Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sarah's Heart ---Uh, Ginger's Heart Scare

Sarah's Heart is my new release, but I'm here to talk about my own heart today.  The following story is quite emotional, so you might want to have a hankie handy.  :)  Maybe it's not same caliber of heroics Sarah exhibited, and I certainly didn't have Jimmy Thomas to hold my hand, but it was quite an experience for me.  Growing old is definitely filled with challenges, and I, for one, could forgo most of them.  That doesn't mean I'm ready to throw in the towel, I'm not! I have a lot left to do, I'd just like to look and feel better while I'm here.  :)  On a side note, Rita's post yesterday about pennies struck close to home.  As I got out of my car at the hospital, I found a penny on the ground.  I never step over them...always pick them up.  I remember the saying, "Find a penny, pick it up, all day long, you'll have good luck."  The "Trust in God" association is taking place of the poem for me, because I definitely do.  Funny how that faith can bring peace when you most need it.

Mortality is a fragile thing.  The older we get, the more we think about it.  The old saying, "only two things in life are certain, death and taxes," suddenly rings very true.  Recently, I had a scare...as you can see from the not-so-lovely picture. I got to wear a beautiful hospital gown and be hooked to heart monitors.  I've come to the conclusion that hospitals are where modesty goes to die. :) You can't be ashamed to bare anything in front of anyone.  My who-who got more exposure than Fifty Shades of Gray.

I drove myself to the ER because the symptoms I was having had been going on for three weeks.  I'd already had a stress test, saw the Cardio doc a second time, and had been scheduled for an angiogram.  I made the decision because I felt unusually bad on Sunday and I didn't want to bother anyone.  I must admit, when you claim chest pains and shortness of breath, you get to move directly to the express lane.

 So after laying on an ER gurney for three hours, I was taken to a room with a much more comfortable bed, but one that adjusts itself constantly to prevent the occupant from getting bedsores or any type of rest. 

I didn't sleep one minute the entire almost two days I was there because evidently falling asleep is against house rules.  Even if I could sleep, some poor lady down the hall yelled "help me, help me," non stop.  I don't know where she got the energy because I was exhausted from listening to her.  I was informed she was confused and being tended to, but I can only take the nurses' word for that.

Just as you start to doze, someone comes in to draw blood, take your vitals, do an EKG, ask if you've peed or pooped, or to tidy up the room.  Add to the mix, an IV machine that buzzes for no apparent reason until someone comes to reset it.  I swear if they're as slow in responding to a real emergency as they are the non-stop buzzing that's going on, the death rate would definitely rise.  The buzzing starts out low and increases the longer it goes.  I'm not deaf in my left ear.

Don't get me wrong.  The nurses there are professional, polite, and very through.  Maybe being spread so thin didn't help at all.  I shouldn't complain about my treatment, but if I didn't what would I have to blog about?

As I said, the ultimate test for my symptoms was an angiogram, so after seeing the ER doc, my personal physician, then some doctor that wandered in who I'd never seen,  I consulted with a cardio doc who suggested we get the test done ASAP.  I barely had time to breathe before they came for me.  With each visit, a little cash register in my head went, "cha-ching."  A lot of cha-chings when they brought me the toothpaste, brush, shampoo, kleenex, comb, wash bin, mouthwash and a pair of footies that have noskid tops and bottoms.  I'm still trying to figure that out.  The top "tread" catches on the cover and pulls them off your feet.  Who thought that up?

Anyhow, I was wheeled into a room that felt like the north pole and assured that my "private parts" would not be exposed.  With a blanket across my top and my legs, I sure felt like something was exposed.  I was told to lay flat, not move...even to scratch my nose.  I was promised medicine to numb the artery area and some that would make me "not care."  I had to ask for more numbing medicine, and somewhere during the pain, I mentioned to the nurse, "I still care."  The amount of "tenting" used kept the little "cha-ching" sound going non-stop in my head, but I must admit, I might have froze without it.  I don't know how those people work in there without Parkas.

As luck would have it, the doctor said I had a small femoral artery.  Funny how anything small on me, other than my top lip, is hidden.  Well, actually, it isn't really all that funny.  I felt pretty sure the doctor was using a Craftsman rotating screwdriver, but I didn't dare lift my head and try to see. I had total faith in my  doctor, but that doesn't mean I had to enjoy the discomfort. 

