Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Morning at the Mayo…

So along about 2 a.m. I woke (again!) with a hot flash and the dim sensation of chest pain and, when I checked the numbers, totally soaring blood pressure.

Usually these wee-hours chest aches appear to be pain from the mastectomy scars. If I shift position, it goes away.

Not so this morning. Indeed, before long the pain migrated into the left armpit and down the arm. Lovely.

The nearest hospital is not one with the greatest of all possible reputations. And indeed, I’ve had less than perfect experience in its ER — granted, it was a long time ago…but still…

If you call 911, they will not take you to the Mayo. They will give you the choice of said nearby hospital, St. Joe’s, or Good Samaritan (whatever they’re calling themselves these days).

St Joe’s is the fine institution whose pathologist called me at 7:00 in the evening, said “I’m sorry: you have cancer,” and hung up. So as you can imagine, I’d prefer to go somewhere else. Good Sam is another inner-city hospital, crowded and over-worked.

The only hospital in the Phoenix area that is consistently rated “Excellent” is the Mayo. If you live in North Central and you want to go there, you either get a friend or spouse to drive you or you drive yourself.

Lacking friends or spouses at 2 in the morning, it was into the Toyota and off in a cloud of dust.

Did you know that when there’s no traffic on the Phoenix streets, you can run a red light with no risk of killing anyone or of getting arrested? Did it twice. 😉

Interesting. I’ve never run a red light on purpose before. Nothing happened.

Ripped up the freeway, flying like a bat out of Hell. A six-banger will do that for you, especially when it’s installed in a rather flimsy late-model vehicle. But the guy who’d hit the on-ramp with me (two lanes) was damned if he’d let some woman get in front of him. Before long he disappeared in the distance. Before much longer, I saw the cop lights flashing: caught the poor schmuck.

Thanks, buster: if you hadn’t been going 90, that would’ve been me, even though I was only going 85. 😀

Four hours later, it was clear

a) I was not having a heart attack;
b) I had not had a heart attack;
c) I was not about to have a heart attack (“a very low-risk patient,” said the Mayo’s cardiologist);
d) yep, the blood pressure was very high when I showed up, and
e) yep, the blood pressure dropped down into the normal range well before I keeled over and died.

When I remarked that I’d like to know what the chest aches are if they aren’t a cardiac problem, especially when they seem always to be associated with high blood pressure and/or hot flashes, the Mayo’s ER doc said high blood pressure itself can give you chest pain.

Holy sh!t.

Thus one theory in the offing is hot flash > jacked-up BP > chest pain. But, ER Doc said, she did not believe it was a heart attack. After a slew of tests, she could find no evidence that I’d had a heart attack or that anything was out of whack with the heart itself. She approved of Cardiodoc’s choice of meds and said to keep taking it.

So that was a fine way to spend the night.

Missed the pup’s appointment with the vet to have her teeth cleaned. Missed about five hours of sleep. Missed some peace of mind.

The Mayo, though, is first-rate. They were exceptionally nice to me and kicked into gear the minute I walked in the door. One can’t say that about my experience with other hospital ERs here…

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Author: funny

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7 Comments

  1. OMG, I’m so glad it wasn’t a heart attack. This is the first I’ve heard that high BP can give you chest pain – talk about scary! Here’s hoping this will be an infrequent event, at the very least. I hope you sleep better tonight.
    Hey, at least you didn’t get the speeding ticket. ;oD

    • I hadn’t heard that, either. By way of scaring you into swallowing pills for the rest of your life, the propaganda tells you it’s a “silent killer.” Apparently it’s not as silent as you think: the main complaint I’ve had over the past couple years, light-headedness, can be caused by high BP. Add in headache, tiredness…and you begin to see a picture.

      How hard, really, would it have been for a doctor to have TOLD me that? Maybe they were confused by my whining about the palpitations…but a person with an MD probably should know that a sense of palpitation can come with light-headedness.

  2. Sucks that you had to go through all that but glad it turned out to not be as serious as you had originally feared. I hope you can get the blood pressure under control.

  3. Holy crud! Ya sure we couldn’t have raised the “accountant” or a “church friend”…. Driving yourself while having a “cardiac event”?…..No Bueno!…Glad it all turned out OK…But it is sad that you basically had to drive by two hospitals to go to a third…whose care you could depend on….Ya can’t make this stuff up!

    • There’s really not much choice. The hospitals the EMTs will take you really aren’t acceptable. Well…they are and they aren’t. It’s the “aren’t” part — high rates of infection, high rates of surgical tools left in people’s bodies, high rates of inner-city shooting and stabbing emergencies…those places are quite the zoos.

    • But no: this hospital is in the opposite direction from the two major medical centers. I did have to go by one institution — you’d be nuts to check yourself into that one. The Mayo is across the freeway, a 20-minute drive in heavy traffic. At 3 in the morning? Empty. I got there less than 10 minutes. And I suspected I wasn’t actually having a heart attack.