A Scare

1 Conversation

First off, the TL:DR version: I'm fine, everything's fine, I do actually need to lose a few pounds, though.

And now for the rambling, needs-footnotes-darn-it1 version...

So, as I'm sure everyone knows by now, the paper clan moved from the midst of the redwoods to the Cumberland Plateau. I'm still jobhunting2, and had an interview scheduled for 10am on February 8. Since I needed to dress business professional for the interview, and the best I had was business casual, I went into town with Tom the day before to rectify that. We got our various errands done, had lunch, then headed home, since Tom had an appointment he needed to keep, which he just made. Anyway, as it was still light, and it was quite warm3, I decided to see if I could figure out how to get into the fenced off bit where we want to put the poultry, as there is no gate on the house side, and there is an electric fence all set up, save for the hooking-up-to-electricity bit, which makes just adding a gate a bit more complicated, if we want to use it. I did find a way, but it's rather overgrown, and we'll need to do some clearing to use it. After that, I went for a wander up a steep bit, found somewhere the girls could have a treehouse, returned to the house to get the girls, then took them to show them the spot. By then, it was starting to get dim, and I was glad to get back into the house.

Ten minutes later, as I was sitting on the edge of the bed playing with my phone, I had an intense, squeezing pain in the center of my chest.

It subsided, then recurred, less intensely but longer, about 10 minutes later. I was a bit nonplussed, so I went out to the living room and go on my laptop4, and did a search, expecting to find that it wasn't as big a deal as it felt. Instead, everywhere pretty much agreed that, especially since I'd never experienced anything similar, and it was well after exertion, I needed to, at the least, go get checked, preferably ASAP5. Since I don't have a local doctor yet, and the first pain was around 6pm, that meant going back into the town where we'd spent the day running errands, 40 minutes away, to the hospital. While I was searching, I had another chest pain.

When Tom got back from his appointment, I greeted him with a calm, "I don't mean to freak anyone out, but..." At which he asked me to continue in the privacy of our bedroom, where I told him about the chest pains and dizziness I'd been having off and on for about half an hour or so at that point. We informed the other adult in the house that we were headed for the hospital and why6 I then told the girls that I was going to the hospital, and why, but I was sure I would be fine.

The drive was uneventful, though it did start raining just before we left the house, and was bucketing down when we got to the emergency exit of the hospital. I was able to walk in while leaning on Tom, but sat when we got in. I got in right away7 and tests were started as soon as vitals were taken. They tried to put an IV in my right elbow, but it blew out, so they used a vein in the left elbow, instead. So now I have small IV bruises in both elbows... There was a blood enzyme test when I first got in, and another a couple hours later. I don't specifically remember an EKG, but I did have leads stuck to me the entire time, so I'm sure I had one at some point. I had a high contrast8 CT scan an hour or so after being admitted. Then we had to wait...

The blood enzyme tests came back normal. The CT scan showed that my heart was normal. At that point, though, almost as important to me as the results was the news that I could eat and drink! It was after 11, and I'd had no water since we left the house between 6:30 and 7, and I'd not eaten since a late lunch that was finished before 2. I was to be admitted so that I could be tested in the morning and be observed overnight. Tom decided to stay until I had a room, so he didn't end up getting home until after 2am.

Before this, I'd only been hospitalized when giving birth, so trying to settle down to sleep with an IV9 and sensors with wires connected to a little machine to deal with was interesting. At least I'm not a belly sleeper... I do sleep on my side, though, and usually on my left side with my left hand under the pillow. Since there was an obstruction in my elbow, bending it was uncomfortable, and laying with my left arm unbent was just awkward while on my left side. I did finally manage to get comfortable on my right side10. I did get awakened twice so that my vitals could be taken, and one of those times there was a shot of blood thinner to my belly, but other than that, I slept well until nature called, and I needed to grab a second blanket. About 15 minutes after I settled after that, a man came in to inject some solution into my IV, and said I'd likely be going down for my stress test in 45 minutes to an hour, so I decided it wasn't worth trying to go back to sleep. I should've done, though, since it was closer to 2 hours...

