Let’s start with life.
Just as we were beginning to settle in for our long winter’s night, after the hustle bustle of the holidays, and just after I forlornly felt sorry for myself, anticipating the boredom of said long winter’s night, Life smacked us across the face with a “What were you thinking?!”
We were hanging out, it was a couple of weeks ago, January 16th to be exact. It was a quiet, peaceful, relaxing kind of day. I was sitting in my cozy knitting chair, knitting, of course. I don’t remember what Ross was doing. But I do remember the next few hours quite vividly.
He came out of the kitchen, stood over me and said he didn’t feel right. He didn’t look right either.
One thing about Ross, he is usually a calm and steady person. At that moment, he wasn’t either of those.
I could see he was panicking. I told him to sit. I tried to get him to regulate his breathing.
He couldn’t. I asked if he wanted me to call 911. He shook his head yes.
One thing about me, although I appear on the outside to be a calm and steady person, on the inside I am a web of tightness. But that day, I surprised myself. I remained calm inside and out.
The ambulance came pretty quickly. Although, while we were waiting, it seemed like forever.
As the EMT guys strapped Ross onto the gurney, I told him that I would be right behind him and that he was going to be okay. And I wasn’t just saying that. I knew that he would be.
When I walked into the hospital emergency room lobby, I thought about how different these new emergency rooms are. I have been in many. Only one or two times as a patient, but many times as the accompanying person.
This one looked like the lobby of a fancy hotel. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. There was no one yelling, “Nurse! Nurse!” There was no chaotic commotion.
The fire in the modernist fireplace was warm, soothing and quite mesmerizing.
I walked up to the desk and told the pleasant young woman why I was there. She told me to have a seat, while she checked to see if Ross was settled in yet.
What? Wait a minute. I’m this guy’s wife. He was just rushed here in an ambulance. You want me to take a seat and you will be right with me?
I took a seat. A seat where I could see her clearly. Stare at her in fact. Pick up the phone! Pick up the phone! She shuffled some papers around.
Oh, one of the other things that I found myself staring at was the revolving door in this Hotel/Emergency room lobby. There were gift shop items displayed on shelves which were on the inside of the door. As the door kept going around and around, the hand made knitted items caught my eye and I was distracted for a moment or two. I would go back and forth, first starting at the Checker lady and then back to the turning door.
Finally, she picked up the phone. I’m sure it was only a matter of minutes, but it seemed like forever.
A nice volunteer lady escorted me “back”. As we passed through the set of hospital double doors, I realized I wasn’t in Oz anymore. It was like walking onto a movie set. Lights, camera action!
The chaos, commotion, the old woman screaming for the nurse, this was the real emergency room.
I have to say, the staff was very nice. Even if they were “sorry we ran out of pillows.”
After we were there for the obligatory six hours, the doctor, who by the way looked like this was his 24th hour on duty, asked Ross for the fourth time to describe why he was brought in. He also asked Ross for the fourth time if he had a regular Cardiologist. And Ross told him for the fourth time that he did. But I guess the fourth time was the charm because Dr. said, “Hey why don’t I give him a call.”
So the diagnosis turned out to be Afib (Arterial Fibrillation).
His symptoms were classic:
- Palpitations (feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or fast)
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness or problems exercising
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or fainting
- Fatigue (tiredness)
This was the first time he had ever experienced this. He was treated in the ER with medication and his heart went back into its natural rhythm.
The ER doc wanted to keep him overnight for observation. I asked how long it would be before he would be checked into a room. Doc didn’t know if there were any beds available.
Ross said, “I know I have a bed waiting for me at home."
Ross signed a release, (his cardiologist was going to see him first thing in the morning) and we went home.
In the next couple of weeks, Ross is scheduled for various heart testing.
I told him he is going to be okay. I know he is.
Juno, The Worst Snow Storm Blizzard in The History of the World, just wasn’t.