Well, I had a little adventure yesterday. I was at work, doing my nursey thing, when I noticed that I had petechiae (little dots of broken blood vessels) on my chest. [Note: I noticed while I was in the bathroom. I was not checking out my chest skin in the middle of the hallway or anything!] Long story short, a resident told me to just check my blood pressure to make sure it was ok. So I finished my morning stuff, ate lunch, then checked my blood pressure. 167/82!! Whoa! If it had been one of my patients, I would have been running to the med room for some blood pressure meds!! So I sat still and calmly took deep breaths. Upon recheck, my blood pressure was still 162/87, so I called my doctor and explained the situation. She told me to head to Magee’s triage and that she would call and let them know that I was coming. So I left work at 2:00 — just left, handed my patients off to another nurse. Mr. Hospital Security Police Officer drove me over to Magee and I checked in at triage. I did notice that the nurse labeled me as a level 3 out of 5, which got me a room right away. (Yikes! If that doesn’t raise your blood pressure, I don’t know what will!)
So, I climbed onto the stretcher/cot in Room 6 and waited for the nurse to come in. Nurse Kim hooked me up to a fetal monitor and blood pressure cuff and asked me a bunch of medical history questions, along with the “what brings you here today?” question. I had a hard time concentrating because I was distracted by the whooshing of the baby’s heartbeat filling the room. (The heart rate sat mostly in the 140’s, range 135-155, by the way. Any new gender predictions?) So, the plan for my time in triage: monitor my BP, draw labs to work me up for preeclampsia, and wait for the results. I studied for my pharmacology test, watched a little TLC on TV, closed my eyes for a few minutes, and counted time based on the BP cuff inflation, which was cycled to squeeze my arm every 15 minutes. [Side note: I understand why the little kids hate having their BP taken. It hurts!]
I was very happy to be able to use my cell phone to stay in contact with Rob and my mom while I was there. It was nice to give them updates as they came to me from the staff. Rob was ready to skip the rest of his school day and hop in the car to come to Magee, but with the use of the cell phone, I was able to keep him updated and let him know that I would most likely not be admitted. My cute little cell phone definitely saved him a trip to Pittsburgh!
My labs came back normal, meaning there is no preeclampsia, which is excellent. The doctor said that I have either chronic hypertension that is just showing up now (but probably not, since I didn’t have high blood pressures before pregnancy) or I am a little bit of a freak and have gotten gestational hypertension (high blood pressure only in pregnancy) in the second trimester, when it normally shows up in the first trimester. He also said that the petechiae on my chest is normal in pregnancy, because the elevated estrogen levels in the body make the blood vessels more friable, making the little vessels more prone to breakage. So there.
So, now I am home, with the instructions to rest when I can (NOT strict bedrest), increase my fluid intake (which means I will float away), and monitor my blood pressure at home. I have a follow-up appointment on Friday, and will start monitoring my BP on weeks that I don’t have appointments, since they take it there.
How’s that for a Monday? 🙂