The day we were travelling back from Stoke, my thyroid - out of the blue - decided it was time to have another storm...
My heart beat had been sitting around 90, which is just about ok & I was taking my herbal remedies, but I started having palpitations & on the way home. My heart just got faster (180 bpm), which made me feel really anxious.
As soon as we arrived home, I called the surgery & was told to get to A & E.
And so began the nightmare...
I was taken into the resus room, wired up to a monitor & the staff tried to persuade me to have an adenosine injection to drastically slow down my heart, I refused - as I know that it can stop the heart altogether. The doctor told me that he was not sure if it would work, because they had no evidence of use with Graves Disease & the procedure could cause a permanent heart defect... Why would I want this? My heart was healthy, just running fast as a result of my thyroid problem & I really didn't want to experience 10 minutes of slow death...
I told them the type of beta-blockers I had taken before (which did the trick), but the doctor chose another drug, which didn't work, so I lay on the trolley for 4 hours, still wired up & eventually was told I was to be admitted to a medical assessment unit... I continued to insist that I knew what drugs would help, but nobody listened.
Sime left me at around 2.30am, he didn't have to leave - but there was so much to sort out at home & our phone was broken, which meant he couldn't keep in touch with Hugo, so he reluctantly left me.
For over an hour, I was left wired up, with a light shining in my face. I was in a sitting position on the bed & had no alarm to alert the nursing staff.
At 4am, a doctor turned up & after he spent a few minutes lecturing me about the greatness of radioactive iodine, he listened to what I had to say. Within minutes the anti thyroid drug, carbimazole arrived & later in the morning, I was finally given the beta-blockers I knew would work. At 6.30am, a new day started & I hadn't slept a wink. I was having 2 hourly observations & felt exhausted. Although I was constantly asked about chest pain & light headedness, I felt absolutely fine - just tired. An x-ray showed that my heart was in good working order, but it still didn't slow down. I desperately wanted to go home, but the doctors (I saw at least a dozen) recommended I stay until my heart rate was under 120 bpm.
Sime phoned me & I just broke down, I felt so vulnerable, frightened & completely lost.
I was starting to receive visits by student doctors, who were very excited about seeing a Graves patient in the flesh, but I was in no mood to talk to them.
I was hungry & wanted to go home.
The staff found me some soya milk & gave me some weetabix, the only hot drinks were cheap black tea or instant coffee. The catering assistant came to speak to me about options for meals & I was pleasantly surprised to have a fairly decent sweet & sour dish for lunch. For dinner, I ordered a bean casserole - but it was disgusting & I couldn't eat it, even though I was starving by this time. They served it up again the next day too, but luckily by then Sime had brought me some extras - houmous, bread, salad & lots of fruit. I argued with the doctors about the poor diet patients were receiving - there wasn't a green vegetable in sight, it was just complete junk, unappetising & devoid of any nutrients. The portions were tiny, not enough to make people well & most of the ladies I met looked incredibly pale & in need of some good food. I realise the NHS has cutback on food, but I would have happily paid for something decent, I feel so strongly about the link between food & health.
My second day, I got transferred to an endocrine ward & my heart started racing again. The staff nurse woke me to keep an eye on my heart & eventually, he decided to call in a doctor - as it was speeding up.
Fortunately, this doctor was a lovely, caring, young woman - she ordered an ECG & she was concerned.
She thought the top of my heart was starting to deteriorate & the bottom half was overcompensating, so something needed to be done. I talked of another drug used before, which I had suggested might be good, but she thought the adenosine injection maybe a better idea. I told her how I felt about it & she respected this, but asked me to have a serious think.
I lay in bed, worrying about it all & decided to get up. It was after 2am, but I wanted to ask the nurses what they thought I should do. I asked for some information & spent a long time mulling it over. I tried phoning Sime, but of course he was asleep. I was frightened, but thought I will have to go for it. There is a chance that the procedure can be fatal, so I was shaking & sweating, wishing Sime & the kids were with me. I just kept thinking of the worst & the fact that I couldn't say goodbye to them, if the worst happened. I remember having to constantly sip water, as fear had engulfed me - it was like being in shock.
I left a weepy message on our phone, saying how much I loved them all & then prepared for the treatment.
The staff nurse started attaching me in another machine, ready for the doctor to give me the injection. I was shaking so much - my teeth were chattering. I heard the doctor walking along the corridor & tried to visualise myself in the morning being fine...
The doctor had some good news, her boss agreed that the drug I requested would be fine to use, instead of the scary injection...
Well, I can't tell you how thrilled I was - it was like having a death sentence reprieve!
I phoned home again & this time managed to speak to Hugo - what a relief & I was on a high...
The drug began to work - yippee!
The next morning, I asked why I hadn't received the second dose, as my heart rate was starting to creep up again & the nurses were so busy they had missed their instructions - I think they thought I was a nuisance, but it was important for me to take 2 doses close together... It should have been taken at 8.30am, but I finally received it at nearly 1pm.
In the meantime, I told the staff that I was going to discharge myself, I felt I would be far better having control of the drugs & they tried to persuade me to stay, but I refused.
Luckily, my heart rate was reducing & on the next doctor's visit - it was 64 bpm.
I could officially go home - hooray!!!
I have felt nauseous a few times due to the toxic drugs in my body, but my heart is finally under control.
Sime cancelled our B&B guests, but we've got our friends staying - which is nice & I am just so glad to be home & being with my beautiful family - I have survived yet another vile ordeal & don't want to go through it again. We just hate being apart & I'm so sorry to have caused Sime so much upset, but we know now that we definitely need to make changes in our lives...
As soon as I was out of hospital, we went straight to our friends' gig - where I enjoyed a pot of herbal tea & relaxing on the sofa...
Happy bunnies again!!!
We will hopefully resume with our vegan posts tomorrow...
Bye for now & look forward to catching up with you all soon!
Kay (& Sime)