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.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Blue Heron

Today since I didn't have to drive to work, I decided to visit Bethel Beach.

I parked my car and jog-walked three and a half miles.

On my way back to the car, I spotted this fellow.  
(Or gal, I don't know which and have no idea how to tell.)

Luckily, I had my camera in the car, and he was still hanging around when I drove back out.

The past few weekends have been very busy.  Middle Sister and I went to the Gloucester Wine Festival a few weekends back.  Last weekend, I drove to Dewey Beach, Delaware, to visit my two college friends.  (On the way home Chesapeake Bay Woman was trapped for five and a half hours on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel--on a bridge in between the two tunnels--due to an accident.  I could write a novel on that experience alone.) Anyway, this past weekend, Baby Sis and I drove to Louisa, Virginia, to see the band Ambrosia play at a gala for the Louisa Arts Center.  This weekend I'll be headed over that Bay Bridge Tunnel yet again to visit Ocean City, MD, with a friend.

In between, I'm making that soul-sucking long commute to work each day, trying to figure out how I can stay at home and make enough money to make ends meet.  Alas, I have six years and three months--but who's counting besides me--before I'm eligible to retire.

In any case, I've been trying to enjoy life in the free time that I do have. 

Today's trip to Bethel Beach and the brief photo op with this blue heron were just what I needed.

Have a great week.