My Apple Watch alarm started alerting me to a high heart rate around 3:40 am Friday morning waking me from a sound sleep. I couldn’t believe it was running in the 137’s and wasn’t going down. So, I woke my husband, and we took my blood pressure. It was too low to register. We waited 5 minutes and tried again. Still too low! Time for action. He helped me into compression hose and grabbed a Liquid IV drink from the fridge. I drank it quickly. We waited a little while and managed to get a reading on the blood pressure monitor. My blood pressure was low and my heart rate wasn’t coming down at all.
Also, I had a horrible migraine. When I started Northera, I was told if my heart rate stayed above 110 for more than an hour, I needed to call my doctor. I hoped to get it under control because I had my annual cardiologist appointment last week, and I’m already scheduled to get a 24 hour Holter monitor on Monday. I knew if I called, I’d have to go in.
My heart rate never settled down.
I called my doctor’s office. His nurse told me he wasn’t in, and I needed to go to the ER. When I arrived, the triage nurse took my vitals and immediately took me back. Imagine my surprise when I found out I had a 102 fever. I had told my husband on the way that I had some chills, but the AC was on in the truck and I’m cold natured. It’s a common complaint from me. We keep throws in there year-round in Arkansas. With Autonomic Dysfunction, my body does some strange things! Seriously, I rarely sweat. That’s dangerous here.
I went in to the ER because of my heart rate not slowing down but quickly became a patient with a high fever, migraine, and neck pain who had to have meningitis ruled out. We got scared. I won’t lie.
The doctor ran a CT and when it came back clear, he performed a spinal tap to test fluid. They also ran a chest x-ray to see if I had any congestion starting since I had coughed a few times while in there. The doctor did blood work for everything, including blood cultures.
Thankfully, we only had to wait 90 minutes to find out I did NOT have meningitis.
I DID have a small dark spot at the bottom of one of my lungs like pneumonia was trying to form. The doctor wrote a prescription for a very strong antibiotic for bacterial infections to start immediately.
All of my blood work looked great other than my white blood count being low which showed some immune suppression. I am not sure what that means. I’ve been told that once before, so I am going to have my PCP get my records.
They told me my blood cultures would take awhile for results.
The ER called me this morning to follow up. My blood cultures showed I DID have bacteria in my blood. The doctor wanted to see how I was doing and to make sure I filled the antibiotic prescription. If I don’t improve after taking all of them, or if I get worse, I am to come back.
I haven’t been to an ER in YEARS because of a horrible past experience. My illness is not well understood by most in ERs. I know I’m not alone in our patient community because I have sadly read other horror stories.
Yesterday, I was treated with compassionate care by a great medical team at Unity Health in Searcy, Arkansas.