October 31, 2013
“The good news is it’s not your heart. The bad news is we don’t know what it is. You can go home.” – primary doctor.
And so it goes. No one’s been able to explain my 4 appendix surgeries either.
What happened? Tuesday evening I was on the computer and had a tightening sensation in my chest. I’ve had these for years. They used to precede a rapid heart beat until I had a heart ablation procedure – it’s where they go into the heart and zap the errant nerve. Now I just have the tightening sensation.
This time was different. It was much tighter and longer. I stopped what I was doing and thought, “This is not good.” I got light-headed. Then I’m not sure what happened. The next thing I knew I was trying to raise my head off the desk while trying to figure out where I was. The room was spinning and not always right side up. After things rearranged into how I remembered things to be, I thought, “Hmmmm.” It just seemed a bit too much to ignore. Too much like this tree trunk:
I went on the internet and looked up symptoms of heart attacks. There were too many symptoms I could check off. There was one weird one called “anxiety”. I wondered who would not have anxiety if one thought one might be having a heart attack? Check.
I thought of just going to bed, but I really wasn’t feeling good and the website said, basically, not to go to bed but to see a doctor.
The website also said not to drive. I thought of people to call. Between friends and family there were a number of options, but it was now around 10:30. I try not to call after 9:30. I pictured the drive to the hospital – mostly parkway, little traffic, and lots of trees to stop an errant vehicle. Decided to go for it.
Pulled into the emergency entrance, walked in, went to the desk, and said, “I might be having a heart attack.” This kinda got things going.
Many questions. various tests, etc. Around 1 AM, after being brought to a room, I asked how long it was ok to leave one’s car at the emergency entrance. The nurse said the emergency staff will move it. I asked how – I had the keys. He seemed a bit befuddled by this. Obviously I hadn’t followed procedures. He called down, made up a story as to why it was still there, and then took the keys down.
I didn’t get much sleep that night between people coming and going in the room. At one point I thought I should probably let someone who knows me know where I am. As I was having lunch that day with my sister, Dona (to get my camera), I emailed her saying I was in the hospital. Writing on an Iphone with Parkinson’s is a real pain and very slow, so wrote minimally. Of course it wasn’t enough. She wanted to know why I was in the hospital and which hospital I was in. I didn’t have enough battery power for such details.
Later, my sister and her husband, Wayne, came up and basically spent the day. It was good. Was nice to have someone there. Mid afternoon the cardiologist came in. She had gone over everything and was very confident that whatever I had was not a heart problem as all the heart tests came back negative. She said the heart is working well. There are no signs of anything problematic. While she couldn’t say what it was I had she did list off a number of possibilities like a virus, or a reaction to some combination of things that happened at the same time, etc. Her conclusion: Unless it keeps happening, I shouldn’t worry about it. “Anxiety” – unchecked.
After one more test, which was also negative, the primary doctor came in and said, “You can go home.” I put my new pair of hospital socks in my pocket and headed out to find my car. Decided it was, in the end, a good thing. I had been wondering about my heart as I still had these occasional “events” but hadn’t looked into them. Was good to have it checked out.
The nurse who came in at the end to unhook me looked out the window and said, “What a dreary day.”
I saw it differently. I stopped on the way home to take this photo. It’s the same tree as the one above. Beauty in the twists, and in the fog, of life.