Friday, October 8, 2010

Karen Gets Taken for a Ride---

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 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.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

OMG Karen, how close are you to a big city - Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. It's like they are going to really make you sick unless you get some expert intervention. I am glad to made it out of that hospital.

I had been through so much with my father when I was a child, lots of mistakes, botched surgeries, etc., and that was in Chicago. But, at least in the big city there are more specialists to choose from.

I hope they have found the magic pill for you. Keep us posted.


Meredehuit ♥ said...

Oh dear, Karen... FIND ANOTHER PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR. That NP should be fired. I thought I was going to have a heart attack just reading your post.

FlowerLady said...

Karen ~ Your post had me holding my breath. I'm so glad you are back home. DH and I hate going to the drs and stay away from them as much as possible. We do take herbs and vitamins and looks for natural ways for dealing with our health.

I hope things settle down for you soon. Menopause is a different experience for every woman. I can't believe the info you have been given. I bet every dr thinks they are 100% right too, so what are you to do. You could go to 10 different drs and get that many opinions as to what is wrong.

Do keep us posted.

Love, hugs and prayers,


Anonymous said...

Wow, I was on the edge of my seat reading this post. Hope you get your health in order, no matter which doctor is the one to figure it out. It is amazing you went through all of that. I sincerely wish you the best.

Missy said...

Oh Karen. That's been terrible for you. It's enough to make you feel lousy even if you weren't before it all started. My advice (for what it is worth) is to get away from the NP and find a good primary care doctor. Ask family and friends who they see and recommend.
..and maybe as an extra - take some photos of your garden to show them just how active you are.

Karen said...

Hi Eileen, thank you and you're right, I have to become more of an advocate, but I did voice my frustration on Wednesday and look where it got me, lol. I'm hoping the new doctor in Green Bay will be a better fit.

Meredhuit, thank you for your concern, and golly, I hope I didn't alarm you too much; funny (or sad) thing is, bizarre stuff like this happens to me way too much. It must be me!

Flowerlady, thank you too, you're so sweet...I stay away from doctors as much as I possibly can, too, because as you said, they all have their opinions---(there's a joke about opinions, but it's not fit for printing here, however I agree with it wholeheartedly!) I guess I was amazed at how fast the doctors change their diagnosis from this to that-at a blink of an eye?! and then look at you with a straight face, as if, "Yes, this is what is wrong, why do you doubt me?" Ummmm.....well....let me see...why would I doubt you? Hmmmmm.......

Karen said...

gardenwalkgardentalk, I was thinking I could use your amazing illustrative talent to draw a frazzled caricature of me in the back of an ambulance speeding down the highway. I didn't have a camera with me then, lol, but needed a visual for this post.

Oh, Missy, you're so kind! I'm hoping I've found a good doctor this time (her waiting list for new patients is out til December, but they snuck me in, so hopefully that's a good sign?) And I found my pedometer--I thought I lost it in the hospital--but it's my PROOF that I get as much exercise as I say I do! Most docs don't see gardening as work (I think most doctors don't garden, right?)

Tallulah's Antique Closet said...

I hope you are feeling much better. Thank You for taking the time out and visitting our blog. Have your self a good day...Julian

Tallulah's Antique Closet said...

I hope you are feeling much better. Thank You for taking the time out and visitting our blog. Have your self a good day...Julian

Sandy said...

That was quite a week for you Karen and I'm so glad your ok.. all because of your Thyroid.. whow! I wanted to thank you for your concern over my health when your having such troubles of your own..
I've had about 6 ambulance runs because of my heart over the past 6 years.. I have heart failure and it all started when I woke one night and thought I had saran wrap in my lungs.. was scary to say the least..every med test under the sun and three surgery,s and now into my second pacer/defib to make the left side of my heart pump.. it's dead!
Please take very good care of yourself and It's good to know your seeing doctors, because your health can get out of hand if you don't keep up with it!
Thyroid, whow!
keep in touch ok...

Sandy said...

One more thing Karen.. my first doctor, in Ft. lauderdale sent me home to die in 3 months.. the second the same.. then someone sent me to a cardiac surgeon in Clewarwater Fl and this man saved my life.. I moved across the state to be near decision I ever made... please find a good doctor..

The Dutch Baker's Daughter said...

Holy cow, Karen...that was a ride! Let's hope this new doctor knows what he is doing. It would make me nuts not to know which opinion to believe. Please take care...I'm sending good vibes your way!

Beth said...

Karen, How scary! Sorry you have been feeling so poorly. Glad the stress test turned out ok. Hope the new dr. can help you get things sorted out, and quickly.
Blessings and prayers, Beth

Darla said...

Girl, you do have a time with the medical community don't you...thank the Lord you have a good sense of humor about it....hang in there.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

OK, so, now I know what happened. What a deal! I hope you are feeling better, the meds are working like they should, and you find out what is causing the other symptoms.

There was a time I thought medical people could diagnose anything, but have found this is not always the case.

I get headaches, too, and was disappointed today, because I finally had some time available for gardening, but had a headache, and didn't have the energy.

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