OK, this is going on way too long... I'll try to speed things up a bit. When I finally got taken down for the stress test, I learned that first some imaging was done, then the stress test, then another set of images would be taken at least half an hour later. There are 2 types of stress test. The one that most people think of, I think, is the one where you are on a treadmill with wires all over the place. I didn't take that one. The one I had was a chemically induced one. It was very strange being in a bed while 3 syringes were emptied into my IV, and being out of breath with a racing heart while being still. I should've been sweaty with tired legs with how I was feeling! I can see the point, though... After all, if one is already in bed, one cannot fall, either because of simple clumsiness or because of just plain collapse. There was a treadmill and an organizer full of running shoes in the room, though. While I was waiting for my turn to get my post-test imaging done, I was taken off for my Echocardiogram. Had a nice chat with the sonographer, who lives in a town just over the hill from us, and is looking at property in this area. Once everything was set up, and I had to inhale, hold my breath, and exhale on command, I was able to see the screen, which was fascinating. Granted, I didn't know what I was seeing11, but that didn't detract much.

After the post-test imaging, I was taken back to my room, where Tom had been waiting for almost 2 hours, having arrived shortly after I was wheeled off for my tests... He had called to let the folks I was supposed to be interviewing with that morning12 that I would not be able to make it, and why. They wished me well, and said I could call next week to reschedule. So I will. Anyway, I had finally been given permission to drink water after the stress test, but I couldn't eat anything until the results were looked at. I finally got the OK to eat about 4pm. I was a bit peckish.

All my test results came back normal. I'm healthy as a horse13. The only not-normal result is that my cholesterol's a little high, but it can't even be all that high, because all they gave me was information on diet, without even orders to change my diet. Now, I've had elevated cholesterol levels before, when I weighed about as much as I do now, and they went back down to normal once I lost less weight than I was already planning on losing. The only real difference between now and a week ago is that I need to actually get serious. My blood pressure's no problem, even. So absolutely no idea why I'd been having chest pains. Maybe going up the steep bit twice in unseasonably warm weather while being maybe less hydrated than I thought? Just some freakish thing?

When I was finally told to go ahead and get dressed, there was a last bit of drama. Remember how I'd gone into a rather overgrown area before doing the steep bit? Well, I picked up a passenger that I did not see until I removed my gown. Yep, right there next to my navel was a tick14. I hadn't seen it earlier because, every time I'd used the restroom, I was busy keeping my heart monitor thingy and the edges of the gown from going into the toilet, and so had scads of cloth in my line of sight. So the nurse removed that for me, traced the edges of the red area with pen and told me to watch it15, and off Tom and I went home.

So, how was your run-up to the weekend?

1Because of course it does, this is me, after all smiley - winkeye2OK, technically I have a job, but it's as a substitute teacher, and I've been called in twice since I started working. Once in December, and once in January. Same teacher both times, though.3A record high of 77F/25C4So I could have tabs5Yes, I know consulting Dr. Google can be a huge mistake, so I stick with sites like WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, and other non-alarmist, reputable sites.6Didn't call an ambulance because the hospital is 40 minutes away, and I was breathing OK, if shallower than usual. Though my fingetips and lips did get tingly, then numb, on the way to the car.7I suppose chest pains and shortness of breath will do that for you... Plus, I seem to remember it was rather empty at that point.8That stuff feels strange when it hits the bloodstream from the IV!9Not hooked up to anything, but still...10It helped that, for some reason, the stickers/sensors weren't rubbing against each other when I laid on my right side, like they were when I was on my left.11I obviously could tell it was my heart, but beyond that?12Shortly before I was taken for my tests...13Not a race horse.14Researched at home, and it wasn't one that carries any diseases. Even if it had been, it would've had to have been embedded for at least 36 hours, which it wasn't, so nothing worse than the grossness factor to worry about.15When I changed the band aid I put over after I showered, the redness had shrunk considerably, so I think I'm good.

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