On Tuesday I went to see my shrink at the VA Medical center. No big whoop, just tweaking my meds. The new one had too many side effects and not enough feel good. I'll go back to the old one, thank you.
I miss my old therapist who used to talk to me and look at me at the same time. She actually encouraged me to start this blog and even reads me on occasion still, but that program is discontinued now. I used to write to her often. Not anymore. I don't want to be that clingy ex-patient. Anyway, now all I've got is the psychiatrist lady who asks me endless questions and types my answers into her computer. She doesn't have time to look at me...too busy typing.
I only mentioned the chest pains because I thought they might have something to do with the pills she prescribed the last time. "The latest episode was last night," I explained. "And even now my chest is feeling... funny." She stopped in mid-type.
"Chest pains? You need to see somebody about that now!"
My primary care team doesn't do walk-ins, and besides I wanted to get across the bridge before the traffic rush anyway. "I'll tell them about the chest pains when I come in next week for my girlie check up."
Dr. C. wasn't cool with that. She marched me down the hall to the ER with the quickness. One thing's for sure, if you say the two magic words--chest + pains--you really get the star treatment. They strapped a bar-coded band on my wrist lickety split and though there were several sickies in the waiting room, they called my name before I could crank up my Kindle. This was like no ER experience I'd ever had.
Once the triage nurse established that I'd had three, severe chest pain episodes in the past week, the testing games began in earnest. First an EKG, followed by some blood work. Then the doctor came in for a little chat. Could he really be this gorgeous? It was like an episode of ER, complete with my own Dr. McDreamy...dark hair, slight five O'clock shadow, gentle brown eyes--the works. Even more, his bedside manner was impeccable. He spoke in warm hushed tones so as not to disturb my rest.
My heart was surely beating to the tune of "isn't he lovely" but he only heard a swishy murmur. Since no one had ever heard it before, his concern meter ticked up a notch and he decided to keep me around for...observation I guess.
As I lay there alternating between a championship scrabble game, the Washington Post, and the fantasy novel "Game of Thrones", I overheard a man talking to another ER doc. The white coat was apologizing. Apparently they didn't have any more beds. Doc and patient sat in two chairs outside my exam room discussing his problems.
Jesus Mary and Joseph! This guy was hanging by a thread. He was having trouble breathing, couldn't sleep, and couldn't hold anything down...leaking from top to bottom. He sounded awful.
Me--I was in lounge position reading my Kindle and skipping out on my exercise class. That poor wretch out there should be lying in this bed.
In the meantime, a nice lady from infectious diseases dropped in to ask if I wanted an HIV test. "Ah...sure, why not."When I told her about my mysterious chest pains she showed me a huge scar on her chest. She'd had open heart surgery at the age of 38. I could have done without that information, but I smiled anyway. She swabbed my cheek and returned with a result in 20 minutes just like she said she would. Wow, I thought. This is a real public service, a roving HIV tester. Even if you think you're not at risk, it's always nice to know for sure.
When Dr. Hotcakes returned a few hours later to say he was waiting for one more test--this one to rule out a blood clot in my lung--I offered to give up my bed for someone sicker. He smiled warmly and assured me that contrary to what I thought I'd heard, they were not short on beds and I was right where I belonged.
It was about 10 pm when they finally discharged me. This after showing up for a psyche appointment at 2:30. They couldn't explain the chest pains, but they ruled out anything immediately life-threatening and ordered me to follow up with my regular doc next week for more tests.
Oh, and the VIP treatment did not end there. Since the valet guys were long gone, my keys had been transferred to the police office. It was dark out and my car was parked at the far end of the lot so they assigned a lady officer to drive me to my car. Boy was she a dish...a petite, caramel brown-skinned lady with a gun holster and a killer smile! I even got to sit in the front seat of her cruiser. Now, I might have asked her to turn on the sirens but I didn't, cause I'm all restrained like that. Yep, two cutie caretakers in one day, and no life-threatening heart condition. Then Mr. Coffee called to say he had dinner waiting at home. Not such a bad day.