In an ambulance.
I know this blog is supposed to be about gardening and stained glass, and I'm sorry in advance, because this post is not about gardening. Instead it's all about me and my health------so click out of here now, run for your lives, if you don't want to bored beyond belief, ok?
Oh, what a life I lead. None of us ever knows what can happen when we wake up in the morning, do we? Life truly is what happens while we are making other plans. Would you like to know what happened?
So would I.
Here we go:
Remember some time ago I said I just don't have much luck with the medical community? Maybe it's me, maybe I'm just an uptight, bored, housewife with nothing better to do than lie on my couch and dream up symptoms all day long while I eat the last of the bon bons.
I heard from my new endocrinologist on Monday, "All your test results came back normal, except for your thyroid which is much too suppressed; you are now hyperthyroid. I have called in a lower prescription for you and we will recheck in two months." He also said my calcium levels are normal, too, so its not the parathyroid glands (though I still wonder about that). He suggests the excess calcium on the first two tests may be because I lead a little too much of a couch potato lifestyle (I told him I have a big garden and try to walk five miles a day and he was quite surprised, I know, I do look like a couch potato, but hey, I'm working on it!
And this should be good news except I still feel like something the cat dragged in, that is, supposing my cat Screech was the size of a mountain lion capable of dragging something my size.
But, ok, at least there's a reason for the way I feel; being hyperthyroid sure fits with the dizziness and the heart pounding. I've been a hypothyroid person (non-functioning) since 1993, so I've been around this block more than a few times in the last 17 years, I know it can take a long time to normalize levels. I've never been hyperthyroid, so I guessed I should take my meds and wait and see. Wait until the heart stops pounding like a jack hammer. But not until it stops pounding altogether I hope. I was in church Sunday and was having a hard time hearing what the sermon was about because of the sound of my heart beating in my ears. I actually glanced around to see if anyone else was disturbed by my unruly, obnoxious heart beat, but no one seemed to notice.
When I saw the endocrinologist last week Tuesday he asked me if I had any other questions, and, yes I did. "Could any of these symptoms be caused by menopause?" I venture. "But I guess I'm grasping at straws here, because the nurse practitioner said I'm not in menopause or even perimenopause after checking my FSH levels."
He looked a little startled, whipped open my chart again and said, "She told you that?? You need to talk to her again. I am an endocrinologist, and I deal with three main areas, diabetes, thyroid and metabolism, not gynecology, but with a FSH level is as elevated as yours is, you are DEFINITELY in menopause. But I still feel your symptoms are caused by the overactive thyroid. AND, you should not be on the high blood pressure medicine you are on, it is not good for someone with calcium issues."
(Side note here: according to my research, the parathyroids are in charge of the calcium levels...but it is true the BP med I am on has some issues with calcium, too)
I asked him if he would prescribe something else for my high blood pressure (which fluctuates constantly from high to low) and he said, "You'll have to talk to your NP about that."
Here's my trust issues again:
Before I saw the new endocrinologist, back in May I had asked the nurse practitioner about my blood pressure meds (they were fine, no problems) but my cholesterol levels were too high, take fish oil, watch the diet.......I did......three months later, I am approaching four digit cholesterol numbers, here's a prescription for a statin......and then she told me she thought my menopause-ish symptoms could possibly be caused by either my thyroid, parathyroids, but what she REALLY thought was this:
"In my opinion, you are just depressed, why don't I write you a prescription for an antidepressant and you'll feel better?"
I said, "I've dealt with depression for as long as my thyroid issues, I know when I'm depressed, and this isn't it!"
"But you seem so labile, your moods are unstable, one minute you are near tears, the next you seem agitated, I think it is depression. Stress can do some nasty things to your body, you know."
Ah, yeah, I get that. Gee, maybe this is all a dream or maybe I am simply a Grade A Certified Idaho Davenport Spud with Deep-Seated Mental Issues?
I figure it's way beyond time for a new doctor because I'm not thrilled with the results I'm getting with the NP, but since I couldn't get in to see the new doctor for another coupla weeks, I thought I'd give the NP a call and see about at least getting a new blood pressure medicine to replace the one the endocrinologist doesn't like. I called the office on Wednesday around 9:30AM and asked to speak to the NP, they said she was busy and would get back to me. When they asked what it was regarding, I said my thyroid, which I guess was the wrong thing to say, I should have said blood pressure, but whatever.
I was doing laundry and not feeling the best, but ok, I'm hyperthyroid and it's going to take time. Taking the laundry out of the basement and up the steps was quite the chore, though, and I felt an odd pressure in my chest at times. I also have ulcers and a hiatal hernia, so this isn't out of the normal for me, either. Still, I kind of wonder about it, especially in light of high cholesterol. I have a home blood pressure monitor, but who knows if it's right?
In the meantime, I got a call from my dentist, they had a cancellation, could I come in for a cleaning at 2PM? Sure. I finished the laundry and went to the dentist. By now it's 2:45 PM. I still hadn't heard back from the doctor's office, so I thought since my dentist is right next door to the clinic, I'll just drop in and ask if it's ok to have my blood pressure checked and also see if I could speak to the NP about the blood pressure meds.
