Cardiac COVID (Day 10, Year 2)

Having a COVID-19 infection is like something out of a science fiction movie. There is the required isolation and removal from society.  And then there are the symptoms, which on paper seem like symptoms most of us have had before with other viruses. But, I can tell you that in your body it feels like you were infected with some sort of virus from another planet or with some sort of agent of chemical warfare. 

It isn't normal.

Mike and I are returning to society, albeit exhausted.  I know I've been whining about my skin; but it is truly not in its regular state. Plus, vinegar based things still smell like poisonous gas, which has put my salad dressing year on hold (for now). I also have a couple broken capillaries on the side of my nose. They are resolving; but it is disturbing. 

My kids are good and returning to school this week. However, the alien virus will not totally let go.

Today, Lily had a routine cardiology screening in order to start winter training with the crew team. 

Lily's screen was fine--she has a healthy heart. Thank you, Jesus.*

Our pediatrician and cardiologist both agreed that while there is not a standard for cardiac screenings following a COVID-19 infection, everyone, especially those returning to strenuous athletic training, should have a cardiac screening. 

After talking to the cardiologist and researching and reading what literature I could find, I agree, 100-percent. COVID-19 is known to cause myocarditis and other inflammations of the heart. The risk is low. But the risk is still there. 

We screen patients after head injuries for concussion; it seems reasonable we should cardiac screen after a viral infection that is known to cause inflammation around the heart and lungs. 

Of course, I am not a medical professional. (I do enjoy talking to them!) Ultimately, this is a decision you need to make for yourself. I am learning firsthand that COVID-19 follow up and recovery is complicated, even when you have "minor symptoms." It's the Wild West out there, friends. The COVID-19 information is constantly changing; there is so much still unknown and truly, it always up to YOU to manage your own health.  Medical professionals are only as good as the information you give them and the questions you ask.

For me, the decision to screen gives me peace of mind. We've had enough medical surprises in this house. I am glad to take control where and when I am able. 

*We ended up getting the screening as a result of confusing episode that began with the school nurse asking for a note for Lily to return to sports because of Lily's health history (even though, despite cancer and treatment, there is nothing in Lily's health history that would make her more at risk versus a teammate without COVID, but alas, this happens, all. the. time.). Then the pediatrician would not write a note without a cardiac screening but at the cardiac screening (which consisted of listening to Lily's heart while she was in a variety of positions) the pediatrician would not clear her because Lily had high blood pressure. Then it was suggested we ask our school nurse to monitor Lily's blood pressure and clear her (umm, not the school nurse's job and I am pretty sure she is pretty busy) or we go to a cardiologist. 

Obviously, we chose the latter and by the grace of all things holy and a result of my confidence that medical offices will bend to my will, we got a same-day appointment for a quick EKG and a heart echo. Lily's high blood pressure is the result of her utter panic at the doctor. The kid has had a hard time of it with medical dramas and a nervous practitioner did not help things; but a calm cardiologist was a game changer.