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Saturday, September 14, 2013

I See You …

I think that's what the lab should be called, instead of ICU :)

There are doctors, specialists, nurses, and several others who wake you up lots of times just to clean your room, ask if you are sleeping, find out how you are, give you injections and drips, and take away whatever you have passed into the tin can below. But I am not complaining.

Two weeks ago it was 11PM and I was sitting at my computer when I felt - just for a second or two - a slight movement of everything around me. I thought it was an earthquake, but it wasn't. It was just a slightly fainting-like spell … so I went to bed early.

The next day I felt weak when I got up, so I ate a hearty breakfast. Came back to work on my computer to alter some pictures. I did this all day. But at 4 different times I felt weak. Checked my sugar. It was slightly high, but no cause for alarm. Took my temperature. Normal. Tried to take my pulse but it was so soft that I couldn't figure it out.

Strange, I thought.

When Nuzhat came back at 7PM I told her and she thought I ought to go the Cardiovascular Institute. Partly because I said I felt like I did at the time of my heart attack years ago. Finally I thought I'd first see Shamim who lives opposite my house. He's a good doctor … but a much better friend.

(Been trying to call him all day but his phone was 'closed'. Found out that it had gone into Airport Mode … though he had no idea how).

Shamim was standing outside his house when Nuzhat went there, so she called me and I followed immediately. We went in and he checked me out and said I was fine (though, much later, he did tell me that my pulse rate was slightly erratic). He suggested that I  go to the NMC (National Medical Centre) … which is only a couple of minutes from my house … and show myself to Dr. Zia Yaqub, my Cardiologist.

The Cardiologist, it turned out, was away on leave so I decided to walk into the Surgeon (Dr. Akhtar Hussain) with my reports. He asked me to get an ECG and when the result arrived he said I should be admitted into the ICU immediately where they would check me, specially since I had had a quadruple heart bypass (October 28th, 2009).

The ECG report said I was suffering from an "Atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response and aberrant conduction or ventricular premature complexes and the ECG was Abnormal". Translated, this meant my heart was beating too fast, my pulse was erratic, blood was not rushing to my brain (causing faintness and weakness). The BP was 90/55 and the Pulse Rate was around 52.


I got up to go to the ICU when the Doc said I will be taken up in a wheelchair! Nuzhat rushed to get the admission done and I was taken to the bed upstairs, nabbed here and there, a drip was attached, blood was taken (lots of it!) and an external catheter was put in place.

All night the doctors kept coming in and at 2 AM I was shifted to a private part from this general space and Nuzhat was told that she could go home.

I was there until the next evening and was mainly disturbed by the loud laughter, jokes, gossip, and whatever else the attendants did near my door --- discussing other patients and a death. Yikes!

An Echo Cardiogram was taken and I was OK, according to the Doctor. Dr. Akhtar Hussain came in and was told that I had been well all night so he decided to send me home, telling me that I should come running back if I felt anything. My medicine was added to and a beta-blocker was given.

So far I have no idea if everything is working fine, though I did go to Dr. Cyasp Noshirwani who felt I should continue this medicine until Dr. Zia Yaqub comes here (he's back on the 17th) and show myself to him. Cyasp was glad I had gone to the Doc right then as "otherwise you'd have been zapped. It can be a really dangerous situation".

The additional medicine has lowered my 120/80 BP and 72 Pulse Rate to a 90ish/58ish BP and a 52ish Pulse Rate, making me feel awful if I get up. Cyasp says I should live with this until Zia has seen me … but it's pretty awful. I can't really do anything at all for long periods of time without feeling weak. Orthostatic hypotension gets me feeling even lower.
Going from a sitting or lying position to a standing position often brings out symptoms of low blood pressure. This occurs because standing causes blood to "settle" in the veins of the lower body, and this can lower the blood pressure. If the blood pressure is already low, standing can make the low pressure worse, to the point of causing symptoms. The development of lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing caused by low blood pressure is called orthostatic hypotension. (Medical Encyclopedia)
But I am 'well', otherwise.

Here's a picture of me in the ICU almost 4 years after my bypass.

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Blogger Sophia said...

Dear Zaheer Bhai, please take care, take plenty of rest and please let us know if we can come and see you.
love, Sophia

15 September, 2013 11:13

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Of course you can, Sophia. Love to all of you.

15 September, 2013 11:31

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clever of you to do this only after I left, so I can't come to see you. Can't help but note this should not in any way impede your timely recovery.

I had to do some sort of chemical induced stress test not long back, as I think I mentioned. The purpose is to speed up the heartbeat to ridiculous levels while examining the state of the heart using an ECG. The test itself was ok (as were the results, cheerily enough), but the aftermath was a full day and more of complete exhaustion. I think I know how you feel, and hope that you get back to a more acceptable condition asap.

Take care.

15 September, 2013 13:18

Blogger Muhammad Ijaz said...

Sir, u may not remember me but u taught me once in HIIT. U are a lively person n you became my fav teacher n reason to attend college.

May Allah bless u n give u long n healthy life

Get well soon!!!


15 September, 2013 16:22

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Anonymous - I presume you are Vick. Are you?

Muhammad Ijaz - Thanks Ijaz. I remember you well.

15 September, 2013 20:47

Anonymous Sabeen Mahmud said...

ICUs are madhouses. Wonder what they're like abroad. Glad that your sense of humour is intact. Jaldi se acchay ho jaaiyey. We need to go check out a new frozen yogurt place.

16 September, 2013 11:25

Blogger ali said...

Hope you're up and at 'em soon Zaheer Sb.! Take care!!

16 September, 2013 14:59

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phupajan, I just read this. Had no idea you were unwell!
Bauhat bauhat pyaar. Jaldi se theek ho jaaiyey!

16 September, 2013 17:29

Anonymous foqia khan said...

Get well soon zak! This whole long message was typed without a spelling mistake. You must be feeling like a sociologist to related the whole experience! Get well soon!

16 September, 2013 19:14

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Thanks, Ali and Foqia.

Much love, Ashoo.

Getting better these days … though slowly.

17 September, 2013 06:58

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Latest news: Saw Cardiologist. Had medicines changed. Feeling better. He thinks I'll be fine in a day or two. He was glad I went to ICU coz it can be dangerous.

Thanks for everyone's good wishes.

17 September, 2013 21:17

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent news. Here's wishing you, again, a quick recovery. Yup, it's me. Hope you alerted the cardiologist to the truth, that the ICU was in as much danger (maybe a little more). Not too many emergency calls for an open mind!

18 September, 2013 14:33


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