Over the past few weeks I’ve had the enjoyable experience of a personal issue, a health scare. Now to paint a picture I have not been to a doctors office in the past 15 years. I don’t say that with a chest thumping bravado, it’s just the way I am. Always lived a moderately healthy lifestyle, stay is good enough shape, never take prescription drugs, and remain active. Of course that spells for disaster.
I’ve been renovating our downstairs bathroom doing a lot of tiling work lately, cleaning out the basement and the 10 tons of junk I’ve stockpiled down there over the years, and just getting the house up to snuff. It’s been an exhausting process when you add in chasing our 2+ year old around, and now on the job hunt on top of it now that we decided it’s best I go back to a normal day to day lifestyle.
The “event” that took place
It was just another day of demolition, chisel and hammer in hand knocking out old tiles laid into concrete. It’s a real bitch of a job but someone has to do it, that someone is me. Later that night I’m here in my office and fall asleep at the keyboard which is nothing new. An hour or so later I wake up feeling green as hell. Get up and stumble into the kitchen to presumably vomit and drink some sink water.
Drink a little water, start busting out in a profuse sweat, and I drop like a brick. Unconscious on the kitchen floor at 12:15am while everyone is sleeping. 30-45 minutes later I come to and crawl upstairs and into bed.
Next morning I tell my wife what happened and she tells me to be smart, call a doctor. Me being me blows it off and goes with the wait and see approach. Something though just is not right with me.
Later that day I call my friend, who is a Cardiologist here on LI at a prominent hospital. I tell him what happened the night before and that now I’m having chest pains throughout the day whenever I try to exert myself in any form. Just a few minutes of labor or exercise is making me feel like I’m going to drop. No good.
The check up
I get to my friends office and I tell him my symptoms, a little case history, background, the usual. Friend or not this is a medical situation and I want him to have every bit of information possible at his disposal. Rare enough to get my ass in a medical office so if I am there, let’s just do it all and fix whatever is broke inside of me.
Blood drawn and sent to the lab. EKG done and the third line on the strip is going down instead of up. Potentially means I had some kind of event and the walls of the heart may not be moving or something along those lines. We immediately do an echocardiogram in his office to make sure, and that comes out clear. To be safe, I get a 24 hour Heart Monitor and head back home after a long and exhausting day.
We do the 24 hour Heart Monitor and I’m finished with it on a Thursday. Friday morning the wife takes it to the office since it’s around the block from her job. Around 1pm I start having severe chest pains, to the point I’m freaking out and really worried something bad is happening. I text my friend, he calls me up and instructs me to pop some aspirin and get to the emergency room ASAP. Wife comes home, my Dad heads to hospital, and my father in-law comes here to watch the kid. God I hate having people do things for me, but boy do I appreciate them.
Get to the E-Room and it’s the usual. They’re starting from scratch. After 30-45 minutes of repeatedly telling them to call my Cardiologist who is a Dr. in that very hospital they FINALLY call him and we go over the options. They all suck including keeping me there until Monday because apparently the test I need closed an hour before.
Then the magic of true friendship and a Doctor that wants his patients getting the help they need happens. My buddy shakes some branches in the hospitals hierarchy and they’re not all of a sudden able to give me a Heart CT. An hour and a half later they take me and do a Heart CT. It comes back normal. I go home.
Still feel like shit, will the pain just quit?
No ability to exercise or do laborious tasks without feeling out of breath and chest thumping like I’m going to drop. We schedule what is known as a Tilt Table Test as an outpatient event in the hospital. I take the test, needing to get double doses of the speed drug they feed me through the IV to get my heart rate up enough. Ironically enough I have really low blood pressure. I pass the test with no issues.
So what the hell is wrong with me? Slightly abnormal EKG but cleared with 3 additional tests. I’m taking to my friend in the hospital by the cafe and we start brainstorming both how I feel, when I feel that way, and what I’m doing. He thought dehydration from the passing out event was a likely cause (and I have not passed out since) so I’ve been pounding water and Gatorade to stay hydrated and keep the BP at a normal level since I’m naturally a low BP person.
Asthma? Bronchial issue? Lung embolism? He prescribes me Advair, a daily dust based inhaler.
Literally the next day I’m feeling better. It’s been a week now and not only am I feeling better, I actually have better wind that before all of this took place. I’m banging out house tasks like a boss, chasing the kid with no problems, and I lost the stressful feeling of “will I pass out again?” and even worse “will I pass out while home alone with my daughter?” which has been my biggest fear in all of this.
We have this mess narrowed down now, it’s most likely pulmonary. I’ve been laying low and enjoying feeling good for a few days and letting the ER nurse who brutalized my arm while trying to get an IV into me to heal up before scheduling the follow-up with the Lung Specialist.