October 22, 2006

I'm Back!

I went to emergency at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, Ca on Thursday night by ambulance because I experienced a heart attack and awoke from my sleep. I felt that there was an earthquake and then I realized that there wasn't one and I realized I was shaking the bed and I thought that maybe it was a seizure. I then turned on my lamp and realized my nightgown was drenched in sweat and I passed out and came to and then I was having incogerent thoughts. I realized that my right arm was asleep and half of my right hand and all of my left hand. Then my arm and hands awoke and I began wondering if I better call 911. I didn't want to call because I had already been there a month ago and they sent me home saying I had had a paic attack. So obviously that was the last place I wanted to have to return to and be seen for a heart attack. I know that they are supposed to take you to the nearest emergency room. So just my luck one of the paramedics who came the first time showed up again and rode with me in the back to collect the information. He starts pulling the same type of treatment that he did the first time and as I explaining that I think I have had a heart attack and that I have just been diagnosed with hyperkalemia (high potassium/kidney Damage ala Lithium etc.) he says "what is Lithium? Why do you need a mood stabilizer? It is all in your mind. You just need to go running. That would help you get rid of all of those pills." I said I am in excellent condition, I walk many miles a week. "Why don't you run? "I have asthma." See obviously this highly trained and highly paid duphous thinks that women aren't allowed to be heavy; but men can be. (He is heavy).

So I get to the hospital and the call has already been received by the emergency room staff and they are shocked. But still these dufous paramedics are making me stand up for 20 more minutes while they pat each other on the back and whoop it up like good old boys and filling out paper work. Finally the paper work is filled out and I am led into the triage nurse. She sees what I have filled out on the form I was told to fill out in triage and she starts to weigh me and then I am seated to begin the questions. I am starting to explain things and the duphous paramedic who rode in with me sits down in front of me and starts interjecting and putting his two cents in. He goes oh yeah, I'm the one that picked you up that night! I told him Yeah, you were the one! He was making jokes about the pen that had run out of ink while I was signing his document and he said "Yeah the pen is nervous." Then I was explaining to the nurse what I had experienced in my bed and she said "There hasn't been an earthquake here or I would have known. I am from Texas and I have never been in one." He slipped away never to be seen again.

After maybe two hours waiting in the waiting room with bright lights and uncomfortable chairs, I was taken to a examining room and put on a gurney. When the dr. finally came in I saw that she wasn't the same dr. who had first seen me and she starts asking me questions like she hasn't been told anything so far. So I begin explaining my experience and she hears my diagnosis and says "That wasn't a seizure." She looks pale and shocked when I say yeah I was here a while back with neuopathy and I was here until 3 a.m. and I was sent home in a cab. She goes you were here before?! Then she left the room and disappeared for hours. Right away she tells people to hook me up to an I.V. I wasn't given any food or water during the entire hospital stay. I was entering the e.r. at 12:00 a.m. and I was released at 6 a.m. So basically I was aware that I was supposed to be fasting. I had made a nurse aware that I am Hypoglycemic and he knew that I hadn't eaten any food since 5p.m. He said you know to eat every three hours right? "Your metabolism changes every three hours." So then apparently he had been sent in to do blood gasses in my artery. So he starts digging in my right wrist. It didn't work so he had to try it again. Then he went to my left wrist and and tried again. He asked if I was on any beta blockers and I said no and he told me that he has a heart problem that he takes a Tylenol every morning for and that masks the heart problem in the ekg and in the blood pressure check. He said that the only way they know that he still has the heart problem is that his blood comes out too slowly when they do a blood draw. So he said he was just trying to put two and two together. So then they sent a guy in to do the ekg. Wouldn't you know it it is the son of a bitch who treated me rotten on the other night I was there. So I'm obviously not thrilled that this guy is going to be playing around with my chest all night. So he walks in and says hi. He didn't want to look me in the eye. He was saying to the nurse that right after he gets this over with he is going to take his break. Then he yawned several times and basically went through it like a robot. Ok I get the picture you don't like this any more than I do. So when he gets done he walks back over and starts removing the snaps that he stuck all over me and he left most of them. He leaves the room with the ekg cart and forgets to give me the results. So I realize after a while that I am not going to be told what the results of the ekg were. I start hearing nurses at the station say operate! operate! I'm thinking shit! I didn't know that I was in for this tonight. I was pretty upset because I thought they might put me upstairs in a hospital bed for a week. I mean this hospital has a terrible reputation. So I have nothing to do, I am looking all around this room, with bright lights, it was very cold, I had a clock in front of my face the entire night, and I was alarmed. I can't even fall asleep on a 16 hour plane ride much less in this creepy hospital. Apperently they can't afford to hire enough cleaning people because there was a big stain in the waiting room that was either urine or coke. It was dry. There were very sick people waiting for a long time to be seen. Sick people were trying to make themselves comfortable so that they could sleep since everyone had been roused out of bed in the middle of the night with some illness or another. So the examining room I was in had a latex glove that had already been used crumpled near the toxic waste garbage can. I am looking at all of this ancient medical equipment that could probably be put in a museum. I saw a cricket cross the floor. I was that bored. I thought it was a cockroach at first but was relieved that it was only a grasshopper.

