If you're wondering what PE is...no, I don't have to climb that damn rope in physical education at the school. No, I don't have a personal emu following me around writing bad checks to retailers. The gnomes are working on that last one though...
Last Wednesday I traded in my four hour work meeting for what was behind curtain number two...a fun 12 hour visit to the Emergency Room.
It all started when I got up from my computer chair early at work and it felt like Andre the Giant had snuck up from behind me and was squeezing my chest. That's unusual because Andre has been dead for a few years now. Also, the whole thing made it difficult to breathe.
Now I'm not stupid; I know most of the classic heart attack symptoms and this felt pretty darn classic. Classic as in Stairway to Heaven classic. But just how can a gnome owning, exercising, heathy eating, non-smoking, mostly non-drinking, non-stressed person be having a heart attack at 49? I felt the same way when I learned Sara Palin makes more money than I do..."this isn't fair!"
So, knowing my own tendencies to not deal with pain and just put up with it (remember when I broke three ribs skiing on the first day and continued to ski all weekend because I'd already paid for it?), I called the wifey-poo for advice. Sure enough...I was on my way to the local clinic
The local clinics apparently aren't used to people with those symptoms walking up unnancounced. I think they're more used to their fear-induced drug-dependent slowly dying sorts that have a myriad of maladies because the TV commercial told them they did.
So I walk in and tell the front desk person my symptoms and she directs me to another sad clinic waiting area with another front desk person saying "make an appointment there, you could get in tomorrow or Friday." "With heart attack symptoms? Really? Don't you think I might be dead by Friday?" I respond.
The other front desk person wasn't so callous. Apparently she wasn't winning the game of solitaire most likely on her computer screen that I conveniently couldn't see. She sent me right in. So while I'm reading a two year old sports magazine...hey, the Olympics are coming to China!...they take a myriad of vitals. You know, your weight is important should you keel over. Then they know whether to soak your window for the cost of a heavy ok casket or a light pine version.
|Gary Coleman's casket with name appropriate attached|
So, I got yet another amubulance ride. Last time I rode an ambulance I had a bone sticking out of my arm and five fractures and kind of wanted some sort of pain medication after enduring that state for over an hour. This time I thought it was all a big over-production...kind of like the TV show Glee.
At the ER it was a never ending session of tests. You do something and then you wait a couple of years for the result and then they do something else. EKGs, Cat Scans, ultrasounds...all important and life saving and all ridiculously boring. Ok...injecting the iodine for the cat scan makes you feel like you just peed your pants but it's pretty uneventful.
In the end, it turns out my heart is fine...healthy as a horse (I don't know why people say that...it's not like horses are living 200-300 years or something). What they did find were two tiny blood clots in the lungs. Since I have no risk factors for getting them, they're wondering how they got there. I could blame it on clots in the legs from a long plane flight but I haven't even done one of those for awhile. They did an ultrasound looking in the legs for others. Of course, I had to wait my turn among the pregnant. How joyous. "Congratulations, VE, it's a baby blood clot!" Actually, none were found in my legs. My symptoms were merely one of the clots getting obstructed in the vessels of the lungs. They have similar symptoms to those of a heart attack. All I have to do is take blood thinners for several months to allow my body to dissolve them. Blood thinners aren't exactly fun is you don't like needles...lots of needles. For the first six days I get the fun opportunity to inject a two inch needle into my stomach twice a day. They say it's to allow the thinner medicine to be accepted easier. I say its some cruel dark humor the nurses and doctors conjured up to break up their stressful days.
So there it is. PE stands for pulmonary ebolysm. A fance word for a blood clot in the lungs. But I'm alive and healthy heart and have a cat scan to prove it. That's a lot of rigamorole to get one. I could have just taken the neighbor's cat and crammed him onto my printer/fax/scanner and hit "Scan" if I'd wanted a real cat scan...sheesh...