I Blogged Myself

Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like a kind of torture, To read this blog, y'know.

Welcome to the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational blog since Kermit left just a little bit of the swamp in his pants.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Listen To Your Heart

The day: Third day in my new job.

The time: 9am.

The place: Work.

The background: I began feeling a few chest pangs on Sunday, akin to having heartburn or shortness of breath. As the week progressed, these pangs grew in frequency from two or three a day on Sunday afternoon to one every five to ten minutes on Wednesday night. I asked Wifey to call the doctor for me while I was at work today and book an appointment for tonight.

The story: Wifey rang me and said that the doctor, upon hearing of my conditions, advised that I should admit myself to the nearest hospital immediately for an emergency check-up.

The difficulty: Telling my new boss that her most recent employee needed to skip out of work on his third day to visit the emergency ward because he was suspected of having a mild heart attack.

The beauty of where I work: She immediately showed concern and tried to convince me to let her drive me there. (I declined because I knew she had a day full of meetings she needed to attend, and because I felt a bit silly about the whole inconvenience thing anyway … not to mention that it was a trifle embarrassing.)

The comparison to my former workplace: The Human Resources Manager would not have been at all sympathetic. The General Manager would have made some kind of inappropriate joke. I would then have overheard the Student Support Manager saying how funny it’d be if I died on my way to the hospital. Additionally, I would have been told to make up any lost time over the weekend, and advised that if I died before the day was over, I would not be paid for the hours worked up to that point.

The drive: As I drove the twenty minutes to the nearest hospital, I would double over the steering wheel every five or ten minutes when the chest pain recurred. Exciting times! I wondered if I was indeed going to cark it on the road and take out a few other drivers or pedestrians with me.

The parking: Everything around the hospital is metered parking, isn’t it. And that includes the parking at the emergency ward. Because that’s exactly what someone in an emergency is going to do – stop and get some change for the meter. Sounds fair and reasonable to me. Thankfully, I found an empty spot directly opposite the emergency entrance (I have a habit of finding the best possible car park, as I’ve said before - see point 27), and put all the coins I had on me into the parking metre. It didn’t buy me a lot of time, but 45 minutes should just about do it, right? Right.

The reception: Waiting to greet me in the emergency ward was … no one. The place was empty. Completely deserted. It made me wonder if I’d walked into a fake hospital that is now only used as a filming location for Scrubs or ER or something. (Maybe I watch too much TV. I’m not saying.) After calling out “Hello?” a few times and peering through the sealed glass doors, a security guard eventually wandered out and asked me if I was alright. “Absolutely, champ,” I felt like replying, “I’m just here to sell you some flowers.” Instead of biting his head off, however, I simply said, “I’m here with chest pains but there’s no one around to see me.” He said he’d get someone for me, and then waddled off at a fairly leisurely pace (for my mind – I should have dropped to the floor just to hurry him up!). Finally a blonde nurse appeared and took my name and symptoms. She only asked a few questions before clearly deciding the matter was serious and called someone else over to finish the form while she took me in to Emergency.

The embarrassing entrance: Because I’m a larger guy than she was (that’s how she put it, although she was a girl and therefore not a guy of any size), she insisted that I sit myself in a wheelchair and let her wheel me into Emergency. Part of me found this to be amusing (I’d just driven myself fifteen kilometres and had been putting up with these symptoms for four days now), but most of me found it a little embarrassing. Particularly as the trip in the wheelchair lasted for no more than five metres. I was asked to sit on the first bed we came to, and remove my shirt. I told the girl I was married, but apparently she wasn’t interested in me like that anyway.

The prodding and the probing: Once topless (insert wolf-whistle here), I was given a hospital gown to put on, but not before the team of three nurses who surrounded me had stuck about ten suction-capped metal things across my chest and clipped wires to them (which led to the machine behind me that went ping). Blood sample was taken from the back of my hand (and a permanent needle thingo was left stuck in there), a pressure thing was put on my finger, they took an X-Ray of my chest, they took my blood pressure, and they generally fussed all over me. I was told to take deep breaths, short breaths, in-between breaths. They listened to my breathing and heartbeat from the front and back. They checked my pulse and asked for my description of the problem.

