Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Day As A Lab Rat!

Whew, I'm glad today is over with! I have never been shuffled to and from so many tests in my entire career of having fibromyalgia!  Today was the beginning of the resting phase of my cardiac stress test. Very appropriate name, being as I got very "restful" as I was inside this machine with a camera that took pictures of my heart from every conceivable angle.  The technician was in another room with another patient and it was quiet and I had a nice, snuggly blanket placed over me (due to it felt like a morgue in there, it was so icy cold!) and I didn't sleep very well last night, so I did the only natural thing...I fell asleep!  The tech then rudely (LOL! He was very nice and explained the whole procedure before he did anything) came and woke me up. Let me back up a bit-before I had the resting portion of the test, I had an echocardiogram of my heart, which was a piece of cake. (Mmmm...speaking of cake.....NO, I cannot have cake! I fight with myself often, so don't mind me!)  They even had a gown that fit me completely...my butt wasn't sticking out for all to see! Everyone was so sweet and put me at ease, that it actually was a very enjoyable day. If you have to spend it doing tests, it's always nice to have the techs be good to you. I've had plenty of bad experiences (as I'm sure we ALL have) where you could tell the person didn't like their job by the way they interact with their patients. No smiles, no putting one at ease, no humor. Now, I realize that not everything is funny, but you should laugh at those rare times when things ARE funny!  It goes along the line of taking time to smell the roses. Anyway, Tony, my technician, took the pictures of my heart after the echo. Tony is fabulous....I've never met anyone as personable as he. He is also quick & efficient. I was the first patient in this morning at 7:15am and he worked on me, then more people trickled in and he had us all prepared for our test within a half hour. His time management skills are outstanding!

I had to laugh because I met the most interesting people this morning as we were waiting in the nuclear med waiting area. This one guy was a "hefty" person like myself and he was in for the same test-chemical stress test. He was telling me that when they scheduled him initially, they said they would have to do him at the Deer Valley location (which is where we were) due to his HEIGHT and....ummmm, weight. We got to laughing so hard. The guy asked the receptionist what is height had to do with anything and she couldn't answer him.  I think she just was trying to be delicate about weight issues....but you gotta admit, that is just plain hysterical with how she put it.  I've never heard of a test that if you are too short or too tall you couldn't have it done at certain locations.  Anyway, it was good to get out of the house for awhile and meet some new people. Because my physical abilities are declining so rapidly, I can't get out a lot anymore. I need that damn walker and I hate having to put my poor husband through having to get it out of the trunk and set it up. But he does it every time with not one complaint. And he helps me up curbs and rough terrain (like stones) and is always by my side. Couldn't ask for a better husband than my Frankie! He is there for me, as I am for him.

After the resting stress test, I had ONE more thing to do: an "ABI" test, which is believe stands for "ankle brachial index."  My nursing skills are a bit rusty after two years of non-use, so trying to remember these things are hard. Plus I was never a cardiac nurse anyway.  I went into another room with another technician and she had me lay on a hard table while she proceeded to put blood pressure cuffs on both arms and ankles. Then she got readings from all four areas and then used a doppler to check my pulses. I was so embarrassed with how swollen my feet were!  My pulses sounded nice and strong. Then, she had me stand up and stand on tippy-toes and then lower down and then back up for 50 times.  Well, my legs are the crappiest things on me and I knew I couldn't do fifty.  I was right. I could barely do 30 and she said that was OK.  My calves go so tight, I though the muscles would split right out of my legs!  I had to lay back down and she got the reading yet again from the cuffs. When she blew the cuff up on my calves, it took all I had-and stuff I didn't even KNOW I had-to NOT scream.  That hurt soooo bad!!!!  I don't know if my fellow "fibromites" have this or not, but my calves get really hard and crampy and I can't walk on them for several minutes, until the cramp leaves.  It's just miserable!

I could get my husband out of the waiting room at this point and have him join me in one of the exam rooms for the evaluation of the ABI test. I was surprised they'd do that so quickly. I finally got GOOD news for a change. My arterial flow is very strong and there didn't seem to be a problem she could see with it. She did say that my venous return might be weak, or the valves in the veins aren't working like they should, therefore causing the swelling in both legs.  We shall see.

We went home after that and I felt like I'd been through WW3. I was so tired, I got into the house, plopped my purse down on the table, and went to bed for about 4 hours. I don't know why I am so tired all the time! The tests weren't that hard...you'd think my body thought it climbed Mt. Everest, for Heaven's sake!  I guess I'm not getting that good REM sleep I need. Maybe tonight I can sleep better. I'm getting very tired right now as I took all my night pills and they are starting to work.  I can't take ANYTHING in the morning, including my MS Contin (yikes! I'm going to be hurtin' in the morning!) until after the stress test is over. Tony told me to bring my meds and right after, I can take them. I can't even have water before the test!  I'm gonna be a bear in the morning....no pills, no water, no breakfast.  And I'll be injected with a medication to make my heart speed real fast. I hate that feeling!!!  But, it's my last test and my follow-up with the cardio doc is June 11th.  Hopefully all is well and I can have that lap-band procedure and lose enough weight to have back surgery.  Oh, I hope so!!!!

Tomorrow afternoon is my husband's appt with the surgeon. We will see if surgery will remove the new tumor or not.  I hope they can. It's small and not around major vessels like his original tumor is, so there's a good chance that surgery will do the trick.  Question is, should he remain on the Gleevec or switch to the second line medication called "Sutent?"  We shall see.  Seems like all we ever do is sit around and wait, wait, wait.  It gets really old and boring sometimes!!!!!

Okay, I think I'll close for tonight. I'm getting really tired and I hope this blog is still making sense! LOL....I sometimes say crazy things when I'm sleepy. I want to make sure I get enough rest for the "heart pumping" great time I'll have with the second part of the test tomorrow.  Wish me luck, and my husband as well.  Hope its good news all around.

Be happy & safe, my friends!
Love ya!
Missy

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