Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey, did you know that heart attacks really suck? No? Well, then pull up a chair and let me tell you all about it....

Yeah, so my Mom had a heart attack. Basically, on Saturday, Februrary 9 at 6:00 in the morning she woke up with severe chest pain. She called me, I took her to the Kaiser Emergency Care Center, they performed an EKG, and the doctor told me that they were calling 911 and taking her to Fairfax Hospital since her EKG was abnormal. Cue the freaking out.

Seriously. I don't think I have ever been so scared as when the Kaiser docs threw nitroglycerin and aspirin down her throat, all those EMT guys stormed in, strapped Mom to a gurney, and the ambulance pulled out. I met them at the hospital, and after waiting 30 minutes in the waiting room, they took me back to see Mom. We were told she was going to have a cardiac catheterization (which entails winding a wire through the femoral artery to the heart).

I sat for an hour alone in the cardiac waiting room, waiting. The doctor came out, told me everything had gone well, and informed me that Mom had a 100% blockage of one of the major arteries of her heart, and partial blockages of two other arteries. The complete blockage had been cleared and a stent had been placed in the artery.

After her procedure, Mom felt a lot better. At least for a few days. While still in the hospital she developed fluid in her lungs, which resulted in her blood not becoming oxyginated to a normal amount. The lungs are naturally lubricated, and one of the heart's jobs is to pump out the fluid. After the heart has been damaged in a heart attack, however, it cannot pump as strongly. So the fluid in the lungs was not being removed. Basically, Mom had to stay in the hospital an entire week, until Saturday, February 16.

Things seemed to be improving throughout the week Mom was at home, but starting Thursday, she began to experience pressure and slight pain in her lower chest. We took her back to the hospital on Saturday, February 23, and they admitted her. The good news is, nothing is wrong with her heart. Her EKG looked good, blood work showed that certain enzymes that are present during a cardiac event were normal, and a chest CT showed no pulmonary blood clots. The doctors determined that her problem was epigastric in nature and sent her home.

The only caveat is that a stomach CT showed a mass outside her stomach. We have no idea what this is, but the doctor said that its most likely benign, and it's probably just some kind of cyst that will be reabsorbed naturally. We're making an outpatient appointment for an endoscopy and/or upper GI for later this week.

While it's probably nothing, it's just scary. The words "mass" and "tumor," while medical and themselves merely descriptive, instantly make me worry. But there's really nothing that can be done or determined until more tests are run. So I think we aren't really going to think about it too much, and just let the doctors do their jobs. Mom's spirits are up, she's feeling better, and she's glad to be home.

The best part? I found ice cream with only 1 gram of fat and only 80 mg of sodium, so Mom can eat them. Because she would be willing to do anything the doctors tell her...except give up ice cream.

1 comment:

Monkey Sri said...

Hey! Glad to her your mom is doing well. I was thinking about her, and doing some online research about heart health and holistic medicine (which, I feel obligated to state, should be used in conjunction with traditional treatments). Here are some good suggestions based on Ayurveda ... just ignore all the hippie-dippie language. Send your mom my warmest regards!