I woke up at 7. And 7:30. And 8:00. The pain refused to go away no matter how I slept, and eventually I could not sleep at all. Not brutal pain, really, but more of a powerful discomfort. A big lump of pain sitting in the middle of my chest, right under the bottom of my sternum, and no matter how I was lying, or sitting up, or walking around, it refused to go away.
I did a quick self-check, after looking up "signs of heart attack" on the net. I didn't think I was having one, since I could breathe and I wasn't experiencing numbness, but damn, this shit was hurting. I called my health care providers up in Maryland. They told me to go find some Maalox and Zantac, in case it was simple heartburn (see previous entry's note about the burger and chili late the previous night). There was a Walgreen's near the hotel, so I went over and got some.
As a side note, cherry Maalox isn't bad.
I got back to my room and took the stuff as specified and waited for my guts to stop hurting. When, after an hour or so, that didn't happen, I called Kaiser back. The nurse on the line put me on hold for a while, then came back on the line.
"I just talked to your doctor, and he thinks you need to be seen." I explained to her that I was in a hotel room in Kissimmee, Florida, so it wasn't like I'd be able to just pop into the office in Baltimore. She told me to go to the emergency room.
Google Maps to the rescue!
The Disney area tends to hide things like medical facilities and other things you don't figure you'll need on vacation, but in this case, I found that Florida Hospital in Celebration was basically right across US192 from me. Disbelieving that Celebration, Florida ever has "emergencies," I called the number and asked to make sure that they did, in fact, have an emergency room. They did, and told me to come right over. I did. The pain was getting worse.
I was there in five minutes. Pulled up, walked in, and got hit by a burst of pain that almost knocked me down. They put me in a chair and started getting information. There was no wait at all. Within ten minutes they had me plugged into no fewer than eleven skin sensors and on an IV, and within minutes after that they'd given me a nitroglycerin tab and some aspirin, just in case I was having a heart attack. These people were fast.
Within another hour I'd had two chest x-rays taken, and shortly thereafter, a CAT scan. These things and a blood test or two confirmed that no, I had not had a heart attack, and there was no heart damage of blockages... in fact, my blood pressure and pulse went back to normal rather quickly as the pain subsided.
Having figured out what wasn't wrong with me, it was as if they got bored and moved onto more interesting people. There was some talk of admitting me, which I was rather opposed to, since (a) I was 900 miles from home and (b) they had none of the records that would have helped them figure out what was going on with me. For my piece, the pain was gone, I was feeling OK, and I was sitting on a bed in the hallway of the emergency room waiting for them to figure out what to do.
My eventual need to pee decided it for me. I asked the nurse to help unhook me, and, taking my shirt, I went to the mens room, did my stuff, then unhooked the sensors and changed shirts, and checked myself out. I got in the truck and went back to the hotel to lie down.
Yeah. I do stuff like that. If you're not gonna tell me what you're doing, don't be surprised if I don't wait around to participate in doing it. All I wanted to make sure was that I wasn't having a heart attack, and they'd done that, so I was cool. It was now evening, so I went back to the hotel, napped a while and then, still feeling good, went up the road to a seafood place and had some very nice steamed shellfish and crab.
Sleep that night was better than usual.
To be continued, y'all...
1. Eric02/11/2010 12:18:12 PM
I know that Twitter has taken over, but I gotta tell you, I sure enjoy reading "Turtle Prose" again. You're a good writer.
Sadly, they didn't send me to LP this year. Better luck next year, I suppose...