The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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I Have a Heart! It Just Doesn’t Work…

Posted by thedarwinexception on February 1, 2008

Well, lots to write about today!!

I just got home from the hospital. Been there all week. This time it was for my heart. Apparently I don’t have a very good one. Or maybe it’s just my blood pressure *affecting* my heart – no one really seems to know.

But I was having some really odd and annoying chest pains – and I was really short of breath. And my arm was numb. So Id decided that maybe I should go to the clinic here in town – the one that’s attached to the hospital. But first, of course, I went to lunch with Leslie the Chamber of Commerce lady. Because, really, when you have an offer of Chinese food or sitting around at the clinic, well, which one are *you* going to do?? We went to lunch. And we had a really great time – she’s *SO* cute and so nice. I really like her. And I’m glad she quit that god awful job at the Chamber of Commerce – she’s too nice and too cute to be there.

So, Leslie the Chamber of Commerce lady dropped me off at home after lunch and since the pain in my chest wasn’t subsiding – even *with* all the yummy Chinese food – I decided to go to the clinic. And they kicked me out. Wouldn’t see me. Something about “Oh, No, you need to go to the ER – we don’t have the monitoring equipment for that here – blah, blah blah…..”

So, Paul and I went over to the ER. Oh – and yeah, I finally talked Paul into going to the hospital with me. He wasn’t going to go. He actually said to me “I don’t know, I should stay here with the dogs…” Stupid ass. I know what that was all about – it wasn’t the dogs, it was the fact that I had just went grocery shopping and he figured he could stand in from of the cupboard and eat a couple boxes of Little Debbie cakes with no interference from me.

But he went with me to the ER down the hall, and they took me in right away with no waiting and took my vitals. It wasn’t too long after they measured my blood pressure as 193/119 that they admitted me.

The ER doctor started talking about how the pain in my chest was probably a side effect of the high blood pressure – that when your blood pressure is so high, it makes your heart work harder, and beat faster, and that they had to measure my blood enzymes because I could easily have had a stroke and not even realized it.

But, they admitted me and spent the next few days trying to regulate my blood pressure – to no avail, really. I’m now on this stuff called Vasotech, and I have to go back next week for a stress test. There was no way they could do one in the hospital, since my blood pressure was so high. I have about 18 holes in my arms from IV”s, blood draws and blown vessels where they tried to put IV’s and couldn’t, and I have a nasty rash looking thing on my arm from the BP cuff.

And I think I shall go to Burlington to my regular doctor for a checkup – I wasn’t impressed with the doctor here – although she was very nice and seemed to care, she just didn’t seem that on the ball – I mean, she didn’t even send a team to my house to look at my cleaning products and environment to see what could be causing my fucked up blood pressure. I mean, you KNOW Dr. Gregory House would have been sending HIS team over to check that shit out.

And in the end, after *TWO* CAT scans, one MRI, an echocardiogram, an Ultrasound and enough blood tests to kill a small child, she basically threw her hands up in resignation and said “Don’t know WHAT could be causing your blood pressure to spike – here, take these pills and see another doctor.”

So, I’m home now – with orders not to run up and down the stairs (I made sure she wrote that in the discharge papers), and I am supposed to be resting and not bending lifting or running around the house. (Hopefully that includes standing for long periods of time – like to make supper or do dishes), and I’m just happy to be home – even though I still have this nagging pain in my heart and I’m still a little short of breath and my blood pressure is still spiking.

Oh well.

But – I have GOT to tell you about the little nurse trainees that came in when I first got admitted and was being settled into my room. They were so fucking funny I had to laugh. And why I get these people no matter WHERE I go in Malone is just fucking beyond me.

But, anyway, there were these three little girls – and they really were young – I figured they were high school students like on a “career day” thing – or some kind of  “take your daughter to work” day thing – but later I talked to the Patient/Hospital liaison woman who came in and I asked about them and she said they were the “trainees” from the college – but how these girls got into college is beyond my fucking comprehension.

So the little trainees are taking my medical history – and the one little girl says to me “Have you had an ammonia shot?” I looked at her with kind of raised eyebrows and I said “Ammonia shot? Well, I hope to fuck I haven’t had an ammonia shot. That could be kind of fucking dangerous, don’t you think?” And she says “Well, the hospital recommends that all incoming patients have an ammonia shot.” And I laughed and said “Honey, no. Not an AMMONIA shot – ammonia is a cleaning product. I think you mean a PNEUMONIA shot.” And she says “Oh, yeah” giggle, giggle, giggle, “I always confuse those.” All righty then.