The lame description: Unfortunately, it wasn’t as simple as saying I had ‘chest pains’. It was never actually ‘pain’. So I described it the best way I knew how: With a lot of words. I told them that in my mind’s eye I imagined my heart acting like a lung or a balloon, in that it felt like it was expanding when it did whatever it was doing, and that it became hard to breath for a few seconds. I said sometimes it felt like it was a tightness in my chest, and other times it felt like it was about to burst. Most of the time I could feel heart palpitations, but that could be because I always put my hand to my chest when it started, so I was able to feel my heart beating anyway.

The stress-head: I felt it only fair that I explain to the hospital staff how today was only my third day in my new job, and how Wifey was just a week and a half from the due date of her pregnancy. The nurse explained that she too was pregnant (“I’m so happy for you – I’M DYING, HERE!”), and I could tell that they clearly thought I was simply too stressed about these things. So I tried my best and calmest to specify that I didn’t actually feel very stressed about either of these things, although I was sensible enough to concede that perhaps I was subconsciously more stressed than I realised, and left them to determine what was wrong with me before my left ventricle popped.

The pregnant nurse: The pregnant nurse (who didn’t look very pregnant at all, so it must have been a pretty recent development) was the best of the lot of them, and seemed to take the most interest in ensuring that I was okay from time to time. However, she became quite busy shortly afterwards with an old woman who arrived by ambulance and needed lots of attention from the pregnant nurse. This meant that instead, I got a lot of …

The naïve students: Naïve students are the best. Oh, except when you’re dying of a dodgy heart and they think you’re just keeping an interesting beat on your ribcage. Unfortunately there were more students on deck today than there were doctors and nurses combined. Sure, I know they’ve got to learn somehow or else we’ll run out of trained professionals, but it was startling to see hardly any fully-qualified medical staff members patrolling the emergency ward.

The disinterested doctor: I’m sure he’s brilliant, but he couldn’t have wanted to be there any less if I’d held a gun to his head and told him they were giving millions of dollars away in the street but he had to stay here and take a bullet. (Nice guy, though.) I got to give him my lame description as well, and he was so thrilled he asked me to say it again. Then he implied that I was making it up and claimed that some elements of my lame description contradicted other elements of the same lame description. “What can I tell you?” I asked him. “It’s lame.”

The wait: After Disinterested Doctor MD left me, I lay there for almost an hour and a half, shivering in the thin hospital gown, getting hungry, drowsy and miserable. During this time, Neil, an elderly hip-replacement survivor who’d left his hearing aid at home and required everything shouted at him repeatedly, was moved into the bed on my left, while Denise (the aforementioned elderly woman who relieved me of the pregnant nurse) arrived and the ambulance guys told the staff that she’d been found on the floor of a toilet cubicle in the local shopping centre, had no memory of how she’d gotten there, and happily had also lost her hearing aid over the course of the day. So while I initially thought I might be able to catch a bit of shut-eye while I waited for Doctor Dull to return with his findings, the continual shouting of “YOU’LL BE RIGHT, DEAR” and “JUST MOVE YOUR HIP THAT WAY A LITTLE, DO YOU WANT ANOTHER BLANKET? WHAT’S YOUR NEXT OF KIN’S NAME, DARLING?” made sure that I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the whole time.

The results: Finally, Doctor Dead-Personality came back and announced that they didn’t know what it was, but that my heart was perfectly normal. The X-Ray and blood tests had shown nothing abnormal, and my blood pressure and heartbeat were both fine. He looked at me in a way that indicated he thought I was making it all up for attention. (I was.) No, not at all. In truth, however, the sensation of my heart seizing up in my chest had pretty much subsided since I’d been plugged into the heart-rate monitor thingo you always see on House. I half-expected Billy Kennedy to come in and be pressured into giving me my first kiss before I died. But the point is: I was all right, and “free to go”. That’s how Diamond Doc put it.

The fall-out: It must have been stress after all. I’m not sure how or why, but apparently this whole “working for a living” thing had taken its toll on me after only two full days, to the point where I was unable to cope with a third day in the office without my heart exploding from the pressure of it all. Let me just say how ridiculous I find this explanation to be. At least my description of the symptoms was real, even if it was lame. But the explanation that I was experiencing these moments of discomfort because of stress is just stupid. I’ve been as happy as anything to be working at my new job, and the weight that’s been lifted off my shoulders as far as not having provided for Wifey and the baby for the past seven months just makes the whole notion of it being ‘stress’ laughable. But hey – I hope they’re right because I’d much prefer that there’s nothing wrong with my health.

The frustration: Finding a $50 parking fine on my windscreen when I returned to my car, because the 35 cents I had in my pocket (which was all the cash I had on me at the time) had only bought me enough metered parking to last until 10:02am (and I wasn’t released from the emergency ward until 12:46pm).

The return to work: Tail between my legs, I returned to work just in time for the Footy Finals Lunch. (Yay! A morning off work and a free lunch! I could get used to doing this for a living!) The only problem was that this meant I had to give the same explanation to every member of staff over lunch who asked me individually what was wrong with me and if I was okay now. (Don’t get me wrong; bless their hearts and everything – and still no one made me feel bad for missing work – but I had to tell the same embarrassing “It must’ve been stress but I honestly don’t feel stressed” story about twenty times.)

The pain continues: This evening, I’ve felt the same pangs of weirdness in my chest twice. I’m hoping that an early night tonight will help my body relax and de-stress. Only one more day before the weekend, and I intend to take things very slowly on Saturday and Sunday. No more running around silly. Not that I ever did that, but you know what I mean. The word of the day is ‘RELAX’. (Don’t do it. When you want to go to it. Etcetera.)

The really sad part: Wifey told me over dinner tonight that she was crying throughout the day as she waited for news of my condition. She thought I was going to die and she'd be raising our kid on her own. The poor beautiful darling.

The moral of the story: Listen to your heart. Sometimes it’s simply saying, “Let me rest.” (Other times it’s saying, “No more extra-spicy sauce for tonight, please.”)

The conclusion – and how this whole thing affects you: If and when I die, I will go on record here and now as asking Riss to visit each blog linked to my own, and leave a message informing you of my passing. (Is that okay, Riss?) Otherwise you wouldn’t find out, and no one would be able to access my Blogger account to post something about my death. Additionally, you’d all be leaving messages that would remain in the “No Man’s Land” of Comment Moderation and never be seen by anyone. I'm glad I could be so cheery. I hope your heart continues to beat loud and strong. I hope mine does, too.



At Friday, September 22, 2006 5:57:00 pm, Blogger Adam said...

Dude, whoa!

You really are a awesome writer, I was spellbound during this post and also really sweating due to concern 'did his heart explode, how did he write this post?'.

I'm sorry you've still got weirdness and I think wifey just might be the best person in the whole wide world. I totally hope that it just pretty much goes away. If you have spare time, maybe see a naturapath? I dunno, they always seem interested in helping people...

You know, this is going to sound super sucky, but this one time I was also really concerned that if I died no one would be able to tell my blog friends and the blogfiend I was most concerned about was you - but then you won the bloggolympics and it was all good.

At Friday, September 22, 2006 6:20:00 pm, Blogger thr said...

Whoa dude- definite stress.

Me, I'd sook like all get out.


hope alls well, and wifey's ready to launch that lil one into orbit soon!!


At Friday, September 22, 2006 9:01:00 pm, Blogger littlefaeriegirl said...

intercostal muscle spasms, that smy guess

hope you're all better now, bevisy. and wow about only a week and a half to go. you should so post a pic of wifey (from the neck down, of course, you family of mystery, you) so we can see her baby tummy.

parking tickets suck. you should come live in adelaide, they're much cheaper here

At Friday, September 22, 2006 9:33:00 pm, Anonymous colls bolls said...

Woh! That's pretty full on!

I feel bad now because I started to read this post with the intention of leaving you a comment about getting on with the important stuff in life like doing your TGYH post...

Now it all seems completely unimportant......


Sorry! Hope you're feeling mighty fine soon.

At Saturday, September 23, 2006 7:51:00 pm, Blogger DelightfulJen said...

I've had the exact same thing happen, except after they did all those tests and took my blood(!!) they threaten to squirt some dye in me and do an MRI.

Thankfully they decided that an infection in the cartilage of my ribs/chest bones and I didn't have to get injected with dye after all.

It is the WORST pain I have ever felt, so I sympathize with how you must have felt. I hope it goes away soon.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 12:45:00 am, Blogger Chai said...

Ai yai yai... take care dude...

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:15:00 am, Blogger I'm not Craig said...

My mother has been having a fairly similar problem for months. We are still yet to find out why.

I doubt that this helps much, since my mother lives in Tennessee so its not going to be some rare virus you've both been exposed to, House-style (I'm still waiting for Dr Foreman to go nuts and beat the crap out of some neo-nazi like he did in "Higher Learning").

The point, I think, is that my mother has been feeling much better since going to hospital simply because now that she knows its nothing physical she is much less stressed.

