So now that I’ve twittered my trip to the doctor yesterday and generated a flood of “are you okay?” emails, I guess I better get you all caught up on the latest news. Or lack thereof, anyway…
I’ve had this pain in my chest lately. It’s nothing like heart attack symptoms (squeezing, spreading to arm/jaw, shortness of breath, etc.), it’s more like a stitch in the side but occurring behind the ribs just beneath my left pectoral muscle. It occurs for a couple minutes at a time and has appeared off and on all week, so I called my doctor’s office. When I answered yes to the travel question and said I was on an eight-hour flight last month, the computer said maybe it’s a blood clot and to get my ass to an ER.
I didn’t buy it, but when the nurse says go, you pretty much have to go. I went to an urgent care center instead, thinking I’d get through faster than the big ER in Peoria, and the nurse said it’s my call but they’d just send me on to the hospital anyway if it was serious. I opted to stick with short and sweet.
A couple hours of shenanigans ensued, most of which I posted to Twitter. For example, I experienced medical bureaucracy, tried to resist the call of the defibrillator, and then my phone fooled them by imitating their machine that goes “ping.”
Kind of like this, minus the baby. (But wouldn’t that have been a surprise!)
They did an EKG and an x-ray, then the doctor came in and poked and prodded. In the end he just shrugged and shuffled me out the door. They ordered some fancy-sounding tests I’ll need to undergo just to be sure there’s not some other problem with my pump, but the pain wasn’t a heart attack or blood clot.
As expected, I was in and out. The nurses and the doctor were great, but it’s a pity they’re burdened by such a bloated system of bureaucracy. I also can’t wait to get the bills for all this, because my insurance sucks. Between my employer and I, they already get about $15K a year in premiums for my family, and I still have to cough up another couple grand in deductibles before they’ll cover anything.
You would think I’d have a sense of relief now, but not really. I don’t have that feeling of cheating death, nor do I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. Instead I feel like a hypochondriac with a hemorrhage in the wallet. With luck the upcoming tests will also be negative, but for the moment all I’ve done is piss away a Friday night.
The tests next week are a treadmill stress test with nuclear medicine, and what appears to be another cardio exam of some kind, also with nuclear medicine. Looking at the bright side, I guess it will be a day off work during which I get to entertain you all on Twitter again, assuming they don’t take my phone away. The paperwork says the test will take 3-5 hours, so I’m hoping they’ll let me have my notebook or iPad so I can at least get some writing-related work done. I’m way behind on the sequel to The Pack: Winter Kill, and I have to work on a few short stories that should already have been completed, too.
Just pray they don’t take all my toys away. When I get bored and fidgety, I start getting in trouble.
Is it possible to get banned from a hospital?