A Medical Adventure

“If I’ve had a heart attack, I’m going to be really pissed.”
-          Me, Monday at 3:35 PM

Well, wasn’t that something! As such as ventures though, it was one I’d rather not have had, but since it apparently had to happen, the end result was a huge relief. Thought I’d put that in there to keep you from having a nervous breakdown as you’re reading this.

I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday and at a certain point, I realized many of my symptoms bore a rather uncomfortable resemblance to the symptoms women may experience when having a heart attack. On the other hand, the symptoms could also be explained by other factors, including RA, Fibro and a vat of roiling acid having replaced my stomach. I did the “smart” thing and decided to wait and see (note: not recommended). I was still feeling a bit wonky Monday morning, so I decided to go see my GP. She took my blood pressure (120/76 — this will be relevant later) and then did the smart thing by hooking me up to an ECG. Which looked “a bit funny.” When I asked what that meant, she said it showed that I‘d had a heart attack.

Not funny.

Then there was a call to 911 and an ambulance ride to the ER. Which I naturally documented because a) I have a blog; and b) planning the post kept me from freaking out.

Herewith are some of the thoughts I had Monday afternoon:

So glad the nurse agreed to go upstairs with me before calling 911 so I can grab some raisins and crackers. They’ve got to let me eat at some point.

Wheee! Being on a gurney is fun. I get to see the world from a standing person’s point of view.

Apparently, very sick people are not entitled to a comfortable ride. Ambulances have really crappy suspension.

The triage nurse is nice. Do wish she would stop referring to my ECGs as “squiggly.”

Ah. Thank you for explaining that it’s not me having more heart attacks, but placement of electrodes needing to be adjusted.

Lying around in an ER hallway is really boring.

I’m pretty sure that getting to lie around being bored is a good sign.

Really thankful that The Boy dropped everything and came to keep me company.

I feel like a bird.

Ah. A room. This is nice. The gurney is a lot more comfortable than I’d expected.

Remember to tell The Boy that we are engaged. I have heard bad stories about anyone who's not a fiancée or spouse not being allowed in.

Dear nurse: why is it necessary for me to explain that I have a disability and therefore cannot put the gown on myself and why are you kicking out my partner just because I need blood drawn?

It takes some doing to keep everyone updated.

I’m hungry. Why did this have to happen just before lunch?

This is the first time I’ve skipped my Mandatory Rest Period in years.

I’m really hungry.

Having the terms you hear in medical shows on TV (like sinus tachycardia) applied to you is surreal.

Does that sign really say “hand hygiene use with 2 metres of patient”?? (it didn’t. It was within)

Being hooked up to a heart monitor is a bit more reality than I was prepared for.

Oh, look! The second year medical student taking my medical history looks like he’s 12!

Do I really only take up half a page??

I’m so hungry I forgot half of the symptoms I had.

That automatic blood pressure cuff pumps out so hard it increases my blood pressure. It was perfectly fine two hours ago and now it’s 145/95.

I’m STARVING! Those blood tests better come back soon so I can eat.

Yay!! Nothing wrong with me, blood tests are negative, I can go home.

I can eat!

Raisins and crackers have never tasted so good.

I can get dressed.

I’m going home

More in-depth tests showed that I haven’t had a heart attack, instead it was my GERD having a conniption fit. Much grateful appreciation goes out to Jean, my GP, and Allison, my/her nurse, whose vigilance and caring made it really scary situation easier. To Christine and Brian, the paramedics whose calm and sense of humour helped me stay calm, and to the staff at Toronto General ER who moved me through the process quickly and without a fuss. Overall, the entire episode was very calm. That helped a lot.


Rositta said…
Glad you had a positive experience, mine was not so great at same hospital, same symptoms. Was sent home, ended up in different hospital with a fib and needed immediate ablation. Hugs to you.
Joyce said…
Wow! Scary! Glad it turned out ok. There is always a lot of "hurry up and wait" in an ER...
Wren said…
What an experience, Lene! I'm so glad to read that you're just fine (except for GERD, RA, fibro, etc)! Nothing like an ER experience to put routine life in perspective, is there.

Stay well, m'friend. I hope this finds you feeling great. :o)
AlisonH said…
Wow, Lene. But do me a favor: if you get symptoms again that really are a heart attack don't just brush it off as GERD, okay? Yeah, yeah, I know--they sometimes can only tell the difference by a test for an enzyme that a distressed heart puts out--my dad's been hospitalized for what turned out to be GERD, too. Only he'd been snow-shoveling the driveway, so, yeah. Anyway. Take it easy, and thanks to The Boy as well as the staff for looking out for you so well.
Leslie said…
So glad you are okay. Whoever says RA isn't systemic is just silly. ;)
Allison said…
Yikes. I'm glad it wasn't a heart attack! My dad just survived one this past winter. I'm glad you don't have to go through that.
Anonymous said…

That's wonderful that you didn't have a heart attack although you must have been very concerned and scared. Thanks for posting the symptoms. Stay well Lene!

knittingyoyo said…
Glad you are doing well. Those ER visits are always crazy. You are a very calm woman to "document" your visit. What a great way to pass the time when you can do nothing. Now I need a snack because you were hungry, haha. Oh yes, next time don't wait, but I understand why you did.
Sheldaine said…
Thank G-d you are okay.
You realize the documenting could've waited, right??!!
Joking aside, heaven forbid you get similar symptoms, CALL 911. We are blessed to have great paramedics who will go above and beyond to get you to the ER - as you've seen - in a caring and professional manner. (And some are dead cute to boot, but I digress....)
I am glad The Boy was with you.
k said…
Because I am that sort of person; Tell The Boy that a good way to get attention when somebody is hooked up to an ECG is to start tapping on one of the things that are stuck to your chest.
Actually, I'm not that sort of person, but ex-fiance was. A LOT of people came running.