Saturday, February 25, 2012


I was volunteering at my son's school - ringing up the book fair sales.  There was no one scheduled to come in on the shift after me, so I decided to stay until the last shift person came.  After all, I didn't know how to lock up or anything.  So I did.  My boy showed up and looked at books killing the hour between school letting out and the arrival of the next volunteer.   About half an hour before her arrival, I lifted my left arm to reach something and it hurt!  Like I'd been practicing deadlifts or something.  I stretched it and rotated it, but it still hurt.  My right arm felt fine - it was just my left.  I couldn't think of anything I'd done to make it ache so much, so after my relief came, the Boy and I got in the car and I told him I wanted to swing by my doctor's office for a minute.  It was almost 5pm and I was pretty sure the doctor was gone, but just in case...  The nurse was still there though, and after hearing my symptoms, she suggested I go to the emergency room.

I called Darling Man to tell him what was going on.  He and his firstborn were going to the FSU/Duke basketball game that night as a celebration of Firstborn's receiving his license to practice nursing and getting a job.  He was already on his way to Firstborn's place, which was between my doctor's office and the hospital, so I met him there.  The Boy stayed there and I told Darling Man to go on to the game.  I didn't want anything to interfere with this celebration unless it couldn't be helped.  He was a little reluctant, but I convinced him.  I was just going to get checked out and I'd call him if anything serious came up.  So he went and the Boy stayed with his niece and sister-in-law.

And I drove the two blocks to the hospital, found a place to park and walked into the Emergency Room.  The two nurses at the desk looked up and I explained that I was having pain in my left arm - they immediately sat me down to take my pulse and blood pressure (153/90).  Of course, I was a bit stressed out...  Then they put me in a room to be interviewed by another nurse with more specific questions about symptoms and medical history.  I was then ushered into another room where I ws hooked up to have an EKG taken.  Wearing my snappy new bracelet, I was then ushered back into the waiting room, which at 5pm in the afternoon was populated by a surprising number of very quiet people.  I had a book with me, so I sat down to read until they called me for the chest x-rays.  I looked up when the nurse called my name and went for the x-rays.  One from the back, one from the side.  Then back to the waiting room.   

The faces had changed a bit by then.  I looked around a little when I noticed a young black woman marching through the room with tears streaming down her face and saying emphatically that she didn't want to be in that room, she didn't want to be there.  Her march turned into a run and she disappeared through the sliding doors leading outside.  Almost immediately, a great wailing and screaming started in the direction she'd come from and a stream of women of varying ages began to emerge - all with tears running down their faces as they sobbed and supported each other out the door.  Obviously someone had died - but I don't know who or how.  I just know that person must have been loved for so many to be grieving like that.

Shortly thereafter, I was called back again for blood work and to have an IV port inserted.  I guess I was slightly dehydrated.  Having worked at the book fair, I couldn't just get up and leave to use the bathroom, so I hadn't been drinking much.  They couldn't find a vein.  Finally, one in my wrist popped up and in went the tube, out came the blood.  Now I'm feeling a bit woosy.  No food since 12:30 and it was now 9:30.  I got some pretzels and water and resumed reading until I was called in for cardiac monitoring.  Finally, they called me.  I donned the robe and laid down on a gurney and had new wires attached to me.  More reading.  Then the doctor came in.  Again with the pain (which was not getting better) and medical history, medications I was taking.  I got a shot of morphine and an aspirin and something else and was taken back to x-ray - this time to look at my shoulder and humerus.  Back to the monitoring room, where I read some more.  Making some serious progress on this book!

I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I came to, there was someone in the stall next to me.  He was moaning a bit and there was a flurry of activity by nurses and a doctor as they tried to stop the bleeding.  The guy had been stabbed in the chest during an argument and one of his lungs was filling with blood.  It was apparently pumped out, making quite the mess, then he was stitched up and had packing and bandages applied before he was rolled away.  I never saw anything, but as I drifted in and out of consciousness, I kept hearing nurses and the clean-up crew commenting on the mess he'd made and how much blood was on the floor.  Finally, I passed out.

The doctor was standing over me when I woke up.  My arm was still hurting, but the edge had come off it.  When I was sufficiently alert, she told me that I did not have a heart attack - everything in that department looked fine.  The blood tests showed elevated calcium though and there were deposits that showed up in my x-rays.  I was having a major muscle spasm, caused by low-level, whole body inflammation, caused by either rhumatoid arthritis or lupus or some other systemic disease.  I needed to follow up with my doctor and get more tests to determine exactly what was causing this.

I handed over the $100 co-pay, got a prescription for a muscle relaxant and painkiller, got dressed and left.  It was 12:30 in the morning and I was as bombed as I probably had ever been without leaning over a toilet, so I knew I couldn't drive myself home.  I called Darling Man, who woke The Boy and they came to get me.  At home, we all went straight to bed and I slept the best sleep I'd had in a long, long time.  Not only did the morphine help with my arm, but it kept my back from waking me all night like it usually does. 

I stayed home from work, but did a bit of work from home before I took my medications because I knew once I did, I'd be worthless.  I was. 

I have a follow up appointment with my doctor on Monday morning and guess what?  I'm scheduled to volunteer again at my son's school right after that.  I sure hope my next volunteering stint doesn't end like the last one did!

So now you know why it's been quiet here.  And on FaceBook.  I'm okay.  And I will BE okay.  Just had a little bump in the road.


Sandcastle Momma said...

You must have been terrified! The whole ordeal sounds horrible and I'm so glad you're ok. Whatever is causing the pain in your arm can be dealt with - a heart attack is a different animal.
Get lots of rest!!!!

Jan said...

Good luck with the doctors appt. and further test. You'll be in my thoughts.

PinkPiddyPaws said...

According to Dr. House "It's NEVER Lupus" :) xoxoxoxoxox

Lots of love and hugs!

Island Rider said...

Thinking of you. If you think it is a heart attack, you were wise to get it checked out. Now, hopefully, all those other scarey illnesses will be ruled out too.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I haven't been by in a while. Glad that you're okay.


Anonymous said...

Big Hugs to you my friend. So proud for you that it was nothing more.

Love love love