Wednesday, April 22, 2009

EKG Before & After

Below is a picture of my EKG before the ablation. It is showing PVC's:

Below is a picture of my EKG after the successful ablation. No more PVC's!

Monday, April 20, 2009

EP Study and Heart Ablation (Long Post!)

On Friday I had an EP Study and heart ablation (they place a bunch of catheters up through a vein in my groin area and burn some abnormal cells that are causing the PVC issue). I searched all over the internet prior to the procedure to find a personal experience to see how it might go for me. I couldn't really find much. So, I decided that I would try to document as much as possible in case someone else has to go through this. The reason I had this procedure is because I have been having PVC's for about a year. At the time of the procedure I was having about 15-20 every 5 minutes or so.

(View from the Waiting room windows)

My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 6AM. We were checked in and asked to fill out paperwork (including a living will). We were in the waiting room waiting to be called by about 6:30AM. My husband took a nap on one of the couches while I sat nervously waiting to be called. Everyone in the waiting room (about 4 others) were called in before I was. I thought maybe they had forgotten about me and I think I was okay with it. Finally, a nurse walked out and asked the woman at the desk who Ms. Riley was. She pointed at me and the woman was in disbelief and thought I was too young for this type of procedure. I thought so too.
She brought me to the prep room where I had to remove all clothing and change into the hospital gown (open in the back without tying it). They had me submit a urine sample (for a pregnancy test), inserted my IV and placed all of the electrode sticky things on my chest. If you are a man, this is when they would shave your chest. Luckily, I am a woman. They decided that I did not need a "foley" (urinary catheter) because I was young and could probably make it just fine through the procedure. They allowed my husband to come in and say "goodbye" and pray with me. Then, I was wheeled into the OR. The OR looked like a security surveillance room. There were flat screen monitors all over. 2 in front of me and about 15 to the side of me. There was a HUGE digital clock on the right side of the room. I noted to myself it was about 8:20am.

(Before I left to go to the OR)
They pulled the gurney up next to the OR table and had me scoot to the OR table. It was a really hard table compared to the gurney I was on. It was freezing too, but I could feel warm air coming from somewhere so I was comfortable in a little bit. Everyone was extremely nice and they could tell I was pretty nervous. They tried to assure me everything would be just fine and that Dr. Pollak was a great doctor. They tied each leg and each arm to the table in case I tried to move during the procedure. They placed 2 big sticky things on my back and one on the middle of my chest. They took an x-ray of my chest so they could see if the sticky things were placed correctly. One tech commented on where he believed my PVC's were originating. Then, the anesthesiologist put something in my IV to make me fall asleep. I do not really remember anything after this. I remember the doctor waking me up to say hello when he arrived, then waking up and looking around before the anesthesiologist walked back over and put something in my IV. I even questioned him about it before falling asleep again. I did dream about my leg hurting some which I'm sure was due to the catheters they had going up my groin area. I finally woke up still in the OR when it was finished. The clock said it was about 11am. So, the whole procedure took about 2.5 hours. I didn't feel any pain and I just felt very peaceful. I was already on the gurney and the sticky things were already removed. They wheeled me up to my room and asked me not to move while they moved me to my hospital bed.

When the procedure was finished the doctor walked out to the waiting room (still in his scrubs) and told my husband that it was successful and that I would need to take 1 baby aspirin each morning for 6 weeks. I also needed to come in and see him in about a week. He told my husband that he could meet me in my hospital room.
Shortly after I arrived in my room my husband walked in. I was in and out for a while, but not in any pain. I was amazed at how easy it all was and that I should not have been so nervous before. I noticed right away that my PVC's were gone. My nurse came in about every hour and checked my incision area, blood pressure, pulse and temperature. My temp was about 99.4-99.8 during the first day or so. I NEVER have fevers and my temperature is always low, like 97.6 or so. My heart rate seemed fast to me. I normally have a heart rate about 65-70 bpm and it was ranging about 80-90 bpm. Also, I normally have a low blood pressure (106/60 or so) and my blood pressure was about 115/80 or so. One other thing I remember is being pretty hot the first few hours and I tend to be cold most of the time. I even removed my blankets at one point.

