Dymphna is in the midst of another exciting medical adventure.
Last night (which seems like earlier today, due to my almost complete lack of sleep) Dymphna’s respiratory symptoms became acute. They initially seemed to be those of regular asthma (which she has), but they were not alleviated by the usual palliative measures, such as using the nebulizer with albuterol. She simply could not get her breath, and could barely speak, even in a whisper. Her “air hunger” was insatiable.
So off we went to the emergency room in the wee hours of this morning. To make a long story short, it turned out that she had the peculiar kind of arrhythmia brought on by the failure of nerve signals between different chambers of the heart. The recommended treatment is the surgical implantation of a pacemaker, which was carried out later in the morning.
Dymphna has developmental PTSD, which means that even a relatively minor surgery can be very traumatic, and may take a long time to recover from. However, this time she’s doing pretty well. Although she was groggy and miserable when I got back to the hospital late this afternoon, within an hour or so she was sitting up and talking animatedly — and in her normal voice! The pacemaker has really made a difference.
Dymphna is what is commonly known in the medical trade as a Difficult Patient. Not because she is contentious or demanding, but because she has informed herself extensively on medical issues, so that the “I’m the doctor and I know best” attitude has no effect on her. When the doctor is wrong, or overly officious, or doesn’t listen properly, she lets him (or her) know it. On the other hand, when the doctor is willing to listen to her, they often have interesting friendly discussions, which can become quite technical and over my head.
She reserves her most withering scorn for surgeons. You’ll probably hear from her on that topic as soon as she has recovered enough to sit at a keyboard again…
The next couple of days will be busy, and the Gates of Vienna bus will only be firing on two or three cylinders for a while. I’ll try to keep up with the news feed, though, and with luck some semblance of normal programming will return on Wednesday or Thursday.
Thank you for all your kind comments and emails. I’ll make sure Dymphna sees them.