Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trip to the ER

September really was a tough month for me.  Canning in full swing, and the tomatoes and beans seemed non-stop for a while.  I spent one day making juice with my Squeezo.  Nice tool for making tomato juice, but I lost the plunger, and so found myself pushing those tomatoes down by hand.   Now, I'm not tall and the Squeezo is pretty tall, so it was really a chore to get up and over the funnel to push those tomatoes through with my left arm while turning the crank with the right.  Next day I was super sore- it was quite a workout for both shoulders since the bilateral rotator cuff tears of a few years back
It's always good to have extra juice for the winter as well as the tomatoes and the beans as well.  I enjoy canning so much.

The problem with spring and fall is that this time of year brings on GI bleeders and general GI upsets.. like clockwork.  I'm a good example of that principle- not the bleed, but I get heartburn and acid stomach EVERY spring and EVERY fall.  I can tell you when the season changes with my eyes closed.  It just so happened that one lovely day early in September- right after making that tomato juice- I was having some rather severe headaches that started in the back of my neck and went right up over the top.  YOW!  Some of those were what I call 'cracken'.. because that's what they felt like.  I decided once and for all, I'd hit the headache with coffee and get rid of it.   Carefully I measured out TWICE as much coffee grounds as needed for one pot, and then didn't put as much water in the pot as needed and turned that pot on.  Mmmmmm  smelled delicious!
I slurped down 2 full cups back to back.  Within moments after finishing the last cup, I noted my headache gone .   YAY for me!
Almost as fast, I noted severe pain in my stomach that was starting to really hurt badly- enough to make me cry out in pain.   My treatment for heartburn is ginger ale and 4 Rolaids.. works every time!  However, I'd only gotten one down as the pain became so intense I could scarcely speak.. I was crying.  Let's say a 9 on the pain scale of 1-10.    
It was at that moment that the cell phone rang- it was my doctor's office and the receptionist letting me know that I had an appointment for a check up on that Wednesday.  Crying, I confirmed and she asked if there was something wrong.   I told her about my pain near my sternum, and she asked me to hold for a moment to talk to the office nurse.  I explained my story to her, but she didn't believe me.. she suggested that I get to the ER pronto.  Then she asked "the" question.. "Have you had pain in your left arm, shoulder, or jaw in the past few days?"   Uh-oh.. Well, yes, I did, but it was because of the Squeezo, not cardiac related at all..  Didn't matter.. "Call 911 for an ambulance immediately" she said with authority.  But.. but... you don't understand..  I was still crying and agreed to call .. (my daughter JJ).. 
JJ had her head about her.. she was working at the hospital and she also told me to call the ambulance for a ride to the ER  .. 'just in case it IS cardiac related'... In frustration, I called 911 and explained that I had pain in my upper abdomen right at the end of my sternum.. sharp.. the pain was not cardiac.. and they interrupted me to say 'let US decide that.   They sent the ambulance and I walked out on the deck , apologized for taking up their time, but felt forced to make this trip.  My heart was jumping all around  (think- hyper caffeine).. I got in the back of the waiting ambulance, crawled up on the stretcher and layed back for the 15' drive to the hospital ER.  I felt embarrassed, but I'd gotten in several more of the Rolaids and as I said, it works.. so the pain was almost gone by the time we got there.  It was an uneventful trip, and I think the paramedics were the only ones who really believed my whole story.  I was glad they didn't use the 'red ball' or siren.
In the ER, I was attached to monitors and they drew blood from my IV that the paramedic had started in the ambulance.  By the way, he did an EXCELLENT job.  I give him an A+.
All my labs were within normal limits.. but I'd have to hang around for 4 hours till the 2nd Troponin was drawn and the results gotten.. both of them registered as I would have guessed- *0* .. which meant it was my hyper acidic stomach that was the problem after all.    
By the way, said the ER doctor.. are you aware that you have had a small heart attack since your last EKG?   You have to be kidding!
A silent MI.  Well isn't that ducky!?  My last EKG was in March I believe.  
When I did have my check up on Wednesday, the doctor said there definitely was something there on the new EKG..hmmmm  Now I'd have to have a cardiolite stress test.   To make a long story short, the test was 4 hours long and ended with me on a treadmill trudging along breathlessly.. the techs both said I did excellent, as did the cardiologist who read the test.  I was OKAY.

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