The last two weeks of August brought more excitement than I needed!
Due to the heart palpitations that had caused my husband to be hospitalized for observation, he ended up being scheduled for a number of cardiac tests. First he was given a 24-hour monitor to wear. It made him aware of every palpitation because he started anticipating them. At least he had some. When I had my test last year, everything was normal for that 24-hour period. It figured.
His second test was another one I had had the pleasure of having previously – a nuclear stress test. Most of us know what a stress test is – walking on a treadmill while hooked up to a heart monitor. A nuclear stress test takes that up a notch. Prior to walking on the treadmill, a dose of a radioactive agent is administered intravenously. After a short wait, they take a scan of the heart prior to exercise. Then you walk the treadmill, as usual. After you reach your limit on the treadmill, the scan is repeated. The test gives a more detailed and accurate picture of what the heart is doing before and after exercise. My husband, who is his own worst enemy when it comes to medical issues, was really stressed at the prospect of this test – even though I had been through it previously with no ill effects. He was sure they were going to find something really wrong with his heart because the palpitations had not gone away.
The long and short of it is that all of his tests were normal. In fact, he walked longer than about 95% of those taking the test while maintaining a normal blood pressure and heart rate. In plain words, healthier than a horse.
In order to get him to believe that there was nothing wrong, our doctor had him see a cardiologist to tell him about his test results. I think he finally got the idea – sometimes our body does things for no good reason and those things are totally benign, even if they are weird. It’s a difficult lesson for someone who never gets sick.
On August 31, the last day of a crazy month, we got a truly upsetting phone call. My stepson had experienced a seizure and had been taken to the hospital. His girlfriend was calling and would call us back when they knew something. They are in Delaware and we were in Massachusetts. His mother, my husband’s ex-wife, is also in Mass.
The original call came about 6 PM. While we waited to hear, I made my husband start packing slowly. I knew we would be headed to Delaware no matter what we heard. We waited … and waited … and finally couldn’t stand it anymore. My husband called his girl. In the ER, nothing to report yet. By 8 PM, I decided that, since we would have a 6 hour drive, we should get started anyway. We were, after all, packed and ready.
My husband’s ex had asked if she could ride with us – she is alone and was afraid to drive by herself as upset as she was. So we picked her up and the three of us headed to Delaware. I drove the first couple of hours so my husband could calm down a bit. He drove the rest of the way. When we finally got there, only two persons could go in to see him – guess who got left out. That was when my calm disappeared into my fatigue. I paced and paced until my husband finally came out and agreed to take me to the hotel. I truly felt like the 5th wheel.
After being admitted, my stepson had more tests than you can imagine – MRI, CT scan, bloodwork, heart monitor, brain wave EEG test, maybe a couple I’ve forgotten. By the way, the job he has (I should say had, but more about that another time) does not come with benefits. So this 23 year old young man, who had all this medical treatment, is uninsured. The “health care debate” just got personal!
He was discharged the following afternoon. The diagnosis – unknown reason for seizure. It didn’t show up in any of the tests, so they felt it wasn’t neurological. He had to see a primary care doctor and the neurologist for follow-up.
He saw the doctors for follow-up. The primary thinks a sinus infection was at least partly to blame. He applied for Medicaid and we hoped his income would be low enough to qualify. We needn’t have worried. The neurologist had to disable him from driving for three months (with official notice sent to the Registry of Motor Vehicles). His job required driving. No driving, no job. Definitely qualifies for Medicaid now. Unfortunately, while that will pay the medical bills, it won’t pay the rent – or any of the other ordinary bills. So now he has to hunt for a job he can walk to, get deferments for his school loans and hope to survive on his girlfriend’s income alone. It will definitely be a challenge all the way around.
So far there have been no further seizures. I guess that’s good and bad new. It’s good as far as his health and getting medical bills paid is concerned. It’s bad because he’s out of work for no good reason.
My husband and I leave for a trip out west in about two weeks. Vacation again. We’re holding our collective breath, praying that there is no more excitement until then.