Or, Pollyanna on Drugs!
Lyda here. You may be wondering why I haven’t posted in a while. Gather round the campfire, and I will tell you the harrowing tale…
On Friday the 13th, Pollyanna was sitting at her desk at Huge Educational Institution, reading emails and waiting for 5 o’clock completing important work. Suddenly, I was about knocked out of my chair with intense chest pains.
Spoiler: I was not having a heart attack. My heart is fine. Now you can relax and enjoy the drama.
Being the resourceful Texas gal and calm Capricorn that y’all know, I reacted in exactly the manner you would expect: I panicked! I called my doctor’s office, but they had closed early. So I called the emergency care place near home. One of their doctors once stitched up the gash I made in my finger cutting the skin off chicken. This was obviously a sign from above that chicken has skin for a reason, and I have not skinned a chicken since. The doctor didn’t laugh at my jokes about skinless chicken not being as healthy as it was supposed to be, either. But I digress…
The woman on the phone said, “Well, if I was having chest pains like that, I’d either come here or go to the hospital emergency room.”
So, with the élan that I showed throughout this whole experience, I drove myself to the emergency care place. That’s right. I thought I was having a heart attack, so of course the logical thing was to drive myself to a doctor.
I may not have been thinking clearly, what do ya’ll think?
So, I walked into the place, and signed in. There were half a dozen people sitting there, patiently waiting their turns. So, drama queen that I am (I may have been panicking a bit at this point), I told the nurse, “I just want you to know I’m having chest pains, in case I fall over.” And I went and sat down. Seriously, if you are having chest pains, you SHOULD let the nurse know. It could save your life.
Well, next thing you know, I was ushered into a room (sorry, waiting people!) and the doctor was asking me questions. Most doctors are younger than me. They all used to be lots older than me, but now I’m their mom’s age. How did that happen? And they started to hook me up to a machine, I think it’s called an EKG? Look at me, all medical. And the doctor said, “Start her on an IV. No, wait, how long is the ambulance response time?”
How long is the ambulance response time? What kind of question is that? Whippersnapper!
Yup, they called the ambulance. And suddenly the room was full of seriously gorgeous ambulance men and firemen. Why do I never meet firemen in social situations? Where do they go when they are off duty? Ah, well, I was old enough to be their mothers too. And there was a lovely and kind ambulance woman too. And they were all talking to me at once, and I heard them say, “We’re going to transport her.”
And I’m guessing that my up-to-then sphinx-like expression changed, because one of them said, “I don’t want to scare you, ma’am.”
Too late!! I actually said that to him. And I was joking around because I didn’t want to cry or panic, and they all very nicely pretended that I was a) making sense, and b) actually funny. And this was kind of reassuring and kind of scary, because how bad was it if they were pretending to laugh at my lame jokes?
Y’all, I was strangely proud that they let me stand up and get onto the gurney. I didn’t want them to lift me onto it, like, I don’t know, someone who needed to go to the hospital! And even in the midst of my fear of having a heart attack or something, I still didn’t want these nice men to lift me because they would have found out how much I weigh, and maybe even dropped me because I’m so heavy. Priorities straight? Check.
So they wheeled me out of the place and into the ambulance, right past all those other people waiting, and I thought, “At least they know that I wasn’t just line-jumping.” Like it mattered what these complete strangers that I will never see again thought of me.
But it did.
The ambulance was tiny, and the driver was teasing the guy who was trying to get the IV in my arm. He was having trouble, what with my tiny veins and the road bumps and all, and the lovely woman was holding my hand and gently joking with me about men. Y’all, these people managed to keep me calm and feeling like this was not such a big deal. “What, going to the ER in an ambulance? No biggie.” They were awesome, and I’m sorry that I don’t remember their names. ‘Cause they are angels in blue ambulance shirts and orthopedic shoes, ya’ll.
Whatever they get paid, it’s not enough. I’m just sayin’.
Erika the Excellent ER nurse reminded me so much of one of my wonderful nieces. Erika the Excellent was funny and comforting and possibly from the South. All this = instant family. Bless you, Erika!
Erika encouraged me to call my emergency contact, who stayed with me for the first and very scary part of the evening. Erika took our weird conversation and strange joking and everything in stride, although she was amazed when we told her that this good friend is my son’s Evil Stepmom. That’s what she calls herself. The two of us think it’s hysterical. No one else seems to get it. Possibly we are a bit weird.
Apparently, it is unusual to call your ex’s wife from ER.
Evil Stepmom stayed with me and asked the questions that I should have been asking but was too scared and dazed and high on morphine, they have excellent drugs in the ER, ya’ll to ask. When it became obvious that I was going to spend the night in ER but that the immediate crisis had passed, she conjured me a delicious dinner, and then she went home to her daughter. Her halo was definitely showin’, ya’ll.
I spent the night in the ER, with Erika the Excellent ER Nurse, Cute Serious Young ER Doctor, and all the other fantastic folks in the ER. They were awesome, and kept me from getting freaked out. And gave me drugs whenever I whined about the pain.
It was almost pleasant. Maybe that was the drugs…
Somewhere in there I called my son, the Sith Master, and talked to him. He was spending the night with his best friend and I downplayed the whole thing and (I think) managed to keep him from worrying too much.
I didn’t call my brothers or my sister or Anna-Liza, because I didn’t want them to have a sleepless night worrying about me.
And because if I called them, it would make it all real. And I didn’t want it to be real.
And I joked around with the nurses and the doctor and the attendants, and tried to be pleasant and not complain too much.
Not because I’m brave in the face of adversity or anything. Because my brain clicked into this weird survivor mode. If I joked, it wasn’t real.
And I remember thinking “if I’m nice and they like me, they will want to save my life.”
I was afraid, ya’ll. I was really really afraid. Also, on drugs. Did I mention the drugs?
The next morning, they did more tests and my heart and lungs are doing great. I told the guy, I think his name was Antonio, who pushed my wheelchair all morning that it was the best ride in the place. “Antonio’s Wild Wheelchair Ride.” A Disneyland joke, ya’ll. He was sweet enough to pretend it was funny.
The only unpleasant person I dealt with the whole time – except for the cardiologist who was rude to the attendants and completely ignored me, but personality is NOT my first priority for someone who might have to open up my chest – was the new nurse who told me I was going home. Call her Nazi Nurse.
Evil Stepmom had brought the Sith Master to see me, and Nazi Nurse would not let them in the room. But Nazi Nurse was no match for Evil Stepmom, who triumphed in the end and came in the room and asked a whole bunch of questions that I should have been asking (but didn’t – morphine, remember?). Also, Evil Stepmom Knows People at the hospital, so I think Nazi Nurse may have rued the day.
So, anyway, that’s Pollyanna’s ER Adventure.
And I’m still in pain, but we know it’s not my heart or my lungs. They still don’t know what’s wrong. It could be a new fibromyalgia symptom. I see another specialist tomorrow.
Thanks for reading all this. Next time, I promise cool stuff about Anna-Liza and LA and knitting.
And really huge shrimp.