Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Karma Express

It's been a heck of a week.  Saturday night just as we were going to bed, Larry's mom hollers for him to come downstairs and help her because she was ill.  She seems to need to have a man do all her talking for her at these times, even if she is perfectly capable of speaking for herself, so she had Larry call the doctor and talk to him.  He ended up taking her to the ER, and they admitted her.  It's a measure of how tired I am of her living in my house that my response to this was "whatever."  I wish I could be more patient and kind, but I just can't right now. 

Around 5ish on Sunday, my dad had to go to the ER because he has pneumonia, and he just finished chemo and had no white blood cells.  So he was admitted to the hospital for that.  I was able to go and see him; he looked very weak, and he sounded breathy, for obvious reasons.  This was the first time I'd seen him without hair, and I asked him how come he didn't lose his eyebrows.  He sort of chuckled, so I took that as a good sign.  (But it is odd that you lose every hair on your body from chemo, even your nose hair--but not your eyebrows.)   He complained about feeling weak, and that that was the worst part.  That weakness I completely understand--you feel like you have to take a two hour nap after doing something as mundane as using the remote.  I hate that too. 

Around 3:30am on Monday, I woke up and my heart started racing.  Tachycardia.  I've had it before, and it usually goes away.  So I went back to sleep and got up at 6am. Still racing, but when I tried to do my normal morning activities such as making coffee, I felt very weak and out of breath and I had to rest.   One of the habits I have when something like this happens is I try to figure out what is happening.  In other words, I try to diagnose myself.  The reason I do this is simple--it helps keep me calm.  Calm is good.  So I came up with several hypotheses including asthma attack, heart attack, panic attack, and even pneumonia.  I took two puffs of my inhaler, and there was no change, which eliminated the asthma hypothesis.   Finally I decided that I needed to go see a doctor.  My first thought was that I would drive myself, but I reconsidered.    So Larry and I put Zane into the car and drove him to my SIL(Sister-in-law).  Then we went to the Texas Med Clinic.
I chose the Doc-in-the-Box for one simple reason--it's a 100$ co-pay to go to the ER, and 35$ for the Med Clinic.  I figured that if it was a real emergency they would send me to the ER, and I would deal with it then. 

The first problem encountered was that they couldn't get a pulse or a blood pressure using either the machines or manually.  They tried many times, first one person and then another.  They finally hooked me up to an ekg and got a pulse of 169.  The doctor came in and said that I was going to the ER, they were calling an ambulance.  That's when I got a little hysterical and cried, and the doctor hugged me.  Larry was freaking out a little, but he was holding it together pretty well, I thought.  All the times we've spent in hospitals has taken the shine off, apparently.

The paramedics showed up, and one of them stuttered.  This normally doesn't bother me, but I was kind of in a hurry, if you know what I mean.  I did a really good job, considering, of listening to what he was saying instead of finishing his sentences(a very bad habit of mine).  As they wheeled me out, I told the people in the waiting room "Don't order the veal!"   Larry was to follow the ambulance.  They got me into the vehicle, and started putting electrodes on me and they started an IV.  This hurt like a mother-scratcher, and I think the guy had trouble with it, because I have a bruise.   They tell me that they are going to give me something to help my heart, and it's going to make me feel weird.  Okay.  

That wasn't really an accurate description.  What they should have said was they were going to give me something that would feel as though the Hand of God is reaching into my chest and squeezing my heart like one of those stress balls, and that feeling will radiate out from the center of your chest to the rest of your body.  The first dose they gave me didn't do the job, so they gave me another, this time a double shot.  I distinctly remember looking out the back window of the ambulance and thinking that I was going to die looking at my husband sitting in our car--and then it was all over.  My pulse was on it's way back to normal, and I felt much, much better.  The drug they gave me was adenosine, which does what it needs to do in 6 seconds. What it does is stop your heart.  Think of adenosine as a "reboot" button.  I didn't know all this at the time, and thinking about it, adenosine would make a good torture instrument.  (Not that I'm advocating torture, but you get the idea.)

I still had to go to the ER and get checked out.  What struck me as odd is that the ER nurse asked me if I was being physicially abused.    I turned and looked at my husband who was speaking to an intake person--holding my purse for me.  I guess that is a routine question, but somehow I think that if a husband is willing to hold his wife's purse, that substantially lowers the odds that he is abusive. 

They ran a ton of tests on me, and then sent me home.  I have to go see a cardiologist and find out what the heck is going on, and all this will cost a fortune, I am sure.  My stress level has been higher than average since my MIL moved in with us("just until she gets back on her feet"), and I suppose that it's all catching up to me. 

But the wheel of fortune never stops turning, so I'm going to go buy some lottery tickets.   

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