|A Little More Excitement than Desired
||[May. 15th, 2011|01:24 pm]
About two weeks ago, my husband started feeling weaker than usual. He has myasthenia gravis, and had been pushing himself, so at first he thought it was a reaction to the work he'd done. The weakness got worse. By the following Wednesday, he was having severe weak spells and finally--while moving a board from sawhorses to the ground--he passed out. He had trouble staying "awake" while driving the lawn tractor back to the house (something over a quarter mile.) As it was quite warm, he thought he was dehydrated, and drank a lot of liquids and ate some salty foods. I convinced him to make an appointment with his doctor, but he did not reveal any of his symptoms over the phone, just saying he needed his annual physical and to talk. (He also didn't tell me about a key symptom.) He got an appointment for the following Tuesday. Over the next few days, he experienced typical cardiac chest pain when trying to do (fairly heavy) work he usually does, such as carrying a muck tub of manure to the top of the pile, but it disappeared within seconds at rest. He refused repeated suggestions that we see the doctor now, go to the hospital now. He continued to not tell me (or anyone) about the symptom that would have explained a lot.
Tuesday the doctor found an abnormality in the EKG and thought he looked pale (he did--he had looked pale for over a week at that point) and sent him to the hospital. At the hospital they found out he was severely anemic--he had recently lost about half his red cells. To internal bleeding, as it turned out. The following days included the worst storms (and first rain) we've had in months, as well as our son's final exams for the semester in college. Just to make sure I had plenty to think about. Various tests made it clear that the only thing wrong with his heart was not getting enough oxygen because there were few red cells to carry it. He turned out to have various pathologies in the GI tract, ulcers among them, and we are now awaiting the biopsy results. He was also transfused, since--although the bleeding appeared to have stopped for a bit--another bleed would drop his hemoglobin into "very, VERY dangerous" range, especially for someone his age.
His account of the run-up to the hospital visit had several doctors amazed, somewhat appalled, somewhat amused, and (the male docs) slightly admiring...a guy who has lost half his blood and then keeps going is (for someone his age) unusual. (I said, a day or so later, "Most people your age who bleed out half their blood are not up arguing they're fine." "Wimps," he said.)
Surgery is in his future. However, they let him come home on Friday, and we took a slow wander around the place, at his request. That was Friday evening. Yesterday, he said he thought he'd go back to the construction site and paint a few boards. After an hour or so, I walked out to make sure he was OK. This is what I found:
There is no doubt who has the Y chromosome in this family.