Sunday, September 18, 2016

What R&R ?

I have always wanted to write a Missive about a hospital stay. My latest experience was at the New Mexico Heart Hospital in Albuquerque.  The day before my arrival there I was having lunch at my favorite sushi bar with a friend and I was complaining about the boring 3 day stay ahead of me.  She said comfortingly “Everyone can use some R & R” (rest and recreation).  In retrospect that was a very funny comment.

I have had arrhythmia on an off for about 20 years and it used to go away by itself with rather basic medicines, or in doctor’s jargon, meds.   Meds used on a continuous basis seem to wear off eventually and so it was with me.  The med that I agreed to try this time, Tikosyn, requires the hospital stay for monitoring while “loading” as they term it. The reason being that it could make things better but also had the potential to make things worse.  My Electro Physiologist  whose specialty is arrhythmias, known in the trade as the electrician, told me to be ready for a very boring stay.  Shortly thereafter I found in the New Yorker this cartoon, which was proven absolutely correct.

The NM Heart Hospital is up to date. First, they hook you up to a heart monitor so that they can keep track of your heartbeat while you are there.  These days you do not have to be attached to a wall plug but can move around and carry the large battery-powered  instrument along with you. There are antennae everywhere to keep track of you as long as you stay on the same floor in the hospital.

I was very grateful that my wife stayed in Albuquerque and kept me company during the day.  For exercise we walked the halls and happily the floor includes two balconies where you can get sunshine and air. Further my room had Wi-Fi so I could use my computer, IPad and cellphone as well as watch TV.

Signs all over the hospital state how important rest is for heart patients, however, rest is hard to come by. They check your vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature and heart rate every four hours and then there are all your pills to be given morning, afternoon, evening and night.  They administered the Tikosyn every 12 hours and then 2 hours after that gave me an electrocardiogram (EKG).  Not to mention doctors visits from the electrician and an internist. 

To take my second night in the hospital as an example at 8pm I got my magic pill, at 10 pm the EKG.  At 10:30 my final pills including a sleeping pill.  The bed is a thin air-mattress that expands rolls and inflates and deflates making it sound like there is someone in bed with you and you are moving all night.  The idea is to prevent bed-sores.  On the night in question the first sleep interruption was at 2:15 AM because my heart monitor was out of juice so a charger joined me in bed.   At 4 AM I was wakened to take my vitals. At 5 AM I was wakened to take daily bloods, at 6 AM pills were brought to me and breakfast arrives around 7 AM.  So I must ask what rest does one get in the hospital?

The happy ending is that they got my heart back in rhythm with a cardio-version and the Tikosyn seems to be keeping it there, so I am now home where I look forward to enjoying some real R & R!

No comments:

Post a Comment