Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Weekend in the ICU

I had an interesting weekend, and by interesting I mean scary.

It started off with a sore throat last week. Then it turned into a fever, and a whole bunch of other stuff that all culminated into what I can only describe as "extreme chest pains and shaking arms and legs" that woke me in the middle of the night. It's not fun to wake up with no idea why your body is miserable and out of control.

I went to the ER, where I was asked all the typical questions. My favorite was "have you been using recreational drugs?" I'm a middle grade author, and fourth grade teacher -- do I sound like a recreational drug user to you? They have to ask that question, of course, so no hard feelings.

There was only one person by my bedside, checking me out. Then that one person attached me to an EKG, and like flipping a light switch there were suddenly six to eight people around my bed, pushing me into another room, and a doctor explaining that things were moving fast because they found something "abnormal in my EKG" that may or may not be a sign I was having a heart attack. Until they knew for sure, they had to treat this as a worst-case scenario.

And I was thinking, "What gives, heart? I'm only thirty-five, and I treat you pretty well. I get clean bills of health at my regularly scheduled physicals all the time!"

It turned out, thankfully, that I was not a thirty-five-year-old having a heart attack, but a guy who'd been fighting a particularly brutal virus that had caused inflammation in his heart. This sort of thing was pretty rare, but it could happen to anyone -- even someone in their twenties. A full recovery was expected as long as I took it easy and stayed under surveillance in the ICU for a few days before recovering at home.

And I was thinking, "I have kids showing up on Monday, and PARCC tests next month, and a three-year-old who needs to be taken to daycare, and I didn't even take the freaking garbage out before heading over here tonight!"

But that's not how it works when your body needs to heal, so I stayed put and listened to people who know better than I do. Now I'm at home, hoping all my big life things hold together for a week or two until I get better.

Random health things happen. For about an hour and a half I was worried I was dying of a heart attack, but I wasn't, and I'm okay. That's how things are sometimes, and they can be managed with the support of loved ones.

1 comment:

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