Postpartum Thyroiditis

Early Friday afternoon, as I was walking to the kitchen for a drink, my heart began to gallop. It felt like it was trying to burst out of my chest it was pounding so hard. I had only walked about 8 feet, so I was already concerned, but the pounding lasted HOURS.

I called the Doctor and was advised to go to the emergency department- advice I followed, kids in tow. Thankfully, I didn’t wait too long before getting called back to triage, where they took my vitals. By this time my heart wasn’t beating as hard, but it was still racing. The nurse likened my resting heart rate to that of someone jogging.

They immediately took me to a room where I got my very first EKG, I didn’t realize just how those were done and was surprised by how fast it was. I was also hooked up to the heart, oxygen/pulse, and blood pressure monitors, and an IV. The IV was the most painful I have ever had. Normally I’m not bothered by needles at all, but this was a 20 gauge needle so I felt it, and the IV was right in the bend of my right arm, so movement constantly irritated it. They told me they had to use a larger needle because of some of the blood work that was going to be done- I was going to be tested for blood clots, among other things. Of course, now I had to wait awhile before a Dr was available to see me. We discussed my complaints- the racing heart, which was a symptom I was just noticing that day, the severe anxiety I have been experiencing since about a week or so before the baby was born, and a constant, inflamed feeling in my throat that I had unsuccessfully tried to get addressed by my regular care provider. At some point my family left, and a breast pump was brought in since the baby wasn’t going to be there to nurse. I got to pump once before I was given propranolol, after which the pumped milk was dumped. Blood was then drawn before I was taken up to get xrays of my chest & throat. Then there was nothing to do but wait some more, and watch figure skating on the hospital TV.

Now guys, like I said I have already gone to the Dr about the swollen throat and anxiety a couple of times now. I was unable to get someone to even take a look at my throat, but I was able to talk them into drawing blood for a thyroid panel, which came back fine. That was about 3 weeks ago, ok.  After a few more hours of waiting in the ER bed, the Dr came in to tell me I was being admitted, that she had ordered a thyroid panel even though I had just had one done, and sure enough I had signs of hyperthyroidism. She told  a little about what that meant, and why I was being admitted. I needed to be monitored overnight. I had been in the ER for about 4 hours at this point, and it was another 5 hours before I actually was given a room.

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Once I was finally moved upstairs, I had to answer more of the same questions, listen to the policies of that floor,  get settled into the bed, etc. Finally, sometime after 2 am, I was allowed to sleep- but not before being informed that I’d be woken at 4 am for my vitals and weight to be checked. What ACTUALLY happened at 4 am was that I was woken up for a blood draw. They came half an hour later for the rest. Afterward, I fell asleep for another hour or so, before waking for the day. At 8:30 am the Dr came in to discuss my diagnosis & what course of action we should take. It was decided, because I am breastfeeding, to keep me on a low dose of propranolol for now. I was told to I’d be prescribed a blood pressure cuff, given a referral to an endocrinologist. Around noon my husband & baby finally came to visit, the other kids were at their Uncle’s. At this point it had been 15 hours since I had seen the baby, and since I hadn’t had any more medication I was able to nurse her. In fact, I  wasn’t given any for several more hours- until closer to time for me to go home. When that time came, we saw that there was no prescription for the blood cuff inquired about it. The nurse left to ask the Dr & when she came back she told us he didn’t remember that, but the pharmacy should have them available for purchase. I strongly suspect that they just didn’t want to bother with the paperwork when cuffs are available over the counter.

I was discharged around 2:30, and went home to wait for my prescription to be ready. When I did go to pick it up I was told the pharmacy was really behind & it wasn’t ready. I asked if they had blood pressure cuffs, and the guy had to go ask someone else, just to tell me no & refer me to a different pharmacy (Fred Meyer). So we went there, only to be sent on a wild goose chase by that pharmacist. From the parking lot we tried to call the other Fred Meyer store to find that their call system is automated & there didn’t seem to be a way to get ahold of an actual human being. FRUSTRATING> We called around town & finally found that Rite Aid had them in stock. So we go there and find a manual cuff for $30, since the automatics there started at the $60 range. Youch. Long story short, my prescription wasn’t ready before the pharmacy closed.

Later,  around 8 pm, while sitting on the couch watching The Office with my husband, my heart felt like it was pounding hard again. We gathered our stuff up & headed back to the ER. Once we arrived I sat in the parking lot for awhile, trying to calm down, I was taken back immediately, and we discussed what was going on with me and how I had been unable to fill my prescription.  I was given another EKG, and hooked to the monitors again, before being given a dose of medication. Then they just monitored me for 2 hours, sent the prescription to other pharmacies, & ent me on my merry way.

I am happy to have slept in my own bed last night. My husband fed the baby previously expressed milk & let me sleep, something I am grateful for. I’ll admit I didn’t pump at all during the night, I was too exhausted, though I regret it as I sit here pumping milk that will be dumped. If I had gotten up, I could be nursing the baby instead. This screws up my whole schedule, now I won’t be able to nurse the baby until much later today,  Lesson learned for sure. because I can’t feed her for 5 hours after taking the medicine. I don’t have enough milk saved up for this, I’m going to have to supplement with formula, something I am NOT thrilled about.  I’m scared & overwhelmed by everything. Please keep me in your prayers.

 

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