This past week I was in the Emergency Room of one of our local hospitals. I had called my doctor’s office to make an appt. I’d had a serious case of the winter blahs despite the spring-like weather up here in the northwoods. It was compounded by a persistent palpitation in my throat, you know, you can FEEL your heart beat and it’s so THERE! My throat felt like it was closing off. The tightness that was happening in my chest was a little alarming. My arms were hurting too, going to sleep frequently, but I put that down to typing too much on the laptop without a break.
When I described these symptoms to first the nurse, then the nurse practitioner, who informed me that my regular doctor was out on an emergency medical leave for a replaced hip (ouch), she told me not to bother to go to the walk-in clinic…to get to the emergency room and not to delay.
Since I’d lived with the symptoms for two weeks, I wasn’t in a rush. I took a hot bath and washed my hair. I then got dressed and in layers since it was cold out. Our spring-like weather had turned back to winter, definitely! I had, over the weekend, gotten my motorcycle working and out of the living room (where else do you keep a motorcycle in the winter?). I drove myself. Yes, I know that could be irresponsible if I passed out and caused an accident but the hospital was only a mile and a half away and I seriously didn’t think an ambulance was necessary. Besides there was no one to take me but myself.
The cat had been on top of me for weeks, wonder if she sensed something was wrong? I put it down to feline senility. It’s nice to be wanted, but get off my shoulder or head when I’m trying to sleep? Much less pulling my hair all the time?
I walked in and told the clerk behind the desk why I was there. I think, due to it being heart-related they saw me promptly and I was soon in a bed with one of those wonderful robes that no one in their right frame of mind would want to be seen wearing (yes that’s sarcasm). They soon hooked me up and took my blood pressure. The room got very quiet when they read the numbers. I have never in my life except when I had my sons had high blood pressure, maybe once it read high, but never otherwise…and definitely not like this! The high number was well over 200 and the nurse only told me that in a whisper. As though saying it any louder would cause it to rise further…
I got to have chest x rays (and those who follow, remember last fall when we had that tumor scare?) Turned out to nothing on them, a relief really after they tried to frighten me back then. Really though, it was my throat that was bothering me the most…no x ray’s for that?
I was there a very long time, with a pressure cuff on my arm. Now I HATE the automatic cuffs, they are always too damn tight and noisy! Plus, this one, for an HOUR of waiting kept beeping an alarm on a regular basis. I tried to go to my happy place, you know, daydreaming um, er, as an author…I was working…really! Finally I pressed the button for the nurse to come in and stop that damned beeping! I asked WHAT we were waiting for and could I go?
Finally, the doctor came in with a non-committal bunch of nonsense that irritated rather than informed. Why assume that your patient is an idiot and talk to them in circles? When I asked informed and (I hope) intelligent questions I got further run around. The surprise on his face was worth it and I could tell he wanted to get out of there as he avoided answering my direct questions. I’m not known for my patience. It was decided to put a monitor on me for 48 hours and at the end of that time they would have more data.
Fortunately I could ‘write’ in my mind because they kept me waiting an eternally long time, AGAIN! I know, I’m not a patient patient! I was giving them an entire hour again before I walked out. The friends I was texting on my phone were not pleased with me and were telling me to stay put. They weren’t THERE! It was annoying, exasperating, and rude to not be told WHAT was going on! Four minutes left of the time and in walked a woman to put the monitor on, I told her in no uncertain terms she had only that four minutes to spare…she apologized. I too apologized and said it wouldn’t have been so bad if they told me WHY I had been kept waiting? After all, I’m NOT their ONLY patient…but really, seeing them hang out at the nurses station and waiting and waiting and waiting is not conducive to calming down.
She put on this really stinky stuff to clean my skin and attach glue to my skin. On these four spots she put the adhesive too! Nothing like keeping these thingies to my skin! From these thingies (electrodes are they?) she also taped them down. Did I mention I’m sensitive to that tape? Yep, you guessed it, horrible tape rash that not only got bright red over the course of those 48 hours, but raw! She explained how the monitor worked, that it would stay on ONLY for those 48 hours and would automatically turn off of it’s own accord. I had plenty of warnings to go with it. One, if I didn’t return it, I’d owe about $1500 for this little d0o-hickey device! Two, do not bathe for the next couple of days (see bathing before I went was a GOOD idea!). Three, don’t lay on my stomach as I could accidentally shut off this device (I didn’t mention my chest wouldn’t let me). Also, your heart rate increases when you lie on your stomach…I’d noticed that when pillows allowed me to prop myself in that position.
As she told me everything I needed to know, I could tell that my blood pressure was an issue. I could actually FEEL it rushing. My eyes or rather my sight did a little wavy thing…and then this blonde woman’s hair turned blue/purple and then pink. I told her so to share the moment and she was amazed. She asked how she looked in it as she had considered the whole blue/purple thing…I told her to go for it. Slowly this sensation faded, thank goodness because I’m sure it wasn’t a good thing.
After dressing again and getting on my motorcycle I thought about how weird my life was. I went to a restaurant as I hadn’t eaten and was famished. I also did a little grocery shopping in case I was house-bound for any length of time. I was, the next two days were snow, sleet, and then pouring rain! Too cold to ride and definitely too cold to return the monitor after the 48 hours! I tried to get a ride, I really did, but to no avail. Finally, I got a break in the weather and returned the monitor so they could download the results. As it was it was spitting huge flakes of snow the whole way and bone-chilling cold!
Well, for now I’m alive and kicking. I can’t wait until my regular doctor is back at the office as she talks too me and not condescendingly. She is probably the most THOROUGH doctor you ever want to meet. I have never met a doctor who checks for things like she does. I went to her office where the doctor on call there gave me a check up and didn’t do anything but check my heart and lungs with his stethoscope. He kept his nose buried in his tablet! He offered me various pills and condescendingly informed me that things I had surmised about my health weren’t possible. (Don’t EVER go to Web MD and try to diagnose yourself.) Some of it I’d already realized but his assumed arrogance made me want to smack him and I missed my regular doctor, she at least wasn’t ever going to talk down to her patients!
For now, that’s it…I’m alive and kicking and still full of it…my sense of humor hasn’t been affected or amputated…I live to write another day!