The day started off wonderfully.
I had just gone to a 3-day work week, with Thursday and Friday as my off days. This particular Thursday, the late-summer weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I was well rested. I did three loads of laundry, then went for a much-needed haircut – to a great new stylist close to home, who didn’t charge a fortune for a simple cut. On the way home, I drove through the car wash. Once home, I cleaned the dashboard and windows in my car, and then took Puppy Cody into the yard to enjoy the sunshine. The neighbors’ kids entertained Cody by throwing frisbees over the fence for her. Having now had plenty of exercise, and having done her “business”, Cody was tuckered out – she would not need that daily evening walk. And since I had been feeling sluggish and having some trouble walking any distance lately, that was just fine with me.
Hubby was still at work, and my chores were done. Although I had breakfast at 7:30 am, I had no real interest in lunch. So, I sat at my computer browsing the web and playing videogames. Long ’bout 4:30 p.m., I started to feel a bit weird and figured it was hunger, so I grabbed a single slice of American cheese.
Hubby came home about 4:45 p.m. When I stood up, I felt a bit dizzy. After awhile, the dizziness became worse and was now accompanied by some nausea, so I took an antihistamine/decongestant to combat that.
The medication didn’t help. Then the vomiting started. And I was down for the count.
When this situation hadn’t abated after an hour or more, hubby started asking if I wanted to “go somewhere” for help. I refused. Surely, things would settle down if only I stayed still.
So, I sat in bed in a dark room, but every time I moved, the nausea and vomiting returned. I started taking sips of water and nibbling on saltines, and eventually the vomiting stopped, but the dizziness remained. I even fell asleep for about 20 minutes, but upon waking, I simply didn’t feel right.
At that point, I gave up. It was near 9:00 p.m. and we headed off to the emergency room.
Thank heavens, the COVID-19 rush has eased. I was in a bed in the ER within 5 minutes, hooked up to monitors. By the time I had arrived at the ER, my vomiting had stopped and the dizziness had dimmed to merely room-tilting whenever I stood up. However, my blood pressure on arrival was 181/92! Because of chest tightness and left-sided achiness, a chest x-ray and EKG were done, and I was given a tablet of nitroglycerine (I guess because I’m not explosive enough …). It was agreed that I would be kept overnight so as to undergo a stress test and brain MRI in the morning. At the end of the stress test, my blood pressure was 196/100 (“Bingo!“).
After all was said and done, it was determined that I had not had a heart attack, nor did I have a stroke. It was merely a hypertensive crisis. I came home from the hospital with a prescription for amlodipine, a blood pressure medication – a medication I had been avoiding for years despite borderline high blood pressure. I had avoided it because I knew once on blood pressure medication, you can never simply stop it. But now was not the time to worry about that.
I must say that despite being sick, the hospital experience wasn’t overly stressful. All the nurses and doctors were caring and efficient; my hospital roommate was a very quiet lady about my age who kept her TV low enough that it could not be heard past her bed; and my primary doctor’s medical group has a policy whereby they use “hospitalists” to monitor patient care while in the hospital. The hospitalist is a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner who only sees patients in the hospital, but communicates with the primary and any specialists who might be involved.
Having been given a brochure explaining hospitalist care while I was in the ER, I was a bit concerned that a hospitalist would be aloof and would do everything possible to get a patient out of the hospital no matter what, to decrease hospital costs. But the opposite was true. My hospitalist, a doctor, took great care to make sure I had whatever tests were needed, and took extensive time discussing my care with me. She was comforting, professional, and personable. My primary later told me that the hospitalist was in constant contact with him throughout my hospitalization. And, I didn’t have to tolerate the daily doctor parade, otherwise known as morning rounds, since my hospitalist coordinated all care and communication between the medical professionals.
All in all, a good hospital experience.
Not that I ever want to do it again, of course.
To make a long story shorter, I’m home now and feeling 100% better. After just a few days on my new blood pressure medication, I’m walking better and not feeling sluggish. In fact, I no longer feel like that elderly, decrepit lady I’ve been for the last few months. Guess I was sick after all and just didn’t realize it, or refused to acknowledge it.
The point of this story, if there is a point, is this: If for some reason you simply aren’t feeling right, whether physically or mentally, perhaps it’s time to see a professional. While no one wants to be labeled as a hypochondriac, ignoring symptoms seldom turns out well.
Happy Thursday, folks. For me, it’s the start of the weekend already, and I intend to enjoy every minute of it.
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio