I spent almost 6 hours in the hospital today. And I’m not exactly sure why.
This morning I got up, and it was actually hard to wake up, which I thought was due to my taking a klonopin last night before bed, but it was only .5mg, nothing out of the ordinary. I went downstairs to make my coffee and started to get chest pains. I had this once before; I think it was 2 years ago, but it might have been three. At that time it took quite a while to go away. I didn’t think it was related to my heart, but I didn’t know what it was. It was a dull ache in my chest, and a little in my back, and also in my jaw.
So today when I got it again I was a little worried. I also went out to lunch this weekend with one of my blog friends Hillary, and she was telling me about her experience with this same thing. So that was on my mind. I drank half a cup of coffee, and my chest was really hurting. No matter what position I got into, it didn’t help. It wasn’t continuous, but off and on.
So I got dressed, put on makeup (of course) and drove myself to the hospital. Not the crappy one close by, but the one where the doctors seem reasonably capable about 20 minutes away. I decided it wasn’t necessary to go to the super duper hospital which would have taken at least twice as long to get to.
So I got there, parked in the pay lot and walked to the ER. There wasn’t anyone in the waiting room and an ER nurse took me in a little room and took my temp and BP and he did an EKG and put a thing on my finger and stuck in an iv and took about 4 vials of blood out of me. Then he took me to a private room and said a doctor would come soon and I could call if I needed someone. My new nurse came in, his name was Lester, and he was so nice. He gave me the telephone and I called my husband. He asked if I wanted him to come to the hospital, but I said no, it wasn’t necessary.
So around then the chest pains stopped of course. But they kept me hooked up to the ekg and bp machine and I just hung out. Someone came in with an xray machine and took a chest xray. Then after a while a doctor came and he was really nice. He said all the tests were normal and he was going to give me an aspirin and call my cardiologist. He said he didn’t think I had a heart attack, but it could be an attack of angina.
Then he left and after a while Lester brought my aspirin and he hooked up my iv with saline. I finally got pretty bored and turned on the tv and watched “What Not to Wear”. Then another doctor came in, but she wasn’t really a doctor, I’m not sure what she was, but she was really nice too. She said I could either check in to be observed overnight, or wait 2 hours and have the blood work repeated because the enzymes that show up after a heart attack don’t appear until 4 hours after the pain. I voted to wait 2 hours and not check in. I asked her if I could have a drink and she said I could have water or juice. But no one ever came back to give me any.
While I waited I must have fallen asleep. Around 1:30 Lester came back and took 3 or 4 more vials of blood. Then another doctor came in, he is a partner of my cardiologist. He talked faster than any human being I have ever met. My cardiologist is very soft spoken, gentle, not so much of a sense of humor, but that’s ok. This guy was telling jokes, talking a mile a minute. I remember little snippets of what he said, but basically I have no idea. Except he said he doesn’t know what was wrong with me and I should come into the office for a stress test. He also said I have right ventricular conduction, which 1% of the population has, and not to worry about it. When I was young I had some heart issues and I remember being told I had an unusual heart rhythm then. I guess whatever it is isn’t fatal or I’d be dead by now.
Then I had to wait for that last blood test to come back from the lab, which was negative, and Lester took out my iv and I went home. Oh, and I asked him if there was a soda machine and he brought me two little cans of ginger ale. For free.
So while this was going on I called my husband a couple of times to keep him updated, and then I figured out I could email with my blackberry. The service was terrible, but the emails seemed to be going through, albeit slowly. Luckily my friend Grace was there for me all day and put up with my complaints and worries. I also emailed my boss, because she was expecting me and I told her what was happening, even though I didn’t want anyone to know. Then she sent me an email saying she was worried about me, which was nice. Around noon my husband emailed me to say he was going out to lunch and if I needed him I could call his cell or text him.
At one point Lester and I started talking and he told me about his kids who are two little boys aged 5 and 3. They get up really early in the morning and start running around and wrestling and want things, and I thought, how great that my kids are older and sleep until noon. Lester was very nice and I told him that I hoped I wasn’t too much of a bother. He said if all patients were like me he could be a nurse until he is 90. I said, well, it’s not hard for me to be good if there actually isn’t anything wrong with me. Then he said I shouldn’t feel like I wasted anyone’s time or effort because if I really did have something wrong with my heart it is much harder to fix it after the fact, and whenever anyone gets chest pain they should have it checked out. That was reassuring, although I still feel like they all thought I was a wacko and it was all in my head.
I never told them I have an anxiety/panic issue or that I take anti-anxiety meds. They asked me about my meds about 5 times, and, whoops, it just never came up. I didn’t want them to write off any physical problem by blaming it on anxiety.
So that was my exciting day. Not very exciting, which is good, and I guess there is nothing wrong with me, but I’m going to make an appointment with my cardiologist, the slow talking one, for a stress test. Thank you Grace, for being with me today. And thank you Research in Motion, for inventing the Blackberry.