Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Unexpected Journey

It was the ambulance ride that really made me raise my eyebrows.

I had never ridden in one before and there I was, watching I-81 go beneath me while I watched where I'd been instead of where I was going. It was kind of dizzying.

The stretcher was uncomfortable and the truck swayed and hit every bump.

An oxygen line was stuck up my nose. Tubes extended from my body. Things beeped.

The EMT stuck an IV in me and drew blood as we entered Roanoke City. I was headed for RMH.

How did I get in this predicament?

I woke up at 4 a.m. Friday morning having chest pains. Indigestion, I thought. Then I started sweating. A hot flash, I thought.

My jaw hurt. My TMJ, I thought.

My left shoulder hurt. That's from where I pulled it lifting groceries.

I couldn't go back to sleep so I rose and sat at the computer. I felt a little better. My husband left for work.

However, I still wasn't feeling well so I opted out of exercising. I dressed. I tried to eat breakfast but I was queasy and didn't want anything.

I left for my appointment. My chest still hurt. As I drove toward town, I felt lightheaded.

This was no good. I started sweating again. Anxiety, I thought. Stop worrying.

I had an appointment and several places to go. I made the first stop. A friend at the courthouse offered to take me to the doctor when I mentioned I was feeling unwell.

After some discussion and much hemming and hawing on my part, I called and cancelled a meeting with another friend. She offered to come and get me and drive me to the doctor when I told her why I couldn't meet her.

I declined both invitations from my friends and drove myself.

Apparently when you walk in to a medical clinic and say "I'm one of Dr. so-and-so's patients and I'm having chest pains," that is an immediate call to action.

The receptionist sent out an "I need a nurse at the front desk" call and before I knew it five nurses descended upon the waiting area. I was whisked to a triage room where they began hooking me up to monitors.

My doctor came in within two minutes and started checking me out. "Nitro and two aspirin," she said. "Has 911 been called?"

"On their way," someone said.

"No, no," I said. I tried to get up. "I just wanted you to look at me and pat me on the head and tell me I'm okay."

"That's not happening today," my doctor told me as she pushed me back into the reclining thing they'd placed me in.

She asked for my symptoms and I gave them out pretty much as I've written above.

"Why did you wait so long to have this checked?" she asked, stethoscope on my chest, when I said the pain had started at 4 a.m.

"I think it's just indigestion," I replied. By now I was somewhat alarmed.

"It may be but we're not taking a chance," she said.

The EMTs soon arrived. All of this took place in mere moments, certainly not more than 10 minutes. The doctor handed off my information and left the room. That was the last I saw of her.

They loaded me into the truck. And there I was, rolling backwards down the highway.


(Don't worry. I make a comeback in the end.)


  1. My concern is lessened in that you were well enough to write...and too, that your sense of humor is alive and well. Will be out most of the day tomorrow, so will have to wait until night time to find out "the rest of the story"!

  2. Ok, I'm ready for the sequel. You've got me concerned.


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