the new (ab)normal

Friday, August 30, 2013

August has been weird. 

six doctor appointments. a 48 hour holter monitor. a tilt table test. being told i'm stressed. over a week stuck in bed. ridiculous amounts of salt and water. too many medication changes. and the most amazing combinations of horrid symptoms. 
 holter monitor 
holter monitor fun + some light reading + hanging with my favorite pirate 

i have neurocardiogenic syncope {aka NCS, aka neurally mediated hypotension, aka vasovagal reflex, aka the fainting reflex, aka sucks} this is a type of dysautonomia or a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. basically my brain and heart have some major communication issues. the mixed signals happen with position changes most notably when I stand. the end result is a major drop in heart rate and blood pressure leading to almost passing out or actually passing out.

I've had a return of chest pain in addition to extreme fatigue, nausea, numbness/tingling in my extremities, heat intolerances, weakness and the dizziness, orthostatic intolerance, and almost passing out. it's great.        

the tilt table test... this gem of a test is what diagnosed the NCS. 

tilt table test

 "it's a boring test... we basically make you feel sick and try to get you to pass out"

well doesn't that sound delightful?! honestly it's not that bad. it's like a bad carnival ride. the juicy details are basically you get an IV {in case you need IV fluids and if something were to go wrong} and you're hooked up to a telemetry machine to monitor your heart rhythm and heart rate and I had a blood pressure cuff on both arms. Once you're strapped in they tilt the table to 70 degrees and you hang out for 40 minutes or until you pass out. lucky me I lasted the entire 40 minutes. felt horribly dizzy the entire time. i was told i have a good heart {aka a stubborn heart} it kept beating faster and faster to maintain my blood pressure and prevent me from passing out. prior to the test my heart rate was 60 bpm during the test it was as high as 120 bpm. then the fun part. after the 40 minutes I was given sublingual {under the tongue} nitroglycerin to further dilate my blood vessels. within 4 minutes i passed out. my heart rate went from 150 bpm to 50 bpm within a 30 second period. didn't feel so hot after that.  

so basically my life has been on hold. can't work. can't drive. at times can't sit up. or walk. i sleep a lot. little daily things {showering, leaving the apartment, walking up stairs} are difficult. good news is i'm stuck with NCS for life. and I get to salt food all i want. bad news is i hate salt and progress is slower than what I want. in an attempt to not be too bitter {and thankful for what this experience has taught me as a person & nurse} here are some great moments I don't want to forget

Keep Calm and Sparkle on

The Top 10 Hilarious|Non-Hilarious Moments of August 

1. being told I should no longer drink caffeine... at all {for reals?! i died a little}

2. Aaron's face when he came home from running errands and I was sitting on the kitchen floor after almost passing out. he wasn't amused. i sure was. 

3. having a doctor tell me to just try wearing THIGH-HIGH panty hose 
{sir you try wearing them}  

4. that one time Aaron tried to tell me how to swallow a Thermotab {sodium tablet} and I told him the should try one. and he did. and he choked/gagged. and I laughed. 
{it's not easy folks. i wish there was a prize every time I took one} 

5. when the doctor told me I could go jogging. um sir did you not just hear me say i can barely get out of bed? and did you not just call me incapacitated?

6. kicking myself for initially laughing about a medication's side effects. goosebumps and a tingling/itchy scalp are NOT a laughing matter... never again

7. you know you've been lying in bed too long when you notice that your neighbor only wears board shorts. ugly board shorts. way way too short board shorts.

8. being continuously told you're stressed and that's what's causing your body to freak out {oh wait that's just plain infuriating and makes me what to punch someone}

9. being the youngest patient in the waiting room... by several decades

10.  being called a "Salt Slut" apparently needing to consume 8-12 grams of salt per day earns you that title 
{the recommended intake is 2 grams/day} 


  1. Your in my thoughts and prayers, Leann! Keep your chin up lady!

    1. Rose! I miss hearing you say "Dude" :) Hope you & the family are doing fantastic!


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