Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Our Weekend - The One with the 911 Call

Well, eventful might be a good word to describe our weekend.  I’m about to type every single detail of how it unfolded because I need to type up the details for my meeting with the cardiologist later this week anyway, so get ready for my longest post in history.  If you’re not interested, I completely understand – just keep it moving – but if you are, you should probably grab a cup of coffee (or maybe a bottle of wine because it’s quite stressful) and settle in. 

As you all know, we’ve had a bit of a rough start to 2019 so I’ve been under a lot of stress and I’ve been having a little bit of anxiety here and there.  Well, last week things had finally started looking up, I was feeling like I had emerged from the grips of my funk, and Friday was FABULOUS!  I was feeling particularly ambitious and I ROCKED a super long to-do list while the kids were at school.  If you follow me on Instagram then you probably saw the list in my stories.  It was long.

I mean I got SO. MUCH. DONE.  I ran some errands, I deep cleaned the whole house (dusted, swept, mopped, vacuumed), I got the trim painted on my bookcase in my office (finally!), I cleaned out and organized a few spaces, and I completed a couple of other little projects that I’ve had on the back burner for quite some time.  I felt like a boss.

When B got home from work he and the kids and I went to Old Chicago for some Friday night pizza and beers and then we went mattress browsing for Olivia before finally heading home for the evening.

We got the kids in the bed around 9 and then B and I had just snuggled in on the couch in our PJs to watch First Man and eat some dessert when things went awry.  It had been the perfect Friday so it came totally out of left field.

About 20-30 minutes into the movie I started having a weird sensation down both sides of my neck that felt like the muscles were tightening, and I also felt a burning and tingling sensation in my neck as well.  I told B that something felt “off” and then things started to spin out of control from there. 

My chest started tightening, I became very short of breath, and the pressure in my neck and chest became so immense so fast that I thought I was going to burst. 

Now, before I go any further, you should know that my allergies had been HORRENDOUS all week and I had been having frequent asthma attacks as well as reflux issues – they always seem to flare at the same time so I’m certain they somehow feed off of each other – so my initial thought was that it was my asthma and reflux acting up.  In addition to that, I had also been having major weird pressure issues in my head because of my Eustachian tube dysfunction all week (due to my blasted allergies), so I was on a steroid to try and regulate that.  I know, I’m just the picture of perfect health.  Haha.   But anyway, my reflux presents as a strangulation feeling at the base of my throat, so unfortunately, I’m no stranger to that sensation. 

Well, this felt way different. 

In addition to the pressure and tightening I also felt hot as fire like I was going to explode, but my body wouldn’t sweat like it was supposed to to cool me off.  I then had a sudden onset of extreme nausea and dizziness and when I tried to stand up my legs collapsed under me like Jello.  I was so weak.

This was definitely different.

Y’all, I am not one to just call 911 so Brian and I debated for a minute or two, but the pressure and tightening in my chest and neck continued to increase and it was so immense that it became unbearable.  Even though, I didn’t have typical chest “pain” I felt like I was being crushed to death and I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack at just 36 years old.  

My grandfather died from a heart attack when he was in his 60’s and I did not want to follow in his footsteps at a much younger age, so I told Brian to call 911.   

I was hyper aware of what was going on the whole time (I never lost consciousness even though there was one point at which I thought I was going to faint, but didn’t) and I stayed surprisingly calm (and Brian can attest to this) while we waited for the paramedics to arrive.  I knew that if I started panicking that it would exacerbate the whole situation.  I have no clue how much time passed while we waited for them to arrive, but it really felt like they arrived quickly. 

The whole team came in, immediately started asking tons of questions, got some oxygen started for me, and then they hooked me up to do an EKG.  Of the three that they did in our living room, one came back slightly abnormal.  The EMT looked over the data and said he didn’t think it was a heart attack but that it was really hard for him to tell.  Because he couldn’t tell for sure, and because the EKG had come back abnormal, he recommended that I be taken to the emergency room.

