Last night, around 11:15, I started feeling a pain on the left side of my chest. It persisted and began to make me nervous, especially considering my doctor had just put me on the South Beach Diet because my cholesterol was way off. Some of the things that he said made me think we should play it safe and call 911. Lisa gave me some aspirin and within a few minutes the police showed up. They started me on oxygen and slowly our house filled with 8 or 9 people checking this and that and then packaging me up for a trip to the hospital. My blood pressure was elevated (I’m on medicine for high blood pressure, but this was high even for me) and they rigged me up to an EKG before leaving. Interestingly, they left the IV for when we were in motion and bouncing around. I’m sure that didn’t help my blood pressure… I have an irrational fear of needles. (This almost caused me not to call them in the first place. Fortunately, I know it’s irrational.)
On the way there, they gave me more aspirin, quizzed me, sprayed (I think nitro) under my tongue 4-5 times, and then just as we pulled into hospital, injected something into my IV. Whatever it was, it caused my vision to lose horizontal hold (for those old enough to remember such things) and I became nauseous and sick. I couldn’t focus on anything and this, naturally, was when they had to move me and my octopus of cabling to a hospital bed. After shaving some of my chest hair, they applied more sticky tabs (I look like my kids attacked me with stickers while I slept) and jacked me into their system. More quizzing, *GASP* blood taken, and then I was left there with my monitors, blood pressure thingy, and the cast of the soap opera that is the hospital and my fellow roommates. (Oh, the stories I can tell.)
Just as the horizontal hold started to come under control, I was wheeled out for X-rays and asked to stand, which was probably quite amusing for the tech. Three x-rays and three more blood tests later, I still didn’t know what was going on. Sleep was out of the question. Every 15 minutes, the blood pressure machine goes off and squeezes me back to reality. Across the hall, there is a guy screaming bloody murder. He wasn’t in pain, he was just being one. On top of that, anytime I come close to dozing for a few seconds, an alarm on my monitor goes off. Somewhere around 6, they started filling me in on little details and that helped me relax a bit. It wasn’t my heart, but I’m supposed to follow up with my doctor and take it easy for a few days. The pain stopped about 2 hours in, but that alone wasn’t comforting enough.
Lisa stayed home with the kids. They never woke up when all this was going on and there was no sense in worrying them. I called home around 6:30 to let her know that they "were pulling the plugs on me" and that they could pick me up. They all bundled into the van to come get me, and not wanting to be among the walking dead of the emergency room, I waited outside on a bench. I must have been quite a sight, unshowered, hair-wild, and still covered in tabs and bandages on my arms. When I got home, I took care of a couple of things and promptly collapsed into bed, tags and all. Sleep comes a lot more quickly when you know everything is going to be ok.