Thursday morning I had an appointment at the VA Clinic where I go for a 'Shingles Shot'. It was an oppressive day outside and by the time I had walked the parking lot with my cane and made the long trek up the ramp into the Federal Building, I was pretty winded. I'm sure the sore throat/cold I'm fighting didn't help either. I got myself to the 2nd floor clinic and the nurse got me into a room and noticed how winded I was. She started asking questions...are you short of breath (that was fairly obvious. Do you have any sharp pains...answered truthfully (big mistake) not right now but last night I did. I guess that was a red flag or something...they immediately hooked me up for an EKG. Then the doctor looked at it and said to send her to the ER. I'm sure now that the whole incident could have been avoided if I'd just sat down in the lobby and used the rescue inhaler that is in my O2 case around my neck. But that brilliant thought never made it to my pea brain. So they called my daughter at her meeting and said I had refused transport to the ER. I had said I'd wait for Charlie (youngest daughter.) She showed up all in a panic and crying (love her to death and wouldn't do anything to scare her if I'd had my wits about me). After Charlie came in the room with a giant Security Guard and started telling me that refusing transport just to save an ambulance bill was foolish (actually it wasn't at all...she got to the ER waiting room long before I did in that ambulance.
Now let me tell you about the ambulance...I appreciate that they are doing their job but when it comes to me and IV's from them I tend to balk! My veins are pretty little and like to roll around. One fireman sitting on the wrong side of the truck for a lefty was really having a tough time getting a needle into my hand and I had already told him to use the smallest needle that had and it still wasn't working for him. He had a "kibitzer' looking over his shoulder and telling him "you missed it, I can see from here it's to your left". which did nothing for my nerves. So then another fireman on the other side of me takes my left arm and he proceeded to start another one. First thing I said before he started was where the alcohol swab for that hand. He said right behind me...laid down his pkg with the needle in it and gets the swab and washes the back of my left hand. So if you can picture this: I'm lying on a gurney with both arms out to the side and these two firemen are trying to see who's going to get the needle in first. I said in a very calm voice, "I am taking names you know". They had already been told my nickname is Sarge so they weren't surprised at all. The onlooker at the back door rattles off two names and then smiles but his buddy gave it away. He said they'd both retired so I still don't know the names of the two poking me. And then glory be...The guy on the left says I'm in! like he was going to get a cupie doll or something. The guy on the right arm pulled his needle out and put a wad of gauze on the spot but not before I saw a very large bubble show up that he was taping down.
The three block ride was very uneventful. No sirens or anything like that. But now we come to the adventure in the ER! I'm in this room and Charlie finally finds me. I was sure glad to see her. She took over telling them what the problems were going to be. "She has very small veins and they roll!" So for about 20 mins we watched a student nurse put tourniquet on the arm and poke with his finger to see which vein he was going to try and stick me in. First arm didn't show much promise so he wheels him self around the foot of the bed and does the same thing again. He made 4 little joy rides around the bed to check one arm or another and finally he disappeared. Then a more seasoned person in the shape of a good sized male nurse came in and when he saw the vials still on the shelf and nothing in them, Charlie explained to him how much the student had tried and just couldn't find a vein. Big nurse jumps on the little stool and proceeds to check the left arm and not happy with what he saw so he takes the joy ride around the bed and goes for the right arm. He managed to get a needle into the vein at the wrist (the one that you might slice if you wanted to leave the earthly realm), but he just wanted to put a needle in it and then fill up 5 vials. He did it and I have the large bruise to show for that one also.! And they did it again at 11 Pm, and at 2 Am, and again at 5:30 Am. I slept through them...they are good about not letting you wake up all the way, just enough to say they woke me and then they draw blood.
The trip to X-ray was uneventful and then they wheeled me over to the EDU (evaluation decision unit). That's where I spent the night. Tried to watch the Olympics with Charlie before she had to get back to the house and be the hostess for the Thursday night pot luck. They are like the Mail people...neither rain, nor sleet...etc will stop them from a good pot luck! God love them! I do love them and I'm sorry I missed the Valentines one. Charlie says we'll do Valentines again next Thursday.
Friday was Valentine's Day but I was in the Nuclear Med wing getting some pictures of my heart. I'd forgotten how much I dislike the Cardiac Stress Test...it had been 2 years since I'd done one and I tend to forget things. It came back in a flash though. The put something Nuclear in my veins so they could get pictures of it. That stuff gives you a flush but it doesn't last long.Lay still for 8.5 mins while the two x-ray plates rotate around your body. And I'm claustrophobic so that wasn't real easy for me. my arms had to be up over my head so she put a pillow on my forehead (had me worried for a second...but it wasn't my face) and then my arms had someplace to lay and the pillow case covered my eyes so I couldn't see that horrible machine moving at that slow pace. Then they helped my arms down since by now they are going to stay put unless you help them move. Next came the stresser! The pictures were a before and after, so my mind is saying we have to do that scary part again.
We go into another room and I'm laid down on a little more comfortable bed than the first one...a nurse practitioner comes into the room, logs onto the computer and then takes my hand and tells me that it just a simple procedure.The tech is going to inject three different types of medicine into the iv and it will stress the heart, the third one will bring it back down. It's the equivalent of half an hour on the treadmill, which I can't do because of the Osteo Penia in the right hip. Some day I'll need a new hip, I guess, but that can wait till I'm 90 and instead they can just put a placer in there and give me one of those electric chairs with a joy stick. Then it was back to the hard bed with my arms over my head again...felt really dizzy and almost fell out of the chair but she helped me into the bed so I couldn't fall down...Not on her watch anyway! Don't move for 8.5 mins again and then she wants to do a lookey at the back so I'm on my stomach now and can't move for 5 mins.
I finally made it back to the room at about 12:30 Pm. Charlie was there waiting for me. They brought me a Cardiac liquid diet until they got the test results back. Thursday night's dinner was a Cardiac dinner also. I ordered a Cheeseburger and chocolate ice cream, and a Diet. Root Beer! Burger had white cheese on it and the ice cream lacked cream so I'm not sure what it was. But Charlie finally got me out of there about 1 Pm and got me back home.
See, it wasn't so bad! Right!!! I'm watching my diet more and like Shelly said...before you take that walk up the ramp into the Fed Bld. use the rescue inhaler and you might not have all this trouble. Except I still have the sore throat and some sort of cold/bronchitis. If it gets any worse I'll go back into the VA Clinic and get some anti-biotics.
Here's my Valentine to everyone, a day late but here non the less!
The picture went around facebook a couple of times and I liked it so I made it into a scrapbook Valentine!