This was NOT what I meant by try new things

Monday night I went to bed even earlier than normal. I was supposed to go play in the racquetball league but for whatever reason decided not to. This is highly as unusual, making a total of one opportunity I have missed to play racquetball in...oh, 6 or 8 months. So it was noticeable for that alone.

Went to be at 7, asleep by about 7:30. Life was good.

Woke up about 10:15 with pain in my back. Tossed and turned for a bit, got up about 10:30. Usually the sofa is very comfortable. Not on this night;

The pain started sneaking through to my chest. I started sitting up. Pain was spreading. Starting to get a bit hard to breath. Standing up was comfortable...and then the same pain hit there and the minor shortness of breath.

Tried WebMd which could not replicate what I was experiencing but did suggest a tick had bitten me...among several other options, but I thought that one was funny.

After an hour or so of debating what to do, I wandered into the bedroom where the wife was still sleeping. As soon as she heard the symptoms we were off to the hospital.

I was a bit reluctant to go. I suspected it was a muscle spasm of some sort. I am always leery of being the person who runs to the doctor at the first sign something might potentially be thinking about considering the option of being wrong. If I am going to the doctor there needs to be something wrong.

Apparently they thought there was something wrong when we got there because we got moved pretty far up the list and not long after we arrived at the hospital I got into the receiving area out front and they started running tests.

Very shortly thereafter I was wheeled into the back and they were getting the paddles ready. Apparently my heart rate had sunk to a dangerously slow rate, 36 beats per minute or something like that. Considering it was 58 bpm a few weeks ago...yeah, I guess it made me nervous too.

Well, that hospital bed put me in a very uncomfortable position that I tend to think piggy-backed on and made things worse but I really don't know. What I do know is when he was poking and prodding around, he found a spot on my left side just under the rib cage that was very tender.

They also used words like "enlarged heart" after scoping the x-rays. 

They had me on an IV which was a new experience, and, if you know me and how I react to needles, not a pleasant one. 

Then they gave me morphine. That burning sensation in the back of my head was not very fun. But it did seem to dull the overall pain a bit. Later they gave me another one, but that just seemed to make things worse.

Worse, when they were asking questions, I knew the answers but was taking an inordinately long time to answer them. And I knew I was taking a long time and did not need to but could not figure out how to give them quicker. That was not a pleasant experience...knowing my comprehension time was fast but my response time was slow. I was not real sure how lucid my answers were, either, even though I "knew" they were right...but was not sure.

By this time I had been in the room in Emergency for about 2 hours. My awesome wife was staying right there with me. I appreciate her losing sleep to be there. Her moral support was desperately needed. When I hear things like enlarged heart, dangerously slow pulse, get the paddles ready, I may not be in the best place mentally. Having her there made all the difference.

Anyway, after a while they tried a nitroglycerine tablet. 

I waited for the things she said I might experience to happen. Some other guy came in, we talked for a few minutes.

He left...and then the nitroglycerine tablet did all the fizzy stuff they said as it melted. 

Very shortly thereafter the pain was gone completely. 

Unfortunately, they were concerned enough that I was remanded to the custody of their 6th floor people. I was not going anywhere until they gave me a full release.

I tried to get Em to go home and get some sleep but she refused. She did go grab some stuff for the overnight stay and came back.

Neither of us really slept. 5 minutes here, 3 minutes there...every time we would get to sleep something would happen. Like my heart rate would plummet to 32 bpm, bringing the nurse running. Which would wake us up.

I guess in cases like mine they have to check on you every 60 - 90 minutes anyway. And since it takes me 30 - 45 minutes to reach a point I can sleep...in the best of circumstances...well, sleep was not going to be a good friend.

So more tests this morning. An echo-something-or-other that took like 45 minutes.

And every test, and I have no idea how many of them there were, required a different set of stickers. So they would painlessly* rip off the prior set and apply new ones. Some used the now-hairless spots on my formerly hirsute chest. Others were less successful at that.

Anyway, I was trying not to be a difficult patient, but it was frustrating feeling fine and having to lay in bed while people poked, prodded, pushed, pulled, tested, etc. interrupted by an hour here or there waiting for the next thing.

Or having to ride a wheelchair down to a stress test, which I more or less nailed...as usual, it took an extraordinarily long time to get my heart rate up to the target and an inordinately short time for it to return to normal.

Then, having shown I have excellent cardio, having to wait for someone to wheelchair me back to the room.

Finally, 12 hours after being checked into the room and 15 hours after getting to the hospital I was more or less given a tentative bill of health...they no longer think there is an enlarged heart, they are 99.7% positive it was not a heart attack, they can find no signs of damage, my stress test is in a really high percentile as far as what most people show on it...

So it was really just an unexplained episode. I am trying to be smart about it; I have a follow up appointment with my primary physician on the 22nd and will not be doing any strenuous physical activity until then.

Em and I are working on altering my diet a little bit more.

And I am looking back at what from many standpoints was a lost day.

But I am extremely thankful for my awesome wife who never left my side, for the job that was supportive every step of the way, for all the family and friends tracking the progress, praying about it, letting me know they were there. Turned a difficult day into a blessed one.

And one I hope not to repeat any time soon...

4 comments:

Riot Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Riot Kitty said...

You totally scared me. Very, very glad you are OK!

G. B. Miller said...

Woah. Not very good. At least you got through it, maybe not with flying colors, but you made it. Let's hope that the follow up can pinpoint the problem.

Daisey said...

I'm so glad you're okay! I've been listening to a lot of Johnny Dollar at work lately, so I had that voice doing the narration in my head--made it even scarier! I can't lose my brother, especially when the story sounds like Johnny Dollar!
Love you, Big Brother. Stay well.