The receptionist calls the NP to tell her I'm there and the NP comes out to the waiting room and says, "I can't talk to you about your thyroid. You see an endocrinologist who is a specialist in thyroid, so there's nothing more I can say to you about it. You have to talk to him." She started to walk away.
I said, "Yes, I know that, but I'm supposed to talk to you about my blood pressure meds, he wants me on something else."
"Well, then you need to take what he prescribes for you and follow up with him." She is still clearly not happy having to deal with me.
"He won't prescribe anything, he said I needed to talk to you about it," I said. "And as long as I'm here, I just wondered if I could get my blood pressure checked."
She gave in and let me go back to an exam room and the cheery nurse (I like her very much, very nice) took my blood pressure while the NP went out of the room to check on what they could give me for a new high blood pressure medication. My blood pressure was elevated, I had a nasty headache (but that's something I live with most of the time) and I was talking to the nurse about what I'd found out from the endocrinologist and how it feels like I'm just going in circles.
When the NP came in, I told her what the endo said about my definitely being in menopause and then she said, "Well, those numbers can change, who knows what normal is for you? I would STILL say you are not in menopause."
I laughed (I mean really, what is left to do?) and said, "See this is what I mean about going in circles! My old endocrinologist says I am not hyperthyroid; my new one says I am. You say I am not in menopause, my new endo says I am. I sit here and wonder what is really wrong with me when I have bouts of dizziness, my heart is pounding and I feel like a horse is standing on my chest. And then I'm told I'm stressed out and just depressed. I've been depressed before, but I don't feel hopeless, I have things I want to do but no energy to do them. I will go back on an antidepressant if the thyroid meds don't take care of it. But I don't want to start a whole bunch of new medicine all at once, then how do you know what's causing what symptom?"
Ok, I was riled up, I admit it, I wasn't yelling, but tears came to my eyes instead, which is my pressure relief system, if I don't want to become a raving lunatic, I leak, but just a little, not full-blown sobbing. They took my blood pressure again, now it's higher. Gee, I wonder why?
And then I said it. Do NOT ever ask this question, ok.......
I said, "I just don't feel good at all. . I don't know what's wrong with me, and there's all this conflicting advice. How would a person even know if they're having a heart attack?"
"OH, no, you think you're having a heart attack!? Get the EKG machine in here, let's take a reading, and call an ambulance!"
"What, no! I didn't say I'm having a heart attack, I just said how does a person know? What are the symptoms?"
But before I could say anything more, I'm on the exam table, the EKG things are in place, and they are monitoring my heart. I grab my cellphone when they run out of the room to get something and call Carl, "I don't know what's going on, but I'm at the doctor's office and they said they're calling an ambulance to have me transported to the ER."
"What!" (Now I'm giving my husband a heart attack.....) I'll be right there (he was on his way to town to buy gasoline for his car) and I'll take you if you have to go." So, he walked in less than five minutes later, but by that time the EMT's were all there, they were giving me baby aspirins to chew and then somebody put a nitro pill under my tongue.
And then, I felt like I was having a heart attack....wow.....what a rush! I'm then put on a gurney, rolled through the waiting room of our small town clinic past a bunch of people who are staring at me (I should have waved but I was strapped down tight and wearing oxygen--maybe no one recognized me? I can hope, can't I?) and into the ambulance and on my way to the hospital riding backward. I watched as the familiar scenery went by in reverse, and couldn't believe this was happening to me. My blood pressure is still high, but then who wouldn't have high blood pressure riding in an ambulance with the sirens screaming and everyone working so hard to get an IV line started and monitoring all the vitals?
I arrived at the ER department, everyone was so nice, even when I told them I hadn't said I was having a heart attack, "Better safe than sorry," the ER nurse said. A total of five nitro pills later and some IV meds to lower the pressure and I'm in a hospital bed awaiting a bunch of heart tests the next day.
So, making a very long story shorter, I did have the nuclear stress test early the next morning and waited until 5PM to hear the results. Everything came back normal, EXCEPT for the thyroid level. Would you believe now they tell me I'm profoundly hypothyroid? Last week Tuesday the endo tells me I'm hyperthyroid, that's what is causing all these symptoms.
This week Thursday they tell me I'm very hypothyroid.
Last week I was to take a lower dose of thyroid meds, and had been doing so; this week I am back on a high dose again.
Confused? I am.
The cardiac doctor said my arteries are great, everything's good, thank goodness. (Except for the enormous bill I know we will be getting in the mail----and wouldn't you know, our health insurance changed just last week, we now have a $10,000 deductible to meet!) I am relieved about my heart, I really am.....and it's one less thing to worry about, but I still feel the same way, a tad dizzy, with a thudding heart and very, very tired. I have an appointment with a new and exciting doctor on the 28th of October. I'm missing an entire day somewhere, I left home Wednesday afternoon to go the dentist, I got home from the hospital Thursday night around 9PM.
To say I have some 'trust issues' with the doctors out there is putting it mildly...
What's next? Who knows? I just want to remind everyone who may read this, though:
If you want to know what the symptoms of a heart attack are, ride along with me in an ambulance.