Monday, May 18, 2009

matters of the heart.

So last night (a.k.a. early this morning) was interesting, to say the least. Yesterday at 8:30 p.m. I returned home from a weekend in Vegas with Brett (to be blogged about later), delighted to see my kids, who had been spoiled and excellently taken care of by their Grandpa John and Grandma Dixie. I couldn't have been happier to see them! I got home about their bedtime, but selfishly couldn't send them to the land of nod without some snuggle time. We read stories and cuddled on the couch watching the first half of the old Parent Trap movie until 10:00. By then I figured I'd better be a good parent and finally let them get some rest since a school day loomed over the horizon. Besides, I was ready for bed myself. We all quickly finished the bedtime routine and by 10:20, the kids had been tucked in and I crawled between the sheets. It didn't take long before I was out.

Suddenly, at almost exactly 11:00, I sat up in bed, grabbing my chest with this incredibly painful "pinching" sensation at my heart. Panicking that no other adult was in the house to help me, I reached for the phone and in a knee-jerk reaction dialed "9-1-1". The operator answered and the pain was so severe I could barely muster out "I'm having chest pains". She asked from what city I was calling and after I told her she said she'd transfer me to North Salt Lake's dispatch center. By the time the transfer went through, I'd been awake for about 60 seconds and the pain had finally subsided. At this point, what do you do? I no longer had pain, but my heart was racing. However, was it racing because there was truly something wrong or was it fast because I felt panicky and full of adrenaline? I spoke with the operator and explained how I'd felt, but that now I wasn't sure I needed medical attention anymore. He didn't want to take any chances and said he'd already dispatched an ambulance and that he believed I should be checked out. I'm feeling like the biggest idiot at this point, so I say to him, "Can you at least tell them to turn the sirens off?" He made no promises but said he would try.
With every minute that passed I felt more and more like I'd overreacted, but at the same time very unnerved at what I'd just experienced. Just what the heck was that??? While I waited for the ambulance, Wyatt woke up with a nightterror, so I put him back down and tried calling Brett in Las Vegas. Just as I was dialing, the ambulance (with no sirens, thankfully, but an obnoxiously loud engine) parked in front of the house. I opened the door to see two paramedics anxiously waiting to treat a patient who they probably assumed was in much worse shape. Feeling very sheepish I explained how the dispatcher had insisted they come and they tried their best to make me feel like it was better to be safe than sorry. They checked my blood pressure and pulse and asked a billion questions, finally to conclude that at least at that moment, I was "normal". Then they were on their way, with a final reassurance that I should not hesitate to call again if the symptoms returned.

Too wound up to sleep, I called Brett--just hearing his voice on the other end of the line was a major comfort. We talked for a while and I poured out how I wasn't feeling pain any more, but that I still felt weird, kind of "out of sorts". Just that something was off. I was torn as to what I should do and confessed I was afraid to go back to bed in case we had a repeat of before. Finally convincing me to just put in a movie or something, we hung up. Within twenty minutes, my uneasy feeling began to escalate and my heart began to race. Feeling short of breath, something inside me said I shouldn't fool around with this and that I needed to get to a hospital. I contemplated calling a neighbor since I wasn't 100% sure I should be driving, but then realized I needed someone with the kids, too. Poor John and Dixie got a phone call from me around midnight.

I'm so grateful for a good family and incredible support system. I know they were exhausted after having the kids all weekend, so to be awakened in the night like that was a great deal for me to ask. My only hope is that at least Dixie got a little sleep, since thankfully (and surprisingly) my kids never woke up through this entire ordeal. She has her piano recital later today, though, and I feel I've deprived her now of the energy she would have liked to have had for that. Hopefully it goes okay.

My heart continued to race and although I wasn't in pain, the only thing I can describe is that I felt like my heart was working very, very hard. It lasted for about 20 minutes, subsiding just a couple minutes before John & Dixie arrived.

John drove me to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray where we checked into the Emergency Room. It was nice to find it a slow night, and they took us right back. They jumped into a whole gamut of tests, poking and prodding (translation: $$$ CHUH-CHING $$$!!!). They ran bloodwork,

an EKG,

and topped the night off with a CT Scan
since my bloodwork indicated a possibility of blood clots. That obviously made me very nervous. It wasn't something I was expecting to hear as a possible diagnosis, but in a way it had made some sense since I had travelled so much this weekend, and Saturday after walking the strip all day, I'd had an experience where my feet had swollen up to a laughable state and remained such for 24 hours. Imagine my relief when the CT scan showed normal lungs with no signs of clotting. At that point, there was really nothing more they could do. It was 3:30 a.m., I'd gotten very little sleep, John had gotten even less sitting in a typically uncomfortable hospital chair. So they sent me home.

