Reading about John Hope Franklin 's death (A very fine and admirable man) today led me to investigate Congestive Heart Failure . In 2007, after surgery on my leg, I experienced heart failure and was kept in emergency care with daily IVs and put on respirators for the best part of my over four months hospitalization.
It happened as I just woke up in the middle of night unable to breathe and called the nurse. She checked my pulse and heartbeat rate which were alarmingly low. She called then called the attending physician and the rest for me was history.
As I read the article at http://www.medicinenet.com/congestive_heart_failure/article.htm, I am taken aback by the descriptions which mirror my experience. As long as I can remember, I have had an instinctive preference for multiple pillows when sleeping.
"Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, which occurs with exertion as the disease progresses. Lying flat increases blood return to the heart; thus patients may complain of shortness of breath (orthopnea) when lying down. Another symptom is paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, a term used to describe wakening in the middle of the night with shortness of breath that is more long-lasting than simple orthopnea. Patients often describe having to stand by a window to try to catch their breath. Patients end up sleeping on two or three pillows to elevate the head and chest, or in a recliner.
Increasing shortness of breath can be tempered by the medications; however, over time, the symptoms worsen and quality of life suffers. Eventually, the disease wins, breathing fails, and so does the patient."
Since that hospital episode, I overwhelmed with a deep sense of uncertainty over my future . In 1990 as I was starting college, I was diagnosed with a deformed right mitral valve. My cardiologist said that somehow, just like my right leg, my heart had found a way to function with it and that for the time being it was unnecessary to perform surgery. He just recommended that I had this monitored every few years. I decided to forget about it then in order not to over worry.
Over the years, I have noticed that every infection or disease I have ever faced affects disproportionally my right side, whether they be skin or teeth irritations or else
And then I read this which suggest how much more blacks are likely to face early heart failure http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032301802.html
The conjunction of racial predisposition and post polio weakness makes me worry...
If anyone has any thoughts on the subject they want to share..please do....