So then – the other little girl says to me – “Have you had any surgeries?” And I say “Well, yeah, I had my gall bladder removed in the early 90’s and I had 3 c sections.” She says “Ok – do you remember when the c -sections were? You don’t have to know the dates or anything – just maybe like early 90’s or late 90’s or whatever…”

I told her – “Well, you know, I remember the exact date and everything.” And she says “Wow – Really?” And I said “Yeah, because they correspond nicely with my kid’s birthdates.”

And ammonia girl says “Wow – that’s a coincidence – your surgeries were all on your kid’s birthdays?”

For the love of God.

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37 Responses to “I Have a Heart! It Just Doesn’t Work…”

  1. skweekie said

    Are you telling me that you went to a hospital for high blood pressure, had all those tests and exams and NOBODY told you to cut out salt from your diet?

    do it now. read lables, cut down on your sodium intake as much as you possibly can. Chinese food is extremely high in sodium (soy sauce especially). If you have to cook from scratch, do it. I’m very serious about this. you should have been told first thing. Get salt (sodium) out of your diet. and go to the store and buy yourself a good home blood pressure monitor, get a recommendation of a brand from a pharmacist.

  2. BabyBee said

    Has Paul suggested yet that it’s from the sour milk bugs that may have escaped?

  3. JayDee said

    Kim:

    Go see your regular Doctor ASAP. You need to be dealing with someone who is aware of all your conditions and can spot the possible interactions between them.

    Meanwhile, the salt comment and the release instructions should both be taken to… you should pardon the expression… heart.

  4. Greg Smith said

    I’m with BabyBee … it has to be the spores that escaped … or maybe all those tamales.

  5. luvgabe said

    Good grief, Kim. Was afraid that your absence from your blog was due to another health crisis. Do heed the advice by Skweekie and others.

    How was your blood pressure before this episode? If you’ve always had normal blood pressure readings, then this sudden spike could not have been due to high salt/sodium Chinese food.

    Please get better medical care. The hospital you went to leave a great deal to be desired given the quality of their “trainees” who are appallingly ignorant, more like moronic.

    The good news is that you have an ARMY of friends in blogosphere rooting & praying for you!

  6. Lajet said

    The best book I know on nutrition and heart disease (and lot of other diseases) is Good Calories, Bad Calories. It’s not a diet book. It’s a science journalist who has looked at the nutrition research for at least hte last 50 years-with some surprising findings. I highly recommend it. I’m tempted to tell you what it says, but I’m afraid I’ll misrepresent the author and I don’t currently have time to go check out exactly what was said, as compared to what I took from it, particuarly after thinking about it in relation to other things I have read.

  7. Lajet said

    P.S. I was in a hurry, which is a poor excuse for forgetting to add – I’m so sorry to hear about your medical problems. I hope things calm down, soon. Best wishes.

    P.P.S. In regards to diet, I can tell you that when I stumbled on a gluten-free, sugar-free diet (by accident, I was trying to address osteopenia (gluten-free) & a recurrent yeast infection (sugar-free, vinegar-free, mold-free). The diet was only supposed to last a month. IN the process, my blood pressure went WAAYYYYY down, my cholesterol numbers are excellent, and as an added bonus, I lost almost 10 pounds and my desire for sugar and junk foods is so diminished as to be practially gone. I NEVER would have predicted I would be here. In fact, I would have predicted that I WOULD never be here. I wasn’t trying to do anything but get rid of a stupid yeast infection that was way too fond of me. I thought it would be temporary – which is good because I NEVER would have done it otherwise. It was VERY hard for about hte first week or two. But when it was time to go off the diet I found I really didn’t want to. I felt good. And then my numbers were good. So I decided not to argue with success. Don’t know if it works for everyone, but I have learned it has worked for many others.

  8. ZBicyclist said

    I’ll be sure to ask whether they know the difference between “ammonia” and “pneumonia” before my next shot.

    Good luck, Kim.

  9. Caroline said

    Oh Kim,

    You had better get yoself down to Burlington pronto and get that 2nd opinion. With your already fragile health and digestion problems you need good medical advice from a doctor who is aware of your condition. We can’t afford our leader to have any more downtime.

    I had a spiking blood pressure episode, went to the ER got some meds and the next day I had a stroke! I was a young woman, 32 years old with no history of any medical problems. They later speculated that my problem may have been due to a rare virus that I had picked up on a vacation to rural Mexico, yikes! I was in therapy for 6 months learning how to read, write and speak again. I know of what I speak, so get to your Doc ASAP. And tell Paul to treat you like the queen you are. Breakfast in bed, peeled grapes..

  10. MyrnaTurner said

    Please get a second opinion.

    Take care,

    Myrna

  11. HT said

    SOB, I just knew something was wrong. And it was.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think you make this stuff up…ammonia shot.

    This is all very interesting because my brother in FL swore he had a heart attack about a week ago and they called 911, etc., admitted to hospital. His BP was 270/140. I didn’t think you could live with that but he did. Well, he had an angiogram today to see if there’s blockage and I haven’t talked with him yet. However, he has had a long history of very high BP and meds don’t seem to help….but being of the male gender, he doesn’t take his meds and, of course, smokes. And he probably eats pretzels every day for all I know.

    Yes, Chinese food is laden with sodium, my friend. Please get to Burlington, pronto. You’re a very valuable person to a lot of people.

    Your readers, including myself, have become a little bossy, haven’t we?

    Karen Sue

  12. Kay said

    Kim, even when you are not feeling well, you still write with such a great sense of humor. Thank you! I hope and pray that the next doctor you see will evaluate your symptoms and know what to do immediately.

  13. I eat low carb and in the process (starting in 2003), I started keeping a spreadsheet of everything I ate and it’s nutritional value, including sodium. I was mainly interested in keeping track of my carbs, but over time I noticed some trends. One of the trends was that if I ingested over 2500mg of salt in a day, my weight would go up by about 2 lbs the next day. Reproducible. It was retained water, of course, not fat, but since we are mostly made up of water, too much or too little can certainly have an effect on various bodily functions and overall well-being. And yes, 1 tbl of soy sauce contains 1005mg of sodium according to the USDA nutritional database.

    BTW, I’d like to give a shout-out to Dana, a regular reader here — I have one of your cookbooks, Dana! Love your recipes!

  14. Are you telling me that you went to a hospital for high blood pressure, had all those tests and exams and NOBODY told you to cut out salt from your diet?

    Well, it’s not like I actually eat, and I doubt the feeding tube gloop is high in sodium. They did give me a low sodium diet in the hospital, but I didn’t notice. The things I eat aren’t high in sodium, and I never, ever use salt on anything. When Paul wants salt I have to go looking through the cupboards to find hte entire canister of salt – I don’t even fill my salt shaker.

    and go to the store and buy yourself a good home blood pressure monitor, get a recommendation of a brand from a pharmacist.

    Leslie the Chamber of COmmerce lady has one she’s going to let me borrow.

    Kim

  15. Has Paul suggested yet that it’s from the sour milk bugs that may have escaped?

    Well, that made me laugh. And when Paul asked why I was laughing so hard, I told him, “One of the blog readers said the milk spores are my problem”. He said “Fuck off”.

    But he chuckled, too.

    Kim

  16. How was your blood pressure before this episode? If you’ve always had normal blood pressure readings, then this sudden spike could not have been due to high salt/sodium Chinese food.

    Well, my blood pressure is always a little higer than normal – which comes with being in pain all the time. It’s to be expected. But it’s never been this high, or caused me pain in my chest. And I don’t think it was from the Chinese food – I’ve been in pain and having this for 4 days before we went for Chinese – and I don’t use soy sauce – adn I hardly ever get to go to the Chinese place.

    I just don’t understand “which came first” – did the pain in my heart cause the BP to spike, or did the BP spike cause the pain in my heart? And what is the cause of whatever one is affecting the other?

    Kim

  17. I’ll be sure to ask whether they know the difference between “ammonia” and “pneumonia” before my next shot.

    Well I should hope so.

    I just can’t imagine that chick being a nurse – can you imagine triage? She’d be telling the doctor -“Yeah this lady says she has ammonia in her lungs” and they’d be sending the patient to poison control rather than respiratory therapy.

    Kim

  18. Sandy said

    You were in the hospital for a week and they sent you home with “We don’t know”? Get on the phone today with your personal doctor. If not to see him, then a name of another to take care of this now.

    Sitting around is fine, but waiting for a stress test surrounded by the We Don’t Knows worries me. Right now you are in the hands of yourself. Which in the normal scheme of things I’d not worry a bit. But you do need to be monitored, know what your BP is doing and not be left jusr sitting around. Call Leslie and have her check in on you, take your BP, go down a list of things happening when you went to the hospital. A second set of eyes/ears to watch over you.

