RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

The Last Two Days – My Adventure

Yesterday, I got up, ate, made sure The Kid was moving, got him to school, took the bus to work – all normal so far, but…

About an hour after I got to work – maybe less – I was down in the lab running some tests.  {In this case, running tests in the lab pretty much means running software tools and waiting for results, nothing strenuous.}  I started to get a pain near the middle of my chest.  ”OK,” I thought, “this is probably just gastric distress, even if it isn’t quite where I’m used to getting it.”  So, I decided to wait  and see.

After about an hour, I hadn’t gotten much relief.  I’d also noticed some pain in my jaw, but I’ve had that off and on since I got my jaws expanded by some orthodontia in 1985.  But I decided it was better to place it safe than sorry.  So, I headed down to the employee health center.  By this point, I was also getting some migrane symptoms, so I took some Advil.  Since I figured if I was cleared by the Health Center, I might still go home due to the migrane, I did grab my backpack and (I think) shut my office door before catching the shuttle to where the health center was.

I got down there, checked in and was quickly called back.  A nurse asked a bunch of questions, then put me on an EKG for a few seconds.  She then called in the nurse-practitioner who looked it over and saw something she didn’t like, so recommended that I go to the ER.  Since my doctors are with Scripps and Scripps Memorial La Jolla is one of the two closest hospitals (UCSD is about the same distance, but you take a different route even if the two are practically next door to each other), that was where it was recommended to go. But when I said all of my local co-workers were in a meeting, the solution to getting me there was to call for an ambulance.

About five minutes later, four paramedic members of the San Diego Fire Department showed up.  They took a second EKG – using a new set of sticky leads, which they left on.  After agreeing that I should go to the ER, not that I think there was any question once they were called, we waited for the actual ambulance (a Rural/Metro contract ambulance) to show up.  Once they showed up, the paramedics and the nurse-practitioner shared the information with the EMTs who were assigned tot he ambulance (two fairly slight women) and then they loaded me up and took me out to the ambulance.

Once loaded onto the ambulance – the paramedics helped with that part – one of the paramedics started an IV with fluids while one of the EMTs called the information into the hospital, who had an ER cubical assigned and waiting.  Due to an accident, they took the slightly longer route (the one that took us past UCSD), but we arrived at the hospital about ten minutes later – nearly noon.

The nurse at work had called Tara after they took me down to the ambulance – if they’d been more worried – they might have called sooner, so she was aware that I was at Scripps La Jolla.

Once in the ER, I ended up sitting for about ten minutes before much was done other than hooking up the EKG and other monitoring equipment.  Once the doctor saw me, things got moving a bit faster for a while – at least I got my blood work started.  I then sat in the ER for an hour or two.  Tara called before leaving work – since she knew it wasn’t a crisis she’d cleaned up – and let me know she’d have her cell phone on and where I could reach her.  Mostly I observed what was going on around me.

Probably about 2:30, the nurse informed me that the doctor wanted to send me upstairs and keep me overnight.  But it took another hour or so before they actually got me a bed assigned and brought me upstairs.  It wasn’t too long after I got up there that Tara and The Kid showed up – Tara had decided that she’d be better off waiting to head over to the hospital until after she’d picked The Kid up from school.

Somewhere along the way, I met briefly with the cardiologist, who did offer to let me go home, but was going to need me to schedule a stress test in a day or two.  So I decided it would be better to stay the night.

My family left after an hour or so, so The Kid could get to bed.  It was a bit after they’d left that the nurse finally got me the rest of the paperwork – there had been an emergency elsewhere on the unit that had tied up most or all of the nursing staff.  Dinner came.  The nursing shift changed – which was when I learned that the nurses were working 12 hour shifts – and I spent most of the evening reading, or trying to sleep.

I didn’t really sleep all that well, between stress, a strange bed, a roommate who snored – although when I did sleep, I’m sure I returned the favor – and being woken up every few hours for vitals, blood work, the neighbor’s IV alarm, and various other reasons.

This morning, I got sent down for my stress test about 9:00.  Since I had been admitted, they decided to do the test by giving me a medication that accomplished the same thing to the heart as the treadmill in a regular stress test.  But the medicine had to be given (by IV) on an empty stomach.  So I’d not had breakfast.  I was back up in my room by about 11.

I was visited shortly by the on-duty cardiologist, who said that if my stress test was clear, I’d be sent home today.  Since the cardiologist who’d supervised the stress test had thought that everything looked OK, I was pretty sure I’d be getting out.  But I had one more hurdle – I still needed an echocardiogram.  I was also very interested in lunch.

Finally the technician showed up to give me the echocardiogram about 12:30, and lunch showed up about one.  It wasn’t that long before lunch when the nurse showed up and told me that I’d been discharged.  But by then it was late enough that Tara would have to pick up The Kid before she could pick me up.  So I had a bit of time to wait.

This did let the nurse take her time before removing the IV hookups (two – the one done yesterday by the paramedic and one done this morning by the overnight nurse).  Since I’d been given two doses of a blood thinner, and doses of aspirin both yesterday and today, the IV done yesterday took quite a while to clot.

But I was able to be taken downstairs very shortly after Tara arrived, so we avoided the worst of the traffic between La Jolla and Rancho Bernardo.  We stopped at the transit center to pick up my car, headed over to CVS to drop off the prescription the cardiologist had written for a acid-reflux medicine, and it up Panera bread for an early dinner.

I’m now home, various parents have been informed I’m home, and I’ve got some time to rest up.

I’m going to take tomorrow off, or at least work from home.  I’ve got a few things I need to do for Conjecture, and I need to get some sleep.  I’ll probably be heading to bed before too long.

I’m glad I’m home, and more glad that this was essentially ”no trouble found.”

But I also know I need to get back to really tracking what I’m eating – and probably find some exercise that is more intense than just walking so that I can get back into shape.  (I know what I’d like to do – Karate or Tai-Kwon-Do – but time and money are a bit of a hindrance at the moment).

Thank you for the prayers, good thoughts, etc.


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