They wheeled in the stretcher, loaded me up, and took me straight to the ambulance.  B called my parents and told them what was going on and they came to our house to stay with the kids (who were both, thankfully, still asleep) so B could meet me at the ER.

In the ambulance on the way there, the EMT got an IV started and he did two more EKGs, both of which also came back abnormal.  He said that they weren’t so abnormal that they indicated a definite heart attack, but he said that they were most definitely not normal.  He then told me, “I don’t usually tell people to go to the hospital, but I think you need to.  You made the right decision.” 

By the time we got to the hospital I was feeling slightly better, but I was still having all of the symptoms.  Brian got to the hospital just minutes after we arrived in the ambulance and they wheeled me into triage where they immediately performed another EKG.  Same results again – slightly abnormal but nothing definitive of a heart attack. 

I was then wheeled into an ER triage room where they got me off the stretcher and into a bed.  They hooked me up to a heart monitor, a blood pressure cuff, and an oxygen monitor and all of my vitals were normal.  I was at 100% oxygen which was good and my temperature was totally normal, which didn’t make sense AT ALL since my body felt like it was on fire.  By then my skin on my neck and chest were all red and dry like they were sunburned and my body still wasn’t sweating as it should have been. 

The next little while was a blur.  The nurse came in and introduced herself, they got some chest x-rays, they gave me four chewable baby aspirin and told me if I was having a heart attack those would stop it and protect me from having another one.  They drew some blood and sent it off and it ended up coming back showing that I had troponin in my system, which is a chemical that’s released into the blood when there is damage to the heart muscle. 

Shortly after I got into the triage bed the pressure and tightness increased even more and I thought I was going to die.  I couldn’t breathe which upset me even more and the weight of the pressure in my neck and chest were so unbearable that I ended up having a full on panic attack… or at least I guess that’s what happened.  My whole body started shaking uncontrollably, I started hyperventilating and then my whole left side basically shut down… I couldn’t lift my left arm or leg at all and I couldn’t control my face muscles or my groaning, so the medical team thought I was having a stroke (I was not).  I have no clue how long the episode lasted but it felt like forever and all I remember is telling Brian I didn’t want to die. 

They decided then to admit me because they needed to run lots of tests to find out what exactly was happening, but they said that there were no available beds so I would have to stay in triage in the emergency room. 

Over the next couple of hours the intensity of the pressure and tightness decreased somewhat and I was able to rest comfortably.  They wheeled me up for a CT scan of my head and chest at some point and then brought me back down to triage.    

At that point, I told Brian to please go ahead and go home to bed.  I didn’t want my parents to have to stay overnight at our house and I didn’t want Brian to sit in a chair in ER triage all night.  I was at one of the best heart hospitals in the state of Georgia, so I knew I was in good hands and I didn’t want the guilt of knowing I was keeping Brian and my parents up.  Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but I just know that guilt would have made me feel anxious which wouldn’t have helped matters.

Brian was super apprehensive about leaving so I basically told him he had to.  Lol.  He reluctantly left maybe around 2 or 3 AM?  I honestly don’t even know what time it was.

After he left, began the LONGEST stretch of hours in my entire life.  I wanted nothing more than to sleep, but I couldn’t because it was SO LOUD in there, not to mention I had fluorescent lights beating down on me constantly.  I was also sharing the triage room with another ER patient so the nurses were constantly in and out checking on one or both of us.  The bed was hard as a rock and I couldn’t adjust it up and down without someone’s help.  I had constant poking and prodding from nurses (and rightfully so) and every five minutes someone new would get wheeled into the ER for check-in right outside my room.  It was awful.  So many people came in screaming or crying or saying crazy things and all I wanted was to block out all the noise because it was stressing me out.  And most importantly, I still didn't have answers.  Did I have a heart attack?

I couldn’t get a signal on my phone in the hospital either so I had nothing to do but look up at the ceiling and wait.  The hours passed soooo slowly.  I always knew when 15 minutes had passed because my blood pressure cuff would click on, squeeze my arm, and click off. 

Morning finally rolled around and I held out as long as I could before texting B and asking if someone could get a bag together for me and bring it to the hospital.  I was literally transported there in a PJ tank top, PJ pants, and fuzzy socks and I had nothing else.  I didn’t even have any shoes. 

