Hello everyone, I have a story to tell you! I went from a relaxing spa weekend with friends to a stressful hospital visit completely without warning. Read on to see what happened.
I was enjoying a much needed and long-awaited spa weekend with my friends. We had not done this since before the pandemic and we have all dealt with various personal dramas during that time. We needed to see each other, and we needed time out. It was lovely. The hotel was a nice, luxury venue near to Chester and we enjoyed massage and facial treatments, time in the pool and sauna, and generally lazing about in the facilities. I was completely relaxed and happy to be there.
We sat down to dinner that evening having glammed ourselves up, and I was glad to wear my summer dress and some make-up, which doesn’t happen often due to my chronic eye condition. Our food was delicious, and we enjoyed a few cocktails. I never did finish my glass of gin and tonic! I had just finished eating my cheeseboard dessert and was contemplating a visit to the bathroom, but before I could stand up, my heart suddenly began pounding, I felt hot all over, and then everything went black…
I came to in a daze to find my group of friends calling my name and looking very worried. I was surprised to find that I was still sitting on my chair, having realised that I had fainted. My friends quickly checked that I was coherent and then set about lowering me into a lying position with my legs elevated. I was clammy and felt feverish, so they made improvised cold compresses with cloth napkins and water from the ice bucket, while a couple of my friends rubbed ice onto my wrists to try and soothe me. Meanwhile a few other members of our group went running to call for an ambulance. What a palaver!
We stayed in the hotel restaurant for a couple of hours waiting for the ambulance, it being Saturday night in Chester and the races were on earlier that day. The hotel staff dimmed the lights for me, brought a fan when I couldn’t cool down, and kept asking what they could do to help. My friends explained that it looked like I was having a seizure because I went stiff in my chair, my hands jerked uncontrollably, my eyes rolled, and I appeared to be trying to talk but it came out as gibberish. I have never had a seizure before and there is nothing to explain why it might happen now.
The paramedics were quick to decide I needed hospital treatment, so they loaded me into the ambulance with one of my friends and away we went, blues and twos and sirens blaring. It was my third ever ambulance trip, my previous one being during labour and my first one being with my elder child when she fell down the stairs. This time it was all on me. I was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital which is not my local one and is an approximate 40min drive from home. My husband had been called and he had to drag our children out of bed, take them to his mum’s house, and get himself to hospital to be with me. Scary.
The doctors and nurses were quick to suspect that I had fainted in my chair, but they were concerned that it happened while I was in a relaxed state and sitting down. There was no reason for my body to behave the way that it did. So, I needed further tests. I had several ECGs, a chest x-ray, an ECHO, several blood tests and a urine test to rule out infection. I tested negative for Covid. There was nothing wrong with me except the fact that my heart was beating too fast.
I spent two days/nights in A&E Majors and was transferred to a cardiology ward for overnight monitoring on a machine. My heart rate did not drop below 100bpm for the whole time I was in there, and whenever I so much as moved a leg or tried to sit up, it shot up to 125+ bpm. It reached 145bpm when I tried to stand up and have a wash next to my bed, which sent nurses running to my aid ordering me to lie down immediately.
And now I am home. My husband has been amazing, and so have my friends that tended to me on that fateful night. We have an oximeter at home that I bought a couple of years ago when I experienced a similar incident that took me to A&E, so I am checking my heartrate regularly with that. My husband has been checking my temperature, he won’t let me move about unattended, and he has basically wrapped me in cotton wool all week. It is very sweet, and I do feel weak, so I agree that it’s time to slow down.
Next week we will have to start a new routine because I am not allowed to drive until I have further investigations from the hospital to try and give a diagnosis. That means our school run will be tricky but for the next two weeks my fabulous friends have arranged a rota to sort my children out so that I can stay at home, phew! My husband will need to return to work following an unexpected week off, but he says he will be in constant contact, his mum will be round to check on me, and he is close to home if I need him. I am gutted about not driving but I agree that I would rather not risk fainting at the wheel, especially with my children in the car. We will have to try walking to school after the half-term holiday once I have my strength back.
And now I am on sick leave from my reiki business for a few weeks, so I have had to cancel client appointments and planned activities. I will do what I can on social media, but if I disappear at all, this will be the reason why. I know that I had a lucky escape last weekend, and I suspect this curious incident may be related to my congenital disorder, but because it is so rare the doctors were reluctant to explore further. I will contact my eye consultant who is familiar with it and see what he recommends in terms of possible diagnosis. Now I need to try and bring my NHS departments together to try and work out what the hell happened. Wish me luck!
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