So then I overhear a dr. in the hall walk over to my dr and ask "They sent me down to ask you if she has been diagnosed with any fatalitites. I'm going "WHat? Have I had any recent deaths? She answered "Hyperkalemia and mumble mumble mumble." He so oh. Then that was the last time I heard this man speak. So they sent in a nurse who starts preparing to move my gurney. She moves it out from the wall and then releases the breaks on the wheels at the end. Nothing was being explained to me. So I'm thinking ok I'm either going upstairs or I'm going into open heart surgery. Now the room with a view is looking pretty sweet. I waited around for things to happen and I was being monitored by the nurses station. Every once in a while the stupid blood pressure cuff on my arm would tighten and scare the bejesus out of me and then I started getting used to it. So now it was coming up on 5 a.m. and I still have had no food or water. One arm was restrained by an iv and the other arm was restrained by the heart monitor. So I had an itch on my neck and thought of asking for someone to come in and scratch it but then it finally went away. A nurse came in and checked my stats and told me that we were still waiting on test results from the kidneys. Then she walked out and said well we are really just waiting for the dr. to call back. So they had called my G.P. who is treating me now and he had to be paged at some ungodly hour and then he called back at maybe 5:00 a.m. So the dr. seeing me in e.r. was called to the phone and then she took it elsewhere. So I was wondering what he had told her. She never told me. Then a while later she walked back in and looked pretty manic and said guess what all your results are normal again! I'm looking at her and thinking you've got to be fucking kidding me! I blinked and said Really?! And she said yeah the potassium test was normal again. I go ok. Cool! She said it has been a pleasure working with you and thank you. She disappeared and I never saw her again. So I am stunned and totally confused and the nurse comes into unhook my iv and told me I could get dressed and go home. So she presented me with the documents for my discharge and I look down at the final diagnosis and it says hyperventilation and list all the symptoms of that and they just happened to be what I had experienced. They said that the way to remedy this is to reduce your stress and take antianxiety drugs.

Earlier in the night I forgot to mention that she came back in and started asking me the same question they ask everyone when they are trying to get rid of you. What do you want us to do for you now. Do you want us to run another potassium test? I said I don't know what the protocol is here?! You are supposed to do what is medically necessary. She looked at me and said are you having any anxiety? DO you want some Ativan? I said No! I don't like what that stuff does to me. She leaves the room.

So I left the locked emergency room like I was being set free from the prison from hell and called my mom from a payphone to come pick me up. I told Laura what had happened and then I explained it to my mom and she realized I had no way to get home in the dark and with no money. Besides dammit I just had a heart attack! I can't walk three miles back now. So I waited outside for her to arrive and I was having to try to make out images of cars in the dark and it was time for the new day to begin and all the staff was arriving to work. I started figuring out what kind of job they probably did according to their attire. The people who come in nice attire but no scrubs are probably the dr.s arriving and going to put on their white coats inside. Then there were the people who check you in when you come to have a diagnostic test done in outpatient. Then there was this other group of dr.s who were dressed way more formal like executives and everyone of those people who walked by me said good morning! Then this lady walked by who was obviously a muckety muck dr who didn't stand on her feet alot because she was wearing wobbly stillettos and a suit with a mini skirt. She said good morning! Isn't cold to be standing outside right now?! I said yeah, I'm waiting for a ride home. Nice weather for that. It is going to be 90 today. I go oh.