It's a frustrating situation: on one hand, I'm relieved of course that there seems to be nothing to diagnose, but on the other hand, it's extremely unnerving. Especially since I still felt that "uncomfortable" feeling in my left chest even as I was being discharged. I still can't help but wonder what was happening to my body and if I should have been doing more. But what? They pretty much did everything you can do short of open-heart surgery in the ER. Uneasy and a little afraid, I did the best I could by saying a prayer asking Heavenly Father to either help put my mind at ease by taking away the feelings in my chest, or to help me know definitively if I should pursue the matter further by going to another doctor today. When I woke up this morning, the feeling was still there to a certain degree, but definitely not like it was last night. After talking with Brett, we decided I would make some phone calls and see if another doctor could review last night's test results just to make sure we didn't miss anything. In the mean time, I'll just keep praying that the Lord will take care of me and hope that I'm in tune with what He's trying to tell me. I've never, EVER dealt with anything like this before. The fact that my kids slept through it almost makes it seem like last night was just a dream. A very bizarre, very scary dream. Hopefully it was a one-time deal...but it sure puts a person on edge.

14 comments:

LaFawnda said...

Was it an exiety attack?

LaFawnda said...

OK I can spell, just not turned sideways on the keyboard,
ANXIETY, you know, the crud we all feel, but you had it to the NNNNNTH degree..

Hope said...

Hadn't thought of that, but I really don't think so...I wasn't stressed out about anything. In fact I was asleep. Dixie suggested maybe my gall bladder? She's heard people say sometimes problems with your gall bladder can feel like having a heart attack? I don't know--it was weird and frightening.

I just got my cholesterol and thyroid checked last week at a regular check up and they are all "normal", so...

Emily said...

You were right to get checked out... your cute little kiddos need a mommy in great shape. You know best- so take care of yourself. Keep us posted!

Tif said...

So scary! I hope you are doing okay. Please don't hesitate to call if you need anything-even if it's the middle of the night. I understand what it is like to be in a situation like that and especially with your husband out of town. Please know that you can call anytime. Keep me posted if you find anything.

Annie said...

Wow! What a night. I'm glad things look okay, hopefully they stay that way!

Kristi said...

That is so scary! And frustrating. I just went to four different doctors with a problem and finally got a diagnosis with the fourth one. I think that you have to follow your instincts and if you think something is wrong, pursue it until you have an answer. Good luck!

Shelley said...

You really meant it when you said you were "under the weather." Let me know if I can help you out with anything!

Mandy said...

How scary is that! You did the right thing though. Better to get checked out. Please let me know if you need anything! Love you!

Heather said...

Hope!!! You better call me next time (hopefully there won't be one)! You know I can come with you and that our monitors work over at your house, so Dave can listen for both sets of kids at the same time. Yikes, scary, glad to hear you are OK.

Wonderland Pearls & Purses said...

man i wish we were closer. i hope something works out for you soon! love ya

alison

Wendy Kremin said...

All I can say is you and Calvin are twins. Ask him about his experience in a Canadian emergency room at midnight. I'm glad you're okay. You know you could call us anytime too. We love you!

Jen said...

Chica! That's scary. But here's the thing: anxiety/panic attacks can mimic symptoms of a heart attack, and they don't necessarily have to have anything to do with "stress." Anxiety can be a hormonal thing that happens in your pituitary gland (most commonly, but can be other places), so you can totally be diagnosed with anxiety without feeling "anxious" at all (this is backed up by my roommate, who is a nurse). That could EASILY have been an anxiety attack, regardless of the fact you were sleeping. You might want to ask a doctor about it.

Also, if you're worried about clots or heart stuff, you should take a baby aspirin every day for a few weeks and see if that helps. (You can ask your doc about that, too.) Aspirin is a natural blood thinner, so they often prescribe that for people who have clots. Unless you are already on blood thinners or have hemophilia or an aspirin allergy or something like that, it definitely won't hurt anything and can only help. :)

Jen said...

Wow, what an ordeal. I hope that you are doing okay!

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."



Thomas Jefferson