I hope something similar happens for you too. If not, I know some very talented osteopaths and naturopaths who may be able to help.

Feel better soon, dude.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 9:20:00 am, Blogger Javatari said...

That's exactly why I never go to the doctors! You end up with a $50 fine, your wife gets upset, you have to explain what happened to everyone, the doctors make you feel like you're making it all up, etc, etc. You're better off dead really.....well maybe not. Hope you're feeling better now. Maybe you should cut down on the Krispy Kremes. ;-)

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 3:07:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Thank you, everyone, for all your well-wishes and shows of support. They are much appreciated. I'm pleased to report that I have not died as yet. Fingers crossed!

Adam, you make me laugh every time you leave a comment. No matter what you're saying, it's always hilarious. If I was to 'turn' for anyone ... um, ... actually, just forget I said that.

THR, we men sure are wimps, when it all boils down to it! I couldn't bear the thought of giving birth, but Wifey's all geared up and ready to go! Such strength and courage amazes me. My woman is "the man!" (If you follow me.)

LittleFaerieGirl, hello? When did you become a doctor??! Or did you just Google the symptoms or something? I've got a pic ready and waiting, so you'll see the belly-bulge soon enough. :) Alas, it would take more than cheap parking tickets to tempt me across to Adelaide. But let's not go there (literally!).

Colls Bolls, yes, it was very full on. I understand your impatience for the TGYH review, but it's been posted now so I hope you're feeling satiated. :) Oh, and without saying too much to give either of us away, I saw your husband during the week. Wednesday morning, it was. I was at his workplace with some colleagues of mine from my new workplace, and we were stuff DVDs into delegates' packs for a certain conference that was held there at some point over the past few days. If that's too cryptic and confusing, I'll email you. But it probably doesn't matter anyway; it's not important. I only saw him through a window, arriving for work. But we didn't see each other to chat or anything, so he didn't even know I was there. Maybe it was all the excitement of seeing 'Mr Colls Bolls' that contributed to my heart condition the following day?! (Don't worry, I won't sue.)

DelightfulJen, I'm glad to hear you recovered (for both of our benefits!). I admit to not feeling any pain as such, just discomfort in breathing and then a slight panic that my heart mustn't be working properly and could stop at any time, so it sounds like I got off lightly.

Chai, "Ai yai yai ... La Bamba!" (Is that what you're quoting? Or was it some stereotypical Mexican exclaiming surprise and amazement? It's gotta be one of the two. Maybe both?)

I'm Not Craig, just like your Mum, being told that the heart is physically fine has probably played a big part in me being able to relax about it all. You'd hope that if the heart was dodgy in any way, they'd have caught it in the emergency ward with the tests and X-Ray and machine that goes ping and everything. So hopefully I'll be fine. And I trust your Mum improves as well! (PS - Doctor Foreman was rehabilitated in Scream 2.)

Javatari, you make a good point! Bloody quacks! Why do I bother?! Funny that you should mention Krispy Kremes just as I log on to post another item on that very topic! But I actually haven't had any of the things since Easter (or maybe even Christmas - it was at least two or three trips to Sydney ago, whenever it was). So maybe the problem is that my body's crying out for Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Doctor: "Get him an Original Glazed - stat!"

At Monday, September 25, 2006 1:47:00 pm, Blogger Riss said...

Of course, dear. I would feel it my duty to perform your last wishes and inform the blog community of your unexpected demise.

I often only have a limited time to log on and read so don't get much of a chance to comment, apologies, and I have only come across this today.

I'm so sorry that this all happened. Quite scary, and they really shouldn't have let you drive. There should have been an ambulance to ferry you to hospital if that was happening. (First Aider speaking here) - you do have ambulance cover, don't you? Especially with baby coming, yes?

I meant to ring you this weekend, but didn't (obviously), as I want to try to see you all before the big event but with jet-lag recovery in full swing it didn't quite happen. I'll try to ring tonight before I am overcome with the sleepies.

Hugs to everyone.

At Tuesday, September 26, 2006 5:56:00 pm, Blogger Susanne said...

Oh Bevis! I'm glad you're ok mate.

At Monday, October 02, 2006 10:35:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Riss, thanks for that! Much appreciated. Ambulance cover = check! I probably should have caught an ambulance, yes (it would have meant no parking fine), although that would have left me stranded at the hospital after it all came to light that I was apparently 'faking it'. When did you plan to ring, again?? (Hehe.)

Susanne, thank you. All is well now. :)


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