Thursday, September 03, 2009

What I learned on the way to the ER

I like to call it an episode. It sounds much better than an Atrial Flutter type of tachyarrhythmia. Don't worry, I'm not going to die. Well, actually, I am, we all are, but I don't think this is going to do it. The repercussions of scaring the hell out of my wife on the other hand, that could prove to be my undoing.

I am a guy, and guess what, we don't want to face the fact that we are mortal. We lived this long ignoring all the little '"episodes" we have had in the past, this one will go away too. Except this one didn't.

As I woke this morning I could feel my heart playing what felt like the beat to a Metallica song, something around 135 beats per minute. I have had this feeling in the past and it usually sorted itself out by the time I hit the shower. Having taken a few days off preparing the funeral service for my friend Phil, I knew we would be behind at work. I didn't want to call in and leave the guys shorthanded again. I drove in and found myself at sitting at my desk, but feeling terrible. As we were heading out the door I started to sweat and get a little light headed.

Having the image of two grieving children from yesterday's funeral fresh in my mind, I decided that getting a new internet connection installed in Vorhies Hall was a little less important than my two kids, and went to my supervisor. I told him that I hated to be a whuus, but I really think I needed to see by a doctor. Steve drove me to Sutter Davis Hospital; after I found out that UC Davis' Employee Health only takes workers comp cases. As we drove along, Steve told me to call my wife, and another co-worker called me to remind me to call my wife, which I did. I checked in with the triage nurse, and she found my heart rate around 138, so was taken inside to the ER.

Have you ever been the only person on a car lot and had three salesmen giving you their undivided attention? That was me. I think they wheeled one guy out while I was there, so I was the main attraction. The IV went in, electrodes were attached, auto blood pressure cuff went on and everything started beeping, and whirring. The doctors and nurses huddled around the high-tech gadgetry to assess how my heart was doing. Like I said, it was a slow day, and I almost thought they were wishing for something exotic or cool to have befallen me. To my relief, it was only Atrial Flutter. As a consolation, a pretty young nurse said that it was a gorgeous flutter, so I had that going for me.

My supervisor Steve was the only person in the waiting room so they usher him back, and we talked about getting old, and how much it,,,, well, how much it sucks. My wife is usually pretty solid when it comes to dealing with illnesses and injuries. She has seen me run over and flipped upside down by a bull, kicked in the chest by a Clydesdale, and bucked off more horses than I can remember. She usually comes over and asks if I am all right, and then she tells me how funny I looked with my arms and legs flailing around as I flew through the air. As soon as she saw me hooked up to all the monitors, she started crying. I introduced my wife to Steve and Steve fled the scene as if he left something burning on the stove.

After an hour, and doctors and nurses coming by about three minutes to see if any really cool was going to happen, I was released with instructions to go see an electro cardiologist next week. Kind of sounds like a doctor who could also wire a new 220 electrical outlet for your clothes dryer.

I am home now with instructions from my doctor, my wife, my mother in law, my pharmacist, and about ten friends to REST! However, I am easily bored, like a four year old at fine china shop. I figured that I could do a little writing without exerting too much effort.

The last few weeks has shown me and my friends just how precious life is, and while I like to think I am smart enough to learn from watching, nothing quite focuses the mind like thinking your next breath could be taken in heaven. I guess I should pay heed to my own sermons and writings. So, I will.

I wanted to take the time to let you know how much fun I have had rolling through this thing called life for the last 43 years. Sure, there have been setbacks, tragedy, and loss. There has also been enough love, fun, laughter, and companionship to last three lifetimes.

To my friends, and you know who you are, thank you. I have enjoyed all the times we had together, even the trying times. You have helped me grow as a person and I hope I didn't get you into much trouble with you spouse, or parents.

To my family; I love you so much. Not just for things you have done for me, not just for the things you have said to me, but for simply being who you are, and allowing me to love you. If my next breath comes in heaven, know this. Have no regrets. Any problems that we ever had between us were most likely my fault. I know you love me, and that is more than enough. Know that I am at home, and at rest with my savior. I will be there, waiting, but don’t come too soon. God has plans for you, just as He did for me.

Here is hoping for another 43 years, but hey, life happens.


Katie said...

Glad you are doing ok!

JazGram said...

Take care, Cowboy! We're not ready to let you go just yet. Much food for thought in this post... thank you.