Sometime in the early morning, a speech pathologist came to talk to me and do some testing.  Since they had thought I had a stroke, they wanted someone to evaluate me to ensure everything was normal.  I passed with flying colors. 

Shortly after that, my orders came in for an echocardiogram and an ultrasound of my carotid artery.  Those took about 30 minutes and then I was wheeled back down to my room in triage.   

I spent the next little while crying and being upset because I knew that I was going to miss Jacob’s soccer game for the first time ever.  They ended up losing 17-2 (LOL) but that didn't make me feel any better about missing it.  Man, I was missing those two little faces something fierce!

My parents showed up a little bit later with a bag of goodies that B had packed – my toothbrush (PRAISE!), some fresh clothes, a book to read, and some snacks, even though I wasn’t yet cleared to eat.  I was CRAVING conversation so they were a sight for sore eyes.  I was also STARVING at that point, but since they hadn’t yet cleared me to eat I had to wait.  I visited with my parents for a good long while until the hospital finally brought my lunch in around 1-ish.  Two minutes after the food arrived, my MRI and MRA orders also arrived, so I was only able to get down a couple of bites before they wheeled me off.  I said goodbye to my parents and they were off to get the kids so Brian could make his way back to the hospital. 

The MRI and MRA took a cumulative time of about 30 minutes, maybe, and then I was able to go back down to my room in triage and finish my lunch.  I was still feeling a little nauseated, but I was able to get down all of the chicken and some rice and a little of my banana pudding. 

The next couple of hours I was alone again while B and my parents were changing hands with the kids.  I didn’t want the kids to see me like that, and I definitely didn’t want them in that crazy ER, so my parents kept them for the rest of the day so B could stay with me. 

The afternoon dragged and I still had no answers from any of the tests.  I was still not feeling great – still having some of the tightness and pressure, but milder – and sitting in triage in that awful bed was sheer misery because I had zero privacy.  Every single person who came in the ER gawked at me and I felt like I was on constant display.  I still have no clue how the entire hospital was so full that they couldn’t put me in a real room, but I guess at least now we won’t have to pay for an overnight visit.  #SilverLining

They continued to come in and do blood work every few hours and most of the talk was that they were going to keep me for another night for observation.  I told Brian there was no way in hell I was going to stay another night (especially without a room) and I begged and begged the PA to let me out because I couldn’t bear sitting in triage for another night with no promise of a room.  I was so cranky, y’all.

Late in the afternoon, we finally reached a point where a real, actual doctor came in and he told me that all of my tests had come back normal, all of my blood work (besides the first one) had come back normal – no more troponin in the additional tests – but he did say that my white blood cell count was a little high which could mean that there was an infection somewhere in my body.  He also said that my potassium was low.  I had also begun to have some weird ear pain in my right ear so he checked that, but said the ear didn’t look infected. 

I begged and begged him to let me go home and he told me that they were going to run one more blood panel and that if it came back normal I could go home.

Well, as you can imagine, everything in a hospital takes for FREAKING EVER so we waited forever for that panel to come back only to have the nurse come in and take MORE blood for yet another panel.  Sigh.

My last blood panel came back normal and we were finally discharged a little after 7 PM Saturday night with no diagnosis or instructions whatsoever, other than to follow up with a cardiologist.  They did give me a prescription for an antibiotic in case I did have an infection somewhere (because of the high white blood cell count), but other than that, they were stumped and so was I. 

I was relieved to be out after 20 hours in triage, but I was so sad because in addition to missing Jacob’s soccer game, I was also missing our big family get together that we had planned for Saturday night.  #Lindsay,PityPartyForOne

After we were released, I still wasn’t feeling very good and I was still having shortness of breath, mild vertigo, and a little bit of chest and neck pressure.  I had also been awake for 37 hours at that point (and I do not do well without sleep) and I felt SO GROSS so all I wanted to do was eat some dinner, take a shower, and go to bed. 

