My story starts back in February when I gave birth to my first (and last!) son, a day after delivery I didn't feel too well and my midwife thought that I had a uterine infection. This then started me worrying about my heart as I had read in the past that infections can damage your heart. I kind of freaked out and one of the GPs from the local surgery came to see me and because I was delerious and had a high temperature he then admitted me to the local maternity hospital so that they could begin me on IV antibiotics. I was starting to experience chest pain which I failed to mention to anyone as I have suffered from chest pain in the past and it was through anxiety.
After a day of being on IV antibiotics I collapsed at the hospital and when I came around I had the worst headache I have ever had in my life. They transferred me to the general medical hospital and this is where I mentioned the chestpain. They did an ecg and said that it was not my heart. They admitted me to intensive care for observation and I had two head CTs to rule out a blood clot, they tested my bloods for everything but everything was coming back fine apart from my white blood count which was due to the infection. I stayed in ICU for four days and I collapsed once more, I was hooked up to a heart monitor and my heartrate went from 58 to 162 when I collapsed.
Anyway ICU were happy that there was nothing that wrong with me so they sent me back to recuperate at the maternity hospital, my newborn was still there too as he had an umbilical infection and severe jaundice. I stayed there for 5 days and during this time they sent me for a chest CT as i was experiencing constant chest pain which radiated through to my back, the CT came back as normal. They also ordered an MRI of my head, this came back stating that i had brain lesions. I collapsed again that day and when I came to I had a tight band feeling around my chest and a stabbing pain in the heart area. This is when they sent me back to the general hospital as they were not really set up for anything other than maternity.
Once back at the general hospital I was seen by a young female doctor in the A and E dept who bluntly said to me 'You will have to learn to live with this pain, it is not your heart and you should be reassured by this'. Anyway they admitted me and I was kept on the observation ward for 10 days, during this time nothing was done for me apart from an abdominal ultrasound. I was still collapsing though so they then sent me up to Kings College in London to the Neurology Dept to perform and EEG as they were interested in my brain lesions, they are apparently not that common in 27yr olds. I stayed there for 5 days, the EEG findings were normal and despite me begging and pleading for a Cardiology referral they wouldn't give me one as an in patient. I was totally convinced that I had a heart problem. I had chest pain, chest burning, burning pins and needles up my arms, pains shooting down my arms, short of breath, an erratic pulse rate, freezing feet, poorer circulation etc etc.
Anyway, after a month in hospital I was sent home. I was far from satisfied and was convinced that they had missed something, my symptoms were getting worse and no one was listening to me. They were saying that the pain was of an unorganic origin. Over the next two weeks I had two ambulances to the local A and E and also begged my husband to drive me into the A and E a further to two times. Each time they rans the troponin blood test, d-dimer blood test and performed an ECG and chest X-Ray. All of them were normal.
I did eventually manage to get seen by MIMS who are Mother and Infant Mental Health Services, they specialise in mothers who crack up after giving birth. I had an assessment with them and they concluded that it was all Post Natal Depression which was verging on psychotic at times. They said that it was treatable from home so sent me on my merry way with a one hour appointment with them each week and Duloxetine and Olanzapine. Of course I didn't believe this diagnosis.
I think that I managed to stay out of hospital for about another week and my husband took me to see a private cardiologist who ordered a 48hr ecg monitor, Echo and another ECG. They all came back as normal and cost us a whopping £1400 to be told that there was nothing wrong with my heart and it didn't little to reassure me.
The crunch finally came on one Sunday, I begged my husband to take me to hospital as I was dying which he did. They performed the usual tests and said that there was nothing wrong with me and sent me on my way. I then got home and begged my husband to take me to another hospital as I really was dying and was not making it up. He did it in the end and they did blood tests and that was it and said that my heart was fine. I refused to leave the hospital and asked for them to admit me which they wouldn't do as I was healthy so say they. I them begged for them to section me as I couldn't go home, they wouldn't section me as I wasn't mental apparently. In the end I volunatarily put myself in their psychiatric ward with the real nutters and they kicked me out in the morning as I wasn't mental. I wasn't sick but I wasn't mental either. I got home on the Monday morning and begged my husband to take me to yet another hospital in the end he did as I was going crazy at home. They admitted me for 5 days and I had a chest X Ray, Echo and a stress test where my heart rate went up to 184 bpm just walking for 9 minutes.
After 5 days I was accepted into a Mother and Baby unit (basically a private psychiatric clinic) where I could be with my baby. They were saying that it was all anxiety and PND and that there was nothing physically wrong with me. Whilst at the unit i pretty much spent the whole time arguing that there was something wrong with me and that it had been missed and that I wasn't anxious. During this time the pain started to evolve as a tearing pain running down the center of my abdomen from sternum to my groin, i had also developed night sweats. This is when I moved from my heart to my aorta, I had a dissected aorta and everyone was just going to let me die. I then paid for a private ultrasound of my aorta and was told that the bit they could see on the scan was perfect and not dissected at all. I didn't believe this though as it was the wrong test and what I needed was CT scan.
I stayed in the clinic for 5 weeks and had some CBT whilst there which helped me a little, my therapist says that I have a health anxiety, of course I disagree with him. It hasn't completely changed my way of thinking but I am not as scared as I was. It had got to the stage where I wouldn't drink too much so that I wouldn't have to move to even visit the toilet. He had me run up a hill to prove that I was not about to drop down dead.
When I got home on extended home leave I paid to see a private GP who referred me for a CT of my Chest, Upper Abdomen and Pelvis, again I had to pay for this privately. I knew that this would be the test that would show up my Aorta problem. The results came back and again they had missed it but the scan managed to pick up Thymic tissue in the midstenum, ovarian cysts and an enlarged uterous.
Eventually I started to accept that not all of tests could be wrong and that perhaps I was indeed physically fine.
The scan was back in June and things have very slowly improved but I am so much better. I have accepted that there is nothing wrong with me and it is just post natal depression. I can leave the house by myself and talk to people about normal things rather than saying that I am dying and I sometimes resemble the person that I used to be. I am still not there yet but I am thankful that the worst is over and I know that this is just an illness and it will go in time.