Today’s visit to the ER.

What happened:

Yesterday, I watched the DVR’ed World Cup matches after my doctor’s appointment. Japan’s win over Cameroon was one of the more entertaining matches. Italy survived a scare against Paraguay by playing more long-ball than I think I’ve ever seen them play.

After the games, I typed up yesterday’s entry and posted it. Went to bed at about 11:30, not having disobeyed any of the doctor’s orders, thankyouverymuch.

I woke up at 1 AM this morning, short of breath. That’s happened a few times over the last two months, but never more than once in a night. I made sure I was breathing, got up and walked around for ten minutes, then laid back down in bed. I repositioned myself a few times to get better air flow. I got back to sleep about an hour and a half later.

I woke up at 3:30 AM, short of breath. I made sure I was breathing, got up and walked around for a few minutes, but this time I decided to try sleeping on the couch in the living room, where it’s cooler and there’s better air circulation. I got to sleep in half an hour.

I woke up at 5 AM. I don’t think I was short of breath this time, but I was awake, and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while.

The alarm went off at 7:01 AM for the last day of post-planning. I had one box left in my room to move, some paperwork to fill out, and then my work at Paxon would be done for the summer. Tomorrow and Thursday I was supposed to go to Darnell Cookman to help write their new history curriculum (but I have since cancelled). I got up, showered, felt very tired, felt like I was about to start gasping for air. I got in the car, started driving to work, and realized that it would be bad form to pass out or have a heart attack whilst driving.

I drove to the emergency room at St. Luke’s. I called some people at work and told them I wouldn’t be in. I called my folks and told them where I was. The ER admitted me, attached a blood pressure/pulse/oxygen saturation monitor. The numbers were supposedly normal.

The docs wanted to hook up an IV and draw some blood. Problem: I don’t like needles. I mean I really don’t like needles. I warned the tech that I was very likely to pass out on her. I didn’t, which means that little psychological stumbling block seems to have been leapt, at least for the time being. They drew some blood. They gave me some fluids which made me feel much better, but I still felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. The numbers on the alive-o-meter were normal, I had 100% oxygen saturation, but I just wanted more air.

A doctor showed up. I talked to him about the last few days (read my last post for more details) and the last few months. We discussed family history, athletic activity, work, home life, health habits, and recent stressors, both good and bad… Those guys are sworn to confidentiality, right?

They ran another EKG (ECG?). It turns out that I still haven’t had a heart attack. Actually, that’s not what the nurse said. She said, “Not according to this one.” While I respected her faithfulness to scientific precision, it wasn’t exactly reassuring.

They wanted to take another chest X-ray. I told the techie my symptoms and mentioned that I’d slept like a baby on my trip out of town. He asked how old my home was, because perhaps there was mold. My home probably isn’t old enough to have mold, but I spend an awful lot of time working at a college preparatory health hazard. For a few moments, I pondered how I could spin my current predicament into a newer, cleaner, healthier classroom at my school.

(I was recently informed that I had to change classrooms, from one where you can still detect the scent of the students who used to be housed in that building to one that is home to rats and roaches and has had minimal upkeep.)

The chest X-ray revealed nothing. The tests revealed dehydration–which surprised me at first, because I’d been drinking a lot of water, but I guess I was low on electrolytes (cue Idiocracy reference)–but nothing else. For now, it looks like heart palpitations and dehydration, arguably combined with stress. The doctor tried to convince me that I was one of the healthier patients he’d seen, based on what I’d told him, the numbers from the alive-o-meter, and the tests. I had a wee bit of trouble believing him, given the circumstances.

I was discharged around 12:30 or 1 this afternoon. I drank some water-mixed-with-Gatorade, laid in bed, and managed to get a couple of hours of sleep back. My family has been keeping an eye on me.

I have an appointment at the cardiologist at 10:30 tomorrow morning. They’re probably going to do another EKG, they’re going to hook up a Holter monitor for 24 hours, and probably run a stress test. Hopefully that’ll pin down what the problem is. Elsewise, it may be time to start drinking heavily.

I weigh 201 lbs. That’s down 19 for the year (which is good), and about 6 for the weekend (which is bad). My soccer season is over. Trips to the beach are likely cancelled, not that I’m a big beach-goer. The trip up north may be out, which sucks royally. Thank God the Cup is on the tube this summer, even if I have to mute those damned horns.

I am grateful for the prayers, kind words, well-wishes, the text messages, phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook comments.

6 comments

  1. 😦 hopefully everything goes well at the cardiologist! Did the theory of sleep apnea arise at the ER? That’s what it sounds like to me (you know, with my mighty imaginary medical degree)

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  2. It would explain the shortness of breathe when you’re waking up, but I suppose it wouldn’t explain the extended rapid heart rate or the feeling of breathlessness.

    At least your heart is looking normal.

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  3. I would look at apnea…1 sleep study is on the way for you…

    Try having a friend choke you out (MMA style not S&M style but that is up to you)…see what your heart does then…(it should be racing)

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  4. Thanks for sending the sleep study. Just got word that my thyroid is normal.

    By the way, having a friend choke me out MMA-style would be an absolutely brilliant idea if Gina Carano were my friend (alas, she hasn’t met me yet). Aside from that, it is a horrible idea.

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  5. What…passing out is not intriguing…whatever did you do at Clemson?

    Besides it could save you $…think of all the unnecessary tests…kinda like taking a pill over having surgery in some ways though…but I digress

    See the idea is that the carotid compression results in a short term brain ischemia (where you have less then sufficient amount of blood flow to meet bodily demands)…in order to play catchup your heart pounds

    Your father should know all about it…I am sure that he would assist…

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