12 Hours

Probably not the most appropriate title, but this blog cover 12 hours of my life that literally changed everything.  No joke!  It felt like the last hours of my life.  There was no movie flashing for my eyes, just a shitty slow moving 12 hours, where decisions were made for me and where my body and mind were put through hell.

Having survived what to me felt like the Black Plague a week earlier, I had significant setback which I initially blamed on the bloody the pneumonia.  And, it happened to occur on yet another Tuesday, where I felt a little light headed and short of breath.

Tuesday seems to be my unlucky day these weeks, and this Tuesday was certainly taking the biscuit and topping the previous two weeks of pneumonia inflicted weeks.

All urgent care units had closed, so my wife and I decided to visit the nearest ER.  I don’t really like to visit ER, doctors or hospitals, but I felt it was better to get this addressed and not trying to push my health further.  The viking genes in me were going slightly berserk, as they were adamant that they could overcome this invasion of ill-intended cells.

We got seen quickly and the ER team was great.  They did all checks necessary, emptied my veins for what felt like a gallon of blood, did X-ray and even CAT scan.  At the end of a gruelling 4 hour session (at 1.30am), the ER doctor felt my heart looked a little larger than normal and encouraged me to stay the night so a cardiologist could look into it first thing in the morning.  Basically, my heart had grown as a result of the excessive work it had to do, so he was rightfully concerned.

Despite the grim update, and with the doctor saying we can visit cardiologist at our local clinic the next day, we decided to head back home.  Hey, I was feeling better and even drove all the way home in my new RAM 1500.

We only slept a few hours as we had to get up with the kids to get them to school.  After they were shipped off, we called cardiologist and went there a few hours later.

Please note, I felt ok at this point!

I checked in at the front desk and sat down in the cardio waiting area.

While sitting there, I looked around and noticed I was surrounded by mainly older people. I should not be in a cardio clinic.  I’m too young to have heart issues.  My family does not have a history of cardio problems.  Yes, I was struggling a bit with what I thought were the pneumonia left-overs, but man was I wrong.

The nurse looked at me, then at my chest, then at me.  She calmly said, you are not staying here long.  This is serious and you heart is coming / beating out of your chest just by sitting calmly.  

A minute later the cardiologist came in and basically repeated the nurse’s prediction.  We are doing a few tests now but you are going back to hospital in an ambulance.

At first I was not taking it too seriously, as I felt ok.  Yes, my heart was running very fast, but a bit of antibiotics would fix it.  Then again, I’m not a cardiologist, and he clearly was worried.  He was actually amazed that I could walk and talk, while my heart was climbing to 150bmp (fast is not good when you are not doing anything!).

Suddenly to large medics arrived, placed me on the ambulance gurney and rolled me through the clinic to the ambulance.  Everything went so fast and while being driven through the clinic, tears of fear started rolling down my face, and realisation hit me like a shovel in the face.

My wife was left alone in the doctor’s office, probably fearing the worst (like me) and left to find her own way to the hospital while dealing with all the emotions going through her mind.  No doubt it was a traumatic experience for her.  The last image I saw of her, from the back of the ambulance, was walking across the car park to the truck.

The 20 minute journey to the hospital was a mental ride.  I starred out the back window while contemplating what had just happened.  Definitely not easy to comprehend, but also knew I had to overcome this life challenge.  Simply too young to depart and would show these Americans how we Vikings recover.

At the hospital I was greeted by exceptional polite staff, and very thorough.  More blood was drawn, IV inserted, vitals taken and generally a full check.  The final step to help my heart was to drain my body for fluids – not bloods, and other important fluids, but fluids that had been building up in my body due to the illness.  The cocktail was added to my IV, and the nurse calmly said that it would work quickly, meaning I would be feeling an urge to pee within 20 minutes … and she was spot on.

Now, the challenge here is to pee while lying on a bed, into a bottle, without spilling 🙂   I whipped El Scampi into the bottle and opened the flood gates.  Man, it felt so nice.  And after the 2nd or 3rd evacuation, I could actually feel pressure subside from my chest area.

It was not a sign that I would go home as I was still not out of the danger zone. I was being admitted to Cardio ICU after ER completed their tests for further treatments, tests and close monitoring.

Suddenly an angel walked down the ER – my wife arrived and I could see she had been crying.  We hugged tightly, cried a little and then looked at each other.

When they rolled me into the Cardio ICU unit, it was clear I was the youngest there by a decade.  Not that I’m proud of that fact, but it strengthened my determination to get well and beat this challenge.

The first night scary.  All the new sounds.  Machines beeping and then my own mind running wild with all kind of scary scenarios that could happen – but didn’t.  I was well looked after.

My wake-up call was at 5am, when a ninja nurse came in to take my bloods.  Thankfully she found my vein at the first try, and sucked a few veils.

The next few days would be full of challenges and positiveness. 

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