I'm just home from a 21 hours experience on the so-called "other end of the stethoscope" as a patient in the very hospital where I usually roam about in a white doctor's coat. It all started yesterday afternoon as a particularly miserable day was drawing to a close. I'd seen my last patient but all day, afflicted with a head cold and a pesky, recurrent and particularly frequent cough I sucked on menthol cough drops constantly and periodically upended a bottle of over the counter cough syrup to get some relief. (Side note: most doctors are idiots. We work when we are ill. I'm not condoning the behavior; just being honest)
When the pain hit right in the middle of my chest and pushed straight on through to my back, I couldn't help but take notice. Nothing made it better or worse. Persistent and impossible to ignore, I rationalized that it was musculo-skeletal pain from all the coughing. But, there was no denying the fact that although I've had all types of chest pains in my 55 years, this was different. A voice in my head told me not to be a fool. Get. It. Checked. Out.
I'll fast forward to the bottom line: my heart is fine. But, clearly the nature of the pain and my age (sigh) were of enough concern to the ER doc that I landed up on the telemetry unit of the hospital until all could be sorted out. I'm grateful for the professional, highly organized, and thorough care. Blood work, chest Xray, EKGs, medications for pain, IV fluids, oxygen, continuous cardiac monitoring, consultation with a cardiologist and then a stress echo-cardiogram.....it all played out in less than a day. Now I'm home and am left with a surreal feeling; did all that really happen?
Weary am I tonight. Between attentive nurses and doctors coming and going all night, phlebotomists drawing blood and technicians repeating EKGs, there wasn't much time for sleep. I did order "room service" from the hospital cafeteria twice and that was cool. Not exactly a trip to the spa for sure but the care was phenomenal. I'm also grateful that my heart is good. It's good. It's good.