B and I stopped by Chick-Fil-A on the way home because nuggets were about the only thing that sounded good to me, and then I took a long, hot shower when we got home.  One of the best showers of my entire life!

I wanted to see the kids before I went to bed so I got in my PJs and lay down on the couch until my parents brought them home to us.  I’m pretty sure I fell asleep within seconds, but I woke to their sweet little faces a few minutes later.  I don’t think I have ever been so thankful to hug them and kiss them in my life.  There was a brief moment where I thought I might never be able to do that again. 

We got the kids in the bed and then B and I ended up going to bed a little after 9 on a Saturday night.  We sure know how to party!

Sunday morning I slept until about 8:30 (for a total of almost 11 hours of sleep!) and I felt like a new woman.  I was still short of breath and my vertigo had ramped up a little more, but I was thankful that the tightness and pressure had lessened even more. 

Since I was released without any restrictions and since I’m the type of person who just likes for things to get back to normal after an unexpected event, I told B I wanted to treat the day as a regular Sunday.  I would be careful not to overdo it, though.  My MIL happened to not be cooking because she and my step-FIL were both down with colds, so we decided to have St. Paddy's Day homemade waffles for breakfast and then venture out for lunch and to try to salvage the weekend.

We all dressed in our best green, had lunch at Five Guys, and then stopped by my Nana’s house to pick out a couple of keepsakes for me to treasure.  She hasn’t passed away yet, but she was recently put in a nursing home so my parents have to have all of her stuff out of her house by the end of this month.  Most will be donated, but they wanted all of her family to keep a few things to remember her by… I chose one of her beloved bibles, a couple of glass dish knick knacks that I now have displayed on my tiered tray in our kitchen, a cool old serving tray, and a really cool old scale that she’d had since way before I was even born.  She always kept green grapes on one side of the scale and red grapes on the other and that thing is one of the first things that I think of when I think of visiting her as a child.  I can’t wait to find a good spot for it in our home.

Totally Brian's idea for them to twin... he even found his own shirt so they could match! <3

We had also promised Olivia that we would get her big girl bed on Saturday, and since that had been put on the backburner we just decided to do it Sunday instead.  We ended up getting her mattresses from Sam’s and then we headed back home so B and I could convert her bed from a toddler bed to a full size bed.  #SomeoneHoldMe

As the day went on, I got to feeling pretty much like my normal self, but I noticed that I was getting winded really easily, which is not remotely normal for me.  Every time I would walk up the stairs in our house I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and my thighs would also burn like I had just done an intense workout.  It’s still happening as a write this.  I don’t know if it is just my body still trying to recover from what happened or if there is something else going on, but you better believe I’m seeing a cardiologist tomorrow per the hospital’s recommendation! 

Sunday evening my Momma took a break from cooking as well, so we took the kids to the playground since the weather was nice, and then we just made hot dogs at home for dinner.  Sunday ended up being a great day and I was so happy that the weekend had been somewhat salvaged.  Olivia even got to sleep in her big girl bed for the first time and she was STOKED, y'all.  The rest of her room is in shambles, but never mind that as long as the bed is there!  ;o)

Well, Monday I ended up having another episode (although, not nearly as intense as Friday’s) and I was pretty scared because I was home alone since B was at work and the kids were at school.  I alerted B and my parents just in case and I tried to go about my usual business, but it was hard. 

After about an hour of suffering, I remembered that three different people had told me to Google “esophageal spasms” because those feel exactly like a heart attack.  Sure enough, I Googled it and it sounded exactly like what was happening to me.  One of the remedies to try and stop an esophageal spasm is to rub peppermint essential oil all over your throat or suck on a peppermint.  Well, I didn’t have any peppermints, but I’ll be damned if I hadn’t just received peppermint essential oil a couple of weeks prior when I ordered my very first essential oils starter kit.  I have held off for years on purchasing one of those because they are so expensive, so the fact that I did it just in time for this makes me know it was meant to be.

