Reflections on A Trip to the Emergency Room

1314902_99313658So in my family if you wake up at 3AM with chest pains, you take yourself off to the ER pretty pronto. There’s a lot of heart attacks in the family history, some fatal. We also have a not so lovely predisposition to cholesterol in the 300’s (mostly the “bad” kind with a few random molecules of the “good” HDL sprinkled in), no matter what we eat or how carefully we manage every other aspect of our health. (And I’ll confess to you, I’m not the most diligent of exercise-takers.)

That’s where I spent my day yesterday – in the ER. I’ll jump ahead to the HEA for a second – I’m fine!

Just some random observations from yesterday…nitroglycerin certainly gets rid of the chest pain but wow, talk about a migraine! I haven’t had an unmedicated migraine in probably twenty years, but wasn’t allowed to take anything other than aspirin yesterday, for obvious reasons. Good old imitrex has the wrong effect on a heart that might be in distress. And aspirin doesn’t dent a migraine.

While I was lying in the ER, no less than four people were gathered around a nearby desk, debating the spelling of “disheveled”. The writer in me wondered, were they writing their own romance novel? Does no one have spellcheck? I finally called out the correct spelling (it was driving me nuts, you understand, don’t you?) but was ignored. I was just the patient…

The nurse who took my very long patient profile information in the cardiac observation unit (after the ER) was wonderful, and so caring….but when she asked about what I did and I told her my day job and then that I was a romance writer, she kept insisting that was my hobby. I even dug out my kindle and showed her my book covers (ok, LOL, I was full of meds and not exactly myself). I was determined to show her writing romance novels was no hobby!

1335984_42165496So I agreed with some trepidation to have nuclear imaging done of my heart. I really did need to know what was going on. So there I was, with a raging migraine, being injected with a drug that deliberately causes your body to react as if it’s under major stress (to open all the blood vessels as much as possible was my nonmedical understanding) AND gives you a headache AND makes you nauseous AND can make you feel like you’re having trouble breathing….bless the doctor who gave me a tranquilizer first.  We agreed to call him Dr. K, because he had a long involved name that sounded like Kardashian with extra syllables (but not) and I wasn’t absorbing details too well yesterday. Dr. K I could keep in my stressed forebrain. But so, with all those physical side effects of the drug, the idea that they were also injecting me with radioactive stuff barely even registered. I mean it wasn’t causing me any stress or bother. It was just floating around irradiating things. No big deal.

I believe I may have suggested to them, in my drugged fog, that they should develop a drug that felt like an orgasm, instead of one that made you feel as if you were dying….I’d blush but maybe I never actually said it, you think? I do remember a lot of laughter around my gurney.

There were three nurses and two doctors in the nuclear imaging unit and they were very attentive for the hour I had to wait for the stress shot to do its maximum worst. I never felt alone or ignored. Have I mentioned this is all Kaiser Permanente? I really have to give a big shout out to them for terrific care yesterday, start to finish. They told me how to work through the shortness of breath issue and kept checking my blood oxygen levels, assuring me I was doing fine, which helped the most. Positive feedback!

The actual nuclear imaging machine was not too exciting – fifteen minutes of lying still, arms above my head, while the bed vibrated and the machine moved around me. In my SF novels, the military has a thing I call the rejuve resonator, where my characters can get broken bones repaired or blaster burns removed, and I just kept telling myself being in this nuclear imager was GREAT research for writing my fictional medical machine even more realistically. Well, I had to think about something besides the migraine!

And the result was – I have this amazingly strong heart, NO clogged arteries…the cardiologist kept repeating how surprised he was. Well, me too! But definitely happy. So they sent me home, whereupon I immediately took an imitrex and the staggering migraine was gone in half an hour. I’ll see my own doctor next week and we’ll try to figure out what else could have been the cause of the chest pains, but at least now I know I have a blue ribbon champion heart (not like an athlete’s or a Navy SEAL’s, but pretty darn good for a romance writer)…and I can go on to other worries.

And that was my Tuesday…I hope yours went a whole lot better and was much less stressful!

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8 comments on “Reflections on A Trip to the Emergency Room

  1. Glad hear everything is good… Hope your doctor figures it out…

    My yesterday:
    Less stressful, LoL (sorry) Still battling with flu symptoms myself & my never a dull MOMent with my daughters (three of the 4 of them) , started spiking fevers & complaining of sore throats…my last 2 days have consisted of cranky irritable whiny children. My daughters did get the flu shots but I declined for myself.

  2. I had a similar experience, taking myself to the ER then spending the entire day as my tests all came back normal. No heart issues (tho I didn’t go to the specialist like they wanted) but I DID have gallbladder issues that may have accounted for the pain. Yes, it felt like a heart attack as far as I could tell. I had had “sludge” in the GB and eventually had tests to reveal it was only working at 16%.

    Yours may not be that, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

    • I’m thinking more and more that may be it. Our friend Jodie had a very similar experience apparently so I will absolutely ask the doctor about the possibility next week! Thanks for further encouragement not to just ignore it all!

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