"Excellent A&E service at Queen Elizabeth Hospital"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I took the decision last Thursday to get myself to A&E after my heart raced to over 120bpm (tachycardia) and I was struggling to breathe and had a high temperature. Although there was no chest pain I'm aware women can present differently from men with heart attacks and I didn't want to take any chances (I'm 45 and overweight but otherwise fairly fit) - I hailed a taxi but was closing to calling an ambulance.

By arrival my heart rate had lost coherency and I was in atrial fibrillation, though NOT having a heart attack (yippee! ). The cause was nothing to do with my heart but with the very sudden onset cough that morning, heralding a chest infection. Possibly it began virally but definitely had a bacterial component and since googling it may be something similar to 'atypical pneumonia' which has a fairly straightforward and good prognosis.

I was admitted, given fluids, IV paracetamol and antibiotics and began to relax as my heart rate returned to 'sinus rhythm' and over the next few hours dropped to only a little above 100bpm a few hours later. I had a painful wrist-artery test done (called an ABG, arterial blood gases, to test for metabolic lactate indicators regarding what the bacteria might be up to) - if you're offered one always accept any local anaesthetic for that one!

The next morning I had a series of small blood tests taken from the non-drip arm for them to check the progress of the infection. My blood pressure was up and down throughout the day as was my temperature but that came down quickly with more paracetamol. After another night in hospital where everyone introduced themselves to me and was kind and friendly, I had another set of blood tests taken.

By this time my heart rate was around 90bpm and my blood pressure was higher than healthy but not worryingly abnormal (my heart rate has since returned to sub-80 but about 67 resting in the morning, temperature is totally normal) and as the blood tests showed nothing to worry about I was discharged on Saturday afternoon.

Everyone was lovely, I was feeling really not very well at all on the first day but felt heaps better by day two and definitely felt ready to go after the second night. Hooray for QEH. Also they had people bringing round food and drink regularly AND IT WAS VERY NICE! ! : )

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