Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hospitale

As I may have mentioned here, I've been feeling quite crappy for the last few weeks and finally saw the doctor, actually a nurse practitioner, on Tuesday - of course those of you who've been reading along already know that.

Anyway, I started out taking the antibiotic along with a Mucinex DM. In fact, the first night I added a Sudafed PE to the cocktail for maximum relief but the next day, after my morning Antibiotic and Mucinex, began feeling somewhat lethargic and all around trembly. I though perhaps I should remove the Mucinex from the mix and stick to the bacteria fighting power of Bactrim (the antibiotic in question). So the day that I went Bactrim only, I felt pretty good, or as good as one could feel while recovering from the sinus infection and the Bronchitis. At least I wasn't trembly which is one of my least favorite sensations.

So Friday comes along and for a good part of the day, I've got the tremblies again and now it's a bit more frustrating because all I had taken was the antibiotic. As early evening approaches, I'm feeling real crappy and decide to take my blood pressure and it's way high. Tremblies = high blood pressure? Fast forward to bedtime, I go to sleep and awake to the sensation of my heart attempting to pound its way out of my chest. Three times this happened, each more severe than the previous so I woke up my wife and told her that I think I should go to the hospital.

She calls 911, I say please drive me, she hangs up, 911 call back, she tells them I am having chest pain, 3 minutes later there are 5 guys in my house doing an EKG on me on my own couch. Shortly thereafter I am hitching a ride to the ER in an ambulance popping baby aspirin (4 of them - chewables) and a squirt of nitro-glycerin while a medic in stabbing me with an IV and another fitting a nasal cannula with freshly piped in oxygen to my nose. By this time, the EKG machine is providing a constant readout which one of the medics is calling in to the ER in anticipation of my arrival.

Fast forward to arrival at the ER they pull me out on the gurney, wheel me into the ER, and the first face I see is that of a nurse who is a former student at the school where I work - slightly awkward even under these conditions. More EKG's are taken, Blood is drawn, pushing, probing, nurses, doctors, questioning, then, the waiting. It was 1:30 AM or so at this point, my wife and daughter are in the room, I have the fresh oxygen in my nose and the EKG probes on my chest, and I'm settled down a bit. Several people say that all seems to be fine right now but we need to determine if this was a "cardiac event" of which the first determining factor will be a "cardiac enzyme test that will show in the blood - we should have preliminary result in about an hour."

Two hours or so later, the doctor comes in and said the initial test showed negative but they want to admit me overnight for observation and additional testing. After a short time, I send the wife and kid packing and tough it out alone as it takes another 7 hours or so before I get a bed in a room - and let me tell ya, the gurneys in the ER along with the noise aren't exactly conducive to sleep or relaxation.

So, I get up to the room in the 9 am range and almost immediately visited by a series of nurses sticking needles in me for blood and to inject medicines. Dr. Buckman comes by for a consultation and then it's time to meet the first of two colorful cardiologists who name I forget other than it was an O'Irish name and he had a thick brogue.

Around noon, all the other patients are being served something resembling food items but I am denied as the cardiology team is insistent that I take a stress test once the second round of blood work is complete. I am by this point exhausted and starving and my breath was so funky, I was offended. I joked to the nurse that in hotels, they stick a mint under the pillow, they should do that in hospitals where it would be more useful. Two seconds later, I was sucking on a starlight mint courtesy of nurse Bev.

About oneish, I get wheeled oer to the treadmill, get a horrible dry shave to the chest so that the probes will work properly. At this point I joke to the nurse who dry shaved my chest that long after she forgets me, I'll be remembering her while scratching my chest like a monkey. Anyway, I get through the stress test and the person running the test machine said it seemed fine but the cardiologist will be along in your room shortly to discuss it with you.

About 2 oclock, Dr. Sheihkh (pronounced Shake) comes in and tells me that since my cardiac exam, my two blood tests, and my stress test were all fine, this wasn't a cardiac event. based on the sound of my lungs and the severity of the bronchitis, it is likely to have been a Broncho-Spasm - "which can feel very much like the way your pain did." Anyway, Dr. Buckman decides it's time to put me on a mild blood pressure medication so I am discharged with a prescription and assurance that my heart is solid. I was kind of expecting to get wheeled out on a chair but evidently that is no longer a requirement.

Other than than, my weekend was reasonably uneventful.

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