Tuesday, December 18, 2012

loop recorder

I have a weird condition which means that I check out for about 30 seconds every so often.  On average once every two months.  That said, it can either be a year between blackouts or less than a month.  Being unconscious for such a short time doesn't seem such a big thing, but  once when driving I caused an accident, fortunately everyone was wearing seat belts and I wasn't driving very fast.  My mother in the passenger seat thought that I had died, it was pretty scary for her.  Usually I just drop whilst walking, then pick myself up quickly and carry on.

This condition has lots of names: blackouts,vasovagal syncope, drop attacks, swooning.

On Thursday the 13th December 2012 I finally went into North shore Hospital for an operation to get a loop recorder.  Over the 5 years that I have been a victim of the drop attacks the various doctors that I've seen have not come up with any diagnosis.  No diagnosis; no treatment; no cure.  The loop recorder monitors my heartbeat and if my heart stops during an attack (as I think it does), the device will note that too.  It is the size of a flash drive and will go just under the skin over my trapeezus muscle

Mum drove me down to the hospital, so anxious for me that we got there at 6.55 for the 7.30 appointment.
I was taken in to the ward, asked to undress and given a "delightful" gown.  3 nurses fussed over me, checking my identity, lack of breakfast, drug-freeness, allergy status plus washing my left breast and shoulder.  A 'lure' was inserted into my right elbow joint, and sticky domes placed over me seemingly randomly.  A little later I walked into the operating theatre.  Everyone masked and gowned and the room slightly chilly.  It was odd to be lying there with nothing to do, whilst everyone else was busy.  A nurse washed me yet again, twice.  They plugged me into various monitors measuring heartbeat and oxygen level.
Gave me a slightly painful local anaesthetic, pumped some sedation into me through the lure and dropped a paper sheet over my face making sure that there was air space in front of me.  I was totally out to it, came to to find the incision already glued together, plastic bandage over it.  They wheeled me back to the ward and I  dozed for an hour.  The nurses bought me water, coffee and very welcome club sandwiches. I waited for another half hour than Mum came to pick me up at just after 11.00 am