The Traveling Steve's

Back Home: Both from the Norway Cruise and the Hospital!

Just a quick update for us. We got back home from our Island Princess Norway Cruise and post-stay in London on Friday July 1, after a flight delay caused us to return a day later. It actually allowed us to have a “bonus” day in London, and tour Royal Albert Hall there. I had started a post on our last day in London, but haven’t finished or posted it yet as I just got out of the hospital after an unexpected seven night stay in the hospital for heart issues!

Long story, short . . . I had had a slight breathing problem on our Norway Cruise, which included occasional shortness of breath in high altitudes. I thought it was possibly a touch of asthma (which is under control with medication I take), especially after I talked to a couple other passengers who had asthma and were using their inhalers more often as well. The shortness of breath didn’t bother me in London, both before and after the cruise, but seemed to bother me when touring the Arctic Circle ports in Norway, as well as when I slept. I figured it was due to the cold air and altitudes when traveling thru the fjords and up the mountains on aerial trams, and light hiking there.

As a precaution, I thought my breathing issues could have been delayed COVID symptoms from April, so I took an in-cabin self test we had brought on the cruise, not wanting to risk a possible quarantine in the shipboard medical center if it was positive (it was negative when we boarded and we were fully vaccinated and booster’d.) My self test came back negative, so I just used my asthma inhaler several times a day on the cruise, and it seemed to help. No major health worries, just a bit of shortness of breath in certain areas and touring in the Arctic Circle. Once we sailed back to Southampton, the asthma-like issues seemed to dissipate, as well as our last couple post cruise days in London.

Steve DOS and I flew home without any health issues, (although looking back at this photo, I did wear a Breath Right nose strip on the daytime flight, which I normally wear at night for better sleep) flying first 8 hours from London to Charlotte, and then another flight delay of nearly four hours for the hour and a half flight onward to Orlando. As normal for such a long international trip, we were both tired out by the time we got home at nearly midnight, tossed in with a bit of jet lag.

As it was the July 4th Holiday weekend, we stayed home and rested up while watching the firework celebrations on TV.

By Thursday, I felt like I might have a minor sinus infection so went to an urgent care clinic for an antibiotic. After accessing me, the Doctor referred me to an Emergency Room for more tests, so I went to Oviedo Medical Center, where blood, breathing and other tests were performed.

I was then admitted to the Hospital there, and now seven days later I am recovering at home! On the first day, I was actually moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the middle of the night, and then transferred to the Cardiac ICU unit at Lake Monroe Hospital a day later for umpteen tests.

I certainly didn’t foresee any of this hospital stuff happening! I semi-joked with the nurses I was worried I would run out of blood as they took so many blood samples over my 7 day hospital stay. (I actually looked it up with a Google search: the average person has 1.2 to 1.5 gallons of blood in their body!)

It was thought to be Congestive Heart Failure or possibly a problem with a leaked valve from my heart surgery last year, but it turned out to be a blood clot on the aortic valve I had replaced. While in the hospital my pulse rate kept declining, especially when I was sleeping, (down to the mid 30s at night), and I ended up getting a wireless Micra pacemaker installed while in the hospital, and prescribed Eliquis for blood clots. I’ve only had the Micra installed for four days now, but can already sleep better at home, although the Cardiologist still wants me to have a sleep apnea study done in the near future.

I’ll write more later but I am currently recuperating at home and still feel quite a bit “out of it” and tired. Seven days in the hospital will really whack you out! Here I am at the hospital entrance being officially discharged, waiting for DOS to bring the car around to take me home.

So just an update since I didn’t get a chance to properly finish posting on the end of our trip and travel home. A health tip though: if unsure about a nagging health condition especially if you have been overseas, go to an ER right away, if not call 911. While I didn’t feel the need for a 911 call, I should have gone to the ER for evaluation and testing as I was trying to self diagnose myself, and really didn’t suspect my heart issues after having had open heart surgery and a aortic valve replacement last year.

So here’s to health, and thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers! ❤️ ? Like when I had my heart surgery in September, I was remarkably calm (which is not like me for something major like this), and I could feel the love, prayers and wishes being sent my way throughout my stay, and especially as I had the endoscopy and pacemaker procedures done.

And to DOS especially, I couldn’t have made it without you; thanks so much for being there, helping to feed me, get up for the bathroom, assist with my treatment and surgery with the doctors and nurses, staying there with me, etc, etc, etc, and now helping me recover at home. God Bless You!?. Welcome Home!

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