What Not to Do in an Emergency

I did the one thing they tell you not to do. I had left-sided discomfort in my chest and upper left arm and I took a taxi to the hospital, by myself. I went to WebMD to check my symptoms, and as I thought, was advised to go to the hospital by ambulance. Vanity? Independence? Afraid to be the talk of the highrise residents where I live? Waste of taxpayers money? Probably a bit of all of those things. The good news is that I am now home again just 2 hours and 15 minutes later.

I walked directly into Emergency at St. Paul’s Hospital, checked in with the clerk, had an indifferent once over by the nurse, pulse, blood pressure and temperature taken simultaneously by another nurse, bum barely warmed the chair and I was sent to the waiting room. Relatively good sign.

Into the inner sanctum: given an EKG which took 5 minutes tops after getting hooked up, blood was drawn and next thing I knew I was walking down the hall for a chest x-ray. Another very good sign. The technician was very kind-natured, a few quips about various places I could be headed to in the hospital, including my comment about the basement being the worse possible scenario. In and out, lickety split and back to the waiting room.

I saw Dr. Skinner 3 or 4 times – checking in with me, keeping me posted about the various steps. Incredibly calm, informative and thorough. (And the most beautiful eyes I’ve recently had the good fortune to be looking into.)  Everything checked out okay. To be 100 per cent sure, the blood tests would have to be repeated 6 hours after the discomfort started – approximately 2 hours from now. I could wait or go home, it was my decision. I could always come back if I felt worse or was still concerned. Dr. Skinner could not say why I was having discomfort in my upper abdomen or in my ribcage, but nothing requiring emergency care. I decided to go home. One more short wait while the doctor got the papers for me to return to the hospital for a stress test 3 days from now.

The care at St. Paul’s was incredible. I saw 7 people in total. It was smooth and seamless. No drama, no waits, nothing like you see on tv. Thank goodness for that.

I still feel discomfort on my left side.  I still have some nausea (ought oh, the doctor asked me that) or then again, maybe it’s not nausea. I sure hope Dr. Skinner was right.