2/15 through 17 - Cardioversion and Going Home

2/15. Yesterday was Valentine's, and I spent it in the hospital while Kathy and Jake were back home. The only flower I was able to give her was a photo of one from the internet via a text message.

Anyway, I woke up today with quite a headache and my left leg still spasms upon wake up. I really am wondering now if I'm going to have any benefit from going through all this, and now today I had to look forward to a cardioversion to get my heart back in rhythm.

Keep in mind that procedures in hospitals always mean empty stomachs, and I had gone a lot of time in the hospital this past week in NPO (no food or drink) status. This day would be no exception. On Tuesday, it would be no breakfast or lunch, as the anesthesiologist requires 8 hours of no food. About 3:30 or so, they came and took me into the cardio room and prepped me. They had to take an ultrasound of my heart to ensure no clots had formed in the atrium, as these could lead to a stroke once the heart is in rhythm and clear the heart into the blood stream.

At 5:02 and 47 seconds pm (I got the ECG printout), I was kicked into regular heartrate and sent back to my room. Cardioversion is apparently quite painful, which is why they put you under for it. I've been told it's like getting kicked in the chest by a mule. The doctor told me I was out for about 20 minutes, and it was actually (and fortunately) not painful at all. The only thing that was awful about it was the numbing medication that they put into the back of my throat to eliminate the gag reflex. The stuff tastes terrible, and the way the doctor administers it made me feel like he was trying to choke and gag me.

One side effect of the cardioversion and possibly all this hospital prodding and such was a huge case of the shivers. For about 3 hours tonight after getting my heart back to proper rhythm, I was shivering almost out of control. The nurse covered me with several blankets and it eventually began to subside. I actually ended up sleeping quite well this night.

Before I went to sleep, something dawned on me. As of this moment, I had managed to get back to where I wanted to be when I checked into the hospital last Tuesday, namely in regular heart and open veins. Of course, I wanted the MS to be gone too, but I'm not so naive to think that was going to happen. I was now on Coumadin and would be for a couple of months afterwards, but after a week of being in the hospital including 4 days in ICU, I was finally back to a position where I could pursue my ongoing quest to rid myself of this disease. Strangely enough, this actually felt like a victory.

2/16. I woke up today with another headache similar to last week, where the temple of my left side hurt down toward my jugular vein on the left side. This kinds of worries me a bit, and I really hope this will subside as I get back to normal life.

At about 3:00 I had another Ultrasound test again to see if the blood flow was still moving in the jugular, which it was. Otherwise, I was observed all day and being checked for my heart rate and my Coumadin levels to be ready for discharge. Looks like I might go home tomorrow.

2/17. Dr. Arata came to see me this morning. Headache again this morning, but not as bad. Same spot. My heart was still regular, the Heparin had been discontinued about 4am, and the Coumadin level was considered therapeutic. He cleared me to go home, as did the cardiologist a little while later. I was released at about 1:00, now 10 days since being admitted.

Kathy drove the 4 hours from Las Vegas to come get me, and we turned around and headed home. I was pretty weak and didn’t feel like doing much, but we did talk on the way home about it all.

Now all I have to do is recover from the 10 days in hospital, be careful not to do anything that might cause bleeding, monitor the Coumadin levels, get an ultrasound in a few weeks to make sure my veins are still open, and see if all this will improve my MS condition. Nothing is free in this world is it?

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