So I spent the day yesterday driving around and running errands...my bank, the post office, drug dealer, bottle store,Chinese massage place,the library and at about 14h00 I pulled into the supermarket car park,and thought i would quickly listen to the news before going in and filling up on toilet paper , ketchup and condoms.
As I switched off the engine I felt like i had been punched in the chest - became cold and sweaty...and felt very very short of breath.
Remembering that in an emergency you should always check your own pulse first, I decided to do exactly that...and to my surprise found that it was 36 beats / minute.
Very very low in an otherwise fit and healthy (jah jah) middle aged male.
I sat and thought about it for 5 minutes and it seemed to get better.
So I did my shopping.
Unfortunately over the next hour I experienced 5 more episodes of the bradycardia, the last one lasting 10 minutes.
So I decided to call the paramedics and get myself to hospital.
I called 999 at 15h35 and by 15h30 I was half naked in the back of a freezing ambulance on what was the coldest day of the year.
The driver apologised that their heater was broken;and that the blankets were cold.
Fortunately I am quite hairy...or I was until they shaved most of my chest to adequately fit the ECG electrodes.
They were very good and professional and by 15h40 my first ECG has been sent to the ED who decided that I should be seen ...sooner than later.
I was a little perturbed as at one stage my pulse was 30 and my oxygen saturation was 91%, but since I was to cold to talk I thought that (what is left of ) my brain would be protected until I got to the ED.
I was wheeled into the ED at 16h00 where everyone greeted me since I have worked in the Unit and/or with most of the staff.
At 16h05 I was placed into an examination cubicle and told that my nurse would shortly be with me and that I should "just relax".
ED says 'relax'.
At 16h25 she did an ECG and checked my blood pressure...both had normalised.
At 17h00 I was told my son was on the phone so I gave him my pin number.
Then at 17h15 the ED registrar deigned to see me.
Hello Lucien....I'm Dr Ginger.
I always...always call my patients by their surname unless they are a child;when I would introduce myself by my first name as well.I know its petty, but really....
He looked at the ECG and told me it was "all okay".
He then looked at the monitor above my bed...
...well your blood pressure and heart rate are normal...
"Two things doctor...
...one...the alarms are going off so clearly the numbers are wrong..."
Oh yes...the alarms are going off...he sniffed.
"More importantly...I'm not connected to the monitor!"
Just like last time then.
At 17h30 I was taken for a chest x-ray.
At 17h50 some bloods were pulled.
At this stage all of the examination cubicles were full up.
The elderly man to my right was confused and get moaning and groaning and denying that anyone in the Unit had ever been in to see him.
To my left was a young woman who had overdosed on a poly-pharmacy-magic-mixture and who was swearing at the staff and who then urinated on the floor.
I love the small of urine in the evening!
At 18h30 I had found a half eaten packet of peanut butter M&M's in my rucksack and got myself comfortable and read my "Times".
At 19h00 my 'named nurse' came and said goodbye as she was going home.
And at 19h55, 5 minutes before I was due to 'breach', I was told that all was well, I had not infarcted and that I could go home...
...and, oh, they didn't know what was wrong with me...
...but I did have the '999' number didn't I?...
...oh and see my GP for a referral to cardiology...
....and to phone the following day for my thyroid blood results...
...and oh, don't let the door hit you in the arse on your way out.
I ran for the door, stopping only to get a burger-n-chips, large coffee and a mars bar.
And then I had to get home....