Last Thursday afternoon, after having a pain in my left arm since I got out of bed, I felt what was like a non-burning, indigestion feeling in my chest which I described as vague discomfort, not pain. I had slept on my arm wrong during the night. I remember waking up to arm pain and numbness in my arm in the middle of the night so I was not concerned about the left arm pain. Once I got the sensation in the middle of my chest I looked up heart attack symptoms on the web. Since I have high risk of heart attack after having diabetes for 51 years (cured in '96 by a pancreas and kidney transplant but I still have all the damage) those two symptoms were a big deal together.
So I called 911 and got the rural fire department to send an ambulance to take me to the hospital. They advised me to chew an aspirin which I did. I couldn't drive myself as I had earlier taken Percocets for nerve pains in my foot. Percocets are a go-to med for me. I use them three to four times a week for pain so this was not unusual.
I printed out my two page medical history and my full page med list of 18 prescriptions for the ambulance guys and the emergency room.
When the ambulance pulled up to my house in the country I walked outside and told them I was the one they were here for and locked my front door. They were amused that I was so calm and walking around. I climbed into the ambulance on my own and sat on a stretcher. They took an EKG and gave me oxygen and a spray of nitroglycerin under my tongue. They inserted an IV and drew blood. They had seen it all before.
When I got to the ER they had a thousand questions and many more EKGs. They ran the cardiac enzyme blood test and some other heart attack blood test. My blood work was all normal and my EKGs showed no abnormalities. They kept saying that it was a good thing I called because of my diabetic history. They admitted me into the hospital at 1:30 am.
I was in for observation and three more cardiac enzyme blood tests, one every six hours. This was a different hospital from my transplant hospital that I had so much trouble with in the past. This is a small local hospital. They treated me well.
I am pretty sure that my roommate was awakened by the hour and a half admittance procedure at 1:30 am! He paid me back by getting up at 5 am and turning on a political channel on the TV that was the exact opposite of my leanings and left it on all day! How did he know?
So after 18 hours of confinement and four cardiac blood tests they tell me that, since I am no longer showing symptoms and all my tests are negative, they want me to have a cardiac Thallium stress test. Since I am "a cripple," as my receptionist at one job referred to me, with a walking brace on my foot, I have to have the non-treadmill test where they inject a med that temporarily induces stress on the heart. I have had it about five times now, it's a weird feeling but it only lasts for about 5 minutes. They also put two kinds of radioactive elements into your blood stream to check for dead spots on your heart. I will set off radiation detectors at airports for 30 days!
So I finally get the news for the radiology dept that my stress test was normal. I was discharged with a diagnosis no "no trouble found!" Everyone up and down the command chain made a big deal about telling me that I did the right thing by calling 911, especially with my history.
So, that chewed up a day or two of my life!