Heart Ultrasound and Diabetic Testing, You Want Me To Smell What?
- November 04, 2016
- Theresa Bertuzzi
So this week I had to head to the hospital for more of the dreaded tests. First up checking up on the old ticker with a heart ultrasound and a bubble test. When your immune system begins attacking your muscles a significant problem arises in that you have two major organs that rely on your muscles to function; your lungs and your heart. If your muscles are no longer strong enough to make your heart and lungs work then you are in big trouble. To set my family’s mind at ease, before I move on, my heart is perfectly fine must be all of the love of family and friends keeping it pumping strong because I have a healthy, happy pumper that will not be quitting anytime in the future.
I headed in for my ultrasound on Halloween and I wasn’t too thrilled that instead of spending the morning Trick or Treating with all of our little daycare students at Tiny Hoppers, which is one of my most favorite things to do, I was stuck again at the hospital. I also was sick to my stomach from the chemo shot I had had the day before and would have better spent my day really close to the bathroom at home. On the upside, my amazing Dad spent the day driving me to appointments so that I wouldn’t have to try and find parking at the dreaded Civic hospital. He has been so sweet about driving me to appointments there and I don’t think he minds it that much because we get to chat with each other in the car and then he sneaks in to get a donut while I have my tests. I just outed you to mom dad. LOL. The technician who did my ultrasound was the sweetest man who thought my anxiety over the whole test hilarious and he giggled at all of my questions and my prodding to get him to tell me everything he was seeing. I always try to get my diagnosis out of the technicians because I know that they are not supposed to say anything and I want to see if I can get them to break. I would never let the doctor know that they dished or get them into any trouble I just like to see how much information I can get out of them so I don’t have to wait for results. I could never do that job as my facial expressions always give me away and I would probably start crying if I ever found anything wrong with someone. The initial ultrasound was fairly simple the only awkward part being that I was bare chested and tucked into the armpit of a stranger who was manipulating a cold, hard object under my rib cage. Then he asked me to make my stomach muscles as tight as I could; I’m not sure why but I assume to see what this does to my heart or the blood flowing through it? Now I had a bit of a problem. To be completely honest, when you are on this much medication it tends to do a number on your stomach and bowels resulting in my being constipated for the majority of the week followed by two days of having rampant diarrhea and nausea following the chemo. Too much information, I know! As I already explained, I had done my chemo the day before so I was fighting off the nausea and a growing need to have to sprint out of there and shove everyone waiting to get into the bathroom out of the way at any moment. So I tightened my stomach muscles as best I could and he said, “…no, I need you to do it like you are taking a great, big poop.” Oh no, he didn’t just say that! I smiled sheepishly at him and explained that if I did that I may actually fill my pants as I was sick to my stomach. He started to giggle, said we would have to try it anyway, and then I noticed him sliding up closer to my head, moving precariously away from where the action may occur. Good news though, it didn’t happen although it was pretty close and I didn’t push nearly as hard as I could have or as hard as he would have liked me to but I had both of our best interests at heart as well as my dads who would have possibly died of shock if I came marching out of that hospital with my poopy pants in a bag. I suddenly have much more apathy for all of the little daycare babies at my centre who have accidents and have to make that march of shame with their messed up clothing in a baggy. Everyone who messes their pants will be getting extra hugs from me from now on.
The next part of the test was called a “Bubble Test” and he told me it was to check to make sure that my heart did not have any holes in it. He put an IV in my arm and then connected it to a Y shaped needle with a plunger on each side of the Y. It contained this foggy liquid. He pushed the plungers in and out really quickly to make the liquid all frothy and bubbly then he was going to inject the bubbles into the IV. “HOLD ON!!!!” No seriously, that is what I shouted at him. In every movie or TV show that I have ever seen when the bad guy sneaks in to kill someone in the hospital they do so by injecting a single air bubble into the IV of the patient. One bubble and the person keels over and dies. This man was about to inject a kazillion bubbles into my IV line. So I quickly explained that to him and he started laughing. He explained that these bubbles weren’t large enough to cause any damage they would just irritate the heart. I really didn’t want my heart to be irritated and I wasn’t 100 percent comfortable that he knew what he was doing but I allowed him to proceed after I directed him to pump those plungers a bunch more times to make sure that those bubbles were good and small before he shot them into my heart. When he shot the bubbles in I held my breath and waited to see what would happen. It was actually pretty cool and I could see all of the little bubbles on the ultrasound clearly filling and bubbling all on the inside of one side of my heart. He then asked me to push like I had to poop again. Come on!!!! I did and the bubbles all moved around but they did not go to the other side of my heart. I figured this was because my heart was not pumping properly so I asked and he told me that they aren’t supposed to or it would mean I had a hole in it. A ha!!! “So I don’t have a hole in my heart and it is working fine!” He giggled again and said “I didn’t say that.” “So there is something wrong with my heart, oh my god!!!” Now I knew that there wasn’t anything wrong with my heart, I just wanted to be dramatic in hopes of getting him to say that there wasn’t. My life is full of tests; I have to entertain myself somehow. He quickly said “no, no I am not saying you have anything wrong with your heart, I am not allowed to say anything, I am not qualified to make a diagnosis.” So I decided to let him off the hook because I think I had pushed the poor guy to his limits at this point. I just smiled, patted his arm and let him know it was just between the two of us. I think he was pretty happy to see me go that day or perhaps I gave him something to share in conversation at the dinner table that night.
Later in the week I headed in for my bi-weekly meeting with my Rheumatologist where I get to vent all of my complaints about the side effects of the drugs I am taking. She is so sympathetic but very honest and always acknowledges that the side effects are horrible and suck so bad but that the alternative is that I will die if I don’t take them. She is very honest and blunt and this is how I like it. I am one of those people that likes to hear the truth and then deal with it and it is the truth that helps me to get over the side effects knowing that I am super lucky that they have these meds to manage this illness because without them I would not be able to stick around and be a mom to my children. For them, I would do anything, no matter how sick it makes me feel but I still enjoy my chance to complain about how I am feeling every couple of weeks. This week I had a new concern to share. I have been noticing that I have been having a ton of episodes where I am dizzy, short of breath and can barely move. I thought it was related to some of the food I was eating as the Prednisone can cause your sugars to get out of control. I also have been peeing a ton. So the doctor felt that we should get my sugars tested to make sure that I wasn’t developing diabetes which is quite common on the medication I am on. Turns out I am not diabetic, or at least not yet, which is great as I really like treats and candy and not eating any would be terrible. The symptoms are most likely just a side effect of the Prednisone and my body getting rid of the inflammation. I had emailed my amazing brother, the one who is a doctor, the night before to tell him what I was thinking about my sugars so he had been texting me back and forth to make sure that I was ok. I am so blessed to have a brother who is a doctor that I can run all of my little hysterical concerns by before I take them to my own doctors. I do have a bad habit of googling symptoms that I am having and sending myself into a hysterical fit. This problem has only increased now that I am on high doses of Prednisone because the drugs not only cause me to be more paranoid but also give me this super energy that allows me to stay up all night worrying and searching the net. So I will write him all of my questions and he will quickly let me know if my concerns are genuine or if I am being absolutely insane then I don’t have to embarrass myself at the doctor with ridiculous rantings brought on by over researching on the internet. My brother never makes me feel ridiculous either. He may laugh at me when I am way off base or make little to no sense at all but he always takes the time to calm me down and helps to put it all back in perspective with a funny, sarcastic comment or a pointed fact. He was the one who told me to stick my tongue on a battery to see what an EMG feels like. It is this kind of honest advice that I respond best too and I think he may enjoy my descriptive way of describing symptoms to him as it gives him a better and more realistic perspective of how his patients may be feeling, for he is a really good EMT doctor and cares so much about his patients. Over the years he has gotten his share of descriptive symptoms from me to add to his ever gaining knowledge. When I was having back labour while delivering my oldest son he was a resident at the time and he asked me what it felt like and I explained in very loud voice that it felt like someone was jamming a bowling ball up my ass over and over. He is my baby brother after all and I feel like I have and am contributing to his perfecting his field by giving him a much more graphic image of side effects and pain level. You can’t find that kind of information in a book or online. So while I was finishing up my blood work he texted me to ask how I was feeling. I explained that I felt ok then he wrote me “Does your breath or pee smell fruity?” Ba ha ha! This had me laughing out loud in the hallway and I responded “I don’t know, I don’t smell my pee!” He replied “well you should, or have someone smell it for you.” So I am putting it out there for all of you. Apparently I should be smelling my pee or asking for volunteers to smell it for me, if any of you would like to help me out I am accepting volunteers online. I also wrote him to thank him for the great material for me blog so he won’t be surprised to read it here. Hee Hee! I do wonder what type of fruit would it smell like, grape, orange? I am going to guess fruit punch.
Thanks for reading and following along for another post of my rantings and nonsense. Your following along means the world to me and I am finding it so healing to have my posse and supporters all reading along and helping me on my road through this beautifully broken life. XOX