At 3am i awoke with crushing chest pains. The pain was radiating to my back and spreading down my left arm. I figured this was God getting back at me for not going to services. I looked up the symptoms of "women's heart attacks" and my symptoms matched. I got out of bed and noticed Warren was still up, so I told him I felt I needed to go to the emergency room.
I hate hospitals -- with a passion. When I say I want to go to a hospital, This Means Something.
Warren thought it might be indigestion and fed me a few Maalox tablets to no avail. Finally he called 911 and the dispatcher told him to get me to a hospital.
I arrived at the hospital around 4am. I was quickly admitted and hooked up to a bunch of monitors, then fed enough nitro glycerine to blow up a small bathroom. The nitro seemed to help a bit. They also stuck a catheter in my right arm, told me not to bend it, and then wanted me to sign a bunch of stuff -- and I'm right-handed.
Around 7am they told me breakfast was coming, which surprised me. That was when I found out I was being admitted. Eeep. Breakfast, btw, was bacon, eggs, coffee, and oatmeal. They had some of the information about my food allergies from my last stay around ten years ago, but they missed one crucial one: No Sugar. It took around 15 minutes to get Sweet and Low for my coffee and oatmeal.
After breakfast the nurse injected my catheter with morphine. It felt like ice going down my veins. She had apparently told Warren I'd "get lots of sleep." The person in the room next to me was snoring. Loudly. I did not get sleep. I was eventually wheeled up to a room with three other women, all of whom were older than my mother, and all of whom were up, wide awake, and doing stuff. The room was bright and sunny; even closing my curtain didn't darken it enough for me to sleep. I tried playing games on my Palm device and was quickly running the battery down. I didn't want to watch TV, and there was nothing to read. It didn't help that the room was chilly but the mattress was covered with plastic; I was shivering on top and sweating on the bottom. Eeeuw.
The doctor came in. The blood tests showed I didn't have a heart attack. I had costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the inner end
of each rib with the breastbone. They were making noises about keeping me another day to do a stress test "just in case" and wanted to make sure the costochondritis wasn't caused by hardening of the arteries. I was panicking because I was supposed to fly to Phoenix the next morning to go to chatworthy's wedding.
Not wanting to wake Warren, who was getting desparately needed sleep, I called dimakoi since it was after 10am and I figured (correctly) she'd be up. Eventually "lunch" arrived. I use the quotes because nobody had consulted me when choosing this meal. The plate consisted of turkey and whipped potatoes with gravy, some unknown steamed vegetable, canned pineapple wedges, a dinner roll, and decaf coffee. Those of you who've been reading my journal a while know:
- I hate turkey and mashed potatoes
- I avoid gravy because of my mushroom allergy (and I don't care for it anyway)
- I never order unidentified steamed vegetables because of my vegetable allergies
- the mere smell of pineapple makes me retch
- I'm not much of a bread eater
- I almost always drink either iced tea or diet soda with my meals
I immediately begged -- repeatedly -- to have the tray removed, as the smell was worse than any school cafeteria food I'd ever encountered. Right after the food was removed the volunteers came with magazines. I was soooo grateful.
Finally the dietician phoned me to ask what I would like to eat after I'd zeroed out everything on the menu. The only thing offered to me that sounded palatable was the burrito (I correctly figured it'd be a microwaved burrito that they couldn't screw up), iced tea, and diet custard. The custard sucked (it tasted like flavored Jell-o), but the rest of it was palatable. As I finished dimakoi came by. She was in stitches when I told her what they'd brought on the first platter because she could guess my reaction.
Eventually dimakoi went to get lunch and I took a brief nap. dimakoi got back as I was waking up. The dietician called to ask what I wanted for dinner. I wound up with the burrito again because everything else either had mushrooms or sounded vile. This time I asked if they had diet soda as an option; they did, so I got diet Sprite. When the dinner and menu arrived I saw they had several Indian entrees, such as Alu Chole and basmati rice. Had I seen that, that was what I would've ordered. (Grrrf. Stupid whitebread dietician.)
As the food arrived I was told I was going to be released and could change. I didn't even wait for the nurse to remove my catheter to get into my regular clothes. I also did a sponge bath in the bathroom, which didn't have a shower. By this time I was downright grungy and in desparate need of a cleaning.
As I was eating the nurse came to remove the catheter, then they brought the wheelchair to check me out. dimakoi drove me home, and Warren felt inadequate because he wasn't up and awake to do so, thinking I was somehow angry (we eventually straightened this out and all was well). dimakoi and I had planned to get something afterwards, but she was too tired, and I was dying for a shower. I was also massively tired and I had yet to pack for my trip. I set the alarm, wrote up my packing list, then went to sleep.