Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hearts, Sirens and Hugs

My week began in an ambulance with the siren blaring. Surreal. It still feels like it might have been a dream.

I woke up very early Monday morning feeling ill. I had a pain in my chest. I thought it might be heartburn and took something for it but I couldn't get comfortable. I changed positions many times. Sat up. Laid down. My heart was beating strangely and I could feel a sharp pain under my left shoulder blade. I felt dizzy. I knew that women's heart attack symptoms were different than men's. I hesitated but, in the end, I called 911.

First time ever in an ambulance. The last time I was admitted to a hospital was when Chloé was born over 13 years ago.

It is a scary story with a happy ending.  After several cardiograms, blood tests and a lung x-ray, I was told that my heart was fine as was everything else. All of the tests came back normal. What I had felt that morning was a cluster of symptoms that could be explained by other things (indigestion, palpitations probably due to coffee and hormones, muscular aches, topped off by more than a bit of anxiety).

I spent nine hours staring at a hospital ceiling on Monday. I traced the pattern of those drop ceiling tiles about a million times. No book. No music. Not even my shoes or a coat. What did I think about? My family, my friends, my painting, Meeko. About how caring everyone was with me that day: the ambulance paramedics, the doctor and nurses, my husband and my two girls. I thought about how my husband had left a meeting and rushed home as soon as he heard. I thought about how brave and grownup Emma and Chloé were that morning. I wanted to go home and hug all of them including Meeko. I wasn't worrying about returning emails, making Etsy treasuries or new blog posts, checking my Facebook and Twitter accounts, increasing sales or churning out more prints on my temperamental printer. I was just thinking about what was important.
Amaryllis - work in progress (a mere beginning)
Yesterday when I woke up I felt so different. Lighter. Calmer. More centered. I felt thankful. I felt lucky. I took Meeko for an extra happy walk. I tried to breathe more slowly and deeply as I moved. I appreciated the powdery snow that had fallen the previous day. I got in touch with my relatives. I started a new painting of my beautiful amaryllis. I drank herbal tea in the late afternoon. I bought a pot of fresh basil to make pasta with pesto, potatoes and green beans. I revelled in the basil's beautiful colour and pungent smell as I picked the sprigs and thought about how my garden will be waking up not that long from now.

Maybe we all need a scary story every now and then so that we can put everything else in perspective. Today, nothing is different and yet somehow everything is.



15 comments:

  1. Very scary!!! ...for every one... I'm glad you're fine Kathleen! ...and you are right about new perspectives. Love your basil painting.

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    1. Thank you, Maria, for all of your words. xo

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  2. Kathleen,
    You brought tears to my eyes. Thank goodness you're okay. :)

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    1. I've been getting teary reading the comments here and on Facebook. It was quite a day. Thank you for your friendship, Jody. xo

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  3. wow!! What a beautiful story! I know it started out scary but you tell it so well with such a beautiful happy ending. Really encouraging. I've been running into some nasty people lately and you sort of snapped me out of the negative perspective. THANK YOU!! xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much, Tam. I hesitated to tell what happened to me but I am glad I did, especially if my words were somehow helpful to you. xo

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  4. Scary - I´m so glad it wasn´t anything more serious!

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  5. So sorry to hear about your troubles but I would still recommend your family doctor refer you to a cardiologist for assessment . Women can have something called micro vascular angina and it doesn't appear on the standard tests done in ER. It is also very treatable so worth knowing if you have it or not. Big hug

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    1. Thanks for the hug, Margie. I was given a referral to a cardiology clinic for a follow-up so I'll ask about that when I get there. xo

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  6. oh my god! I hope u r doing fine now! I was talking abt a similar incident with another person i knew a few weeks ago and now its you! and as rightly as you put it....one needs to focus on whats important to you, your everyday life, love and affection of near ones and staying happy matters.

    hugs to you
    Veda

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    1. It certainly brings everything into proper focus. Hugs to you too, Veda.

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  7. Ooh Gosh Kathleen, scary experience indeed. Hope you get the all clear at your check up. Hope you feel much better now. I had an awful time over Christmas, as I'd had a kidney infection, v painful, and just asked for my blood pressure testing whilst at the docs, it was mid to high, so I had to check it every day, it came down after the infection had gone, the doc didn't say the infection could make it high???. I spent Christmas worrying, when I went back and things were OK, I felt just like you, relief and a calm that I was OK, I've stayed that way for a month, grateful that I'm alright. I have to do more checks, but hopefully I'm OK. You will get checked out properly now, take care, I get palpitations with too much tea/coffee and have to watch that. BIG HUG for you, X :) We all care it's so nice!

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    1. Health problems are never fun and I'm so sorry to hear you've been sick. I hope you continue to feel better, Julie. Thank you for your kind words and ongoing presence here. I am lucky to have such a lovely group of online friends. Big hug back.

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  8. OMG Kathleen !! Where I have been hiding ?!! I am so very sorry to what happened to you last week !! How scary this must have felt ! I hope you are back to yourself, and that you'll have a clue soon about what really happened & how to avoid it in the future !
    Sending you my warmest, though belated, caring thoughts. oxoxo

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Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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