I was doing great in my open heart recovery. Great, I tell you. I was actually surprised with how smoothly everything was going. I was taking it easy and mixing short periods of light activity followed by rest, just like the doctor ordered. My range of motion was increasing and my pain level was decreasing. Each day, I felt stronger than the day before.
Then Saturday, 12 days after my surgery, I woke up from my nap feeling like my upper abdomen was a little tight. I thought that maybe I had sunk too far down in the recliner and that my abdominal area had been a bit bent while I slept. I walked a little that afternoon, sat outside while I watched my sister play with the kids on the playground and then had dinner at the cafe here at Camp. After dinner, my stomach still didn't feel quite right but it wasn't alarming. I just felt so full even though I hadn't eaten very much for dinner.
At bed time, I was still feeling a bit sick but it seemed to be my stomach, not my heart. By 11:00 PM, I called to Casey in the bedroom to bring me a pot. I was not feeling well at all but could only say that my upper stomach felt full and that I was nauseated. I attributed the full feeling to indigestion.
When I woke up Sunday morning, the house seemed empty. The family was at the Camp cafe for breakfast. I went to the bathroom but could barely make it back to the couch without passing out. My upper abdomen was painful, uncomfortable and I thought I was going to throw up any moment. I lay on the couch wondering what was wrong when my oldest child came into the room. I was so happy that I was not alone.
She saw that I wasn't feeling well and was so sweet to ask what she could do to help me. I wasn't even sure. I felt that I needed my pain medication but didn't want to take it on an empty stomach. I couldn't eat, however, because my stomach was so upset. I decided I needed to get up and walk to see if I could get the full feeling gone, which I was sure was gas (Hey, I'd had a lot of medications running through my system!). She helped me stand up but I was back on the couch in no time because I was so faint.
We decided to call Casey but thankfully he came in right then. We just didn't know what to do or what was wrong. He wanted to call the doctor but I didn't want to bother him on a Sunday. We finally agreed to call our sweet friend Dottie who was a cardiac nurse. After hearing my symptoms, she advised me to call the doctor right away or to go straight to the ER or even call an ambulance. I told her there was no way I was going to call an ambulance but that I would put a call into the doctor. Dottie told me that she thought my issue had something to do with too much fluid so I called for a scale before calling the doctor. I had been weighing myself at the same time everyday per discharge orders to watch for extra fluid retention.
It took all the strength I had to walk a few steps to the scale and get back to the couch. I had gained 5 pounds in 24 hours- not good. After that, things spiraled out of control and went down hill very quickly. I went from thinking I had indigestion to feeling like I was hanging between life and death in just a matter of minutes. After being on the couch for a few minutes, I lost conciousness in a very painful and scary way. Casey says when I came to, I was convulsing and vomiting. I was ready to go to the hospital and was even ready to call an ambulance- a huge deal for me....
I will finish this post tomorrow. I'm ready to call it a day:)