Thursday, December 22, 2011

Second Chances

I've been given a second chance at life.  A month and a half ago I went in to have a ganglion cyst removed from my right wrist.  No big deal- this surgery was nothing compared to the last one in the spring.  Or so I thought.  When I came to in recovery I sensed immediately something was wrong by the way they talked to me, consulted with each other, and rushed back and forth.  I heard the words troponin and narcan, and as any nurse knows, those terms are used in regards to emergency situations.
I asked them straight out if something was wrong, and the nurse anesthetist  looked up at me and in layperson terms began to explain what had happened.  I stopped him and explained that I was a nurse and that he could REALLY explain it to me, so he came to my bedside and told me that during the surgery my heartrate dropped to 18 and they had to give me emergency meds to get it going again.  But I wouldn't start breathing on my own so they had to breath for me and gave me narcan, and then I began to breath on my own.  They did two ECG's and my troponin levels came out normal, so they discharged me with the promise that I would follow up immediately with my primary care doctor.
It was the cardiologist I was referred to that discovered I had severe undiagnosed hypothyroidism.  My TSH level is 224 and the normal range is 0.5 - 4.2. 
When I reflect on my close call and look at my two daughters, now ages 11 and 5, and my husband, I am so grateful to still be here with them.  I am still recovering.  The fatigue has been extreme since the surgery and even though I have been started on medication, it will take a few months before it really starts to make a difference.
I think of all the people having elective surgery who take it so casually, because I thought I was relatively healthy before my surgery.  The risks should never be taken for granted.

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