Progressive Media, Music, Art and Events Blog Near near Salem, Oregon

M. I. in Moses Lake

leave a comment »

An M. I. is an acronym or myocardial infarction. Although the term sounds like a smelly engine backfire, it is much worse. Part of a human human heart has died, or was damaged for not having received oxygen. This time it was mine.

Little did I know that for days to come people would call me on the phone asking me if I had a heart attack. Its a label I wanted to avoid. For three days it would be questions that people ask that are the most painful.…mostly questions that I wouldn’t wouldn’t have anwsers to. Patients are the last to know it seems.

This doesn’t seem like an attack. All I know if I felt bad. My chest hurt. I needed to do something because anytime I exerted myself it hurt more.

It all seemed so unfair. Up to some months ago I was working out everyday at lunchtime. Then something happened. My stamina was gone. I couldn’t finish a workout. But now was different. I felt roughed up especially when lifting and carrying stuff.

On my trip to Central Washington I thought, “I can’t walk. I better go to the hospital. Its’ time to take care of business.”

I went into the ER in Moses Lake, Washington. I approached the lady at the Emergency Room desk, (which rather was designated as the “Information Desk.” She looked up. “Why are you here?”

“Chest pain,” I said. ”

How long have you had it?”

“A couple days, off and on. Only when I exert myself now but it becoming more constant. I have historically had alot of GERD, so it difficult to tell what is going on.”

“You should have come in sooner.” She grabs a phone, and speaks into it – “Triage!.” “Go in there and sit down.”

I always triage was sort of a cool French word. People who don’t know what it means must think the Nurse must have some form of Tourette Syndrome because she only says one word loudly. ( Tourette, another cool French word.)

I went into a room behind her. A lady in a white jacket showed up. All business. Anticipating that she would all the insurance information in the world, I fumbled for my wallet.

“We’ll get that later. How come you didn’t come in sooner?”

“I didn’t know what I have.”

“It’s not up to you to diagnose things. Next time come in right away.”

I think to myself, “next time?”

I guess I”m supposed to feel humbled or something. Somehow, the advent of hearing Carly Simon’s song, Anticipation doesn’t seem so appealing anymore.

Now put in my place, the Nurse’ d’ le Triage asked me series very pointed and efficient medical questions.

They put in a room. I”m there with no shirt sitting on a fresh sheet.

Technicians come in strap electrodes to me.

A PA (physicians assistant”) comes in. She looks at the monitor and looks concerned.

“How long have you had pain?”

I answered the questions. A gurney is wheeled in. The P.A. leaves and comes back in with a doctor.

“See those big beats,” the doctor says, pointing at the monitor, “they are abnormal. They are called pre-mature ventricular contractions. Right now 40% of your beats are PVC’s. If they went up to 80% you would be unconscious or dead. You have lots of heart beats that are asynchronous. If you had more we would call that Fibrillation. You did right by coming in. Do you want to go to Wenatchee or Tri Cities?”

“Pardon me?”

I am confused by the seemingly irrelevant question.

They connect several IV’s to me, Heparin;(an anticoagulant), Nitro Glycerin, and water with sodium in it. They take blood. I am constantly being irritated by a blood pressure cuff that inflates it seems every 4 minutes. My left hand is turning colors as a result. I resisted taking St. Joeseph’s Baby Aspirin, having a history of GERD; but they told me to take it anyway. Better to have integestion than be dead I guess.

“I”m sorry. I meant Wenatchee or Tri-Cities Hospitals. We need to send you to a larger hospital with a Cardiac Unit. We are checking right now to see which has openings.”

I wanted to choose none of the above. Give me pills. Maybe let me go.

Somehow things happened so quickly. A moment ago, I was talking to their front desk. Now strapped into an ambulance gurney with telemetry IV’s and a defiblirator unit nearby attached.

“Have you ever taken Nitro Glycerin before?”

“No. I”m familiar with its actions though.”

“Put this under your tongue.”

5 minutes later. “Do you feel less pain?”


“Here, take another.”

I stick it under my tonque.

The doctor orders Epinephrine.

Fear. I have memories of doctors jamming needles into sternums on television movies. That doesn’t happen. She puts it in through my I.V.

I am relieved. I”m thinking. I should be home. Mowing my lawn.

Related: Prayer doesn’t work for ByPass Patients.


Written by gettheconcept

September 2, 2008 at 1:09 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: