400s, babble, body talk, story of my life

In Which I End Up In Hairmyres Hospital

Of all the things I’ve ever wanted to do with a Friday night, I’ve never, ever wanted to use the phrase:

“Mum, I think I’m having a heart attack.”

p.s. DID YOU KNOW THAT HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS TEND TO SHOW UP DIFFERENTLY IN MEN THAN IN WOMEN? Watson Clinic and Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Lakeland, Florida and “various other academic and health institutions in the US” ran the study over a number of years. Check it out and make yourself aware of the symptoms!

We’d phoned for Chinese take away. I’d eaten maybe eight bites of chicken (chicken-nugget sized pieces, two bites each; that makes four pieces) and I just… I couldn’t breathe properly. My heart felt like someone was squeezing it tightly. I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out/vomit/lie down and go to sleep/all of the above, all at once.

I should have started with, “Mum, I don’t want you to panic, but-” but I don’t think that would have helped much. When your almost thirty-two year old morbidly obese daughter says she thinks she’s having a heart attack, I’m pretty sure that’s one of the things that’s been on my Mum’s mind for a few years now; one of those kind of deep-rooted fears: Tracy’s going to die of a heart-attack, one of these days if she’s not careful.

By the time the ambulance got to me, the horrid heart-squeezing (Mum put her ear to my chest and said it sounded like my heart was skipping a beat) was almost gone, but I couldn’t really get a proper breath. It felt like this one time I went on the Waltzers, a fairground ride, and I was in high school. Both me and my friend were quite big, and I was on the inside, and I’d managed to leave my arm outside of the ride instead of wedging it in beside me. When the ride spun, she – and the power of gravity – pushed me against the side of the carriage, and I thought my ribs were going to break, and my lungs were going to pop. That’s what that felt like; like my lungs were being squeezed.

But my oxygen was 100% (and remained 100%/99% throughout the whole night) and my blood pressure was fine. The paramedics chose, however, to ignore the reading I’d done with my Ozeri blood pressure cuff WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever, right? It’s not like it’s important.

FATGIRLslim | Ozeri Blood Pressure Reading

It’s not like that reading says, “Irregular heartbeat,” or anything. Nope, it certainly doesn’t.

But they did give me a nummy little lemon-flavoured aspirin, and then ruined it by giving me a tablet to dissolve between my lip and gum, which gave me a headache in the back of the ambulance on the way to Hairmyres Hospital… which felt like being in what I imagine rickshaws feel like when they go over cobblestones.

The night at Hairmyres Hospital felt like the following: pretty male doctor talking to me. Bloods. Blood pressure. Lovely nurses looking after me. Actually being comfortable on a hospital bed and just getting over to sleep. Lovely nurses coming to take bloods and blood pressure. Getting back to sleep. More blood pressure. Lovely nurse (Anne[e]) telling me that it’s definitely not a heart attack because the bloodwork came back negative for a certain enzyme they look for, but now I need to wait for a consultant to talk to.

Consultant thinks it might be gallstones. I’ve got to get an ultrasound. And spend 24 hours with a tape on my body to record my heart, just to see if it catches anything. (Considering how irregularly the arrhythmia happens, I’d be surprised it it did catch anything.)

But I was all right for discharge after the consultant spoke to me, so I’m home now. I sort of didn’t realise that I had to go to the desk (where was the desk? I have no idea. The lady at the desk I passed didn’t know…) to actually discharge myself. The nurses were letting me go, so I figured that was that. I’ve not been in hospital overnight for about 16 years or so – last time was when I tried to kill myself with an overdose. Mum and Dad came to get me then, too, but it was a different hospital.

The good news is that IT WASN’T A HEART ATTACK.

The bad news is that something pretty scary happened to me, and I have no idea what it was.

As I said at the end of the video, “I dun fucked up.”

5 thoughts on “In Which I End Up In Hairmyres Hospital”

  1. Hi Tracy
    I’m so sorry that you had to go through that terrible experience, it must have been very frightening. I can see the desperation in your eyes and hear it in your voice. I understand what you mean when you say you don’t know what to do next.
    I’m thinking of you and sending positive thoughts your way.
    I hope you are able to enjoy your birthday with your family,


    1. Hi, Tracey – first off, let me apologise for not responding faster. Gmail apparently decided that it’d be fun to mark my Disqus comments as spam! So I only noticed that I had comments when I actually logged in… Oy.

      It was actually more terrifying watching my Mum freak out, than having the… whatever-it-was. We still don’t know yet. No results back yet, or no positive results, anyway. But Mum was so freaked out she forgot what to do, and had to actually call my Dad. (BOTH are trained first aiders.)

      I was just sitting there breathing, and feeling like my chest was going to burst open when the big heartbeat was happening. But watching Mum panicking? Terrifying. Horrendous. 🙁

      Thanks for the positivity. It’s really appreciated, and I ended up having a lovely birthday – went shopping, had Starbucks, bought a gorgeous dress. Dad didn’t complain at not getting to go into any of the shops he wanted to go into.

      Only problem is I had a 24-hour heart tape put on and the palpitations didn’t happen once during that day… but it’s happened pretty much every other day since. Just typical, eh?

      Oh well, hopefully we’ll find out what it was soon enough.

      Thanks for the comment, Tracey. 🙂 It’s always good to hear from you.

  2. Jeez, that must have been awfully scary. 🙁 You seem so very depressed just now……You must feel so helpless and hopeless at times. Overall though, you do always manage to retain hope and as long as there is hope there is the possibility for change. Said Ms Shiny Happy Person……

  3. I’m not sure why you feel you fucked up, Tracy….? I know you’ll hate me mentioning this but I suffer from chronic anxiety and I used to get massively disturbing chest pains that would make me fall to the floor grabbing my chest and be unable to breathe for the pain……They were very dramatic and godawffuly sore but I know now that they were caused by my anxiety. They were very sharp pains though and not the crushing pain that I associate with heart attacks, but what do I know?

    I’m glad you went and got checked out though – I was forever telling my Mum to phone for help when she had chest pains and she never would ’cause she thought it was making a fuss. They would honestly much prefer us to call and it be a false alarm than not call and die.

    1. Hey, Ariane. Long time, no see – how’re you? Sorry for not replying sooner. Gmail decided to play that fun game of “Let’s spam the comments!” and I didn’t see that I had any comments until I logged into Disqus.

      Sorry to hear about the anxiety thing. I’ve had the chest pain during an anxiety attack, too, but never quite to that extent. It wasn’t the same, either, and I was lucky that I mentioned that I suffer from social anxiety, because it’s something they asked me: was it an anxiety attack, was it an asthma attack? It wasn’t either; I’ve had both, and this was like nothing I’ve ever had before. I could only take the tiniest breaths, and my heart was giving a huge, hard, PAINFUL beat for every six or seven quick beats in rapid succession, which is the part that was scaring me. Mum said I was clammy and cold, too, but I couldn’t tell. I felt roasting hot. D:

      Chest pains are apparently one of those things that you should always get checked out, even if you think it’s “nothing”, because it’s more than likely nothing, but when it’s something, it’s SOMETHING, and rather to be caught early than too late, y’know? So yes, good on you for telling your Mum to call when she had the chest pains.

      I’m still waiting to hear about what this is or might have been, but the palpitations are STILL happening – the shortness of breath not so much, thank god – and I’ve had an ultrasound and a 24-hour chest tape thing. Hoping that at least one of them’ll show something up.

      As you say in your other comment: as long as there is hope, there’s the possibility for change. It’s just not knowing what to change is the problem.

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