— 14 June 2005 —
You know what’s fun? Waking up at 12:30am. You know what’s funner? Having pains in your chest and the left side of your body feeling all numb and tingly at the same time.
Looking back I feel silly. But as I told the nurse, better safe than dead. Basically I had two unrelated things happening that taken together may have seemed to the untrained eye (read: you are not a doctor Matthew and WebMD doesn’t count) like a heart attack.
My dad has a history with heart trouble so I figured I should go in just in case. I was at the ER until about 3:30am. Throughout the whole experience I felt like I was wasting their time. Or maybe it was my “issue” wasn’t challenging enough. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), I give my treatment a 3. But as I thought about that, laying on the oddly comfortable bed in a hospital gown, I realized I really only expect an ER to run on a scale from 1 to 5. I have a customer expectation to be not treated very well.
When they took my blood I said, “I don’t do well at this.” Which I will elaborate upon next time by saying, “Don’t stick me in the arm because I faint, no one can ever find a vessel, and it really fucking hurts.” After the nurse finished playing Marco Polo with the blood vessels in my arm (and me squirming the entire time), she finally stuck my hand which hardly hurt at all and worked easily.
Next was the EKG. Some tech put little stickers all over me, hooked me up and said, “Now I need you to lay very still for this.” 10 seconds later he left the room with the machine. That’s it? Guess so. Nice not talking to you.
The doctor spoke like a cold-calling tele-marketer reading a predefined word track. I barely understood him. Enough to know I need to quit smoking and take up the banjo. I might have misunderstood that first part.
They gave me some frothy, orange coloured drink. “It has lycopene in it.” What else does it have? Oh no worries, just drink it. My mouth went numb, but the pain in my chest started going away within 10 minutes. Which leads me to my next point.
Apparently, in that whole “biology class” thing in high school I should have paid attention. Where I was feeling pain was not my chest, but my stomach. It was really bad pain, just up under my rib cage on the right. The heart isn’t there I know, but I still considered it part of my chest. Nope. Chewed up my 2000$ deductible to learn something my parent’s taxes could have paid for in 1985.
They sent me home after laying in a dark room for about an hour. “Sign this and you can go.” 6 little words of love. I may have an ulcer they said. Here’s Brian Dennehey’s favourite product to pimp. Please let your body get mangled in the automatic door so we have something fun to do tonight.
So, I am not dead. As the astute among you have already guessed.