Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lucky Not-a-Stroke

On Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, I was not feeling very well. I could tell my blood pressure was up and my feet looked like they belonged to the Michelin Man. So, I decided to go to the doctor on the way in to work.

I arrived, paid my copay and waited...and waited...and waited. People who came in after me (even walk-ins) were going in before me. Then the receptionist called me to the window and informed me that I had a $60 balance from a previous visit and they needed to collect at least $40 of it that day. I told her I had $5 left on my debit card and maybe $3 in my pocket. She said "just a minute" and went into the back. Shortly thereafter she came back to the window and said that that would be ok (they would take the approximately $8 I had left and I could be seen by the doctor). I was stressed already and said I needed to make a phone call. I started to call my husband, but before he could pick up, I hung up the phone and told the receptionist that they could keep the $15 I had paid towards the bill and that I would be back to see them on Friday when I got paid.

By this time I was visibly upset. I turned to go and she said, "Ms. B, just a minute." I held up a hand "talk to the hand" style, said, "I can't," and proceeded to leave the office. By the time I got to my car, I was hacking like I was going to throw up. My heart was racing and I was gasping for air. (DH thinks I was having a panic attack at this point...although he was at home with the kids.)

I probably should have gone to the hospital, but all I could think of was getting to work, because it was already past the 2 hrs prior to shift deadline in order to call in.

Parking really, really sucks where I work. I parked in a slightly "not approved" spot, but shoot, I wasn't going to walk up the long hill feeling the way I did. As I walked to my cottage, my eyes were swimming and I was walking...not weaving, but not in a straight line either.

The first shift nurse (LPN) was there and I asked her to take my blood pressure. She did and said, "just a minute" and went to get the RN. She came in and took my bp again and informed me that it was 212/110. This information did nothing for my racing heart and labored breathing. My lips had been going numb and were hard to move. Once or twice I remember sticking a finger or two into my mouth to separate my lips. My right hand was becoming hard to move.

More and more people started coming into the room. I remember calling my supervisor and telling her what was going on, saying, "I didn't want people to think I was a 'no-call, no-show'." HOW STUPID IS THAT? I was close to having a stroke and I was worried about how it would affect my job! The nurse asked if I wanted them to call and ambulance and I said I didn't think it was necessary. They arranged to have a co-worker take me to the hospital, as I had my family's only car with me. I was taken out to the car in a wheelchair, because the medical staff didn't want me walking.

Originally one of the nurses was going to take me, but when she asked someone to clock her out, the coordinator said that she would have to stay and clock out herself. So someone from 1st shift in the cottage in which I work took me. I babbled incessantly on the way to the ER, I suppose trying to keep myself together.

More to come tomorrow....