History of the heart, unexpected story ! They saved my life!!!
1° sequence :
April 27, 2021 : Like every morning I just went to get the bread. On the way, suddenly, I have dizziness, I am out of breath. Arrived at the house, Geneviève (my companion),
and Gisèle (her friend) force me to sit down immediately. Blood pressure test 15/7 is a lot (compared to my usual 13/8). We were especially surprised by the 41 heart rate. It is true that I was a sportsman, but at 83 years of age it is very low! François arrived at once and was also worried: « You have to call the emergency doctor », Nathalie (his wife) called Mrs. L.P., my new doctor in Sébazac. She will be able to see me « from tomorrow, 10:20 am »!
At the said hour, Geneviève brings me to Sébazac. I ask her to wait for me in the waiting room, conscious of the importance of the decision to be taken. I discuss with Mrs. L.P. the conditions of the disturbances that occurred the day before in my behavior. She is also worried about the 41 and proposes to check my heart rate. Catastrophic result: 30 the first time, 35 the second! I ask her for her conclusion: » It’s the hospital! … immediately! «
She calls Doctor L.M, cardiologist, who confirms and proposes to place a pacemaker in the day! Mrs L.P. calls the Samu . I ask to warn my companion. The firemen and nurses arrive in number. I am lying, half naked, on the table, and answer quietly to the questions of the nurses… Then 6 people move me lying down, outside, until the vehicle flashing and honking…
In the vehicle Pimpom (or ping-pong) one surrounds me, one pricks me, one armbands me (one will see later why this neologism is sign of my concerns). I express aloud why this small trip astonishes me and satisfies me. I knew in Toulouse, Louis Lareng, the creator of the Samu, but I had never made the trip in this position!
So I evoke the importance of the psychology of Health in Toulouse, at this same time. The trip is short, here we are at the Hospital of Rodez ! Here I am installed room 103…
4th sequence :
The nurses of the Cardiology department (Director, Dr. Taha Hassani) take care of me. A young cardiologist explains me the origin of my cardiac insufficiencies: the current passes badly between the atria (in top) and the ventricles (in bottom). First of all, it is necessary to check if the heart rhythm can be brought back to normal with products introduced into the blood, before deciding to place a battery (pace maker). One of the nurses will take over. She says to me « your heart is stubborn, it doesn’t want to move! « (He’s just like me!). I appreciate her exemplary way of saying things, and I tell her so, adding, « I have the impression, listening to you, that I hear the little accent of my Polish ‘friends’! « But you heard me right, I’m Polish » (I’ll be told later that her name is Barbara).
To be continued …
5° Sequence :
It is about 4pm this 28th of April (precision, in this state I am without papers and without watch!)
The decision is taken, I have to have the pace maker placed! A nurse asks me if I am a hunter! Surprised and laughing, I answer « Yes, fly hunter! « It’s very serious, it’s to know on which side you are being « opened »! « At 4:30 pm, I was taken to a nice little laboratory where a big apparatus was placed. I am installed, lying next to it.
I will be operated on the left side! (They took into account that I am a hunter!). They prepare the place to be opened: « in the hollow of my left shoulder ». They cover the rest of me, except for my eyes (I will be able to see my heart and my battery on the screen). I think of the position of the pregnant woman in ultrasound (!!).
6° Sequence :
The cardiologist on duty (L.M.) explains to me as he goes along what he is doing, and tells me as he goes along what I can feel: « be careful, it will burn, or it’s cold, or you may feel pain etc. ». « I feel that he is starting to work on my shoulder. I think of the baker kneading the dough, better of the empathetic sculptor! . The members of the team discuss quietly with the operator. At one point, one of them is worried about the patient: « He can hear us! « I answered « Yes, I can hear you, I can tell your stories! « Three quarters of an hour later (?) it’s over, I’m brought back in a wheelchair! They saved my life with warmth, humanity and laughter!
7° Sequence :
Some days are more significant than others! Sequences 2 to 6 concern the 28th of April alone. I am back in room 103. I find Barbara . Before the operation she had explained to me that I was at 40 heart rate (HR) when I talk or move, but that afterwards I was lower! (Proof that you have to talk and move!). After the surgery, I am waiting for her to tell me how much MR I am worth??. You are at 76! OK, so I am well ReMis!
8° Sequence :
The night of 28-29 will be difficult: not directly on the side of the MR but on the side of its consequences on « my » disease. In 2002, I had « stasis eczema », as Pr Bonnafé told me, red patches in my legs and the danger of bleeding at the slightest pressure or shock. At the end of 2013, this phenomenon disappeared from the legs and was « transferred to the arms » (?)
But let’s come back to the present! By « cardiac » necessity, the nurses frequently have to « cuff » me for the MR, or « prick » me on the arm. When they do, they see the state of my arms and get worried.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve become a master at rubbing my legs and then my arms. But it is impossible for the nurses to do this because of the constant installation of cables with electrodes… A nurse brings a tube of the useful ointment and checks that the blood stops (to remove any doubt). It is necessary to avoid the bleedings caused by too « sticky » dressings. On the morning of the 29th, Dr. T.H. visits me with the staff. I can thus ask questions about cardiology. I also talk about why I am « in good hands » but fortunately also in « good hands »! Claudine and Caroline, on duty on the evening of the 29th, notice further damage and go to help me.
On the morning of April 30th, the cardiologist (L.M.) informed me that I would be discharged at 1:30 pm. Two nurses are in charge of removing what is no longer useful on my hands and arms. I ask the first one her first name: « Marion » promises me that she will do the best: she removes the catheter and the plastic that surrounds it, she removes two « problem » dressings and gives me more airy dressings instead.
I ask for the first name at the second, Fabienne has to do a « cuffing »: she decides to do it to me … on the right leg! (a welcome creativity to avoid that I bleed while leaving). She
finally removes all the dressings associated with the famous opening made in the « hollow of my shoulder » . The sequences from 8 to 10 resound with the homage that I pay to all the nurses of two different Services, who looked after me.
Pierre, as a participant-witness!
History of the heart, unexpected story ! They saved my life!!!