March 11, 2010

Syndicated syncope

Check THAT out! A near-perfect ECG (as far as I can tell after a couple hours research on the web). All the numbers at the top of the chart are spot-on. And a resting heartrate of 62 isn't too bad, though I've posted as low as 52 at checkups before. (And nothing like The Running Laminator's 37!)

So... WHY did I have an ECG today? Funny story...

You're aware by now that I have some roughness in my lungs that I haven't been able to purge. It comes and goes. I am not bringing up an astounding amount of phlegm, or even a "normal" amount (normal for me, that is.) And what I am bringing up is small amounts and fairly light-colored. I'm also not, for once, suffering from the kind of asthma that causes tightness in the chest or comes on suddenly. Two or three albuterol nebulizers a day is keeping me on an even keel and I feel like I'm breathing fairly well.

However, at last weeks PFTs, my numbers were way down. The nurse wasn't happy, so today I blew again and saw the doctor. My PFTs are improved over last week (at least as long as I have albuterol in me) and my weight is up. All good. However, whatever is going on in my lungs is cause for concern. There are times during the day - or night - when I'm short of breath. I've been sleeping poorly and even waking up breathing badly.

I thought I was going to end up on IV antibiotics again after this doctor visit, but that has been put off in favor of giving the old orals another go. It's been a long time since I've been on the orals - over a year at least - and it's quite possible I'm culturing something very different than I usually do. Time will tell. (Speaking of cultures, it was almost impossible to produce even a sputum sample for the lab today, though yesterday I could have filled a dixie cup.)

But that's all lung stuff. Again, why did she send me for an ECG? Longer story...

I slept very poorly last night, a combination of going to bed too early (for a 6 a.m. wakeup), too much food, and poor breathing. In fact, I only got about 4 hours of sleep total. Now, you may recall me posting a little over a year ago about how I had passed out while coughing in front of the computer. This episode of post-tussive syncope has proven to not be unique. I had an episode in a restaurant last October, during which I didn't quite go all the way out, or rather did, but only for a second - coming to fast enough to catch myself falling on some tables and chairs.

This morning, I woke up at 6:10 a.m., sat upright, starting coughing, took two steps toward the bathroom... and then woke up again at 6:15 a.m., wondered why I was staring at my radiator and the legs of my bed, realized I was sprawled out on the floor (quite comfortable, really), and after ascertaining I wasn't dreaming, got back in bed for half an hour trying to figure out just what the hell had happened. See, the combination of getting up out of bed quickly while coughing hard triggered another episode and I passed out good this time. I mean, this was a full-fledged double chokeslam, with me hitting things on the way down (being unconscious already I didn't actually feel the hits) and staying out for a few minutes.

The aftermath is not good. I have a sizable bump on my head at the hairline on my right side, a bump half that size on my left (from hitting the floor I think), a stiff/aching neck, a scratch on my right arm and thumb, a bruised hip, and a twisted or bashed left knee. Taking stock of my injuries and comparing to a) where I was facing when I passed out and b) my body position when I woke up, I can't quite reconstruct *how* I ended up facing away from the bathroom, on my leftside, with injuries on both sides of my body.

These things will heal. I'll have some Tylenol with my early dinner, get a nap, then go to rehearsal. But there are longer consequences. My doc sent me to get the ECG just in case a heart problem was contributing to this. With that ruled out, the most obvious cause (besides my CF coughing) is the diabetes, which my doc says causes the body to not adjust as well to drops in blood pressure, which occur when a person gets up quickly. And as I noted in my blog post of a year ago, this kind of thing makes me concerned about my safety as a driver, especially if I'm not going to recover in a matter of seconds.

I do not see the situation resolving itself anytime soon. The diabetes isn't going away, unfortunately, though I may be able to control it better with more exercise. The cough isn't going away and isn't going to become predictable; not until transplant (and probably not even then). And let me tell you, I've had some doozies while driving. Another few episodes like the one today and I may have to voluntarily remove myself from the roads. I may sell the bike. I just don't know yet.

So *that*, dear reader, is why I was sent for an ECG. And before I go, I'd like to say bravo to Columbia for the renovation of their labs and x-ray center. Blood-draws, especially, went from waah to wow. And now blood draws, ECG, and x-rays (as well as a few others, I'm sure) are all done in the same area. The labs area is clean, spacious, well-lit, with lots of window space and desk space and the flow is really good. They even have loveseats in the waiting area and pagers!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Wow Cris. Kinda scary. I am glad your ok now though.

If you get up out of bed more slowly would that stop you from passing out?