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Thankful for My First Hospitalization

Thursday, April 03, 2014

By Jennifer Gooden

I was hospitalized for the first time in 20 years last month. It was a pretty scary situation but when I look back, I am thankful for many things. I always think that things are what you make them. Here is why I am thankful for this little “hiccup” in my health:

I am thankful that I was at work—a children’s hospital’s cardiac ICU—when my heart started to act up. I sat down to do some charting on my patient and I felt like someone dropped a blow torch on my chest and that I was going to vomit. When the pain let up a little I noted that my heart was racing.

I am thankful my co-worker—another RN—was a few feet away. I asked her to listen to my heart and she confirmed that I was not crazy, and that my heart was going really fast.

I am thankful that we had just completed rounds on my patient a few minutes before and that two doctors, as well as the charge nurse, were right behind me when I called out for help.

I am thankful that I am also followed at the hospital that I work at. Sometimes it can be a little weird, but I was thankful that one of the doctors who I was working with had seen me previously in the clinic. I didn’t have to blurt out all of my medical information in my state of panic. He already knew.

I am thankful for my co-workers for gathering up the needed equipment—a cardiac monitor, a pulse ox, a blood pressure cuff, some oxygen—to place on me on in the hallway.

I am thankful that the doctor was able to look at my cardiac rhythm for literally a few seconds before my heart decided to act right. It was immediate relief of the pain and it didn’t feel like my heart was going to fall out of my chest. At that point my heart rate slowed down and stayed around 150 beats per minute. Very fast, but slower than what it was, which was above 200 beats per minute. With the relief I felt, I was finally able to look at my hands and noticed my fingertips were blue and I was told my face was gray—but I was just glad I felt better.

I am thankful for the entourage pushing my wheelchair, the oxygen and the cardiac monitor. I was still kind of shaken up and I don’t think I could have made it to the ER with out them.

After speaking with the cardiac doctor on call, they made the decision to admit me for 24 hours to keep me on the cardiac monitor and run a few test. An EKG about an hour later showed sinus tachycardia—a normal fast heart rate—at 115.

I am thankful that I was admitted to the cardiac floor and not the ICU since I had a bit more freedom to move about. I am also thankful for the experience because I learned how annoying it is when people are in and out of your room all night long! A hospital is no place to sleep! I will definitely take that into my nursing practice and try to let my patients get some much-needed sleep.

In the morning I was sent to do a stress test on the treadmill, which didn’t shed light on anything, but at least I got my exercise in for the day. I was thankful that I was able to schedule a cardiac MRI within the week and an EP study within the next two weeks.

I am thankful that it was a quick stay and it ended up actually being a little less then 24 hours. One of the docs said, “You’re the only patient I have ever seen go from the ICU to the cardiac floor for being sicker.” Which made me laugh—and I definitely needed that!

What I am most thankful for is the teams in the ICU and on the cardiac floor that took excellent care of me, kept me informed, kept me safe, and lifted my spirits.

What about your CHD makes you thankful?


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