My first ambulance ride

Posted by barb on Jun 13, 2004 in Random Thoughts |

I thought Thursday was bad, but that’s just because I hadn’t lived through Friday and Saturday yet.

Let me just preface this by saying that I’m home now, and feeling fine. I need to go to my doctor this week for some follow up, but they wouldn’t have sent me home if they thought there was anything life-threatening going on.

The excitement started Friday afternoon at about 4:15 after I’d woken from a short nap and settled down in front of Judge Judy (my one vice) and I started feeling a bit of discomfort in my chest. No problem, I thought, this is just my acid reflux acting up. But the the pain got worse. And I started sweating. And I tried taking a few deep breaths, since that usually makes anything better, and the pain increased when I did that. Frankly, I started to worry.

I decided to grab the phone, go upstairs, and lay down on my bed for a little while, since that should help. The trip upstairs made things worse, but I crawled in bed just knowing it would make it better. While I was laying there, I thought I might throw-up, so I went to the bathroom, but the second I sat in front of the toilet, the feeling faded, and I was feeling pretty bad, so I went back to the bed.

That’s when I thought I should call Andrew. (Actually, I wanted to call my insurance’s advice line, but the number was downstairs in my purse, and I was remembering how much my trip up the stairs hurt…I didn’t want to brave the stairs again.) I tried to sound calm, but my voice likely showed how much pain I was in. He said he was going to head home right away, but thought it might be a good idea for me to call 911.

The 911 operator took my information and called the paramedics to my house. He stayed on the line, asking about my condition and where I was in the house. I mentioned that the door was locked (silly me, I should have known that the afternoon would end with paramedics at my door), and he asked if I could go downstairs and unlock it. I told him that it caused a lot of pain last time, but that I could probably make it. He said to go ahead, and he would stay with me on the phone.

After unlocking the doors, I laid down on the floor and waited. The 911 guy kept talking and having me answer questions. And just as suddenly as the pain started, it stopped. I told the 911 operator, and within a couple minutes, I heard some large vehicle outside. I opened the door, and next thing I know there are 4 strange firemen in my kitchen.

I sat down at one of the kitchen chairs, and one guy started on my blood pressure and pulse-ox monitor on my finger. Another started applying stickers for the heart monitor. A third knelt in front of me and asked me about my symptoms. I’m sure there were several other guys walking in and out of the house.

The monitor showed several irregular heartbeats — they explained that this could be normal, but I’ve never been told I have one before. My blood pressure was high, but they preferred that to really low.

The guy who was clearly in charge listed to all of the reports, as I was still talking with the one kneeling in front of me, and then turned to me. He said that the heart beats could be normal, but that it might be a good idea for them to bring me to the ER to check it out, just to be sure. (Just to prove how dense I am, I did not connect “give you a ride to the ER” with ambulance.)

I wasn’t sure what to say, but it seemed like a good idea of they were suggesting it, so I said sure. Next thing I know, there is a gurney in the front entry, and they’re walking me over to it. I’m thinking, shit…this is not how I expected my Friday evening to go. They got me on the gurney, grabbed a pair of shoes, my purse, and a jacket. Someone also wrote a note for Andrew so he would know where we went.

As they carried me out the door and down the front steps, I looked around and saw way too many neighbors watching this whole ordeal. I just wanted to hide my face, like people being arrested. If the neighborhood didn’t know who I was before, they certainly know now. (My next-door neighbor did tell me that I gave the boys in the neighborhood a trill, with the fire engine and ambulance in the parking lot.)

We stayed in the parking lot for a little while, while they put in an IV and put one of those annoying oxygen tubes around my face and into my nose. The guys tried to reassure me that they would be boogying if they thought my condition was life threatening, but since they didn’t, they were taking their time to get the IV in and all. Andrew arrived home before we took off, so he talked with one of the firemen, and popped his head in the ambulance.

Then we took off. They turned on the lights and siren after they got out of the parking lot. Again, they tried reassuring me that this was only because of traffic (it was about 5:15, after all). I don’t know how long it took — the guys in the back chatted with me, I’m sure trying to keep me at ease, while monitoring my heart and taking my blood pressure every once in a while — but we eventually got to the ER.

More on my fun in the ER later.

1 Comment

Jun 14, 2004 at 5:39 pm

Ack! Er, uh,um, be careful with you!


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