Yesterday, I was whisked by ambulance to the emergency room for chest pain. It was 1:30 in the morning, and I woke up in a fit of violent coughing. Afterword I realized my chest was hurting, I was nauseated, and dripping with perspiration. I didn’t know what to do. Last week, my new doctor had lectured me on the dangers of silent heart attacks in diabetics. She didn’t like that I’ve had a heart murmur since I was a teen, and haven’t had a sonogram for over 20 years. She wanted me to have all sorts of tests performed – EKG, stress test, blood tests, and an echocardiogram – immediately. And now I was having chest pain. I was scared!
We called 911. The firemen came first, soon followed by the EMTs. Everyone was extremely nice. Rainie, my diabetic alert service dog, was invited to accompany me in the ambulance, but I decided to have her go with my husband in his car instead. She was obviously upset by everything going on. Something was wrong with her “Mommy”, and all those people around me were confusing to her. I was worried she’d be traumatized being jostled around in the ambulance as it went down the hills in order to get into town.
When we got to the ER I was wheeled into a room and about 5 nurses and doctors descended upon me, attaching me to monitors, drawing blood, etc.; but when they saw Rainie, they stopped and invited her up onto the gurney to keep me company. After a quick ‘kiss’ on the chin, and a nuzzle or two, she settled next to me with her head on my abdomen. With my husband and Rainie there, I finally began to relax. I felt comforted and loved despite all the ‘medical stuff’ happening to me.
(I am so grateful that I didn’t have to argue with anyone about bringing my service dog into the emergency room. The fact that she was accepted and greeted so warmly (by everyone my entire hospital stay) was soothing for me, despite all the stress that I was being put through).
The emergency room doctor encouraged me to be admitted due to the “severe combination” of diabetes and chest pain. They wanted to rule out any heart and stroke possibilities. I was hesitant. I do not like hospitals, yet I decided to stay.
As it turned out, every test ended up being normal (surprising, to the doctors, since I’ve been diabetic for over 50 years). “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” I guess. I will never forget the ER doctor saying to me, “Consider it a day of really bad food!” I came home, sleep deprived, at 3:00 that afternoon. It was not the most joyous or restful of vacations, despite the size of the forthcoming bill!