This blog is cross-posted at one of my other blogs Survivor: Living life with chronic pain, mental illness, and the ghosts of an abusive past.
I went for the Tilt Table Test (TTT) last Friday but have been suffering from really bad writer's block for most of the past few weeks.
We caught the Medicaid Transport van at 5:00 am. (Yes, I just
said wrote 5:00 am!) I am not a morning person so this was really hard to accomplish! I had three hours of sleep the night before. My TTT was scheduled for 7:00, the echocardiogram for 10:30 am, and the cardiologist for 1:20 pm. After hobbling down the hallway on my cane we discovered that we had arrived shortly before the Cardiology Diagnostics department opened. Fortunately we did not have a long wait.
I was the only one with a cardio diagnostic test scheduled for the morning. I think that one of the ladies who did my TTT was really glad to have a slow morning after her really busy day the day before. They said that since the morning was open for them that they would go ahead and do my echocardiogram right afterwards.
Once I got back in the room they did a quick history and went over the potential side effects of the TTT. After that I had to change into a hospital gown above the waist so they could get the stickers on. Once the EKG was hooked up, an automatic BP cuff was on my left arm, a manual BP cuff on my right arm, and I was strapped tightly to the table we were ready. I was really afraid that I'd freak out strapped down because of all the things I've seen in our shitty mental health system. I was scared, but it wasn't long and my mind was overwhelmed with the incredible pain of standing. The test was 45 minutes long or until you faint. I had to have them stop it early because I had searing pain shooting down my legs and, of course, a high level of pain everywhere else, too. I was incredibly embarrassed that I can't stand up that long without crying from pain. The techs never made me feel bad, but I still am ashamed I cannot stand for 45 minutes and I'm only 29. I'm not even 30 yet. By the time they did the echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, I was crying in pain. I don't know if they saw it but I know they heard me crying out everytime I was touched. As anyone who has had an ultrasound done will tell you; the tech pushes hard on your body to get good pictures.
In between the two tests they went and got Jim in the waiting room to tell them my un-official result of the TTT. I was very pleased to know that the un-official results were negative for any dysautonomia. Yay!
When they had completed both tests they got me a wheelchair (by then I couldn't walk) and Jim wheeled me to the Cardiology department from the diagnostics department. By this time my pain was a 9 out of 10 and there was no way I wanted to stay for the afternoon appointment. I was too exhausted and in way too much pain. So we rescheduled with my cardiologist, Dr. Z.
We went to the lobby of hospital and called the Medicaid Transport van. He agreed to pick us up after picking up the woman he was waiting on. He said he'd be there within an hour. We went outside to wait. Jim pushed the wheelchair down the hill, across the street, and under some trees so he could smoke a cigarette. I got out my water and a Diet Pepsi and drank that. We both ate a snack that I'd packed and Jim went back across the street to take pictures of the hospital for my blog. I'd tried getting the pictures myself, but I couldn't. So the lovely pictures here are thanks to my honey. An hour and a half after we called Medicaid Transport they showed up to take us home. After we got home I slept four or five hours without waking up once.