My rib splint

Chris Bargmann Chris B!

First post: Jul 30, 2017 Latest post: Nov 22, 2017
Well hello there! 

So, it turns out, I'm defective and I have been since birth. In May of 2017 I got sick with what I thought was a chest cold, maybe bronchitis and I couldn't get the cough to go away. I went to my doctor and my doctor said "that's what you get for jumping on the bed!" Just kidding. My doctor said "did you know you had a heart murmur?" Well yes, as a matter of fact I did know that. I had found that out around approx. 2005, the doc heard a murmur, sent me in for an echocardiogram and told me I was fine, that I didn't need to do anything or worry. I have moved since then and this was a new Dr. for me. I figured she was just being thorough when she said "I'm going to send you in for a chest x-ray and another echo just to be sure that you don't have any leaky valves." I went in the following week for the tests and before I knew it Doc was calling me at home to tell me that the right side of my heart was severely dilated and I that needed to go in for a CT scan. The next day I had an appointment with pulmonology. The pulmonologist thought I had a condition called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) however, she wasn't positive so she decided to run a bunch of labs, put me on a heart monitor and pass me off to cardiology.  I headed straight for denial since all I knew for sure was that I was tired all the time, short of breath sometimes and that there was something wrong but no one knew exactly what. It would be 28 days until I knew anything further. 

That brings me up to date. July 27th I went to the catheter lab to have a pressure test done to "prove" that I have PAH only to find the pressures to be normal and there was no apparent cause for the condition of my heart. Luckily I have been appointed a good cardiologist that refused to be outwitted by my body. He decided to do one more test just to "see" if maybe a I had a hole in my heart. He called it a "bubble test" and if you have ever seen one conducted you would know why. The bubble test was positive, I have a hole in the septum of my heart. This is typically called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and is something that I must have been born with. Babies are born with a small hole and most of the time they close up on their own soon after birth. Apparently mine did not and has been slowly getting bigger over time causing an excess amount of blood to get into the right atrium of my heart, which makes it work harder to pump the blood into my lungs. Over time the right side of my heart has gotten stretched out and tired, causing me to be tired as well.

The last time I was sick I was having frequent heart flutters, weird inexplainable light headedness (like my toes were asleep) and extreme fatigue plus a relentless dry cough. I have quit smoking since all of this began and I took a round of antibiotics and I would say that my physical symptoms have improved greatly. I started off this adventure with a very light hearted (no pun intended) attitude and while people around me seem to be very pleased with the latest results (I'm glad they are), I think reality is just beginning to set in for me. 

What I do know:  1. There is a hole in my heart 2. The right side of my heart is severely enlarged 3. I'm tired 4. The hole will need to be patched. 

What I don't know: 1. How big is the hole? 2. What kind of procedure will I need to have to fix it? 3. How long will I be out of work? 4. What will the lasting effects be? 5. Will I have to take pills the rest of my life? 6. Will I feel 20 again when this is all over? 7. Am I going to have to go to cardiac rehab? 

Moving forward, I will need to have at least one more test done to determine the size and placement of the hole and that should determine what kind of procedure I will need in order to patch it up. I will keep you all posted as I know more.

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