I had to lay totally still for 6 hours and not move my right leg at all (this was the leg the catheters were inserted into). I did have to urinate right away so I had my very first experience with a bed pan. After that I decided I would wait the 6 hours if I had to go again so I could actually get up and use the restroom myself. The bed pan was not fun and very strange. lol I thought it was going to be very hard to lay there for 6 hours, but I slept for about 4 hours of it. They had my IV hooked to a saline drip, but I forced myself to wait the next 2 hours to use the restroom. As soon a
s 5pm rolled around I was calling the nurse so I could get up. lol!

Unfortunately, when it was time to get up they unhooked the heart monitor in the room from me and put a wireless version on me. This made me sad as I could no longer view it myself. They also unhooked my IV from the saline bag and just le
ft the IV thingy in my wrist (yes, it was in the side of my wrist! OUCH!). I was able to get up and walk (slowly) and use the rest room. It was not easy to bend, but I used the railing in the bathroom to help me sit and stand back up. I was told that if I had to cough, sneeze or anything like that to push on my incision area in order to prevent it from opening back up and bleeding. I never really had to do this.

Shortly after this I noticed blood on my hand coming from my IV. The nurse came in, tried to fix it and flushed it. While doing this it was VERY painful. I started feeling very nauseous and sweaty. The nurse figured out right away that my blood pressure had dropped. She checked it and it was 80/44. She panicked and ran out to get an IV stand and some fluids. She moved my bed so my legs were above my head and in about 45 minutes or so I was back to normal. Due to this fact though I was told NOT to walk around again for the next 6 hours unless I had to go to the restroom. Later we asked the doctor about this episode and he told us it was due to the pain and that is why it dropped.

I did have some blood on my incision dressing so the nurse changed the dressing before she left for the day. I went to sleep at about 10:30pm. Nurse came in at 11:30pm to check my vitals. Then, I slept all the way until 4:30am before I was awakened again for a urine sample. This was due to the fact that I had a urinary tract/kidney infection earlier in the week and they wanted to check on it. Then, I was awakened again at 5:30am for blood being drawn, 6:30am for an EKG and then 7:30am....

I slept great without any issues really. My groin area was a little sore, but it wasn't bad at all if I didn't have to walk. If I did walk it just seemed to stretch the sore a bit so I walked really slow. I felt great and I didn't even have any pain meds.

(Ready to go home in my polka dot pants!)
The doctor came in about 11am (the morning after the procedure) and told me that everything looked great (he checked out my incision as well) and that I could go home. When I got home I noticed I had about a 1" x 1" bruise on my inner right leg. About 4 inches or so from the incision. It continued to get bigger over the next 32 hours. It is now about 3.5" x 1.5". It actually hurts more than the incision. When I arrived home I slept for a few hours and then took a shower. I had my husband take it with me just in case I fell or anything. He helped me remove the dressing on my incision and I washed it as directed by my nurse. BTW, my incision continued to bleed just a little bit over the next few days so I just kept a small band-aid on it until Monday.

Overall, everything went great. I was even able to go to church on Sunday morning. God really blessed me and he answered everyone's prayers. I am grateful to everyone that prayed for me.

One thing I would do different is bring
snacks with us! The hospital food was awful!

Update: I spoke with the nurse Monday night and she told me the bruising is normal. Apparently, blood becomes trapped during the procedure and makes its way to the skin over time. That is why the bruise continued to get larger. So, nothing to worry about. Also, I continued to see bruises all around the incision area and this is normal too.

(Picture of my bruise Monday morning 7am)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Sister's Room

While I was in Michigan for my mom's surgery I took my sister to Home Depot and let her pick out paint for her room. She is 16 and her room was white...VERY white. She picked out bright pink. I tried to talk her out of it because my mom doesn't like pink, but that is what she wanted. All girls want pink rooms at some point in their lives so this was her time.

We also looked at some room decorations and picked out a zebra print border. :o) It only took us about 1.5-2 hours to finish painting the room. Here are some pictures.