so guilty about the extra pressures put on him. I just hope that someday down the line we can do another hike in New Mexico or a walk in England. That would seem like a miracle to me.


  1. I look to the day "down the line" where we are all reading about your hikes in New Mexico and walks in England! I look forward to this with an expectation that it will happen.

  2. Deb, I have a hunch that you'll be laughing about all of this six months from now. I'm sorry you're having so many problems. We all wish you a speedy recovery.

  3. Oh, sweet Dahling, they will find the cause of this and you will be cured. Praying, praying, praying for you. Mike is a darling. --Pink