A tale of common congestive heart failure symptoms
So there I was, out for a nice afternoon stroll through the woods, when suddenly I started to not feel my best. Now, I’m no doctor, but I don’t think profuse sweating, nausea, a pounding heart and shortness of breath are exactly normal. I just happened to stumble across a small cottage about then and, while I don’t make it a habit to knock on random people’s doors, I realized I didn't have much of a choice.
Thankfully, I was greeted by a kind, elderly woman who didn't seem overly taken aback at finding a panting wolf on her doorstep. She took me right in, gave me one of her nightgown and cap sets to wear and helped me into her very own (and rather comfortable) bed. She even went to go fetch a doctor as my weary body quickly drifted away into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.
Of course, in the middle of my nap, I was rudely awoken by a persistent pounding at the door. Then a high-pitched whine called out, “Grandmother, are you home? Grandmother?” and a small figure in a red hood pushed her way into the room.
Now, in my defense, I still felt terrible and wasn't exactly thinking clearly. All I wanted was to return to that blissful slumber from which the young girl had woken me. So when the girl called out again for her grandmother, I decided the quickest way to get rid of her would be to just play along. “Yes dear, Grandmother’s not feeling very well today, so you’d best be on your way.”
Unfortunately, she didn't take the hint in the slightest. I realize I must have been quite a sight all pale and propped up on pillows. In all honesty, her grandmother’s cap couldn't have done much to hide my wolfish features and pointy ears, so I’m surprised the girl didn't immediately turn tail and run. Instead, the intrusive child not only stayed, but came closer in morbid fascination and exclaimed, “Oh my Grandmother! What big legs you have!”
“Why hello to you too… and… and to that large mole on your face!” I yelped in outrage. There I was feeling awful and the girl had the nerve to insult me! Looking back, I suppose that my legs were rather swollen and the girl’s mole was really more of a beauty mark, but you must understand that I really was in no state of mind to be reasonable.
“Why Grandmother!” the nuisance of a youngster cried out, “What a terrible cough you have!” She was right, I had been plagued by this persistent, hacking cough since this whole thing began, but the insolent child couldn't distract me that easily! I just needed sleep and plenty of it, but she wasn't leaving me alone!
So, I decided to play it straight with her. “Look kid, I’m not your grandma. She’s out right now, so please just go on your merry way and come back to visit another time.”
I glared. She whimpered. Then sniff, sniff… “Oh Grandmother, how confused you must be!” the dense girl wailed and came even closer to throw her arms around my neck!
That was it. My poor ears couldn't take her high-pitched wailing anymore and my head was as cloudy as ever. Off flew the covers and out of bed I stumbled. The whole room began to spin round and round as I struggled to catch my breath. Grabbing hold of whatever I could to steady myself, I walked towards her, accidently knocking some things over on the way. Frightened and in full hysterics by that time, the little red riding hood girl finally ran outside, only to call in an ax-wielding maniac! So I did what any reasonable wolf would do in that sort of situation… I got myself the heck out of there! Incidentally, while I was huffing and puffing along (from my condition you understand), I passed by these three little pigs’ homes… but that’s another story…
Medical Morales to Remember:
- Congestive Heart Failure – a diseased condition where the heart has difficulty pumping blood out to the body, so blood backs up. Left ventricular failure results in blood back up into the pulmonary system (resulting in symptoms such as dyspnea) and right ventricular failure results in blood backing up into the rest of the body (resulting in symptoms such as edema and weight gain)
- Common Signs and Symptoms of CHF – Confusion, fatigue, shortness of breath (dyspnea), persistent cough, dependent swelling in the extremities (edema) and/or abdomen (ascites), weight gain, nausea, decreased appetite, increased heart rate (tachycardia)