It’s been a while since my last post. Suffice it to say non-blog related things have been stealing my attention. The latest being the most impacting.
I was in a Kiwanis meeting May 4th, when I began to feel ‘not right’. I became light headed and felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.
I politely excused myself, took some deep breaths, thought I had it under control and rejoined the meeting.
It was no more than five minutes and I excused myself again, this time I took my things with me.
The light headed feeling persisted. I kept trying to clear my head with deep breathing, but kept getting weaker. I checked my Fitbit and my heart rate was around 100, which didn’t make sense considering my level of inactivity. We have good conversations, but not that exciting.
I was lucky enough that the meeting was in conference room at a Mansfield Methodist Hospital and I walked myself down to the Emergency Room. By the time I got to the service counter, I was struggling for breath, I was near fainting, and my legs were about to go. I was able to give them my name and they were catching me with a wheel chair.
In minutes, they wheeled me to a room, got me on a bed, attached a number of leads all over (chest, abdomen and legs) and put an oxygen feed under my nose. While I was half fainting, I became strangely emotional, like I was about to cry and I said so. Just the weirdest thing. I normally handle stressful situations calmly.
I was struggling to tell them medical history while it felt like the right side of my head was becoming extra tingly, like I was losing circulation on that side of my head. I was scared. I thought it was my end.
They hooked up an IV, ran saline and monitored my heart. My BP was 180 over 110 and my heart rate was easily 100 or more. I was having a hard time, but they let me keep my cell phone and I called my wife. She insisted on coming to the ER.
I texted members of Kiwanis to let them know. A small cadre of them were allowed to hang out with me while I went through whatever this was.
And I texted my kids that I love them, but I didn’t let them know more than that. If this was the end, it was important. But I didn’t want them doing anything rash, like jumping on planes when there was nothing they could do.
My biggest fear was that they would rush me into surgery and crack my chest open.
The rest was a blur of emotions and trying to make light of a situation with humor. That’s my coping mechanism. My wife arrived and I know she could see the uncertainty in my eyes. We shared hopes for the future and I professed my feelings again.
Then there were several hours of imaging, evaluation, ekg’s that eventually led to a conversation with a very good ER doctor. You know the kind you hope for that will take the time to converse rather than do a brain dump and leave you confused.
He explained that the lower left chamber of my heart had been beating uncontrollably and after consulting with a specialist, they put me on a script to keep my heart from running out of control.
When they were sure my heart was under control, they released me and I drove myself home.
Thinking about this, in the back of my mind, I’m reminded of the ‘holiday heart’ and wondered, did my drinking cause me permanent and irreversible damage?
I’m not sure I’ll ever know for sure, but… it makes one think.