Sunday, February 22, 2009

An Unexpected Journey Part II

Part I is here.

The ambulance arrived at RMH without incident. I hoped to see my husband waiting there for me, but he had not yet arrived.

He is an EMT himself but he was on duty with the City. He was also in a training class and I had asked a nurse at my doctor's office to contact the EMS dispatch and have him tracked down.

They whisked me into Room 10 in the ER and then transferred EKG lines and oxygen lines and other things onto the hospital equipment.

A nurse came in and asked relevant questions. They ran another EKG and asked me how I was feeling.

My chest was still hurting, I said. But not like it was.

I looked up to see my husband standing at the door. He came in while the EMTS were still hooking me up. He thanked them for their service.

He looked shaken to see me there with wires protruding everywhere.

Once things calmed down a bit, I asked if I could go to the restroom. This meant unhooking me but it couldn't be helped.

When I returned, I found my friend whom I was supposed to have met earlier in the hallway with my husband. She had offered to take me to the doctor but I had declined.

She stayed for several hours and then left, still not knowing what was wrong with me.

The doctor entered and said he wanted to do a stress test. This would be a nuclear stress test that involved injecting isotopes into the body while resting and then again while it was under stress. It would take several hours and meant an overnight stay in the Chest Pain Center of the E.R.

It was not a hospital admittance, though. I presume this is for insurance purposes.

At any rate, after that, it was all hurry up and wait. My husband finally left to go collect my car at the doctor's office and to eat lunch/dinner. It was 4 p.m. before I left Room 10 for the Nuclear Lab for my first injection.

Then I went into a small dinky room that would be my new home for the night.

After an hour there, they rolled me back to the Nuclear Lab. I lay on a huge machine that crawled over the heart area, taking pictures. That meant lying perfectly still for about 16 minutes (four songs on the radio plus commercials).

Then it was back to the room. My husband found me and comforted me until I begged him to go home and get some rest. There was no where for him to stay in that room; it was just too small.

He left me reluctantly, with kisses and promises.

The night was long, with much racket and little sleep. I'd been told I would be the first stress test and would start at 6 a.m, but that time came and went.

My husband arrived at 7:45 to find me frustrated because I still hadn't had my stress test.

It would be 11 a.m. before that happened.

The stress test involved climbing on a treadmill and bringing my heart rate up to a certain level. My blood pressure was already up so I knew it wouldn't take much to raise it.

After about nine minutes, they injected more dye. I walked for another minute. They stopped the treadmill and moved me back to the large X-ray machine. Another 16 minutes of being still.

About an hour later, a physicians assistant told me they found nothing. Nothing heart related, anyway.

That was the good news.

The bad news was they still didn't know exactly what was causing my pain, but a previous history of problems with my esophagus and reflux made that seem a likely culprit. However, that was a different doctor and a mystery to be solved on a different day.

And I came home to my bed and my shower, relieved and embarrassed by my fears.


  1. Oh my gosh Dew, what an experience. You were so right to go to the hospital though. Your symptoms sound just like a heart attack and until the end of the story, I thought for sure that is what you had. I'm so glad it wasn't and that you are ok. Let us know when the doc gets to the bottom of this problem.

    And I thought some of my days were stressful!

  2. What a nightmare.

    So I hope that the mystery will be solved very soon. That is a terribly disconcerting experience.

    Glad you shared it with us. Will pray for you to have a very peace-filled day today.

  3. Sounds frightening. I'm glad it wasn't your heart and I'm sorry for your rough experience! You shouldn't be embarassed by your fears - you did the right thing. NEVER ignore pain like you describe! Most every EMT/healthcare person will tell you that women will not have classic symptoms of a heart attack and that "we" tolerate the pain longer!

    Glad the story ended ok! STAY HEALTHY Blogbuddy!!!

  4. Oh my goodness---what a stressful experience! But, as Jen said, you shouldn't feel embarrassed---you did exactly what you should have done. Your symptoms certainly did sound like classic heart attack symptoms to me, and I sure wouldn't have ignored them.

    So glad it turned out not to be a heart attack---I do hope they will soon figure out what it was. So glad you're feeling better!

  5. What a place to spend a Saturday nite! I'm glad it wasn't your heart but I'm sure you're still upset without having a true diagnosis. You shouldn't be embarrassed at all..better safe than sorry. I'm glad you were able to handle the stress test. I could never get that dye injected into me as I'm allergic to iodine so your story made me tell my husband that if that ever happened to me to make sure they know that. I hope you feel better soon. I know you've been stressed out maybe you need to take a break...

  6. :(

    Hope you are following up with someone.

  7. I had a similar experience a few years back. Never be embarrassed! Glad everything is OK!

  8. Scary and never be embarrassed! I hope they figure out the cause and it's nothing! Take care :)

  9. Wow what an ordeal. I'm glad it was not a heart attack. I went to get checked out once when I was concerned about heart and it turned out to be reflux too. Luckily the doctor diagnosed it on the spot and it all made sense. I never went on Nexium and like. I started taking a small dose of thyroid (another ongoing issue) to up my metabolism and all my GERD symptoms went away.

  10. Oh my! I hope you're feeling better. I'm glad it wasn't your heart but i hope they find out soon what it is. I'm sorry you had to go through that and get well soon!

  11. Ooh, sorry to hear this. Best to have that esophagus checked out. Could be the culprit in all of this.

    Let us know!

    The Blue Ridge Gal


  12. Oh my gosh! I don't read blogs for a few days and I return to find this! Hope you're feeling much, much better.

    I had a similar hospital experience two years ago—my chest pain and shortness of breath turned out to be a reaction to the diabetes drug, Januvia.

  13. Thank you all for your good wishes. They are greatly appreciated. It is nice to know you're out there!

  14. I've not visited for a more than a week (work schedule issues) and come back to find this! I'm sure glad that you paid attention to the symptoms, however reluctantly. And relieved to know that it doesn't appear to be anything serious. I had some pain in my lower right side and complained until my doctor sent me to a Gastro-Entero specialist. He said it was impossible for the pain to be related to acid reflux but once he put me on Protonix, the pain went away. An endo showed esophogeal inflammation, so you just don't know. Better to have the symptoms checked out!! I'm sure you are glad that you had the tests done!

  15. Your doctor was right to yell at you for not going in sooner! (Yes, I'm sometimes a bit of a mother hen, albeit one with a Y chromosome)

    That said, I'm glad you're healthy, and there's no reason to be ashamed of going to the hospital because your chest hurt. You'd be pretty darned ashamed had you not gone.


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