So my mom shows up after the light came out a little and I went over to her car and the paramedics coming out of an ambulance said oh that's her. My mom hugged me and She said how are you?! I said I'm ok it was scary. She took me to cocoas and we ate breakfast. Then I explained to her that the dr. had said I should return on Friday if I was still having lung pain and coughing and that I would have to have a chest xray. I was very surprised when she said that I should just go home and sleep because I had been up all night. SHe said I should make an appointment for next week. She kept asking me if I have any antianxiety pills and I told her no. ANd even if I did I can't take those anymore because I am toxic. So she drove me home and I was in time out. SO she called me three times yesterday to check on me and I explained that I hadn't been able to sleep and I got up and called my G.P. to get his take on the whole situation. I got ahold of him and he said he had tried to contact another dr. and he wasn't able to. I said so did you get the call from the e.r.? He said yes. Did they tell you that I was there before? yes. He said "All the results are normal." I said that I was very concerned because they kept me there all night and ran these various tests and I was apparently being prepped for open heart surgery and then at the end the dr returns and said everything was normal again. ANd if that isn't enough they sent me out with documents that said my diagnosis is hyperventalation and anxiety. I was saying the detail about the symptoms just happened to be what I had come in with and I was reading this form to him and I said and I get home and look at the postassium results and they are very low. They were 8 something at your office and I read online that 6 something is an emergency and then I read him the result on the form and it said 3 something. I had the first potassium test done just about a week ago. So he was already aware that there had been a major travesty of justice and I am explaining the things that the e.r. dr. chose not to disclose to him. The he starts saying words I never heard hem say before. He agreed that the drs had both thrown the Bipolar diagnosis in my face and offered me Ativan to do that again. He was flabbergasted and asked me which E.R. was this? I said Valley Presbyterian! I couldn't believe that she had chosen to address another dr without first acknowledging what hospital she worked for. That took the cake. He needs to know because he is a mandated reporter. When a person is on SSI they are considered a ward of the state and any professional that they come in contact with in a health setting who detects a hint of abuse has to report it just like when you work at a school you must report abuse if there is an ounce of suspicion.

So boom we might have to read about this in the paper. I mean I have read plenty of article in The Daily News about Presbyterian letting people die in surgery or in recovery but there they sit ready to take in more dying people. They might actually close King Drew Medical Center after all because I guess finally enough medi-cal recipients and indigent people have finally died there.

So then at the end of our conversation the dr. demanded that I see someone at my clinic Friday to have my meds adjusted. He said that he needs them to reduce them as muck as possible and that I need to ask them to evaluate the mood stabilizer that I am taking to see if it is toxic and that I need to switch the Lamictal to another one if it is toxic. He said he doesn't know which mood stabilizer I could be switched to that would make me comfortable. So he told me that if there since there was no nurse except on Tuesday and my dr. is only there Mondays that I would have to ask for an on duty worker to speak to. That I should walk in and say that Dr Sol Weiss my G.P. demanded that I go in today and that it is a medical emergency. So I did that and received much resistance at the clinic.

They sent out a lady who took me to the room where the people go to speak to someone when there has been a crisis. So she took me in there and we both sat down with the door closed. I began talking to her and telling her where I had been allnight. That I had suffered a heart attack and I had recently been given the diagnosis of Hyperkalemia. She looked at me and said If you had had a heart attack you wouldn't be sitting here talking to me right now. She told me that Lithium doesn't cause Kidney damage and I explained to her the two people I know who have it or who have did from it. I pulled out my perscription and showed her the diagnosis. She didn't even try to read it. She kept just nodding and giving me attitude. She had her arms folded and told me that I was making this entire thing up. I told her that Dr Fahimian my previous psychiatrist had never run Lithium blood work on me or any other blood work the entire time I saw him over the course of about three years. I said that I had had this chronic pain for three years straight which began just after he took me off of the Lithium. She still denied that anything could be wrong or they would have found it years ago. This went on back and forth and she said ok if you just have to see a dr today then you are going to have to wait around here all day and then I can't gaurantee that you will be seen here today. I started getting really upset. She even told me that she was going to terminate this interview because I was too hostile. I said Look, I don't have a knife I am not going to hit you and you can open the door but I don't understand why you are putting up all these blocks to me getting seen here today. She eventually said I will talk to my boss and if you have any problems with what has happened here today then you must contact Rhonda Anglin the head at this clinic. I said Oh! I go way over the head of this clinic when I report! She just rolled her eyes and left. So I was sent out to the lobby again.

Not long after that my case manager came out and looked concerned and came over and said I heard that you are in crisis and I just wanted to see if I could help. I said I am falling apart. My kidneys are damaged from the Lithium and my skin is falling of of my toes. My finger has neuropathy and and this tow is dead. It is curling under and I am stepping on it. There was a guy in the lobby talking kind of loud next to us so she took me into the room. We sit down and I explain this diagnosis I just received and that I was at the er for a heart attack and that they had dismissed me twice and sent me out into the cold with no way to get home. She asked me which er it was. She asked my dr.s name. She cried a little. She apologized for not returning my messages and she offered me therapy again. I accepted and she went to get an appointment. She returned and told me to accompany her to her office to check her appointment book. She set the appointment for the same day I was due to see the dr. on November 6, voting day. So I can go vote in the morning go see her at 2 and then see my dr. at 3:30.

So she set up an appointment for me to see my psychiatrist on Monday and to also see a psychiatrist at 2 p.m. Friday. So I went home and returned at 2. I met the shrink and she turned into a monster before my eyes. She is looking at me and my speech is rapid fire and I am edgy and calling like it is and she is pissed that I even had to be squeezed into her busy schedule and she thinks that I am manic and aks me how much I have been sleeping. She is telling me that I am completely psychotic and that I have concocted this entire thing because my fiends were affected by Lithium. She said that I had looked this up on the internet and given myself this diagnosis and and had really studied up on it and that I had work out every detail down to the name of the dr and the city his office is in. I told her that I think it is very important that two dr.s speak to one another when there is a medical emergency for continuity of care. She said oh so do you happen to have anything in your wallet with the drs number on it? I said I have his business card I think and I looked and damn it if I hadn't left it at home on the table. I told her what city he lives in and she asked me to spell his name. SO I spelled it for her. Yeah like how the hell else do you spell Sol Weiss. OH I knew how to spell it. She calls information and asks for his name and he is not located in Canoga Park. Then I said try West Hills. SHe asks. They couldn't locate him anywhere in the valley. So great he is unlisted. I found him through Northridge Hospital Physician referral service. So she looks at me and says yeah I caught you in a big lie. I said I can bring the card on Monday. She tells me to stop the Lexapro immediately and increase the Lamictal from 100 to 150 and later to 200 so that I will be at the therapeutic level. She told me that I needed to go back on Abilify to prevent me from becoming psychotic. I explained to her that I refuse to take Abilfy because it was making me eat and I was gaining back weight that I had lost. I said I don't want to get diabetes and that my kidneys are toxic and I can't put anymore pills in there than completely necessary. I also explained that Dr Fahimian had never caught the drug interaction between the Lexapro and the Nsaids that I was being pumped full of for three years while under his care. I told her that I went and put my meds into medline and it spits out the drug interactions and it had told me that they both cause internal bleeding and that they work synergystically together and that under no circumstances should anyone take them together. I said he never ran blood tests while he treated me and he never took a case history. The Current dr did take a case history and he said that it was clear that I hadn't been manic since '92 and that I no longer needed the Abilify. So he titrated me off of it. So now I have been off of it for three months. I have lost weight have been told that I lood better. She looks at the one of two pieces of paper indicating that I only have had two blood draws since I signed on with this clinic in '04. The one that caught her eye though was the one where the clinic nurse decided to pull a fast one and ordered blood work for hiv and pregnancy without asking my permission. He was fired shortly thereafter. SO after she saw this in my chart she turned on a dime. She looks up from the blood work at me wide eyed and starts ordering blood work and starts telling me she is only ordering 3 kinds of tests. She named them off and they were for kidneys and liver. Then she told me what they were for. I said am I supposed to come in fasting? She looked at her paper and said uh no I didn't order any you have to fast for. I asked if he had run a kidney test. She said yes. Was it the good one. She looked again. Yes.

