Saturday, October 11, 2008


And where is it that you get schwag like this?

Yup. Ellie here got admitted to the hospital overnight. For panic attacks. Except that the extreme apprehension, coupled with odd chest sensations, made me a cardiac patient. So I was there 24 hours on telemetry monitoring on a dumb cardiac diet (low-sodium, restricted fat, Mrs. Dash instead of salt, bleah) while I got all kinds of EKG's, echocardiograms, lab tests, and of course no more panic attacks.

But it felt like I might have something lethal during the couple hours that I had them.

They ruled out anything cardiac but didn't seem too interested in finding out what else might have caused it, sent me home with Ativan in case it happens again. The ER doc, however, listened to my history and ordered up tests for celiac disease, which probably won't be covered by my insurance since it doesn't fit my admitting diagnosis of "chest pain." However, I've been wondering about it for awhile, since lifelong IBS symptoms abated when I undertook a low-carb (grain-free) diet, and returned if I cheated with cookies, donuts, or pizza. The day of this incident, I was supposed to have had an appt. with my primary doc, and I had eaten wheat the day before to see if anything would happen so I'd be able to report it to her. So the ER doc ordered the test. And yes, along with the panic I had had bowel hyperactivity, so it wasn't all that irrelevant.

Anyway, I got a cool bucket that will be handy, and a hairbrush I like, and little plastic bottles I can put stuff in for hiking, and baby wipes I can use for bird-baths when I do my week-long backyard-camping gig to learn the ropes, and a toothbrush so I won't have to buy one when my current one gets old. And the little pitcher.... I may pitch it but it has a styrofoam insert that gave me the idea to use a styrofoam cup as an insulator inside a yogurt container for a lightweight heat-retaining cup/bowl/rehydrator on the trail.

Today according to my PT schedule I get to walk THREE MILES!!! It's starting to feel like actual distance. I mean, 3 miles is a distance I might, in my running incarnation, have put on my running shoes for and held in some esteem.

The cardiologist wants me to get a stress test, presumably as a baseline now that we've determined nothing is wrong, to compare to later on when something does.... "Because we all experience coronary changes as we age," he said. I didn't like him much. However, I'll have to figure out with my PT how to walk/run long enough on an incline to get my heart revved up without killing my Achilles. The cardio guy said, "You don't have to walk... we'll give you a cardiac stimulant to achieve the stress." Oh, goody. Sounds like just what I want.... something to make my heart race when I'm sitting still. Maybe I'll just cancel the stress test.

So the hospital experience is mostly behind me except for follow-up. I have Ativan in case I get another attack (it will still be within its shelf life on the trail, I don't want to deal with panic attacks on the trail...) And I have cool schwag that, if not completely useful or something I would have deliberately acquired now, gave me ideas for MacGyvering later.

It still wasn't fun. And I like salt in my food, and as for fat-restricted.... haven't they heard of the cardiac benefits of olive oil?


ShirleyPerly said...

Oh my! I'm glad you got something to deal with a panic attack if it happens again, esp. on the AT, but certainly would have been more useful to try to find out what caused it. Good luck with your 3-miler!

A Wild Celtic Rose said...

HA! Only you could go to the hospital and come out with trial gear;

I do hope you feel better!

2008 GOALS said...

OMGosh! I zoomed over to your page to get your email address since it's not popping up in my Outlook (new computer) and find out you're busy at the HOSPITAL!!! Yikes--BE CAREFUL!

Anyhow, I'm supposed to watch my sodium nowadays and I will say it makes a big difference...feel better and definitely makes a difference in retaining water. Watching sodium is harder than watching calories--I've just given up eating anything from a can!

But anyhow, email me, will ya!


bunnygirl said...

Glad you're okay! I'd probably bail on a stress test that involved drugs instead of actual physical exertion, but that's just me and is not intended as medical advice.

It sounds like you've found a way to make lemonade out of lemons with the stuff they gave you at the hospital at any rate. Good job!

Boots said...

Elle glad your good and did find some things you can use--Ditto with the drugs for the stress test but I am super paranoid of medical field now.
We are headed back to the trail on the 31st, husband has really gotten into it. You please take care of yourself-

Doug said...

I have Celiac Disease. Mine was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I eat a gluten-free diet now....much more complicated than a wheat or grain free diet. One of my symptoms, and everyone's are different, when I accidentaly get a dose of gluten in my system is anxiety attacks.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I didn't check in for just over a week and look where you've been. Glad it wasn't anything directly cardio related.

Maybe you should wait until late December or so before doing the stress test. That'd give your Achilles more time to heal Perhaps you are similar to Doug and the gluten set off the attack. I have a friend who had to tenaciously avoid all gluten for three years, she can now eat it in small amounts.

Don't forget our hormones can also be a huge factor in these things.