Hello, Dear Friends!
I hope you haven't totally and completely forgotten about me. I have not been far away, and in fact, I've been keeping up with all of you from afar. But, I've had some other things occupying my time, and I've finally decided to sit down this morning and share with you what's been going on in my life.
I'm not exactly sure where to start, so I guess I'll just jump in, head-first, and we'll see where it leads.
Last Thursday, I went to see my doctor for my "annual" visit, with all the fun and excitement that entails! I sat there on the exam table, pretty much wearing my birthday suit, and clinging to the skimpy paper cloth that was supposed to cover my privates, but not much else. My doctor, sweet lady that she is, bopped into the room, plugged in her laptop, and started firing off questions. We went through my medical history, which really hasn't changed much in the past year, we reviewed the medications and supplements I'm taking, and she then asked me if I had any new concerns to discuss with her. I proceeded to tell her about the previous day, and how I was awakened very early in the morning by some chest pains. She turned to stare at me and seemed to become more acutely interested in what I was saying. Well, I proceeded to describe my day, how the chest pains subsided, then returned, and along with the pains, I noticed some numbness and tingling in my left arm.
Okay, I have somewhat of a medical background, and I know what you all are thinking, which is exactly what my doctor was thinking! In a very high-pitched voice, she screeched, "And, why didn't you call me? It would've taken you just 5 minutes to call!"
I explained to her that I was afraid she would send an ambulance after me, and I didn't want to take a chance of riding to the hospital in an ambulance, only to be told that I was suffering from some nasty indigestion! She then scurried out of the room, and in a flash, the nurse came in with the EKG machine. I had told my doctor that I wasn't really having the sharp pains then, but more of a "pressure" in my chest, with a little pain in my neck. Well, that REALLY got her riled up. While I was being pasted with the EKG electrodes, I had a dose of nitroglycerin shoved under my tongue. WOW! I've had chronic headaches for some time now, but the headache that ensued after the nitro dissolved was almost indescribable.
The doctor said she wanted to send me to the ER by ambulance, and of course, I balked at that suggestion. She absolutely refused to allow me to drive, so she sat with me while I attempted to reach my husband, who was out of the office and had his phone turned off. I then called my sister, the police officer, and sheepishly asked her if she could pick me up and drop me off at the nearest ER. It should've taken my sister about 15-20 minutes to get to the doctor's office, but I think she was there in about 7!!!
On the way to the hospital, I had to go through my story again, and reiterate my explanation as to why I didn't call the doctor about my chest pain episodes. My sister is extremely experienced at ass-chewing, yet she does it in such a loving and caring way! NOT!!!!! :)
Okay, so she dropped me off at the door so she could find a parking spot. I walked in to the registration desk and told the teenager there that my doctor had sent me in to be checked out for chest pains. She told me to wait right there. She skipped through some doors, and returned immediately with a very grumpy looking nurse. I was then escorted into Triage, where once again I had to describe my pains and pressures and tingling sensations. I was told to wait in the waiting room, so I walked out, met my sister, and we sat . . . for no more than one minute, before the nurse was again at the door, calling my name.
Once I got back to the treatment room, things started happening very quickly. Have you ever watched the TV show, "ER", where it looks like the doctors and nurses are stepping all over each other, and it's almost impossible to tell whose hands are whose when they're poking and prodding on the patient? Well, that's about how I felt. The doctor and nurses and techs were all coming at me from different angles, and it was almost impossible to know what all was being done. Questions, questions, questions!! I had to repeat everything again. Had I known I was going to have to repeat my story over and over, I would have typed it all out before going to see my doctor that morning and just distributed copies. :)
You know, I have to interject here that the medical providers who attended to me that day were all very precise and very professional. I have had lousy experiences in hospitals before, but this one was one of the best, considering I wasn't real excited about being there in the first place! And, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the immediate snap-into-action that occurred after I first walked up to the registration desk. Here I am, 51 years old, obese, and complaining of chest symptoms, sent to the ER by a physician. Yeah, I can understand all the excitement.
Well, my sister was finally able to reach my husband, and he was quickly by my bedside. The EKG looked okay, and the first set of cardiac enzymes came back okay, but they wanted to put me in observation, in order to do two more sets of enzymes. They said I would probably be able to go home that evening. Soon, I was whisked off to the "Medical Decision Unit", where I would camp out for the next several hours.