I also considered popping some baby aspirin that I had just purchased that morning (AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE ON HAND NOW TIL FOREVER MORE), but I decided to wait a few more minutes to see if the peppermint oil would be as magical as all of those crazy essential oils people say.  ;o)

I kid you not, about 20 minutes after I rubbed the oil on my neck my chest, the tightening/pressure started to subside.  About 15 minutes after that it was totally gone. 

I don’t know if it was a coincidence that it stopped or if the oils are truly magical, but because that peppermint oil worked, I’m now thinking an esophageal spasm could be what happened Friday, too.  Everything I’ve read says that they are very rare, but you are at a higher risk of having them if you’re a) a woman, b) have reflux issues, and c) have been under a lot of stress.


However, the esophageal spasm wouldn’t explain the irregular EKGs or the troponin in my system, but I’m hoping the cardiologist can shed some light on that.  I’m thinking maybe my heart went into slight distress because the rest of my body was under so much stress?  Who knows. 

Whew.  Are you still with me? 

I’m thankful if you are! 

So anyway, a few thoughts before I leave you:

  1. Allergies/reflux/Eustachian tube dysfunction are a bitch.
  2. My esophagus needs to chill the eff out.
  3. I had every medical test known to man on Friday and Saturday so it’s comforting to know that my whole body is healthy and there’s no brain tumor or cancer lurking anywhere in there… well, unless it’s in the bottom half of my body.
  4. I broke my personal best record without having any sleep – 39.5 hours – and I survived.
  5. Being stuck in ER triage for 20 hours is the worst thing ever.  I’d rather eat worms than do that again.  I am not kidding.
  6. How many possible health issues could one 36 year old have at the same time?!
  7. I’m thankful for God’s grace, because my Lenten sacrifice was tested to the max this weekend and I FAILED MISERABLY.  All I can do is pick up the pieces from here and try to make them whole again.   
And a few next steps:

  1. See the cardiologist tomorrow and find out why I had irregular EKGs and troponin in my first blood test.
  2. See the ENT and find out what the heck is wrong with my right ear because it’s still hurting.
  3. See my gastroenterologist to discuss possible esophageal spasms.
  4. Continue using essential oils because apparently they are as magical as everyone says. 
Your prayers for a clean bill of health AND THAT THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN are much appreciated.  XO

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  1. Gosh what a horrible experience. Please keep us updated and know that your readers are praying for you!

    1. I sure will! Thank you so much, Lauren. That really means a lot. <3

  2. Oh my goodness. What a whirlwind of health issues. I am so sorry. Praying you get results soon.
    Oh a happy note. Olivia looks precious in her big girl bed.

  3. What a weekend...whew. I'm glad you are a little better now and hope you get some answers soon!

  4. Oh my goodness! That must have been so so scary!! I hope you get answers soon and it's nothing even remotely major.

  5. Oh sweet friend, I am so very sorry you had to deal with this health scare, I know you were so frightened. I’m glad they took good care of you, I hope you get some answers I’m glad you’re feeling better and darn it, I told you 2019 was going to get better. It absolutely has to from here! HUGS

  6. Oh man! What a scary weekend! I'm so glad you are on the other side of it now and pray that you get some answers!

  7. HOLLLLLYYYYY CRAP! Wow. I'm so glad you're okay and I hope you get some answers!

  8. I am so glad that you are doing better and I hope the physicians can figure out what is going on!

  9. Oh man, Lindsay! I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that, but I'm glad you seem to be doing a bit better. I sure hope you get some answers soon and that it isn't anything bad! Prayers your way!

  10. Oh my goodness, that sounds so stressful and scary! Glad you're back home and I hope you get answers about what's going on. Praying for you!

  11. My goodness, girl! I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that and left the hospital with no answers. I hope your next appointments go well and you can figure things out. I'll be keeping you in my prayers. Sierra Beautifully Candid

  12. What a scary experience!! Hope you're able to get some answers and figure out what's going on.

  13. I am so sorry you went through all of that. How awful that they didn't have a room for you. I hope they won't charge you for an overnight stay but they still might because they can! I hope you are able to figure out what happened and find a way to prevent it happening again.

  14. Oh lady, do not even know where to start except amen and so glad you are ok. Prayers that your appointment brings you some answers today.