Is it just me, or do other women have problems with male nurses?  It's not that I'm sexist, I just prefer not to have two men staring at my groin at the same time.  But then, I've never liked anyone staring at my groin.  :) Maybe I'm just jealous because I can't see it all.  How embarassing...I had to call my DIL today to help me replace the pressure bandage with a bandaid because I couldn't see where to put it.  Sad!

  The procedure didn't last long, thank goodness, but now I'm hobbling around like an old woman with a stick up my butt.  Well, I am a old woman, but sans the stick. I miss my husband.  There's no one here to wait on me.  :(

The good news, my heart is okay.  The bad news, I still don't know what's causing me to be short of breath and have heaviness in my chest.  I sort of have an idea and I'm going to experiment by wearing my bra twenty-four hours a day.  I got the idea when I kept apologizing to the technicians giving me the EKGs for their having to lift my boob to put on those little sticky tabs.  I think I said something like, "Twenty years ago, you wouldn't have had to do that...they were up where they belonged."  Yep, growing old is not for sissies...and gravity is a bitch!


Roseanne Dowell said...

Praise God, your heart is okay. That's wonderful news. Strange thing that they can't find anything wrong with you. Frustrating also. I know the feeling well. As you said cha-ching. Who was it that said something about growing old gracefully?

lizzie starr said...

So glad your heart is okay. I sure know what you mean about the male nurses. At my last heart cath, two nurses came in, one to fill out the ever present paperwork, the other to shave. And of course, the male nurse had shaving duty. Sigh.

After a number of procedures, I also agree there isn't much modesty left. Especially when there's a group of students on the floor. Oh sure, no problem. Go ahead and look. Again. LOL

take care!

Regan Black said...

So glad your heart is okay (and good luck with the bra experiment). Take care of you!

Anita Davison said...

Hope you are feeling better Ginger and although it's frustrating, I'm glad there is nothing wrong. Yeah I wondered what those buzzers were for as no one took any notice of them when I was in hospital either.

Ginger Simpson said...

My sentiments exactly. My ex-MIL thinks I might be having panic attacks again like I did years ago. I remember now, the symptoms were very similar. Wonder what I'm in a panic about? At least knowing it isn't my heart is a big stress reduction.

Ginger Simpson said...

I hope I never have to have another one of these. My groin is black and blue and so sore I can barely walk. Today is better, so I know tomorrow will be, too. And as if the pain isn't enough, now I look forward to the itch of hair regrowth. Yuk! Not a pretty image, I know, but a fact of life. *lol*

Ginger Simpson said...

Thanks, Regan. I'm happy with the news, and I'm lining up all the new bras I bought just for the occasion. :)

Ginger Simpson said...

Yes, around two in the morning the place started to sound like a cathedral with all the buzzing and ringing going on. Thanks for stopping by, Anita. Hope you are well.

Meg said...

Oh my!!! SOOO glad you're better. Poor who-who, and poor groin, and poor boobs. I hear ya, all around. I really felt old when I saw all these little kids running around the ER, and was told they were the docs/nurses!! LOL Getting old ain't for sissies, as Bette Davis said.

S.Durham said...

Oh Ginger, sorry you had to go through all that, (boy you nailed the hospital experience on the head). Sometimes us nurses forget that the patient is human afterall-LOL. But...so glad that your heart is fine! I wonder if your iron is low, or are you anemic? Both could cause fatigue and sometimes shortness of breath? Well I hope they figure out what's going on. You are in my continued prayers.


Rita Karnopp said...

This is probably unkind to admit-- because this is so serious ... and I feel so bad for you...I have to admit ... throughout this 'I can so relate' story... I laughed my bedonkey-donk off! Girl you can tell a story. You know I love you -- so I can admit you did a good job making light of a serious situation. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers . . . get some rest and take care of yourself. Big hug from Montana...Rita

widdershins said...

Glad to hear you made it through OK ... get some hair conditioner on that 'regrowth' as soon as you can!

Latesha said...

Ginger, So glad you are ok. Wish you had someone there to give you plenty of TLC. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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