Last Thursday I went to the doctor for a simple referral to an opthamologist. Twenty minutes later, paramedics and EMTs and doctors were hustling me into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital. Oddly enough, they didn’t use the siren. And if they didn’t use the siren was an ambulance really necessary?
You know, a trip to the emergency room hadn’t been on my to do list. For one thing, my dear old dog was waiting in the car. For another, I felt fine. No better or worse than any other day. But precisely no one was interested in how I felt.
When I got to the hospital, MDs and technicians and nurses swarmed me. I was hooked to the second heart monitor of the day, which showed my heart rate at 190. They shoved an IV in my arm and clamped a thing that measures oxygen in the blood to my finger and looked somber. Buzzers buzzed, machines beeped, and I was scared spitless.
If the drugs didn’t bring my heart rate down, they warned, they’d have to shock my heart with those paddle things. Are you nuts? We’ll put you under first. Are you nuts? I’m fine. Again, no one was interested.
The crowd in the room slowly thinned until it was just me and a tech. We watched the numbers change on the monitors and talked about caffeine headaches, which I was getting at the time. I wound up watching Cheers on the tv bolted to the wall.
After an eternity someone came in and said things had improved nicely, was I in any pain? Did I feel sick? No. For the thousandth time, no! I felt perfectly and absolutely fine. So they admitted me.
The following days were a round robin of activities. They shot me full of blood thinner, gave me an echocardiogram, a chest x-ray, and took endless blood samples. I was forced to pee in a cup every time I used the bathroom. I was punctured and x-rayed and tested and squeezed and had every move monitored.
Each morning at 5, the nurses would fly into a panic — my temperature was up a degree. Oh, no. They’d clutch their throats, make furious notes, take my temperature again, flutter more, then rat me out to a doctor. You would think they’d notice a pattern by the third morning, don’t you? They didn’t.
The thing is, at night I turn my bed into a sweat lodge. I do. It’s an ancient Indian custom they believe is healing and purifying; I believe it’s paradise. The nurses believed it was a rampant infection. Because they’re wild-eyed alarmists.
After all the testing and monitoring it was determined my thyroid is the culprit. I don’t understand the connection but the medical professionals say there is one. Something about too much thyroid hormone sending my heart into a rapid, erratic rhythm. The very good news, miraculous even, is my heart’s in good shape, no sign of damage. phew and phew
On the third day, with my patience gone, I had a loud confrontation with the stoopid doctor. It was silly to keep me there when I could just as easily lie around in my own bed at home. In fact, keeping me there was probably raising my heart rate. In one ear and out the other.
On the fourth day, doctor grim said my heart rate was still far from under control and still quite high, but. (Oh, how I love buts.) He would discharge me if I insisted. I did. He said it was ill-advised and foolish, and he hoped I wouldn’t regret it. Then he left the room, only to return and shake my hand with a melodramatic ‘good luck’ that was supposed to make me change my mind. Fat chance.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end, I have to return on Wednesday for a thyroid scan. That’s a 2-day event, but it’s outpatient. Yay! If they call the paramedics on me again, I’ll be long gone when they get there.
Regarding Bart the Wonderdog who’d been stranded in the car: the doctor’s office called his vet, the vet called Animal Control, Animal Control picked him up and delivered him to the vet for boarding. He was safe and in familiar surroundings, but he had to be a little freaked out.
A Future Installment: The Roommates
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