by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ July 29, 2018
I am lying in a surprisingly large and very white, bright glass-walled room in the CCU (the coronary intensive care unit) of our local hospital. Through these walls I can see several people who look like nurses and doctors seated at a long desk outside my glass box, staring at computer monitors. It’s action central out there, where staff can observe and monitor every heart patient, each of us in one of the glass boxes.
I can see assorted tubes, lines and beeping machines surrounding my bed or attached to my body. Two nurses are looking down at me, one on either side of my hospital bed, closely examining my right wrist. They are checking the wound that has been opened up there in order to insert a catheter through the radial artery, up my arm, around the bend of my shoulder, and into my beating heart. I find it oddly touching that each of these women is gently holding one of my hands. I feel like weeping, and so I do.
I have no more pain. No more pain crushing my chest or radiating down my left arm. No more of the increasingly debilitating symptoms I’ve been suffering for the past two weeks. If anything, I’m simply feeling surprised. I have had a heart attack. I HAVE HAD A HEART ATTACK! I, Carolyn Thomas, have had a frickety-frackin’ heart attack. . .
Continue reading ““I am lying in a surprisingly bright glass-walled room…””
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
After I was discharged from the Coronary Care Unit following my heart attack, I felt puzzled because, other than a pile of reading material about heart-healthy eating, I was pretty well booted out the door with virtually no follow-up care plan once I got home.
So when my friend Viv’s daughter Kate phoned me a few days later (Kate happens to be a cardiac nurse at CCU), I had an endless list of panicky questions for her about my surprisingly distressing ongoing chest pains along with dozens of other issues. I was convinced that another heart attack was imminent – an extremely terrifying prospect for a freshly diagnosed heart patient. She was able to answer my questions (“Sounds like what we call stretching pain – very common!”) and reassured me that I just might make it through another day alive.
Canadian researchers in Ottawa have developed a simple tool for hospital staff to predict the probability that patients like me, discharged directly from hospital back to the community, will be readmitted – or die – within 30 days.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, could help identify patients who may benefit from closer monitoring and care so that serious health problems can be prevented. Continue reading “The simple tool that predicts how well you’ll do after discharge from hospital”