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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Easter Monday

My Easter Monday

For the last six weeks, I had developed progressively more annoying giddy spells, just like the old folk used to have. Complete with body shakes. Tremors.

So I planned a four-day weekend through Easter. The idea was to sleep. Lots. And that's what I did. Well, until Monday. Then I went to the lake for the afternoon where I frequently took walk-abouts to shake off the nausea.

We left the lake and walked back to the car in the late afternoon. Upon arrival, I hit my knees and deposited what was left of the water I swilled earlier into the gravel. My lake companion drove us home. In silence. 

I collapsed on the couch, and suggested she go on to dinner. That I'd be alright soon. I was so wrong. And I learned just how wrong I was in only a few minutes.

Extreme nausea. Shirt drenching sweats. Rib cracking dry heaves. Huge whole body tremors that preclude any manner of coordination. Heart rate in excess of 178.

Rinse and repeat in 20 minute intervals.

I dealt with that at home through about four hours. Then I gathered a small bag of stuff I'd need and went down stairs to call 911. Note: it took an additional hour to fill the shopping bag. Gagging over the side of your tub then rolling out across the floor to flap around can take more time than you might think. Try it one day.

The guard downstairs could not speak English well enough to place the call. I couldn't really form words much less hold his flip phone. It took a few minutes for the 911 person to just dispatch.

What is your address? I told her on the third try. Which apartment? I'm in the lobby. That needed four tries. Then she started going through symptoms. Finally, I was able to form: I have them all. A fortuitous lie, but it was the best I could do.

Here come the lights and sirens.

Fire truck first.  With a defibrillator. Now I'd benefit from cardioversion, but might we get a bed? With anesthesia?

Finally the ambulance arrived. I must have looked quite the mess from the looks on the EMTs faces. They did some quick vitals, and then started moving. Fast. I tried to tell them I have averaged and held 200 beats per minute for hours at the time. 178 was hardly a practice run. But they didn't seen interested.

As we jumped the speed bumps, my attendant sank an IV into my arm, and hit the vein, all in one shot. I spoke highly of her skill, but she was too busy attaching a bag of some sort while talking on the radio about some old fart they were bringing in.

They asked where I wanted to go. I said closest ER because I knew I'd get car sick in the truck, and I did. I dry heaved in a bag as they opened the back doors. It sounded like something from Jurassic Park. Repeatedly. (The dry heaves usually came in sets of six.)

Then a huge ass tremor arrived that put every part of my body moving in different directions. They decided to strap me down at that point. Once secured, someone asked if I always flopped around like that. I said it was just a Monday thing.

Then we sent in. My ambulance attendant had my bag, and she fetched out my ID and insurance card for my check-in. However, I didn't participate in any of that. The cart I was on never slowed down. That place moved just like they do on TV.

They started an IV to reduce my heart rate while reviewing the prescription bottles in the bag. They were not interested in my Road ID, which would have revealed my entire medical history and condition. But they did draw some blood, and discovered that I was about out of magnesium. Let's start another IV.

They asked how I knew I was in afib. I refrained from pointing out that no other person on this sort planet had the intimate knowledge that I have regarding the functioning of this aged cuerpus.

I mentioned that I had not had much success with the Diltiazem in the previous year. This alarmed the doc ego had just increased the Diltiazem drip rate, but I told him I  was willing to feel lethargic for a few days this week.

What was going on to keep me entertained tonight was the synergistic interaction of the atrial fibrillation and the magnesium deficiency. A 1-2 punch. Even after taking magnesium supplements. What a lucky boy I am. Even better, my good friend, Caribbean rum, both enhances afib and depletes magnesium. I was born to suffer.

Then they decided to keep me a couple of nights. On those beds that hum and move and vibrate all night. So I wouldn't get bed sores, they said. I responded with a look of incredulity.

At the end of the second night, I announced that this adventure was going to end. This very morning. The ESL nurse is apparently not accustomed to hearing such statements. She also didn't much get what I said by way of explanation. Frankly, I think she used her ESL status to justify ignoring people.

There's a big rule in my world: Never, every piss off the Old Queen. Not prudent.

Her assistant got it. Clearly. As did the next nurse. And the head doc was there promptly. I told him that after three sleepless nights,  I had nothing left to offer our work together and that I was quite satisfied to no longer have a heart rate near theoretical max, rib destroying dry heaves, and tremors that resembled break dancing.  He and I discussed the situation along with some follow-up medical work he thought would be prudent.

Then he said let's send you home. And he did with a hand shake. I gave the nurses got hugs.

Now that, children, is how you rock a long Easter weekend.

6 comments:

The Crow said...

Jeezzuss!

I don't hear from you in months and this is what you open with?!

Honey lamb, how the hell are you tonight?

Jim Penny said...

It's been a long season, Crow. Yet, I remain among the living. Now, I just need to sleep.

I'm so glad to see you're still with us up there!

The Crow said...

Then, sweet dreams, my friend. I'm equally glad you are still here and hope your health improves rapidly. (Happy to see that your sense of humor under trying situations is still sharp.)

Sleep well.

Robert Johnson said...

Take care, friend. We have many paths to explore.

The Crow said...

Jim, how are you doing? I hope you've gotten the sleep you need.

Jim Penny said...

Very little changes. The long season continues. I'm getting rather skilled at being an old fart.