Monday, July 20, 2009

Hospital Visit

Since Tuesday or Wed. of last week I've had on and off chest pains around my heart area which I attributed to some kind of pulled muscle. As with any pain, I waited to see if it would diminish/disappear on its own. Last night, when the pain became a constant ache and then was accompanied by left arm numbness I decided it was time to either die at the computer or go have myself checked. After consulting my brother on his similar circumstance of a year ago, I asked if he and Zlaty would taxi me out to the Lehigh Valley Hospital. Within a very short amount of time (Scot is part racecar driver!) we arrived at the ER.

When describing my condition at the desk, a wheelchair was brought out for me. "Dear God, a wheelchair?!" I thought. The three of us went back into a small room where many people flooded through to check things, ask me my symptoms, and repeatedly ask me my name and birthdate. It wasn't long before blood was drawn, x-rays taken, and medicine administered (3 bayer and 1 sublingual nitro tab which caused an interesting head swelling/chocking feeling for a minute). When the x-rays came up ok, the head doctor in the ER gave me the option to stay for the full round of tests and then a stress test the next day or to go home but then require likely weeks to set up the tests. After some deliberation, I decided to just stay.

My main concern (aside from my chest pain) was my lack of health insurance. Dumb? Yeah, I guess so. Hey, at least I went didn't I? :)

After seeing me to my room, Scot and Zlaty returned home (this was like at 2am). More blood was drawn at 3am and then around 9am with another EKG at each interval. Everything was coming back negative for bad things (the chief thing, I suppose, being clotting where there shouldn't be). After something like 1-2 hrs sleep I called into work to let them know I wouldn't be there. Marsha was concerned for a brief moment and then had to make alternate driver plans in my absence. She later called back to see how I was and, of course, see if I would be working Tues. Nice. I told her I planned on working since I was supposed to be discharged following the stress test.

That test came around 2:30pm today. After an eternity waiting for my shoes to come to me from my room (did you know they have "tubes" inside hospitals for transporting these things? Of course, they didn't use them for my shoes but they should have, according to the stress test doc). After being reunited with my footwear, I took the test during which there was some nice geek discussion of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and even D&D (got in my Tricky Owlbear plug despite being out of breath). I lasted 13 min. and 20 sec. on the treadmill, which caused me to run by the end. I then waited in my room for the results during which a nice financial planning woman stopped by to explain my insurance-less options.

Forunately, her husband had the same job as me--independent contractor for a courier company. That made the interaction very easy and it looks like most of the hospital bill will likely be forgiven wether through "medical assistance" or the LVH's own "charity" program. Following that, the final blood test and stress test results returned all with good news. Everything was fine with my heart. The only "bad" thing was a low good cholesterol rating which the RN said could be easily be aided by more exercise. Back to walking daily!

The chest pain was on and off throughout the day (mostly on) but not too bad. The Toradol injection last night and today seemed to diminish the pain and the RN agreed that my malady was likely being caused by a strained chest muscle. She prescribed some Naproxen (Rx Alleve) which I will dutifully fill and consume tomorrow. Now, I'm home, cleaned up, and well fed. That's the basics of my otherwise pleasant stay at the LVH. The people were very nice and the facility clean. I could share more tales (old man roomate and coming home with less chest hair) but my arms are now aching at the needle entry points so I guess it's time to stop typing.


Blogger Scot said...

Glad you enjoyed the drive to the hospital! And I'm especially glad you are ok. It was the right decision to stay overnight and get the full battery of tests.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Very glad you're OK as well.

9:59 AM  

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