Friday, March 14, 2008

Back-Posting: 2007 Part 4

In September I was on a business trip (big surprise) when chest pains woke me at 2AM. I waited a few minutes for them to go away, but they settled nicely right around my heart. Finally, I sucked it up and called 911.

The EMTs came in an ambulance and rolled a stretcher through the lobby and all the way up to my room. They put pads on my chest and listened to my heart, and finally decided to strap me down, roll me back through the lobby, and take me to the ER. It was my first ambulance ride ever (and hopefully my last). Meanwhile, the pain got worse and worse.

The emergency room wasn't too crowded, and they found me a bed right away. The EKG was negative (between that and the heart monitor in the hotel, I now had about 20 patches on, all of which left a nice hickey when I removed them the next day). The doctor said I wasn't the right age or weight group to be considered a heart attack risk. Was I taking meth, she asked? No. Heroine? No. Meth? No!

By this time I was almost crying. The pain continued to worsen. They gave me a pregnancy test. They gave me a shot in the "hip" for the pain, which took over an hour to start working. I finished my book and had nothing else to distract me. I waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally they wheeled me out for a chest x-ray. As we were leaving my room, the technician came after me saying "you dropped your bra". And plopped on my lap the largest undergarment I had ever seen. This whole time I had been lying in bed with someone else's GG underwear! And someone actually thought that it was mine!

The chest x-ray was negative too. Their final diagnosis was that I had a chest wall contusion (bruise). Maybe I had been kicked in the chest recently? No, I said. Well, then, maybe I had been and hadn't noticed, she offered.

The trip back to the hotel had far less pomp than that to the hospital: I had to take a cab. The driver was about 150 years old. I got in the car with a prescription for Vicodin in my hand, then I blinked and it was gone. So I asked the driver to take me back to the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, I asked where we were going - "The pharmacy, of course". THEN we turned around to go back to the hospital, where I had to ask the doctor for another prescription. Probably didn't do a lot for her suspicion that I was on meth.

I was walking out of the Walgreens when I saw the sun rise. It had been quite a night.

It wasn't until I returned to Sacramento that my internist diagnosed me with pleurisy, an inflamation of the lining of the chest wall not from a kick to the chest, but allergies and asthma. Makes a lot more sense, doesn't it?

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