    Well, just realized I’m writing this on Sat and doctors aren’t around. Am really hoping you called yesterday. You worry me and want all to be the best. And I keep repeating myself.

    The rash. A sign you be be alergic to plastic and although it seems minor, something to know. They ask about this on health forms for good reason.

    As serious as this sounds to me and would like to be right there to drag you around to get the best for you….cannot ignore your humor. Yeah, they need to get to your house and find the ammonia. Too funny. And double check those surgery dates. And I just realized why House may be called House.

    Please, please take care of yourself and become a total pest in getting the best of care. Gads it is tough to be so far away from someone cared about and not to be able to do anything. It is amazing how much you have touched our lives.

  19. I had a spiking blood pressure episode, went to the ER got some meds and the next day I had a stroke! I was a young woman, 32 years old with no history of any medical problems. They later speculated that my problem may have been due to a rare virus that I had picked up on a vacation to rural Mexico, yikes! I was in therapy for 6 months learning how to read, write and speak again.

    Well aren’t you just the voice of comfort. If that doesn’t keep my BP down, now what will???

    J/K

    I am going to go to Burlington and speak to my regular doctor. I really am more curious now than anything – I would like to know why I can take my BP 10 minutes apart and have such wide variance in readings.

    Kim

  20. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you make this stuff up…ammonia shot.

    I know – I told the story in AFCA and a couple people said “OH MY GOD- you made that up, didn’t you!”

    But that’s the beauty of Malone – truth is funnier than fiction. I’m not creative enough to make this shit up.

    Kim

  21. I’d like to give a shout-out to Dana, a regular reader here — I have one of your cookbooks, Dana! Love your recipes!

    That’s awesome that you have one of her books! Dana is one of my “in real life” friends – in fact, we went out to dinner one year on my birthday and I saw her actually eat a french fry.

    She’s one of the two famous people I actually know. Nicolas Cage is the other one.

    Kim

  22. westcoast said

    Kim, I am glad you are home safe in your own little bed, theres no place like home. Rest, and do something relaxing like write hilarious, informative, smart, lovely, touching blogs for your friends in the computer. Its good therapy for you and for us. My normal Sat routine is broken today, the ski bus I chaperone is cancelled due to heavy snow. Is there such a word as oxymoronic?
    But looks like I wont be stranded at the mountain top with a bus load of teenagers, and that is a good thing.
    Wishing your pain is gone…….

  23. nita said

    Ditto to the advice above about seeing the doctor in Burlington. Do take care of yourself!
    I’m surprised they gave you Vasotech. It’s an older ACE inhibitor and there are much better, newer ones. Also, Ace inhibitors don’t work for everyone. There are also Beta-blockers and all I don’t know what! Also, it takes more than a couple of days to get blood pressure down with medication.
    If all the tests for stroke and heart problems come out negative, you may have developed “panic” attacks. They frequently include chest pain (purely muscular), numbness in the arms, and other odd symptoms. I use “panic” because it is the word the doctors use. It can come on when your body doesn’t want to deal with any more stress. Your mind copes well, and you certainly vent here, LOL! But you never know.

  24. oh my Kim! Never a dull moment? Please take care of yourself!!!

    and I literally belly-laughed when reading your Trainee story!

    With friendship,
    Lisa

  25. Veronique said

    Are you using the home BP monitor to take your readings that are so different? I ask because only last night, a friend of mine who had some serious heart surgery several years ago and has TWO home BP monitors told me that he was getting wildly differing readings at home and work, and readings that about 20% high from what the nurse got in the doctor’s office. He and his doctor finally figured out that his arteries were much deeper in his arm than the monitors were set to record…essentially, a home BP monitor is more or less useless for him.

    If this is not your issue (and I imagine you’re a good bit less round than my friend), then I got nothin’. And as far as the heart-pain/high BP, I think the spores came first.

    Hugs,
    V.

  26. NJGill said

    even if you eschew soy sauce, most Chinese food (especially in restaurants) is prepared using MSG – that’s mono-SODIUM-glutamate. not good for the blood pressure.

    I don’t own any of Dana’s books, but I did see one on the remainder table last time I was at Barnes & Noble for $3.95.

    I have “white-coat” hypertension – it’s always higher at the dr.’s office than anywhere else (like when I donate blood, etc.) they usually take it again after I’ve seen the dr. and it has come down to “normal” – I am on BP meds.

    didn’t you have pneumonia not long ago? that can cause chest pain – did they check you for residual infection, such as pleurisy? angina causes pain that is exacerbated by exertion – be careful about letting them put you on a treadmill if they don’t have a clue about what you have.

