The Ambulance Ride

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Today’s blog post is a continuation from yesterday.

40 minutes after all of the tests were completed, the doctor came back into the room.

Doctor: I have some concerns about your EKG. It’s wonky.

Me: Wonky?

Doctor: Yes. Normally when I see an EKG like this I send people to the hospital for further testing. Do you want to go?

Did I want to go? No. Not really. But let’s think about this for a second. Option A: I don’t go for further testing and wake up dead the next morning. Or, Option B: I go for further testing and if there is a more serious problem, it gets treated so that I don’t wake up dead the next morning.

 

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So for liability reasons, the doctor made me take an ambulance to the emergency room. Although, in her defense, if there was a serious cardiac problem, the last place I should’ve been was behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Now here was the problem. My two-year-old was at her mom’s day out program and guess who had the only car seat? Me. So before leaving the doctor’s office, I called my mother-in-law and told her what was going on and texted her the address of the doctor’s office as well as the preschool. I left my car keys with the doctor’s office so my inlaws could pick the car up.

I was at the hospital for about three or four hours. They ER doctors performed another flu test. It was negative. Again. They also took a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and bronchitis – both of which were negative. And ran a few other tests one of which included a test where they searched for a blood clot.

Ellen, you’ll be happy to know that absolutely everything was negative. They told me I had a virus which was most likely causing the tachycardia, recommended I follow up with a cardiologist just to be sure and sent me home.

For the next two days I had a persistent fever and felt like total crap. On the second day, I went to urgent care because the cough that started developing the same day as the ambulance ride was getting so bad I couldn’t sleep at night. They did another flu test. I was thrilled. I gave them a recap of all of my other medical festivities and in the end she prescribed a day time cough medicine that did nothing; a nighttime cough medicine that worked as long as I didn’t move all night long. The second I turned or stretched I suffered a coughing fit. She also prescribed a steroid that did help a bit.

The following week, I went back to the doctor’s office because the cough kept getting worse. The doctor sent me for a follow up x-ray and because she believed I had bronchitis, she prescribed an antibiotic as well another steroid. And possibly something else. I’ve been on so many drugs the past month I can’t remember.

The next day the results of the chest x-ray came in. The doctor called me at home.

Doctor: You have pneumonia.

Me: What?

Doctor: You have pneumonia. I’m calling in a different antibiotic and I’ll need you to come back for a follow-up appointment early next week.

 

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I went for the follow up appointment the following week and told my doctor that my back ached constantly. She told me it was probably from the pneumonia and to take Ibuprofen for it. Sounded reasonable.

A few days later, I was at home trying to relax but couldn’t because my back hurt so much. Every time I tried to breathe it felt like something was stabbing me in the rib cage. I took the Ibuprofen as instructed but over the course of two hours the pain got worse. It was to the point where I could barely move without feeling pain.

My husband – who was able to drive at this time – took me back to the hospital.

The nurse who checked me in asked a bunch of routine questions including: Have you ever had thoughts of self-harm?

Me: I think about dieting often. Does that count?

Husband: Well, at least you haven’t lost your sense of humor.

Me: It’s all I have left. If I lose that, I’m screwed.

Another x-ray was taken. This all took place one week after I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The new x-ray showed that my pneumonia was cleared. All of the other tests they ran were negative which left the doctor with only one diagnosis. Pleurisy.

Pleurisy is inflammation of the lungs that can be caused from pneumonia and feels like you’re being stabbed in the ribs everytime you breathe. 

 

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The doctor offered me an opiate for the pain.

Me: Not to sound like a drug-seeker or anything but prescription Ibuprofen is really more my speed.

Doctor: Of course. I assumed you were already taken that amount of Ibuprofen at home.

Me: Well, no because the label on the bottle didn’t say I could triple the dose.

After another two hour visit to the ER, my husband and I left.

A few days later, I had my visit with the cardiologist who diagnosed me with an Abnormal Benign EKG. For some people, that’s totally normal. To verify that’s normal for me, I’m going in for a stress test in a few more weeks.

So there you have it, Ellen.  This is the last of 6 blog posts that have pretty much summed up my life over the past 7 weeks.

 

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It’s been one hell of a ride and I’m ready to get off. My husband I are so grateful for all the love and support we received during this time. And we’re also grateful my husband survived. The world is a better place because people like him are in it.

 

Thanks for listening, Ellen.

 

Sincerely,

A. Marie Silver

 

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