Friday, October 26, 2018

The Heart Incident

(Note:  Those who don't want to read about CBW's Drama du Jour, please enjoy the unrelated photos.)

Once upon a time, exactly three years to the day from when Chesapeake Bay Woman took her very first helicopter ride to the hospital after a major car accident,  and about a week after her mother was in the ER for a heart issue, she was carried out of the house on a stretcher for a whirlwind, siren-enhanced ambulance ride to Riverside Walter Reed Hospital .

I had just finished up a six-mile walk around what I call the Wayland Church Loop, something I've run/jogged a million times before, but only a few times since completing chemo.  I was feeling OK but a bit thirsty.  Normally I carry room-temperature water in my vehicle, but this time I didn't. On the way home I stopped to get a cold Gatorade and took several chugs.

And that's when it all went haywire.

As I was driving, I started to see spots and felt very nauseous.  I was simultaneously sweating and cold and just felt awful.  Although I contemplated driving myself to the rescue squad I went home and felt certain I just needed to lie down.

Once I crawled into bed I called Middle Sister, who suggested we needed to go to the ER.  That sounded too extreme but while I was waiting for her to arrive, I vomited and quasi-blacked out.  All of a sudden a trip to the ER sounded reasonable.

In the interim, however, I couldn't lift my head off the bed, couldn't even fathom standing up and walking to get into her truck.  So, she called the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Words can't express how comforting it was to see that Emily Brown, who graduated with my son and who I've watched from the sidelines of various sports events for years upon years, was one of the paramedics.  All three of the people I remember (there may have been more) could not have been more professional, more calming, more soothing and more reassuring during one of the most unexpectedly distressing times of my life.

When we arrived at the hospital, my resting heart rate was 187. After an IV of some magical concoction, the episode calmed down, but I was admitted for a couple of nights for observation and every test known to man.  In the days afterwards my chest has been tight and also sore.  The enzyme for heart attack had been elevated, but they don't think I actually had one.  (#Winning!)

In short, they're labeling it an a-fib episode and now I have a zillion follow-up appointments with various doctors, one of whom specializes in aneurysms--because I have one (ascending aortic).  Most of the doctors don't feel that was in any way responsible, but I am here to tell you I think it has contributed.  I also think the influx of cold liquid after exercising was a trigger.  Six months of chemo, that included a known heart-debilitating drug, could not have helped.  I've been unable to build up my endurance since chemo ended in March.

It's strange to me that this happened at all, much less three years to the day from my car accident.

I'm eternally grateful to Emily Brown, Chris Buchanan and anyone else associated with my ambulance ride.  They were there during the worst part of the episode and made the experience as palatable as it possibly could be.

If you consider your life boring and uneventful, Chesapeake Bay Woman says thank your lucky stars.  There is such a thing as too much excitement.

The End.


Linda said...

Jez-Louise CBW!!!! Very glad you called your sister and that you are now home and resting.

Lauren Ward said...

So grateful for your recovery!

Country Girl said...

I'm so glad that middle sis called the paramedics. Wow, Janice.

Anonymous said...

So glad you made that call! Thank you for sharing and reminding us all how precious life is!! Hang in there my friend! Hugs Teresa Sanger

foolery said...

Sounds like a perfect storm of non-causal, contributing factors. I'm so sorry but SO glad Middle Sis was ON IT. <3

Dghawk said...

Oh, my! Glad you are alright and glad you called your sister. Sending prayers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my dear...sending hugs to you and all your family who are going through another a scary season.... you are wise to listen to what your body is signaling.
You may have to settle for being a mere human and take the marathony, endurance-building life a bit slower...has not been a year since treatments ended yet...your lifelong fitness has stood you well in helping you persevere over some daunting health issues, so it is understandable that you would love to get back to training.
Whatever we may choose to see in perceiving the events, you had some guardian spirits, IMO, watching over you while you were out alone, while you were driving home, and even once you got back to the house and wisely called your sister.
I continue to be amazed by your strength and resilience through all these emergencias of the CB familia, including your own. Many people would have been sidelined permanently by the turn of events. Rest up awhile, and hopefully you can find out more about what happened in that perfect storm.
Much love, LLC

Daryl said...

oh my good goddess SO glad you called middle sis and she called EMS .. i know from experience w/Ray and his issues that EMS peeps are truly the most amazing peeps ever .. so so so so glad this turned out well and in the words of my exasperated chiro WHY do you need to push yourself??????????????????????????????


Annie said...

argh. scary ..
so glad you are OK now
mo end to the excitement there!
take care!

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