Until Sunday night it had been 20 years since I needed the ER for myself. Of course I have visited the dreaded place with my children and husband, but I have been fortunate. Could this be due to regular checkups or maybe a working mother not having time for such?
Saturday night I felt tired and to the disappointment of my husband went to bed at 8 PM and slept for 12 hours. I woke with jaw pain which I diagnosed as TMJ. I also had back pain and thought nothing of it other than maybe I needed to stretch. Why did I still feel so tired? I did not have the energy to attend church or the live nativity we had planned that evening. It was kind of nice to wear my PJs all day. At 2 PM while sitting in a recliner a pain like nothing I had ever felt before started in my upper ab area? Was it my chest? Must be indigestion from the lentil soup I enjoyed. I started taking Rolaids. The pain increased and by 9 PM my gut told me I should go to the ER.
Not wanting to alarm Todd or Aaron I told them I was going to Thomas ER for a few minutes. Few minutes? The pain must have affected my brain as well. My husband wanted to drive me and after insisting it was not necessary I drove myself. He gets up at 430 AM and I refused his chivalry.
Thomas is a wonderful hospital but the ER was full. I must have been too pleasant describing my pain (I have a high pain tolerance) because I sat out in the waiting room for 3 hours. After 3 hours I decided to go home because I was feeling worse. The ER told me fine but I had to sign papers saying I would not sue if I died from refusing treatment. I signed the papers and as I was walking out the door they called my name. At that moment I hear the song Should I stay or should I go by The Clash playing in my head. I decided to stay.
Everything happened so quickly after that. Apparently a patient with my symptoms should be taken back immediately. I am given medication and the nurse takes my blood pressure which was high. Hmmmm. I’ve always had low blood pressure. An EKG is taken and the results are abnormal. Did I mention that the ER doc looked like Tom Cruise but better? He said he was giving me morphine and I told him no thanks, I don’t think I need morphine because I can tolerate the chest pain. He smiled and laughed and said my heart needed it. He was so good looking I couldn’t refuse. (Just kidding Todd) I was wheeled to Xray and couldn’t stand due to how weak I felt. Vomiting is so gross isn’t it? I like the little green bags they give you to vomit in. So much better than the plastic bowls. Made a mental note that we should buy some of those for home. No cleaning out because you just trash them. I was impressed.
Did I mention how horrible I looked? When staff made chit chat and asked what I did for living I hesitated to say I was a Mary Kay Director. My appearance kept me from giving out my business cards. Or maybe it was the morphine because I wasn’t thinking clearly. Regardless I responded by saying I’m a MK Director even though I don’t look like it at the moment. Our skin care and make up works wonders.
I was admitted to the cardiology floor and kind of enjoyed being told I was the youngest patient there. They gave me phenergan which I had not had since pregnancy. Remembering how sleepy this med makes you I immediately sent a text to Aaron asking him to leave a note for dad that I was staying overnight at Thomas for a few minor tests. No I didn’t want to alarm my son since he has final exams this week. I would save the freak out mode for when Todd called me the next morning.
Todd arrived the next morning with clean clothing and a full makeup bag that would make Mary Kay proud. Too bad I succumbed to my health at the moment and never opened it. At that moment I knew I would not be giving out my business cards. How could I? I was looking worse by the hour.
The cardiologist was very impressive until he told me I needed to have a heart cath. I asked if I could have a day to get used to the idea of having a tube put into my thigh or arm to take photos of my heart. He was so nice but he told me I needed it asap because 2 EKG reports came back abnormal. I asked if the test results could be caused by my need to lose some weight. He replied that I was not overweight according to the southern standard. Wow these cardiology doctors are so charming and good looking. Or maybe his response was to keep my blood pressure down. But my blood pressure was high. I asked how abnormal was the EKG? On a level 1-10 my test results came back at a 6. 10 indicated I would need bypass surgery. But hopefully just a stent. I was freaking out on the inside and begin to think about my sons living without a mother. I also thought about my unorganized closets at home that I had put off cleaning the past year. On the outside I looked fine. Well not in appearance but my composure looked like any patient a doctor would be proud of. No way was I going to fall into his arms in hysterics, that was Todd’s place and I wasn’t going to deprive him of that.
Waiting is the worst part. I will spare you all the details of prep but I didn’t like it. I’ll just say that all of the staff were male but one. During prep the staff made small talk to take my mind off what was going on. I told them I had a friend who spent some time with them a few weeks ago (Leslie Ann) and she was younger than I am. We realized we attended the same church and in fact his parents lead the contemporary service worship team. OMG how could I face him again. I could only imagine what I would feel like seeing him at church remembering he had seen me totally naked on a table. If this is TMI for some of my readers I apologize. Hopefully you are female and can relate to how women think and feel.
OK my story is getting too long. This is what happens when you are told to take a day off for rest and not work. The cardiologist told me I did not need bypass surgery or even a stent. It is possible the medication cleared up a blockage. No way to know for sure. One thing I do know is this. Being alive is a gift. Life is cut short for many. And I believe God has more for me to do and be.
Thank you for taking the time to read my life blog. Merry Christmas.