Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is this considered having been to "me"?

Chest pain.

Who knew that's all it took?

That is how you get into an emergency room.

Dragging on the cigarette, I found, was causing a complementary aching tightness in my chest. I thought "I should put this out before I die". I went back inside and figured I would go back to work. At least there was only about an hour left, but first, let's look up those heart attack symptoms. Left arm, right? They're always talking about the left arm and that's "Actor Conveys Cardiac Arrest--Squeeze Arm, Check Carotid Pulse, Collapse".

My head's feeling a little light.

Wait, arms feel tingly. But it's both arms. Can't I ever get this standard shit right?

Feeling a little woozier still.

"Uh, hey, uh, I'm gonna go to the hospital, okay?" Should I drive all the way back home where I was examined for a possible concussion last night? (my car was rear-ended three days ago, and while my neck wasn't hurting quite as much my head sure did last night). I'm stopped at the light thinking....thinking...and then I look forward and realize I'm looking at the hospital across the street from the library. "Oh, right. Yeah, this'd probably be best". And the bouncers just waved me right in. And we're unshirting and bringing out the sticky pads and bringing out the IV and the guy from billing walks into the examination room with a clipboard asking for my insurance card and to sign a form. "Hang on, I write with this hand" I say, as the IV goes in.

"Hey mom, yeah I'm at the hospital, just so you know. They say I'm not tachycardic so....I'm just waiting on blood tests. Apparently they have to do it twice? So...I'll just be waiting around here, I guess".

I mean, really, how mortifying a call is that to make? But you know you'd catch hell if you said "hey, I went to the emergency room last week cause I thought I might be having a heart attack". The family was freaked out enough when I told them I'd fallen off a chair onto a wood floor landing on my chin and then driven myself to the hospital holding toilet paper against the giant hole in my skin. So, yeah, awkward.

Mom shows up and we're just hangin around forever. I think Mission Impossible II was on. That's the one with Thandie Newton, right? Now, I've got a vacation in a few weeks. I was concerned enough about injured back muscles possibly making it hard to travel, let alone having a bypass, and I'm working on trying to get promoted and getting a new apartment so I really do not need to have medical leave and recovery fuckin with my program and money and birthday next month.

So, after three hours.

Three hours. The shifts have changed, the blood was drawn again.

After three hours Doctor P.M. comes in and says "your heart's fine and you're not having heart trouble. You're having an acute anxiety attack". In the back of my mind I'm appreciating the humor of leaving someone on a heart monitor for three hours with no communication and then saying "you seem nervous". I was hyperventilating. I was exhaling for too long. That sounds like a really stupid thing to do. Isn't my medulla oblongata supposed to be taking care of my involuntary breathing? I'm not breathing fast, I'm slowly breathing out too much without noticing it.

What kind of a dumbass is my brain? I can't even hyperventilate right. I was told Lexapro was more what I was needing, not blood thinner.

I quit habitual smoking anyway. It's easy when you've had a vacation flash before your eyes!

Now for some reason cigarettes usually taste pretty awful unless I'm in a bar. So, you know, that's a pretty healthy balance.


The Bagboy said...

I loved the line, "What kind of dumbass is my brain?"

I don't know if this is a true story, but it's a pretty funny take on a pretty scary situation, either way. Kudos Jay.

Anonymous said...

All true, I'm afraid, last fall. I thank you.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you right now that 99.9% of people having anxiety or panic attacks think they are having a heart attack. Its not stupid at all- hope you're doing better now!

Jayne said...

I could have been worse- you could have thought that you were having an anxiety attack and instead ended up with a heart attack. Right?!?

cute story, though. Lay off the cigs.