View Full Version : Just Need a Place to "Voice" my Fears. *Update*

03-07-2008, 01:41 PM
After reading Medusa's post about her son's rush to the ER it got me to thinking about my younger (Can't call him little anymore) cousin. Before I describe the latest drama that scared the crap out of me, let me give you a little background.

Richie (my cousin) was born with a defect in his heart which had to be corrected surgically when he was about 5 days old. They had to go in a replace a valve in his heart with a mechanical one. Of course this valve had to be replaced as he grew so he's had multiple open heart surgeries throughout his 17 + (he'll be 18 next month) years. In the summer of '02 (I think), a couple weeks after going down to Memphis, TN (he was born there and they later moved back to New Madrid County) to see his heart doctor, he got really sick. My aunt called and said he was running a temp of 103 degrees and she couldn't get it to come down. So we took him to the nearest (though pretty crappy - but I'll get to that in a minute) hospital. Sikeston's (the above mentioned crappy) Hospital did not know what was wrong so they decided to send him back to Memphis (don't remember which one it was) Hospital. Memphis concluded that it was a Staph infection in his blood stream but they could not get rid of the infection. They sent him to Little Rock, AR (again I don't remember which hospital) where they determined that the infection was breeding on the artificial valve and had moved into the surrounding wall of the heart. Problem was unlike Memphis which is only a couple hours away, Little Rock was a 5 hour drive so there would be no support from the family on a daily basis for my aunt. After talking it over we did what we always do and pulled together for her. I offered my car so she wouldn't be stranded at the hospital or hotel room and my cell phone. Grandma offer her credit cards for the hotel room and Mom went down and spent week at a time for support. Richie came out of that fine. They had to go in and remove the artificial valve and the wall that separates the two chambers on the left side of his heart that the valve was attached to. Everything was fine after that. He never had anymore problems, the docs said that he could be a normal teenager after a while. He was on blood thinners all his life because of the valve so he was suppose to avoid anything that might cause him to get injured. No bike, skateboard, ect. so as you can guess once the infection was gone he was one happy boy.

A couple week ago, Mom got a call from my aunt saying that Richie was having chest pains and she couldn't get a hold of 911 on the cell phones. (They don't have a house phone) Mom rushed over and picked them up and was rushing to the Sikeston hospital because they didn't think he could make it the extra 25 miles to Cape Giradeau. Mary (Richie's mom) called our other aunt Erma, who works as a nurse at the hospital, to tell her that they were bringing Richie in. Erma told her to have Mom stop the car because she was sending the ambulance to pick him up. Once they get to the hospital, Richie says that the pain in his chest was moving up his neck and down his left arm and hand. He actually stopped breathing and past out once sitting in the waiting room. The hospital put an oxygen mask on him and gave him a shot of nitroglycerin and asprin. They kept him overnight for observation then released him the next day saying he just had a bad case of bronchitis. :eek: Bronchitis? Really? I may not have any medical training but it sounds like he the symptoms and treatment of a HEART ATTACK!!!! I develop bronchitis at least once a year (except for the three years I was away from the smokers down here) and I have never had frickin' chest pains and passed out. Even Erma said the boy had a heart attack! But Mary, who doesn't believe the docs anymore than the rest of us, refuses to take him for a second opinion. His Docs in Little Rock wouldn't see him earlier (he had an appointment yesterday) unless the doctor who attended to him recommends that he be seen. I stopped by last Sat. to drop something off with Grandma and Richie was outside working on the family car. As I was sitting outside in Grandma's car waiting on Mary and G-ma to finish talking beside the car. I noticed Richie squatting beside Mary's car. I called him over, he was sweating even though it was only 50 F and he couldn't catch his breath. I told him to go take a break and he said he just came out from a break 5 minutes ago. Grandma, of course, jumped all over him and told him to go in the house and not come back out until he was better. But it scared the crap out of me.

We've always known in the back of our minds that Richie was sick. I mean it was a pretty hard fact to ignore with him going in every so often to have someone dig around in his chest. But we've never really thought of him as having anything wrong. He has always acted just like any other kid his age. Now his heart problem is obvious (at least to me) for the first time. He hasn't been to school but once and he said he couldn't even walk around the halls from class to class without getting winded. I'm scared that something is seriously wrong. They won't have any of the results from the tests they ran yesterday for weeks and I'm scared that he doesn't have that long. I can't say any of this to my family though because I'm suppose to be the strong reassuring one. "Everything's going to be fine." "It'll all work itself out in the end." Ect. But I don't know. I can't lose Richie. He's like my little brother. I'll just fall apart.

Well thanks for letting me whine for a little bit. I just had to put it out there to someone that I'm scared and confused.

03-07-2008, 03:34 PM
Given Richie's medical history, if you need to call 911 again, immediately say "I think he's having a heart attack". That will get you immediate attention. If Erma said he was having a heart attack and the drs. didn't listen, find another hospital w/drs. who will listen. Time is of the essence in such cases but I'm sure you already know that.

When we read of stories of others who are sick or who have sick loved ones, we pray for them and hope that all will be well. But when it hits home, sometimes we allow fear to take over. I speak from experience when I tell you that you should also pray to have fear removed from your heart and mind. During my son's temporary paralysis, I became paralyzed w/fear. To be fearful is the worst thing that you can do for Richie and to yourself. Whenever fear tries to rear it's ugly head, I say "Peace. Be still." It helps to keep me strong and I needed to be strong for Glenn and you need to be strong for Richie. Everyone here at PT will join in prayer for him and you, I know they will. I wish I could remove and erase all memory of illness from everyone. Since I can't, I'll pray. And listen. Hang on and hold tight. And please update us of Richie's condition.

Laura's Babies
03-07-2008, 07:51 PM
He has all the classic symptomes of a heart attack... Is there another heart doctor they could take him to?

03-07-2008, 08:22 PM
Get that boy to someone in Little Rock! Please!

If your aunt happens to know a really good cardio doc in your town go there. But this is life and death.

HUGS! I hope he gets good help soon!

03-07-2008, 09:48 PM
You and your cousin will be in our prayers.

03-08-2008, 10:16 AM
Prayers for you, your cousin and all your family, from RI.

04-02-2008, 11:32 PM
Richie is going to have a stress test and a reading done on his heart monitor in Little Rock. Hopefully they'll get him taken care of. *fingers crossed*

04-02-2008, 11:35 PM
Prayers for Richie that he gets looked after properly!

Sorry - what's a "ready"?

When is his appointment? Looking forward to good updates!

04-03-2008, 09:52 AM
Sorry I meant reading. I was being rushed off the computer last night. His appointment is at 1:00 pm today.

Fixed it.

04-03-2008, 11:08 AM
Ok NP...I thought that "ready" might be a term for "prep", which would mean surgery!

Great to hear the appt is TODAY - and I hope this poor lad gets the help he needs. AND that the 'other' hospital gets a severe notice about their negligence!

04-05-2008, 04:28 PM
The result of the Little Rock visit - need more test. :rolleyes:

His cholesterol was a little high but nothing that can't be fixed by cutting the junk food. I'm sure an 18 yr old will jump right on that too. ;) The other test were inconclusive so more test are going to be preformed later this month.

04-05-2008, 05:11 PM
I am glad he is getting testing and such good care. He'll continue to be in our prayers.

04-05-2008, 05:56 PM
Missouri hospitals aren't that great... and kind of OT but I thought all those sounded familiar until I looked at your location... My youngest sister had a myriad of kidney problems when she was younger and DR after DR after DR would either say that a) my mom was making it all up for attention, or B) they didn't know.

They finally took her to the Mayo clinic in Minnesota where they found she had an underdeveloped nerve in her kidneys and would need to be on medicine the rest of her life or she could die or have to have a new kidney.

I know that may not be feasible in her situation but if DRs aren't listening and things just don't "seem" right, you need to try and try until you find someone who does listen, even if you're wrong, some DRs are just so... impersonal nowadays, treating only the physical problems and not the mental ones. :( My mom "knew" something was wrong and didn't give up, even after DRs would look at her and honestly believed my mother was making my sister's problems up for attention! But she pressed until she got answers, and soon after that she got on her meds and... she's fine now :)

My prayers are with you and your family and if you ever need any help in my area please let me know and I will see what I can do!!

04-05-2008, 07:49 PM
He'll be on my prayer list and so will you for as long as it takes. Peace to you....

04-05-2008, 08:32 PM
Missouri hospitals aren't that great... and kind of OT but I thought all those sounded familiar until I looked at your location...

My mom "knew" something was wrong and didn't give up, even after DRs would look at her and honestly believed my mother was making my sister's problems up for attention!

Preaching to the choir sister. Not only with Richie here but me too. G-ma knew something was wrong w/ my hips when I was a baby but the doctors thought she was just being dramatic. So they finally broke down and x-rayed me (and I'm quoting G-ma here) "so granny can rest easy". I had a square hip joint on my right side so my leg wasn't actually in the joint. Mom like to say I was stubborn as a child and trying to put a round leg into a square joint. :rolleyes:

My aunt Mary seems to trust Little Rock and the staff down there so I'm trusting her gut for right now.

04-05-2008, 09:49 PM
I hope Richie realizes that cutting his junk food makes him part of the medical team...there are things only HE can do that the drs can't. And it's really important.

Hopefully some healthier yet yummy snack food is out there somewhere. :)

Any idea when the other tests will be?

It's great that he's getting a good going-through. Prayers that whatever it is can be easily treated.

04-05-2008, 10:01 PM
Richie knows he's got to watch what he eats. He just slips sometimes (don't we all) and needs a little push back in the right direction. He'll do fine. I just remember being 18 and living off pizza and mac and cheese during college.

I can't remember the exact date off the top of my head. I'll ask Rich again when he comes in for his home schooling.

04-06-2008, 12:18 PM
I've heard the one at Little Rock is actually pretty amazing. We used to live in Branson and if any happened, I would much rather be taken there than Skaggs... Skaggs was so so awful... treated us like absolute dirt.... especially if you were there on worker's comp, like when HJ broke his foot at work, they would always put you last in line and make you wait for HOURS before letting you in.