“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” – George Bernard Shaw
Earlier this week, I spent nineteen hours in the emergency room with hubby who was having chest pain. His dad died of a massive heart attack at age fifty-eight, so we don’t take this lightly…at least I don’t.
He first noticed the pain after about an hour on a cross-trainer at the YMCA. (Well, duh! I hurt just thinking about it.) Then he went into the dry sauna, got into a discussion with some other exercise enthusiasts and lost track of time. (A sauna? In August? In Tennessee where we’ve had 30+ days of 90+ degree weather, many with heat indexes well over 100? Why not just go outside and get in his car?) He said he stayed well-hydrated, but got light-headed when he left the sauna. It took about twenty minutes for him to recover enough to even walk out to his car. He called me from the parking lot and told me what’d happened, and described his symptoms as reflux. I should have been suspicious, but he’s the doctor. I offered to pick him up so he wouldn’t have to drive, but he said he’d just talk to me during the less than ten-minute drive home. He has a Bluetooth so I reluctantly agreed. Yet I wondered what I would do should he suddenly stop talking. Call 911? Charge out to find him? Wring my hands and panic?
After eating and watching a movie, he seemed fine so I went upstairs to write. He joined me a while later and ‘fessed up that the reflux (indigestion) might be more like chest pains and, since they hadn’t subsided, perhaps we should have them checked out. I threw our toothbrushes, a couple of books, and my computer into a bag and we headed across town to the “heart hospital.” I was furious with him for not telling me it might not be reflux during the four hours he’d been home, but decided not to make a big deal about it until after we’d determined he wasn’t having a heart attack. When I finally asked why he didn’t tell me sooner he said he was he was afraid I’d overreact.
Me? Overreact? I’m the one who let him go three days last year thinking he had food poisoning before insisting we go to the ER. That trip we found he had a major abdominal obstruction. They had him in emergency surgery so fast it made my head swim. We spent ten very long days in the hospital. He could have died. Overreact? So what if I did? I think I’m entitled to a free pass after that experience.
This trip to the ER, they worked him up very quickly—they do that with chest pain. EKG looked normal. Blood work was normal. But they wanted to observe him overnight, repeat the EKG every time he fell asleep (it seemed), and do a stress test the following morning. He wanted to go home, sleep in our own bed and return the next morning, but they nixed that idea. He was not a happy camper…especially when they said he could have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Really—who eats in the middle of the night anyway? He sent me out to get him a “good meal” while he could still eat. As I was cruising this part of town I don’t know very well, I found a Target. I spent 30 minutes picking up things we might need. $100 later (yes, I save the receipts and will make some returns) I left with three bags of stuff. The best purchases were tube socks for the cold ER room and a pair of tennis shoes. Mastering a treadmill in Crocs after virtually no sleep seemed like an accident waiting to happen to me.
They didn’t admit him, so we stayed in the ER the whole time. The staff made it as pleasant as possible replacing the hard as bricks ER table/bed with a genuine hospital bed topped with an air mattress that groaned every time he moved. They also found a semi-reclining chair for me. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do anything about the noise in the halls or the constant hum and occasional beeps made by the machines. The good news is the treadmill was normal and it probably was indeed reflux, possibly aggravated by some steroids he’d taken for Sciatica. So a mere nineteen hours after we first graced the halls of the emergency room, we left—a little worse for the wear, but relieved with the outcome.
What does this adventure have to do with today’s topic of wisdom and writing? Writing is therapeutic and, after an experience like this one, a wise way to process it is to write it down. Am I telling hubby I’m doing this post? Nah…at least not for four hours or so after I’ve posted it. Passive aggressive? You bet. But I admit it and will deal with any repercussions. After all he still has to deal with the wrath of Kay for not telling me about his chest pains earlier.
I hope you’ll come back Friday for another character chat from my book. I’ll be at Killer Nashville, so I’m a tad bit nervous about what may get posted.
P.S. The winner of the Friday the 13th contest (as selected by the online random generator www.random.org) is Laura. Laura, please send your mailing address and how you’d like the book personalized to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll get the information to Suza and she’ll get it in the mail to you. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who left a comment. If you want to purchase the book from Amazon you may do so from this link: