Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Father's Day Sunday

And then there was Father’s Day Sunday. 

I had already given Hunter Man some shorts and a shirt for Father’s Day on Friday night before we went out to have a movie night.   And, we celebrated with our kids and grandkids Saturday night, so other than planning to have one of his favorite things—Norwegian Shrimp Sandwiches—for lunch, we weren’t really going to do anything else for Father’s Day Sunday.

But, then something weird happened while we were at church.  After about 10 minutes, Hunter Man asked me if I had any Ibuprofen.  I told him that I didn’t and just figured that he had a headache or something. 

A few minutes after that, he leaned over to me, whispering that he was not feeling well at all and was going home.  He was sweating and his face looked ashen.

I could not get the thought out of my head that he was having a heart attack.  I came home and internet searched for the symptoms of heart attack in men.  Then, I compared the symptoms to what he was experiencing and I became convinced that he was having a heart attack.  He could not get full breaths, had numbness in his left arm, pain on the left side of his chest and near the bottom of his sternum, anxiety, sweating, fatigue, indigestion, and gray color.  Later he told me that when he got up in the morning, his heart was beating really fast and then it slowed way down.  Symptoms that didn’t really go along with the heart attack symptoms were aching body parts and diarrhea.  But, there were more symptoms suggesting heart attack than not.  I think my biggest concern was the fact that he felt like he could not get enough air when he breathed--as if his lungs would only fill up part way.  He wasn’t gasping for breath, but just wasn’t getting enough air.  When someone has a heart attack and part of the heart is damaged, then it limits the lung function, too.  This scared me because I didn’t want irreparable damage to happen to his heart by not getting medical attention.

Convincing him that the best thing to do would be to go to the hospital, rather than take a nap, was not easy.  He said he had never felt like that before and didn’t like how he was feeling, but he was adamant about not going to the doctor.  Finally, he agreed to go to the Insta Care.  I knew that they would tell him that he needed to go to the Emergency Room, but I hoped that he would believe them since he wouldn’t believe me. The first thing the nurse said to us before they checked him in was that if you think you are having a heart attack, you should go straight to the E.R. or call 911.

We should have left right then and driven ourselves to the E.R. because after examining him and performing an EKG, the doctor said that he was very concerned about “ST depression” on the EKG showing a decrease in the amount of oxygen that he was getting.  “ST depression” can indicate heart disease and impending cardiac arrest.  He wanted to have Hunter Man transported by ambulance to the hospital.  Hunter Man kind of cried when he realized that he really might have had a heart attack.  The nurse set him up with an I.V., oxygen, some baby aspirin, and a nitro glycerin tablet while the ambulance was en route. 

I followed them in my truck and by the time I got into the room in the E.R., the EMT’s were filling a nurse in on the details, one nurse was drawing vials and vials of blood, and the doctor was asking a lot of questions.  Soon, he had another EKG and a chest X-Ray.

Jer and Tass came and we waited for results.  As we waited, Hunter Man’s symptoms were all over the place.  He had more indigestion, increased heartburn, felt faint when he was getting his X-Ray and walking to the bathroom, sweating, freezing, numbness in his left arm, tingling in his right arm, blood pressure all over the place (top numbers from 107 to 138), and feeling like he was just not getting enough air every time he took a breath, even with the oxygen and especially after he walked.

But, then Jer and a friend of his from church gave Hunter Man a blessing.  And that may have made all the difference because the doctor came in and said that there were no cardiac enzymes showing up in his blood like there would have been if he had a heart attack.  The only thing that showed up on the chest X-Ray was possible bronchitis. 

Even though he did not feel well, he kept
trying to make jokes with all the staff.
Other than feeling like he couldn’t breathe very well, he had no other symptoms of bronchitis.  He had not been sick, he wasn’t coughing, has not had a sore throat, or nasal congestion, or anything.  He did start to get a fever while we were in the E.R. for some reason, which was probably why he was freezing then sweating.  Viral bronchitis could explain that and even could be associated with the diarrhea he was having.  But, it didn't explain everything else.

The doctor ordered another set of blood tests and another EKG, just to see if anything else showed up.  Nothing did.  So, Hunter Man was cleared to go home.  An appointment to have an Echo Stress Test in the morning was made for him and the doctor wrote a prescription for Prilosec to help with the feeling of heartburn.  Hunter Man still felt awful, but I guess when they ruled out heart attack, there was nothing else that the E.R. could do for him.

Taking off the EKG and heart
monitor stickers was painful!
We still did not know what was wrong with him and hoped that the next morning when he had his Stress Test, we would get more information on what could be done to make him feel better.  He was still fatigued and still having a hard time breathing the next morning.  I was concerned about him taking a stress test in this condition, but I guess the doctors weren’t.

Later that night he got this text message that made us laugh:  “Happy Father’s Day!  Thank you for not dying today!”  (Hunter Man has an awesome daughter-in-law.)

Anticipating the fun treadmill
part of the test.

(The stress test consisted of being connected to the EKG machine, laying on a table and having an ultrasound of his heart, then walking and running on a treadmill for about 10 minutes, and having another ultrasound done immediately after getting off the treadmill.  The doctor evaluated everything and said that Hunter Man’s heart is perfectly fine.  He has no blockages or leaking valves).

Norweigian Shrimp Sandwiches  (I don’t have a picture because we didn’t get to have them).

Fresh or frozen (but thawed) pre-cooked shrimp (about 1” size), mayonnaise, lemon juice, butter (not margarine), lettuce, and French bread.

Mix enough shrimp for each sandwich with mayonnaise and a few squirts of lemon juice.  Butter each piece of French bread.  Place a piece of lettuce on the bread, then top with shrimp.  Eat as an open faced sandwich—doing your best to keep the shrimp from falling off every time you pick it up!  These are so, so good and one of the greatest things that Hunter Man brought back from his time in Norway. 


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