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.
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…