Apr 27 2012
First of all, I’m writing this on my phone, so please excuse weirdness.
Early morning on April 26 (around 4 AM), I got up to feed The Boy. The Man was in Florida on business. The Boy ate for about 30 minutes and toward the end, my back started to hurt. I thought I was just holding him weird. I put him down to sleep and went downstairs to take some Tylenol. I went back upstairs to lay down. The pain had spread around my torso. It was like a band around my chest. I also could not catch my breath or take a deep breath. I started to get scared. I grabbed my phone and Googled “heart attack symptoms women” and started going down the symptom checklist, ticking off almost every single one. By this time, this had been going on for about 20 minutes.
I went back downstairs and took two aspirin. I thought about what I was going to do. If I had been alone, I might have just waited it out. However, I had a two month old baby upstairs. If I keeled over, what would happen to him? The Man wouldn’t be home until late that night.
I called my sister and asked her to come over right away to watch the baby. I called The Man in Florida and asked him if he thought I should call for an ambulance. He told me to call, and told me that he was leaving now to get an earlier flight.
I called 911. I was still in a lot of pain and was having trouble talking. The dispatcher told me to chew another aspirin. Have you ever done that? It is DISGUSTING. The dispatcher told me to unlock the door and wait for the paramedics. She let me go, and I called my mom. I asked her to come over as well.
I waited downstairs for the circus to arrive, and I knew it would be a circus. The first arrival was a cop. He was probably just the closest responder. Next, a bunch of people from my local fire rescue came in. Finally, the paramedics. Everyone kept asking the same questions (age, birth date, symptoms, had I done any drugs lately). One of the paramedics said “Well, you hit the magic combo of words, so you get a nitroglycerin and an EKG”. So, I took the pill and he hooked me up to his portable EKG. He told me my heart looked OK, but I could have a clot or it could still be cardiac related. Eventually, the other people filtered out because we were just waiting for J-bird and my brother-in-law to show up. Once they did, and I told J-bird where to find frozen breastmilk and extra diapers, they loaded me into the ambulance and we took off. I had started feeling better, but on the way to the hospital I had another episode. They gave me another nitroglycerin and put me on oxygen.
When we got to the ER, they did all the intake work and another EKG. The doctor told me that although the first beat of my heart was delayed, this was very common in women who had recently had a child. He said the murmur was slowly healing and would soon be gone. As far as he could tell, there was no real damage to my heart and he did not think I was having cardiac-related problems. He suspected GI problems.
I got to drink a grody drink and then go to an ultrasound. That took awhile, and then it took time to get the results. But, the doctor eventually came in and told me I had gall stones, my gall bladder was inflamed, and there was fluid around it as well. He told me that the GI surgeon wanted me to go in for surgery right then, since I was already there. I said no. I wanted to wait for my husband to get home and I needed to make arrangements for my son’s care. So, they sent me home with prescriptions and instructions to call back to schedule surgery.
So, that’s where I’m at right now. I have to stay away from fatty, fried, or spicy food. I feel fine at the moment.
I felt pretty badly that I caused so much commotion over something that ended up being non-life threatening, but just about every single doctor and nurse I saw told me that I did the right thing by calling for help. I still don’t know if I would have called anyone if I’d been alone. But, the baby tipped the balance. I’m just grateful that I had people who were able to come and take care of my son while I took care of myself.