Thursday, January 9, 2014

Target, Ambulance, Anxiety, OH MY!

So, last weekend was...interesting.

I'm just getting around to blogging because it has taken me this long to finally feel like myself. And to believe that, OK, I'm probably not at death's door.

Saturday started out normally. K was going to sleep over my mom's house, so B and I planned a special night together. By special I mean we went to Pizza Hut, after I convinced him that, yes, Pizza Hut pizza and Target cafe pizza are one in the same. He had a Book It! award to use, though I had to promise that we would immediately go to Target if, in fact, the pizza was not the same.

I don't love Pizza Hut, but when asked to choose any restaurant he wants for dinner, B will answer one of two things: McDonald's or Target. Forget eating real food, he will only be happy at these two places. So off we went.

Dinner was fine. The place was pretty empty since no one actually dines in at the Hut. Ben was very happy to find his meal of bread sticks and pizza were as expected, and I was having a good time hanging with my kid, and listening to his stories. We had plans to actually hit up Target after dinner, so he could return a Christmas gift and choose something new (let's just say Transformers Construct-a-Bots are not as fun as they look.)

On the way to Target my stomach started bothering me, but, you know Pizza Hut, so I really wasn't concerned. We returned the Transformers, looked through the Dollar Spot (where B chose 2 "grabbers"), and headed to the toy section. After a few minutes there, I started to feel weird. I can't really describe the feeling. At first I thought I was just tired, but then I got really hot and felt like I was going to throw up and/or pass out.

Passing out in public is not an option for me, so I told B there was an emergency and we had to go to the restroom. Thankfully he put down the toy he was looking at, and didn't argue. I figured I'd sit down for a few minutes and feel better. I had probably gotten overheated, and a little dehydrated, and just needed to rest.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel better. We abandoned our cart (B was very concerned about this), and headed to the car. As soon as we got there, I started feeling really bad. My heart was racing, I felt incredibly lightheaded, and my upper back started to hurt. I called the husband and asked him to please come pick me up, because I didn't feel safe driving home. I wasn't sure what was wrong, but thought maybe the dreaded Norovirus was upon me, since I heard that can hit you pretty hard just 8 hours after you're exposed.

After about 10 minutes I started getting scared. My back was killing me, and I was convinced I was having a heart attack. I've felt faint before, but never like this. I felt like I was slipping away. That if I closed my eyes, I'd never wake up. Like I was dying. Obviously, I've never died, so I can't say what dying feels like, but I imagine pretty close to this. I called my husband back and told him to hurry, and that I was thinking about calling 911. Then a few minutes later I called back to tell him I was calling 911.

I was scared to death I was going to die right then and there, with  my 7 year old in the car, in the parking lot of Target. My whole body started to feel numb, and I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. I sat there taking deep breaths, willing myself to stay awake. Finally my husband arrived, and what seemed like years later, so did the paramedics.

The paramedics...well, they needed some sensitivity training. I understand I am 36, and not morbidly obese, so maybe I don't look like someone who would have anything serious wrong with her, but I sure felt like I did. Not wanting to take me to the hospital when I am thisclose to passing out, my heart rate is 140,  I have squeezing back and chest pain, and can't breathe, is not OK. They seriously just wanted to sit in the parking lot and decide if I really needed to go. I told them the hospital I wanted to be taken to, and they acted surprised, as though I was going to just hop out of the ambulance, totally fine, if we just sat there a few minutes.

Now, maybe that happens. I don't know. But I was scared, and in pain. It took forever to get to the ER, as they didn't use their lights. It's awesome feeling like you're knocking on heaven's door, while the paramedics look at you like you're a headcase. At one point the guy in the back with me suggested that maybe I just pulled a back muscle. I immediately regretted calling 911, and wished I had stuck to my plan of just having my husband drive me to the ER. We would have gotten there faster, anyway.

But, whatever, I guess being compassionate was above their pay grade.

Long story short, after several hours in the ER, I didn't really get any answers, except maybe a kidney stone they found on the CT scan somehow triggered this whole reaction. I told them I doubted it, as I have kidney stones a lot, and the pain I was having wasn't in that area (plus the stone was really low.) They did a chest X-ray, and a lot of blood tests, which thankfully came back fine. Of course, not before the doctor came in and asked me if I'd ever heard of a bunch of different diseases, and mentioned sometimes if you have cancer, the tumor can throw a clot and cause you to feel similar to how I was feeling. So, that was awesome. I kept getting waves of dizziness and nausea, as well as a heart rate that refused to drop below 135, but the doctor decided I was fine to leave with some Ativan and a prescription to help move the kidney stone along.

I've never taken Ativan, or any anti-anxiety drug, and it wasn't what I imagined. I still felt anxious, but my body couldn't physically react to it. They gave me a dose in the ER before I went home, and at least my heart rate went down to 112, I guess. Good enough for a discharge.

I really have no clue what happened that night. It took me a few days to feel better, with today being the first day I felt like myself. I think I might have gotten really dehydrated (brown urine, anyone?), which triggered me feeling lightheaded and sick, and then maybe the anxiety kicked it all up a notch. Who knows. At least I know I'm not dying of (insert random diseases ER doctor threw out), and I didn't have a real cardiac event. I just know I never want to feel that way again.

I am taking it as a sign that my body needs a break, though, and that I need to take care of myself better. It's too easy to get caught up in the kids, and your spouse, and everyday life, that you forget to check if you're running on empty. Feeling like you're dying (even when you're not) is scary as hell. I realized I need to be healthy for my kids. Taking care of myself is probably one of the best things I can do for K and B, and Saturday night really drove that point home.

I don't do resolutions, but 2014 has to be the year I really start taking care of myself. Making that doctor's appointment. Eating better. Managing my own anxiety. My kids need me, and I want to be there to see them grow up. Even if I am the headcase the paramedics seemed to think I was, I'm the only headcase my kid's have.

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