After a few godawful hospital experiences this year, I was very pleased to discover last night that when you go into the ER with chest pain and difficulty breathing, they take you pretty motherfucking seriously.
Within minutes of walking in the door, I had three people hooking me up to nine different monitors. I've never seen a nurse move as quickly as the guy who did my blood draw and inserted my IV port did.
The rushing around made me feel extremely vulnerable, but also oddly relaxed. They're going to fix me. Is this...? I'm in the trauma room. Awesome.
When the flurry slowed, I arched my head back to see the monitor behind me. My heart-rate, normally in the mid-sixties—thud...thud...thud—was hovering in the low nineties. I tried taking a deep breath, noting my chest pain, listening for the wheeze. Heeeeee. Like breathing through a straw.
"It sounds like you've got a mouse in there," my nurse, Jill, said later.
Maybe the invisible 17-pound cat sitting on my throat will eat it.
After lots of interviews, a breathing treatment, an aspirin, and a chest X-ray, I was feeling quite a bit better. I even managed to sing a little (Cee Lo Green), which is, apparently, what I do while waiting in hospitals.
My blood work came back boring, and as a healthy(ish) non-smoker, I was diagnosed with viral bronchitis and sent home.
Before this year, the last time I went to the hospital was in high school, when I had an infected spider bite on the back of my knee. Before that, it was when I broke my arm in preschool. I'm not a delicate flower. Except that apparently, now I am.
My 2011 has been a year of maladies, and it's only July! It feels meaningful in a narrative way, but I have no idea what I'm supposed to learn from all of this. I can only assume I have some serious body karma to work off.
I just hope this isn't the dress rehearsal for something even more awful.