I need to give you all some background on our journey. Today I want to give you a some of the story on the early heart troubles Den faced.
Our journey with all of this started a long while back. In 2002, Den was diagnosed with CHF (Congestive Heart Failure). Exactly 11 months before our daughter was born. He woke up one morning with tightness in his chest and was having trouble breathing. I told him not to go to work and go to the ER in stead. Thankfully, he did. He spent 7 days in the hospital. Thanks to Dr. Rajnahally, his new cardiologist, he went another 5 years with just diet and medication to control his symptoms and keep him healthy.
In 2007, Dr. Andres, the electrophysology doctor, installed a Pacemaker/ICD (Internal Cardiac Defibrillator). At that time, Den’s heart was going into AFib (Atrial Fibrillation) and this was the best way to keep him safe thru monitoring and ensure his heart continued to function as well as possible. He is currently on his third Pacemaker/ICD.
From 2007 to 2014, Dr. Raj and Dr. Andres worked together to keep Den’s heart healthy and stable. We went thru many cardioverts, which is where they shock the heart to make it go back to sinus rhythm. He even had cardiac ablation. This is where they radio frequency burn a pattern in the heart, the left atria for Den, to stop electrical signals from circling and causing arrhythmia.
2015 is when the real trouble began. In November, we faced many trials. We got a call from Dr. Andres’s office. Den has been on a remote monitor for his Pacemaker/ICD for many years at this point. This allows the Dr.’s office to “call” this device and get a look at what is going on. This includes any cardiac events, therapy delivered, fluid levels, battery life and much more information that is helpful in treating patients. Well, Den had had a shock delivered during the night…he never felt it! The nurse said everything looked OK now and that we would see both doctors at our next appointment. (We never made it to that appointment.) Four days later, Den and I were watching TV in the living room. He turned to me and said we didn’t feel well. He dropped the book he was holding and started to fall forward. I sprung out of my seat and pushed him back. I knew that he was getting a shock from the ICD and all I could do was stand by and reassure him. I will never forget the wild, terrified look in his eyes and his mouth opening and closing with out a sound coming out! (Believe me, I was scared too!) A few seconds, seemed like forever, later the shock was delivered and slowly Den came back to me, tired and weak but he came back. The next morning, Den felt good and off to church we went. While the congregation began to sing the entrance hymn, Den turned to me and said he didn’t feel well. He put his hand to his chest and I serious thought he was going to fall between the pews, so I pushed him hard to keep him upright on the seat. He got another shock. Now the rule that the doctors had given us, one shock…not too big deal, call in…two shocks in 24 hours… GO TO THE ER NOW! So thankfully, one of the ushers and another friend helped me get Den up the aisle and into the car. This event was the first time our daughter had seen her father shocked in this way. She was in total shock, moving mechanically when I told her to do something. I don’t remember much of the car ride to the hospital, mostly I checked alternately on Den, our daughter in the back seat and the road. When we arrived at St. Margaret Hospital, I ran for a wheelchair. The Security Guard asked if I needed help…I said yes. We got Den in the wheelchair and the Guard took him in while I parked the car. By the time I got back to the ER waiting room, Den was already in a room and being hooked up to monitors.
Just remembering all this is exhausting and draining, so I will leave this for today and continue tomorrow. Have a great day!
BTW, Den is feel good today and we are planning to clean up the house a little.