Yesterday started out just like any other work day for me. I got up, showered, read my emails and Facebook stuff. Got dressed in my uniform, packed a lunch. Walked the 1/2 mile or so to my “office” at the campground. Since I was on the morning shift, the first thing I did was walk the campground doing site checks, to see if any of the late arrivals made it in. During the walk, I was approached by several campers who had complaints about a particular late arrival, who was noisy and rude. Check. I made a note to call Law Enforcement (LE) to come have a chat with them.
Got back to the office, and started doing my morning reports. Had a little stabbing pain in my left chest. It sorta kinda felt like someone was stabbing me with a pencil in my left boob. The pain then shot down my left arm. That was not good, I thought to myself, but didn’t think a lot about it. I just continued with my work. A few minutes later, there was that little stab again. I wondered if someone had a voodoo doll of me, but kept working. I called LE and talked to them about the noisy rude camper, and asked them to come have a talk.
So, these little jabs in the left boob continued. LE came after about an hour, we chatted, they left to go talk to the noisy campers. They came back, told me the campers were not home, and for me to let them know if I saw them come back. They left. I continued on with my routine. And so did the little stabbing pain. And my last two fingers on my left arm felt all numb and tingly. So, I did what any of us SHOULD do. I called dispatch, our version of 911 here.
I told them the dispatcher that I am 58, overweight, type II diabetic, that I have been having pains in my chest and left arm for a couple of hours. And LE was there in like 2 MINUTES. They came in the office, shut the blinds, and started working me over–blood pressure, blood sugar test, looked in my eyes, listened to my heart, asked me a blue bajillion questions. And then they called for an ambulance and driver to take me to the hospital. I asked if FabGrandpa could just drive me there, and they said, no. My only other option was to go by helicopter. NO THANKS, get me the ambulance, please.
So, they loaded my fat arse on a trolley and into the ambulance, right there from my duty station, with people all standing around gawking at me. I rode the first 45 miles in the park service ambulance, then at Jacob Lake, they transferred me to a Kane County, Utah ambulance for the next 40 miles. While we were at Jacob Lake, my co-worker, across the street neighbor, and dear friend, KJ, drove up. She just happens to be an EMT. She was on her way home from grocery shopping in Kanab. She immediately gave her groceries to the park service ambulance driver and followed us back to Kanab and the hospital. I was really glad to see her.
On the way in the Kane County ambulance, they gave me four baby aspirins to chew up and swallow, and two nitroglycerin tablets, one at a time, to melt under my tongue. Started an IV in the moving vehicle (The most awful part of the whole ordeal, let me tell you!!) And put an oxygen mask on my face. I was scared halfway to death by this time.
When we got to the hospital, I was taken in to the emergency room, and two doctors and a nurse IMMEDIATELY started working with me. The nice Dr. Nelson asked me another blue bajillion questions while the other guy started sticking those EKG tabs all over me. And then I had to take off my shirt and bra. Die a million deaths of embarassment!!! I could not get my bra unfastened, so the guy had to do it for me. Then another lady came in and started trying to stick me to get some blood. I do NOT have good veins. People always have trouble getting my veins. Then the really smart and lovable nurse, Mindy, suggested that they use the IV port to get my blood. If I could have gotten up at that point I would have kissed her on the lips.
By this time, FabGrandpa and KJ had arrived. The EKG guy was reading the report, and KJ asked if she could see it. The guy looked at me and I said, “She can see anything you have because she is my advocate.” The EKG was fine, both the EKG guy and KJ said so. Nothing to worry about there. When the blood test results were ready, young Dr. Nelson came in and said everything looked normal, as in NEGATIVE for heart attack enzymes. The only thing that was off in any way was my white cell count. It was on “the high side of normal”. He asked if I had had any infections lately, and I told him I had a kidney infection in June.
Dr. Nelson said he thinks I have Costochrondritis. I had walked a little bit over a mile that morning before settling down to do my paperwork. I AM overweight, and even though I have been here at high altitude since April 25, I still huff and puff A LOT when I walk. He thinks the exertion from the heavy breathing is what caused the pain. They kept me at the hospital for observation until 8 p.m. and did another heart enzyme blood test before releasing me to go home. That one was negative, too.
FabGrandpa and I left the hospital to drive home at just about sunset. There was a magnificent cloud formation over the Vermillion Cliffs, with lightening popping here and there. It was one of the most fabulous sunsets I have EVER seen. And of course, I didn’t have my camera with me…..
I was really really impressed with the speed and efficiency of our LE guys. It made me feel really good to know that if I have a real emergency, they can be to me in two minutes. Or sooner. The whole thing was really more embarrassing than painful, (mostly because I work and live with these people every day) but everyone is telling me I did the right thing. I called 911 when I had chest pains. I went to the hospital in an ambulance. I am making the appointment for the cardiologist. And I feel fine today.