Thursday, January 2, 2014

Charlie's Adventure Part 1

November 23-November 26:

We are sitting at home having a relaxing Saturday afternoon just Charlie, myself, and Brooke.
Charlie lays down for a nap, which I thought was unusual considering it was only about noon. He said he was just feeling a little odd. Not sick, just kinda icky. A couple of hours later he wakes up and as he sits up he holds his chest. I ask him if he is alright and he responds that he just feels some tightness in his chest.

About an hour later I realize that every time he has taken a deep breath, he has grabbed his chest and winced some. I again ask him if he's okay and he responds that he's feeling some discomfort. He likened it to when it is very cold outside and the burning sensation you feel in your lungs as you take a deep breath.
I tell him we should probably go get him checked out just to be on the safe side. I called my babysitter to come watch Brooke and we head out.
In the back of my head I figure he will probably be diagnosed with pleurisy or bronchitis,  we'll get some antibiotics and be home in a few hours.

I never in my life imagined how wrong I would be.

Since he had chest discomfort he was taken straight back and an EKG was performed. Shortly after, the nurse asked if he had ever been diagnosed with any heart problems. I asked her if there was something that showed on the EKG, since when she asked she had a semi-concerned look on her face. She non-nonchalantly said he just has an irregular rhythm. Turns out this rhythm was atrial fibrillation.

We were both shocked. Charlie has never had any serious health issues, and frankly, rarely gets sick.  Even with colds.

They also ordered a chest x-ray which showed what looked to be an enlarged heart.
So, he was admitted. My husband has not been admitted into the hospital since he was 12 years old when he had his tonsils taken out.

Fear, worry, anxiety, shock. I felt it all within about .02 seconds. And I know Charlie felt all of these as well. 

Being that it was a Saturday evening and we were in a fairly small hospital who doesn't really do much on Sunday's,  we had to wait until Monday to find out what was going on. Yes, the Dr came in and spoke to us Sunday, but we didn't have any kind of answer until Monday.

They did an echo-cardiogram,  which is an ultrasound of the heart, and also did a 2 part stress test. Monday they did the first part which required an injection of radioactive dye and a ct scan. Tuesday, the second part of the test was completed in which the inject a medicine to stress the heart while they monitor it on an EKG machine and monitor his blood pressure and then they run another ct scan looking for blockages.

On Monday after the echo, Dr.  Butler informed us that Charlie's heart was not enlarged but that he did have a buildup of fluid in his pericardial sac. This is known as a pericardial effusion.

On Tuesday, the cardiologist informed us he wanted us to be transferred to a different hospital to have the fluid drained from the pericardial sac. And he also finished the stress test which showed no blockages.

So, Charlie was transported by ambulance to Northwest in Bentonville to the ICU.

This is getting super long and there's still many days left, so I'll give you a reading break and do a part 2 soon.

You can now read Part 1 and Part 2.

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