Soon after I got the PD machine ordered, I was to begin training how to use it. It is a totally different process from the manual exchanges. So one day in June 2009, I go to work for the second time since the beginning of my illness. Up til this point, I had only worked 2 hours on one day in 2009. So I go to work and afterwards, I have a dentist appointment. I love going to the dentist. I never get nervous, in fact I look forward to the gas they give you....so relaxing. This day though, was different. I didn't feel quite like myself. I thought maybe the two hours I had just worked was too much for me. So I go back to the dental exam room and I ask the dental assistant to take my blood pressure because I felt weird. She put the cuff on my arm and pressed go. It was an automatic cuff and it kept pumping higher and higher and higher and we could not get a reading. She tried a couple of times with no luck. So my dentist came in with the old time stethoscope and cuff and took it the old fashion way. The first time he took it he said, "that can't be right?" So he took it again and got the same reading 225/176!!!!!! I was at stroke level. I started to panic so I called Chris. I told him my pressure and asked him what he thought I should do. He is very blunt and to the point. He said, "you have two choices, you can go to the ER or you can go home and die!" He put it to me like that because I HATE the ER here in town. But on this day I had no choice. So my dental hygienist drove me to the ER. She also stayed with me until Chris got there.
The rest of this story will become fuzzy which will make sense soon. The ER admitted me to ICU for observation. Apparently I spent 3-4 days there in ICU. My PD nurse came over to the hospital to start my PD training because I still needed dialysis. I am told my nephrologist here in town never came to check on me. I am also told that even though I was there for observation, nobody was observing me? I am also told my BP remain in the 225/176 range and increasing. This hospital was not getting my BP down. On what would become my last day in ICU, Chris and my PD nurse were in the room with me. Suddenly I began biting my tongue and convulsing. I was having a grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizure. Chris ran to get the nurse on the floor and I began having a second seizure and by the time he got someone to help me, I was on my third seizure. It would turn out, my blood pressure was so high and not being controlled, I had a ruptured blood vessel on my occipital lobe (stroke) which caused the seizures.
I am not conscious at this point and have no memory but friends and family say Chris lost his temper on a nurse and told her to get the nephrologist on the phone. Chris wanted me transferred immediately to St. Louis Barnes Jewish. (My hero)! I think he lost it with the doctor too and said he was going to take me out of the hospital and drive me to STL himself if they didn't make an emergency transfer. Within minutes they were calling for a helicopter. The helicopter got delayed due to a storm so I was loaded up in an ambulance and taken to STL.
To make a point I would like to say this. I stayed here for 3-4 days with my BP escalating and within 24 hours of being at Barnes, my BP was down and under control. Surprised?
Linda Burke left a comment for Jeff Wilhelm
8 months ago