Things were humming along, I was fed lunch, and I even crocheted awhile on a baby afghan that I had taken along to work on at the doctor's office. My headache from all the nitroglycerin was unrelenting, but otherwise, I felt decent. Then, something weird happened. I don't know what it was, and the doctor and nurses never really figured it out. But, I started feeling like my body was literally glued to the bed, and it took every ounce of strength I had to lift my arms off the bed. I had difficulty talking and turning my head from side to side. My husband noticed this almost immediate change, and he summoned the nurse. She said they had been keeping an eye on my blood pressure from the desk, which was extremely low. In fact, my diastolic pressure (the bottom number) never got above 60, and was consistently in the 30-50 range. Other than that visible sign, my weakness, and the horrendous headache, they could not determine what caused that episode, which lasted well into the evening. Because of this new "symptom", the ER doctor wanted me to stay overnight and be seen by the cardiologist the next morning. To be honest, at that point, I didn't fuss and argue because I was a little worried about this strange feeling I was having.
So, I know most of you have spent time in hospitals, as have I. But, I've never had to stay in a room that was in such close proximity to the Emergency Department. There was commotion and shenanigans all night long . . . screaming babies, moaning and groaning patients, and medical personnel, scurrying to and fro, ALL NIGHT LONG! In addition, my night nurse, who was very nice to visit with, seemingly didn't want me to sleep. She kept coming in to chat and everytime she left, she would leave the door open. The machines I was hooked to were so annoying and uncomfortable, especially the blood pressure cuff, which was set to go off every 15 minutes. Needless to say, no sleep for the weary, so I got to watch a lot of "Food Network". :)
The cardiologist visited me on Friday morning. He was nice, but pretty typical of a "specialist" . . . very brisk and direct, with no dilly-dallying or small talk. He, too, was concerned about my low diastolic blood pressure, which he said could be the sign of a leaky aortic valve. Well, that caused my husband to just about drop, right there on the floor! I was scheduled for an echocardiogram to see if there was any valve damage.
A funny little side note here is that Friday was the day Hunter was scheduled to arrive home from Camp Classen, for those of you who follow her blog. My husband was just about beside himself, trying to figure out how to be at both the hospital and at Hunter's school at the same time. It makes me chuckle now to think about his anxiety, although I'm sure he didn't think it was funny at the time.
Well, I was taken to Radiology to have the Echo done, and of course, the Sonographer would not tell me anything. She just kept me talking about everything under the sun BESIDES heart conditions! She rolled me back to my room, wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, and said the nurse would be in soon. Again, my husband was so fidgety, not knowing whether I was going or staying. Finally, the nurse burst into the room and exclaimed, "You're free to go!" All that drama, and it was finally over. She wouldn't really tell us what the Echo showed, but instructed me instead to call the cardiologist to make a follow-up appointment (which I've yet to do)!
Hubby took me home so I could bathe and get into bed, and he made it to Hunter's school probably two minutes after their busses arrived. They stopped off at Sonic to get some "heart-healthy" lunch to bring home, and then Hunter came flying into my room, excited and talking non-stop about her week at Camp Classen.
So, dear ones, that is how I spent a good portion of last week. I didn't post this earlier for a couple of reasons. One is because I would not let my husband or sister call Ryanne, my oldest daughter, to let her know I was in the hospital. Yes, that was probably a mistake, but I truly felt like I was okay, and I didn't want Ryanne dropping everything in her busy schedule to run to my bedside. Since her dad's passing, she tends to freak out if she gets wind that I'm feeling "under the weather". I was afraid Ryanne would read my blog before I got a chance to talk to her. I have now discussed everything with her, and I certainly got a tongue-thrashing, and I probably deserve it. The other reason I've waited to post is simply because I didn't want to sound whiney and moany-groany, and come across as a sympathy-seeker. That is truly not who I am, and in fact, it's probably why I didn't let everyone know earlier that I was having these chest pain symptoms. I just don't like to complain.
Now, I'd like to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope you're doing whatever it is that makes you happy. If you are traveling, be safe. If you are spending the day with your family, give them all an extra hug. And, regardless of where you are or who you're with, be thankful.
I have some crochet projects to show you, but I haven't uploaded any pictures yet. For now, I'll leave you with this funny shot that Hunter got of her dad, who fell asleep, snuggling with our Greyhounds! Forget the chest pains . . . he's going to kill me first! :)
7 years ago