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Sam's heart health

Organized by: Samantha Graham

Samantha's Photo

EVENT DATE Sep 04, 2015


January 25, 2014 I was sent to the ER for low oxygen. Upon arriving at the ER I was rushed back to a room where they started administering medical attention. I couldn't breathe, I was so uncomfortable and didn't know who I really was. I was admitted to ICU with pneumonia. About an hour of being up in ICU I went into respiratory distress and was intubated. I was only in the hospital for 10 days. I felt pretty good but still drained upon going home on Feb 3rd. I was to rest at home and not do anything to strenuous. I did nothing but rest and sleep alot. I was on breathing treatments which I did faithfully every day. Upon my follow up visit with my PCP I was released and able to go back to work Feb. 10th. I was able to work that whole week. I was working 2 jobs at the time. I was working as a CNA and I landed a very good job working with adults with disabilities. Come Saturday Feb 15th, I wasn't feeling to good. I ended up going home as my oxygen level was low again and my heart rate was very elevated. I went home early from my CNA job and called in sick that Sunday as I was still feeling pretty bad. Monday Feb 17th, I went to my 2nd job as I was feeling a little bit better. By the time 9pm rolled around, I was feeling pretty bad again. I was having difficulty breathing and my heart rate was elevated again. This time my heart rate was in the 150's. I knew that wasn't right and couldn't be right but it was. I called my best friend to come and get me so that I could go to the ER again. She stayed with me that whole night. I was so miserable that I couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't breathe and I was on 5 liters of oxygen. I was readmitted to the hospital that night. I was told possible pneumonia again. I couldn't believe it and I told the ER Dr that had to be a mistake. He told me that it wasn't. I got to a room about 5 am Feb 18th. My PCP was up doing rounds pretty early that morning as he couldn't believe that I was up there again. He showed up and all I could do was apologize to him for being up there again. He told me it wasn't my fault and he also informed me that it wasn't pneumonia that I had and told me that he was calling in a Lung Specialist to come see me. About a couple hours later the specialist shows up and tell me that it's not my lungs but he was gonna order a couple of tests. The tests that he ordered were heart tests. As soon as those words of what tests he wanted done was said I knew that we were dealing with a heart issue. This upset me. My dad passed away due to heart disease. This is something that I didn't want to have to go through or put my family through, more importantly my son. After the results came back, the lung specialist came in and talked to me and told me what we were dealing with and ordered a steroid to help me breathe as I was still struggling even being on oxygen. I wasn't to shocked to say the least. But I didn't think it could be that bad. I was wrong. I stayed in the hospital due to my persistence. Figured why not, I was already there. They called a cardiologist in to see me. He started ordering all these tests on me to see what we were dealing with on the damage to my heart valve. I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Stenosis. It is caused by Rheumatic Fever. In 2012 I went to the Minor Emergency Clinic complaining of a sore throat. I was checked for Strep and was told I didn't have it. I have usually always had false negatives when being tested for Strep. My Dr always would still put me on antibiotics just in case. That time I wasn't put on anything as I was a Clinic and not my Dr's office. I was told that I would need surgery, but surgery could wait for about 10-20 years. Boy were they wrong. June 24th 2014 I had open heart surgery to replace my Mitral Valve. Surgery went well and I was doing good and was going to be released July 3rd. I was so happy and excited as I was going to be home in time for the 4th. My body and heart didn't agree with that. On the 3rd, as I was getting ready to go home I had a TIA. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy and excited to be going home and I end up with a mini stroke. The effects lasted for about 20 mins. At this time I didn't feel it was safe for me to go home and neither did the surgeon who operated on me. He said that it could be a small clot that they has missed, but he wanted to be safe about it. I agreed. Upon getting to finally go home 2 days later, I have had several chest pains and shortness of breath. I have been in and out of the ER so many times that they all know me very well now. Every time I have chest pains I have to get to the ER as I will never know what is going on. For about 2 weeks now I have had some serious swelling going on. When I first noticed it I called the Dr's office quickly. I was very scared and didn't know what was going on. So I get in and see the Nurse Practioner as my Dr retired. She had ordered several tests to be conducted to see what was going on. I was called one day after the tests and told the I could possibly have a blood clot in my heart valve that was just replaced. I was scared and not knowing what was going on. During this time all my results went to the Cardiologist that I was assigned to when I was in the hospital back in Feb. I called his office and couldn't get in to be seen. So I fired the him. I then got ahold of a Cardiologist in Manhattan. I had an appt with him Sept 2nd. During this appt I also learned that there are a couple of other things going on that I was not aware of with me. I was not to happy when he told me this. I asked him if I could go back to work, he told me no not until I have all these tests done and find out what is going on with me. So I have been off work since the end of August. I am not released to work and have no way to pay my bills. I don't ask others for help. I am usually the one helping others. But I am breaking down and asking for help to pay my bills and put food in my house. I am hoping to be able to return to work Sept 10th. But I don't know if that will happen. In the meantime I have applied for Disability. I won't know anything about that for about 4-6 months. I pray that all these tests come back fine with no problems. I look forward to living a long and healthy life for as long as I can. I am and will be very appreciative of all help.


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Samantha Graham

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