Rhythm and Blues

Last night, I was not expecting to end up in the emergency room...with myself!

Sheesh!  It was a bit dramatic to say the least.

I work nights now so I headed to work about 6:30.  The kids were all headed out to their evening activities.  Work was pretty much uneventful at the clinic where I worked; cleaning toilets, mopping up smushed cheerios from the reception floor and other manner of evil I dared not guess what it was.  Vomit?  Smoothie juice?  Mysterious.

I was back in the reception area vacuuming and all of a sudden, something caught my breath. It happens rarely and it usually makes me cough a couple of times and then everything is fine.  I coughed but I could still not catch my breath. I could feel my heart racing and by racing, I mean, it was zipping along!

I was a little worried but I stopped vacuuming and walked around trying to take deep breaths and think of warm, sandy, Caribbean beaches.  I tried to shake out the tension in my neck but my chest was tightening up.  I did this for about 10 minutes.  Knowing things have been a little stressful the past few weeks and months, I just figured it was my nerves.

It wasn't long after that 10 min frame that the symptoms changed, my heart wasn't just racing but I started getting dizzy, lightheaded, hard to breath, tightness but my heart was banging against my ribs.  I could feel it getting heavy and pounding in every inch of my body.  We've all seen a beating heart on medical shows or something and I was trying to picture that gentle, rolling beat of a heart but all I could see was my heart literally banging against my ribs. I looked down and even my t-shirt was moving with the pounding.

I thought, Should I call 911?  Is this just stress?  Am I having a heart attack? Do I call someone?  Should I drive myself to the hospital?  By this time, I was clutching the edge of the counter because I knew if I went down, I wouldn't be found until hours later and at this point, I'm starting to panic.

Of course, being the responsible decision maker I am.  I considered the time and cost it would take to call an ambulance and I was literally 1 block from the hospital, the fire station was at least 7 blocks from me.  I stumbled to find my keys and then to the front door.  I realized I was locked in!  I had to stumble back through the building trying to find the front door key!  I don't even remember where they were or how I drove.  I remember falling out of my car at the hospital, barely able to get across the parking lot, contemplating crawling, and thinking...I am going to die in the parking lot!

I stumbled into the front doors of the ER and the girls at the front desk were the ones always there when I have to take Shelbie in so they recognized me and saw that I was in trouble. I was grabbing my chest and out of breath.  "Omg...Kathy!  The nurse is coming!"  I schlumped over the the desk, "I...can't....breathe!" was all I could get out.  I was so glad in that moment that everyone in the ER department remembered me!  Even the Sheriff deputy seemed alarmed.  I was trying to be 'cool' and undramatic but I didn't think I was going to make it.  Surprisingly, I was not crying and did not cry the whole time.  I did not know the nurse who came for me but she said, "What department are you from?"

They were fast!  I couldn't get my shirt off and those monitors on me fast enough.  My heart rate was 143 and my blood pressure was 158/95.  I was not in good shape. My resting heart rate sits at about 65.  As I laid there, I still tried to picture my heart slowing down. I tried to take deep, calming breaths but I couldn't get this situation turned around. I just laid there while Respiratory Therapy started an EKG, Nurses were monitoring, starting IV's, blowing veins, the doctor was talking and people were standing around...It was crazy and there I was, kind of floating above watching all this drama unfold and trying to figure out how this happened, yet freakishly calm.

As things calmed down and my heart rate began to drop slowly and my blood pressure came down, I was overcome with the blues.  I hate those moments when I realize that I am alone.  Not just lonely, but alone. It was the saddest moment.  I would hate to die alone.  I don't want to go through life alone.

The doctor came in after some tests started coming back and asked where my husband was.  "I don't have a husband."
"Can we call your parents?  You have kids right? I think I have treated your kids?"
"I have kids, they are busy.  It's okay."  I hate it when I have to rely on my kids to help me.  They have enough stress and don't need my problems on top of their own.

My potassium is low but not likely the cause of last night's event. I am definitely having some rhythm problems but the source is unknown.  Of course, he had to ask about my stress level.
"Just the usual" I said with a smirk. "Ya know, unemployment, underemployment, single mother, chronic illness, health problems, debt. Nothing I can't handle though."
I don't think he knew what to say, "So, we aren't talking Christmas stress because we see a lot of chest pain during the holidays because women try to do too much."
"Nope, I could care less about sugar cookies and shopping."

Now, I have to wear a stupid monitor until SUNDAY!  I can't shower until then!  Ugh.  The thing I can't figure out is how stress does this, if it is stress, which I believe it is since I passed my Echo-cardiogram with flying colors basically.  Yesterday was even a pretty quiet day and I wasn't feeling particularly overwhelmed or worried. Tired but I'm always tired.

Last night, even when I finally got home at 10:30, my heart was still not right. I had a hard time sleeping with all these wires and the residual pain.  I finally got my brain music.

A few years ago, I got into this research on how everything in the Universe, including our bodies, have a natural rhythm to them.  Part of the research was music therapy and how your brainwaves, heart rate and respiration rate and blood pressure can all be manipulated with music.  Your heart will take on the beat of the music you are listening to as well as your respiration rate etc.  I have a collection of music that I use to manipulate these rhythms.  I have music I can use when I need to be creative, music when I need to wake up, music when I need to calm down and music when I need to sleep. It really works along with guided imagery.  I use it whenever my kids are in the hospital to keep them calm.

I knew if I could get my brainwaves down into the delta wave range, my heart would relax.  It took me until about 2:30 am before I felt like the weights were gone from my chest, and the pain subsided and I fell asleep for a couple of hours anyways.  Maybe I will write more on music therapy, later.

Today, I am just feeling worn out and a little frustrated that I just can't handle things better.  I have tried so hard to be positive, hopeful, happy and to help others and forget about our own problems...I don't know how else to deal with the stress than laughing and we've been laughing a lot!

So, I guess today is going to be about keeping my heart rhythm in check and stay out of the blues area because feeling sorry for myself at this point is not going to be helpful.



  1. WHAT?! Why didn't you call us?? next time call us, I hope there is no next time, but if there is call!!! how scary! I'm glad your okay. it's crazy what stress can do to the body.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts