Saturday, June 02, 2012

Low Blood Pressure & Anemia

We had lots of appointments planned for this week, but not all of them went as planned.   Okay, none went exactly as planned.

On Tuesday, Chris met with Dr. Shalz for an introductory/baseline appointment before commencing with the cardiac rehab.  She said he seemed very lethargic and tired.  We told her that his blood was tested on Thursday and he's very anemic.  His blood pressure was 84-something at the beginning.  By the end of the appointment, it was down to 82/52.   She decided not to have him start exercising today, and wanted to call Drs. Mallea and Gomez-Abraham to inquire about altering his medication regimen.

Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Mallea called and had us discontinue the diltiazem.  
(This was given to Chris to lower his blood pressure after the surgery to aid in the healing of the heart valve.)

Thursday, he was still very tired and his BP hadn't risen sufficiently.  Amber (nurse & exercise trainer at cardiac rehab) recommended that he not come in.

Friday we did the scheduled appointment with Jennifer @ DaVita.  He got EPO and iron shots, the final installment of his Hepatitis B series, and she gave him a new transfer set on his catheter.  I expected that we'd be there a long time because of all the procedures, but as always Jennifer was on the ball!  She had all the supplies ready when we got there.  (His BP at that appointment was 82/50 sitting and 98/62 standing.)   He's going to have three more weekly EPO shots to hopefully get his red blood cell count up.

Tonight, Chris and his minions are resting comfortably.  He's hooked up to the dialysis machine in my former crafty room.   This photo shows his special 'heart pillow' that he uses to press against his chest when he coughs.   He received it with a special fabric marker, and many of the nurses & staff signed the back of it.

Next week, we'll be driving to Salt Lake City for a chest X-ray and a surgical follow-up.  We'll also meet Dr. Wilson, who is another cardiologist.    Wednesday, we have another appointment with Jennifer (mostly for EPO).   Thursday is Cardiac Rehab, if Chris' blood pressure is good enough and he feels up to it.

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