  15. Good gracious! What an intense turn of events! Praying for you!

  16. Oh wow, Thank God you are ok. Anytime at the ER is no fun. I have spend many a night sitting on the floor of them when my twin sister was ill and they couldn't figure out what was wrong with. Turned out to be Bacterial Meningitis. TWICE. Glad to hear you are better, and best of luck at the drs.

  17. Well that was certainly a scary start to the weekend, but I'm so happy that you're okay. Sending lots of good vibes your way! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  18. That is a horribly scary weekend. I am so sorry Lindsay! I am glad that you are okay and that you were released but that is scary. I pray you get some answers soon!

  19. Omg how scary. Glad that you are ok, hope you get some real answers.

  20. oh my gosh, what a scary experience, and after all that and so many test still no answers! I hope one of the doc appointments this week can shed some light! Many prayers it gets figured out!

  21. Wow. Just wow. i am so sorry this happened to you. I have been thinking about you all week. I can't believe you had another episode on Monday. I hope they figure out what is wrong with you and get it fixed asap. When I went into the ER in January for stomach pain, they didn't know what was wrong either. I was sent home with a $7,000 bill and no answers. But my obgyn figured it out. I had a bad infection in my uterus. and some enlarged veins in my hip area that need to be monitored. I hope the cardiologist figures it out and can help you out. ERs suck, but at least you are ok. Sending more prayers.

  22. I was so scared just reading through your post! I am so, so sorry you went through this. I immediately started praying for you as soon as I finished reading. Please keep us updated!!

    1. Thank you, Holly. Your prayers are very much appreciated.

  23. Lindsay I'm so sorry you had to go through this!!! I had something sort of similar to this several years ago- vertigo triggered by dangerously low potassium which also lead to some abnormal heart stuff. I had also been suffering from severe reflux as well so the sensations you're describing are very familiar... After trial/error, I figured out gluten was a huge trigger for my reflux. I hope for you that you receive clear answers on what's going on. Prayers for you!!

    1. Shannon, thank you SO MUCH for telling me this. I will definitely mention this to my doctor today. I would have never known that potassium could have been part of the problem. I thought that was just something extra they found that wouldn't have been causing anything. I will definitely look more into that for sure! Thank you for your prayers!

  24. Mercy friend how scary!! About 15 years ago I had an episode where I had been having numbness in my left arm and then totally lost control of one of my legs one morning. The doctors sent me through all kinds of testing with a neurologist because they thought I might have MS. It was such a scary time. It also happened to be the same summer my dad had been diagnosed with cancer and was quickly heading down hill so I was a little stressed. Pretty sure it was all stress related and it astounds me the physical symptoms you can experience with stress. Anyway...enough about me...super big prayers for YOU! I hope you get some answers.

  25. Good lord woman!! When it rains, it pours for you! I am glad you're feeling better, but so scary you don't have answers yet. I went through a similar experience last year (and last week) with medical issues and no answers. Hopefully you get some soon. <3 <3 <3

  26. Thank you, Julie. And thank you for stopping by.

  27. I still cannot believe it!!! Just so very scary and I am so very thankful that you are ok and back home and are hopefully getting the answer you need. Ugh - 2019 has been a YEAR already. Praying for you!

  28. Goodness!!! What an ordeal! I’m glad that things seem to have calmed down and you have the peppermint oil that’s helped! My best friend was admitted to the hospital Monday with heart issues as well so it’s a week for heart/hospital stuff apparently. Just glad you both have had good outcomes!

  29. I am so sorry you went through all of this, I was wondering what happened. I am glad you have some relief and controlled the spasm. What a scare! I hope you are relaxed now that you have slept and had a few days.

  30. So very scary. I hope that things settle down and that you are ok in the long-term.

    1. Thank you! I think everything is going to be okay. I'm having a stress test in a couple of weeks and I'm praying for a clean bill of health!

  31. Whoa Lindsay, so so scary!!! I have chills reading this!!! I am so glad you are OK!! did you get any answers from the drs yet??


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