Nearly one week later and we're finally to a point where I can tell the story of Rob's most recent hospital stay.
On Friday morning he was having chest pain that was more severe than his normal chest pain. He decided it was time to go to the ER, so we went to the small ER here in Benson.
They evaluated him and decided with his extensive history they should transfer him to a larger hospital in Tucson about 50 miles away. They actually didn't have a cardiologist on staff.
Rob was taken by ambulance to Tucson Medical Center. His doctors did many, many tests. He had CT scans, and echocardiogram, EKGs, and hundreds of lab tests but the one test that would probably give the best information is exceedingly dangerous for Rob. He is in stage four kidney failure. That is the stage before dialysis. Rob needed to have an angiogram so the doctors could view his heart function but that test is done with dye and dye is very hard on your kidneys.
The doctors decided to give Rob IV fluids in an attempt to get his kidney function to improve so they could use the dye to do his angiogram. The IVs ran for four days while they watched his kidneys. He also had a nitroglycerin drip for the chest pain.
This is how it feels to be in Rob's hospital room. Wires, tubes and machines everywhere.
Each morning a heard of 7 or 8 doctors, some medial students, would come into his room and go over his case and examine him. Just like an episode of Grey's Anatomy.
On Tuesday morning all of the fluid they had been pumping into Rob for days and days finally pushed him over the edge into congestive heart failure. When that happens he feels like he's drowning. They say it is a terrifying feeling. He had a chest x-ray and did have fluid in his lungs. The doctors were reluctant to do anything to get the fluid out of his system because they didn't want to ruin the progress they had made with his kidneys but they eventually had to stop the IVs and give him something to help move the fluid out of his system. Tuesday was a long and rough day.
By Wednesday morning he was better and they were able to take him to the cath lab and do his angiogram. The results were basically the same as the last one he had a few years ago. There was nothing for them to fix and his heart function is only slightly reduced from the last angiogram. That is good news. It means his chest pain is most likely being caused by the part of his heart that is already damaged and is not causing further damage.
The plan now is to watch his kidneys to make sure they continue to function adequately while they process the IV dye out of his system.
Hopefully his heart and kidneys can play nicely together and he can come home soon.