Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to the ER

This is getting really old. I tell you, I have no luck these days.

Yesterday afternoon, while in the middle of doing something else, I felt the beginnings of a hypertensive crisis. But why? My lunch consisted of items proven to not be problematic in times past. This was clearly not a reaction to food. Instead, it was more likely that the crisis was a result of an interaction with other medications in my system, the most likely culprit being Percocet. My annoyance gave way to fear and I knew I had to call 911.

The dispatcher over the phone initially had to talk me into sending the paramedics. I had no desire to return to a hospital so soon again if I could help it. Then my situation worsened to the point that I conceded I had no choice. The paramedics arrived for the second time in two months. This episode was gratefully not as severe as the previous one. I was able to walk, weakly, into the back of the ambulance. What made it awkward somewhat is that I had to lie on my side to avoid putting too much pressure on the incision site. Shortly before we left for the hospital, my pulse rate was measured as high as 125 bpm and blood pressure got as high as 150/90.

A hypertensive crisis caused by medication comes in waves. Heart rate and blood pressure surges briefly, then slacks off, then surges again. It's a sickening sensation, but one has no choice but to ride it out. Though it is highly unlikely one will die from a crisis, the feeling comes with such abject panic that one fully expects to die from the results of it. At the back of the mind with me is always the fear that my heart is going to explode. It's not a rational fear, but the sensation does not exactly encourage rationality.

It's astonishing where you'll encounter sexism. While seated on a gurney at the rear of the ambulance, one of the male EMTs asked me why the female dispatcher had noted that I was having an allergic reaction on her report. I said, I explained to her that this isn't technically an allergic reaction, but I think this is how she wished to note it.

He shook his head in disgust. Women are stupid. They don't know nothing, man.

What should I have said? I so rarely hear flagrant comments like that. If I had spoken up, I was afraid my quality of care would have suffered. This was the person responsible for monitoring my blood pressure, pulse rate, and then handing me off to someone in the Emergency Room. I didn't want to make him angry.

I spent two and a half hours in the ER being monitored. With time, my blood pressure and pulse rate slowly declined. I was given a medication through IV to lower both of them while there, plus a prescription to do the same at home. Since Perocet seems to be the issue, I'm going to need to watch my condition until the last of it leaves my system. As I write this, it's been 24 hours or so since the last pill, so I think I'm reaching a point where it's just about out. I suppose after Percocet reaches a high enough concentration in my system, it then ends up becoming this problematic. I wish MAOIs weren't this sensitive.

Now, I have no means of keeping pain away besides Tylenol, but I guess I'll just have to deal with it. I hope this is the last time for a long while. In roughly two years, I've had three of these reactions, but the last two have been only a couple months apart.

1 comment:

Gail said...

Hi Kev-
oh my - how scary. ANd that EMT guy - I understand what an awful position you were in - having to hold your tongue so as not to upset him. ack!
ANd for the record, I CANNOT take percocet - I have the same reaction. eesh Keep feeling better
Love Gail
peace and healing