Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chris Went to the Emergency Room

Sunday February 23, 1992

Telephone day. After a big waffle and egg breakfast I call Chris. Ric brought home a new puppy this week. More worry for her with rainy days and puppy poop on her carpet. But she is thrilled. She loves it. Justin named it Jessie.

Chris tells me she was in the emergency room yesterday because her heart was racing for an hour or so. They finally had to give her a drug in her vein to slow it down. She didn't want that. She's worried what the drug might do to the baby. More worry for me too. They gave her pills to take to prevent it from happening again. Talked 2 hours to Donna. Then Mom and Myra. Went marketing.

Drug my tired body to class square dancing in Northridge. Too tired to enjoy it much.

No doubt about it 1992 was probably my most difficult year. Besides the constant nausea and exhaustion, as well as moving not once but twice, I had medical issues during this pregnancy. This was the first medical issue that year.

Since I was a little girl in elementary school I remember having episodes where my heart would start racing. I remember telling my pediatrician about this one time at a doctor visit and he dismissed it as something everyone has. When I was little my heart would race, I would get sweaty and nauseous and finally throw up in the classroom or on the playground. I was so embarrassed. As I got older I found that if I took a big breath and leaned over to exert pressure on my heart with the air in my lungs, I could usually get my heart to slow down, especially if I caught it quickly. As the doctor told me in the emergency room, during pregnancy a woman's blood supply increases by 50% and there is alot more pressure on the heart. Most of the time my heart would begin racing as I was waking up in the morning, so was completely unrelated to any kind of stress. During my pregnancy, because of the extra strain on my heart I had more tachycardia episodes than ever, about once per week instead of my usual once per month or so, and my usual method of slowing down my heart did not work any more. On this morning I woke up with my heart racing and after an hour my husband finally drove me to the emergency room at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. My pulse was 180 beats per minutes. My blood pressure was 80/0. That was dangerous for the baby. I was given some medication to take after the medication in the IV finally worked to slow my heart down, but I did not like the way it made me feel. My heart felt like it was beating irregularly all the time. Before I got pregnant with my last child in 1994 the doctor recommended I have heart surgery to correct the electrical malfunction in my heart so as not to endanger the baby. I had this done at the San Jose Kaiser Permanente hospital in July 1994. A catheter was inserted into my groin after I was wheeled into the OR. I was completely awake and could see the catheter enter my heart on the overhead screen. Then I said, "my heart is racing." The surgeon told me that they were inducing the tachycardia in order to find out which part of my heart was causing the electrical malfunction. Once they found it, they burned that part of my heart with the device inserted through the catheter. This was called ablation. I was released to go home that night.

The following month I did get pregnant with my last son Ryan. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but he also required heart surgery, when he was 5 years old, having been born with a hole between the two upper chambers of his heart. They caused backwash as his heart pumped blood. His surgery was outpatient as well and the device that was used to close up the hole went through the groin too.

As for the puppy, Jessie was 8 weeks old when we got him, and yes there was indeed lots of puppy poop to pick up off my carpet, something not at all pleasant when battling constant nausea. But he turned out to be one of my favorite dogs and was a big part of our family for the next 10 years.

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