  27. Sandy said

    Kim,

    Your question about which came first. I don’t think any of us can actually relate to what is happening just based on BP and chest pains. Your body has been through so much the last few months. My concern is the physical stress being placed on you from all and so important for your primary physician being involved. Anyone else is starting from scratch determining the problems at hand. And agree with others about the stress test…see your doctor before doing this.

    If you had told us Mr. Cage was visiting when this happened, I’d have blamed all on him. I would have a concussion from falling over if he showed up at my door. How do you know him?

    Did you get to watch LOST on Wednesday?

  28. IndyGena said

    You know Nicolas Cage… do tell!

  29. Val Dalton said

    OMG Kim, that is just too funny. I can not believe some of the nurses! The only floor in that hospital that is decent is the maternity ward. They are all well trained up there. Thank God!!

    Hope you are feeling better. I saw Leslie at walmart and she metioned she had lunch with you. Her lil girl is so cute! Did you get to see her?

  30. NJGill said

    QUOTE: “Val Dalton Says:
    February 4, 2008 at 1:28 pm
    …. I saw Leslie at walmart and she metioned she had lunch with you.”

    I find it fascinating that you people live in the same town, but communicate by posting messages to a blog.

  31. I find it fascinating that you people live in the same town, but communicate by posting messages to a blog.

    Well, it’s not the ONLY way we communicate. I call Val – she calls me, she brings me pickles and cookies and does B&E’s with me.

    And Leslie and I talk on the phone a lot, and she ALWAYS calls before she goes out to see if I need anything (isn’t that nice????)

    This is just another way to communicate.

    Kim

  32. NJGill said

    That is nice – of both of them. It just reminds me of the ad agency whete I worked where everyone IM’d eveyone else as a matter of course, regardless of any need for confidentiality, etc., and despite the fact that the person being IM’d might be sitting 6 feet away with a clear line-of-sight between the two of them. Changing topics, are the hag-tags and marketing plans on hold?

  33. NJGill said

    oops – HANG-tags (although the ones with the ZL caricatures might conceivably be called hag-tags)

  34. Squiggy said

    You get to be interviewed by funny, ding-bat nurses and you know Nick Cage?? Damn, Kim!!

  35. Kim (Canada) said

    Hey Kimmie!

    Do hope you’re feeling better after all that hospital fiasco…

    Was just reading “Stupidity” and totally felt my blood pressure rise when I got to the comments section –
    Who the hell are these idiot(s) that claim to have so much of value to say, only to turn around and trash other innocent by-standers? WTF

    Anyways, last week a baby was dumped in a Toronto mall stairwell – No one has come forward as of yet, and police are having difficulty in locating any sort of family or identifying info on her – This morning a tv news report suggested that she may be from New York state….I’ve attached a hyper-link so that I might assist with passing her photo around, on the off chance one of your readers may know or recognize her from somewhere – Sort of like you did with ZL (LOL)

    http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/299771

    I feel so bad for the poor little thing, especially knowing that she definately has signs of prior/previous abuse….
    I keep my fingers crossed for the precious angel!

    Now, although your heart ain’t working so good these days, I know you (and your readers)have one, and so please have a peek, and see if you might have seen her tripping around Malone or somewhere in NY –
    Thanks all – Much appreciated!

    Kim aka Fonzie

  36. Dana said

    Well, shit! I go out of town for a couple of weeks, and everything goes to hell. Kim, so glad you’re still alive! For you, I’d even eat another french fry. (Confession: I ate about 8 while I was out of town, divided between two different meals. Stolen off of friend’s plates. Fortunately, I have tolerant friends.)

    The girls at the hospital are going to be *nurses*? Be afraid. Be very afraid. Dovetails alarmingly with an article I read yesterday about the dumbing of America.
    Hey, Sedonia Sunset! Thanks for buying my books! Glad you like them. (Just posted a recipe for African Peanut Soup at my website.)

    And Kim? I’m flattered beyond belief that you lump me in with Nick Cage.

  37. Dana said

    Oh, and thought I ought to mention: Sodium restriction will lower blood pressure in some people, actually raise it in others, and in many people has little effect. A large, long term study published about a year ago found that the less salt people ate, the *more* likely they were to die of heart disease. Kim, of course, needs to follow her doctor’s advice. Just saying that it’s a potentially dangerous mistake to assume that sodium restriction is good for everyone.

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