Sunday, August 5, 2007

Where did it all probably start?

I bet it seems like this story will never stop and this guy MUST be talking crap, but this is really what else went down...

I was born in Cape Town at Somerset Hospital sometime on September 18th 1979. From there on it went a bit pear shaped. I got ill, really ill, I was two weeks old when my mother took me to a nurse friend of hers and was she was advised to get me to hospital ASAP! So I ended up at Red Cross Children's Hospital. I had contracted a viral infection and it had caused myocarditis, my heart was inflamed and I was in heart failure. Apparently there was a problem with the sanitation of the maternity ward that I was born in because 4 other babies died who were born around the same time as me, from the same virus!

I was lucky, I still have the scar on my chest where they drained fluid off my lungs, apparently in young babies diuretics aren't safe. I was hospitalized for many months, I believe, but by the time I was 2 I was off medication and given a full bill of health. However I was 5 or 6 when my mother decided I was ill again and she was right, I was once again in heart failure. More medication and many ECG's and echo's. I got better, but I was not allowed to play any competitive sports in junior school, no rugby or athletics or swimming races etc... and people wonder why I'm a bit uncoordinated at times :P

When I was 13 I was told everything was hunky dory again and when I asked if I could take part in sports I was told to go ahead! Although I was given a full bill of health it was suggested that I be seen a year later at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), because at 13 you are no longer allowed to receive treatment at Red Cross, however that follow up appointment was never made. So for high school I chose some of the more strenuous sports, namely waterpolo (which I sucked at) and rowing (which I was slightly better at). I also played some hockey and did some cross country running. In the 6 years between the age of 13 and 19 I didn't see a cardiologist, didn't take medication, basically lived like any other normal teenager.

I can distinctly remember in matric feeling palpitations, I remember sitting in the TV room at the hostel and asking a friend if his heart ever did this kind of thing. It was probably that I was starting to go out late at night, drink alcohol, get exposed to lots of cigarette smoke that had brought it on... I think. Listen to your body! If there's something strange going on check it out, a stitch in time saves nine.

So I asked my cardiologist if the fact that I was ill was due to my cardiac history. He told me it was likely, but that it was impossible to tell for certain. There are numerous causes for dilated cardiomyopathy with atrial flutter. It is a chicken or the egg situation, a rhythm problem can cause cardiomyopathy and vice versa. So it really is impossible to say for definite why I have this condition, however if I had been seen once a year in those 6 years... well... things could be different, but this is how it is, so I'll deal with it.

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