So that was just a synopsis. So I came home and inform my mom of what had occurred at the clinic and she was incredulous. SO we spoke for a while last night and I didn't call her today. Oh and I forgot to mention that I called then clinic when I walked into my apartment and left a voicemail for the dr I had had the priveledge of meeting and explained to my case manager what had gone down in our session and why I needed to leave the phone number for the dr. So right away I get a call back from Jill and she says that the dr had left for the day and didn't have time to call the dr. I said it obvious that she just didn't want to take the five minutes it would have taken to try to contact him. I said that is a low blow. I feel degraded. Jill said We're going to work together on this to try to get to the bottom of this thing. I said thank you. Goodbye.

So I decided that I will not drag my ass into the clinic at 9:30 Monday morning and wait to be seen. At first I was thinking that this was a good thing that this could be used for my second potassium test. But then I realized that she had specifically said that I wasn't to fast. She hadn't ordered anything where I needed to fast. So what she is going to do is Creatinine and stuff and that stuff will come out normal like it did at Dr. Weiss office. And she should have asked me to fast for any kidney blood work. So basically she still wants me to jump hoops to prove that indeed I have been royally fucked over. ANd the blood test she ordered wouldn't be returned to the clinic until maybe Friday at the earlist. I will be seeing my Psychiatrist at 2p.m. Monday and I am almost positive that he will have contacted dr. Weiss already and then we discuss this. I see Dr Weiss on Tuesday.

I have started to contact a few concerned people who have been trying to reach me and have been worried sick. So Ron called and he sounded depressed and said I tried to call you like amillion times and you didn't answer. How are you? So I broke it to him that I had gone to the er with a heart attack on Thursday night and that I was released and that I had been able to get a good nights rest last night and that I was eating again like normal and I had energy and I was cleaning up my house again. He was upset. He wanted to cry. So did I. So we spoke for a few minutes and he said he would call me again tonight. He called a while ago and we were joking and he is coming to see me tomorrow at 4 or 5. I am seeing Fardin at 11:00 a.m. for coffee and donuts.

So when I reached Fardin after 6 p.m. he answered and I said Fardin? he said yeah? I said it's Heather! He said where have you been I have been waiting for you to call! He said how was the test results? I said that the Potassium had been high and and that it meant I had kidney damage from the Lithium. I told him about the heart attack and the er. He asked if it was serious or is there anything they can do to help you? I explained that there are maintenance drugs they might put me on maybe an inhaler or insulin. He then said I almost have the same thing. I just went to a new dentist and He told me that my last dentist didn't catch that my teeth are loose. There is no tooth damage. There are no cavaties. I have to see a Gum Surgeon. They may have to do surgery on my gums. Then he explained that you can't get a crown or anything if you have your teeth pulled because there is no cavaty. He explained that they will probably have to pull 6-7 teeth. I told him that he might be able to get a partial. And that upset him. He is only 46. He said that he heard that you can't eat certain foods with that and that you have to clean them a certain way. I said yeah I know. I hope the Gum Surgeon is a good dr. Maybe they can figure out the root of teeth that are not decayed suddenly appearing loose. SO we are both suspecting medication.

Posted by Butterfly Emerging at October 22, 2006 02:57 AM


Wow! I understand what you have gone through. I am glad you realize that they aren't always right just because they are doctors. Many mistakes are made when they diagnose illness's.. You are so lucky they didn't tear into your heart. Anyhow I was intrigued with your story.
Have a nice day,

Posted by: Carre'e at November 14, 2006 03:30 AM

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