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.
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.”