Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Well that was interesting.

Not as boring or relaxing as all the nurses promised either.

First, the asthma has been a pistol. I'm not sick, but I have a cough and gunk in enough quantity that the asthma is flaring. So the pulse ox wasn't its usual 100 and I did not want to jack up my blood pressure and heart rate with albuterol right before the tilt table test. I just tried to breathe through all the tight gunk.

So I was wheezing and not feeling my best.

They did get the IV in one stick. Note of interest, it takes a couple weeks for blown veins to be stickable again. I thought they could stick me through the bruises. Not so. In fact, because of all the other sticks from the ACTH Challenge there weren't so many veins left to choose from. At least that's what I was told today.

The nurse got me in one stick though. In an odd location, but it worked. Awesome nurse.

Also, I did the heat pack in the car and I hope that helped.

I think, from here on out, I will be very verbal about how horrible a stick I am since my karma delights so in proving me wrong. Clearly that is the solution to my vein woes. If I am your patient, don't laugh at me on this one. It works.

Actually, I have no health problems whatsoever. Nothing wrong at all. Why I can just stop steroids cold turkey right now.

Ah, if only it were so simple, right?

The tilt table test did actually reproduce the peak and valley nature of my blood pressure. But I did not pass out, not technically. I had a lapse where I lost time, faded and was disoriented, but not a true state of unconsciousness.

The BP went from 141/89 to 128/59. That was brutal. I was short of breath, couldn't think straight and I didn't dare look at the floor. The lines on the EKG monitor went all squiggly too.

After that drop my body went into overdrive, my BP skyrocketed to 150/101 along with my heart rate at 101. I began to sweat and feel jittery. Very odd.

I had another drop too, but the diastolic (bottom number) was still relatively normal so I didn't 'feel' it as much. For me, it's when the diastolic is in the 60s or lower that I start to have problems.

I have no idea what this means or if it is relevant or if the doctors will even read anything into it. The nurse seemed nonplussed and they do this stuff every day so I guess I was normal.


They actually told me it's rare for someone to pass out, which is what constitutes a 'positive' tilt table test and that I should not expect anything to happen.

I expected nothing, but it seems what I got was more gray, more in between health stuff no one will find relevant.

As for the test itself, in case anyone is looking for what to expect from a tilt table test.

You don't eat or drink before.

You get an IV, BP cuff and EKG and Pulse Oximeter.

They strap you to a table.

Have you lay at an angle, with the head down for a while ,maybe 10-15 minutes.

Then they move the table to a standing position and you stand for an hour.

All the while they are monitoring your blood pressure and other vitals.

It doesn't sound like much, but it was more strenuous than I anticipated. The blood pooling in my legs was uncomfortable and eventually I went numb.

When they tilted me back to a prone position after an hour, the blood rushing from my feet to my head was nauseating, I though I was going to throw up. And I was short of breath a lot (but the asthma was pretty active though). Then there was the flushing and sweating and pounding heart. So it's much more physical than just lying there like a rag doll.

When it was over, I wanted to take a nap.

So that is your body on a tilt table test. Any questions?

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