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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Life flashing pass

Thank you for all the well wishes and concerned messages.

I realised that was kind of abrupt and probably alarming, but it was pretty hairy for awhile and i wanted to put in shorthand to that frame of mind...

Anyways, the short of it was:

It had been a grueling week month few weeks months (you get the picture), and even more so for Christmas as we were rushing for year end closing at work, and rushing preparing for Christmas, not forgetting the drinking episode, and I was tired and sore beyond belief.

My chest hurt, my back hurt and my breathing became shallower. The tightness felt heavier as I tried to plow through the work. During a meeting in IBP, i started sweating in pain. While driving back to my office, i couldnt breathe as the pain was almost unbearable and it was a small miracle that i managed to reach my office without mishap.

But as I tried to settle back to work, the pain came in waves between feelings of dying and barely bearable. i started feeling nauseated. Decided to ditch the car in the office and catch a ride to the nearest GP.

"How are you feeling today?"
"Bad, I'm having chest pains and difficulty breathing"
"What kind of pain?"
"Like 2 steel bars crushing me from front and back, and my heart is about to burst"
"Any tinkling or numbness in the arm?"
"I didnt notice, the pain was overwhelming"
"Any cough or running nose?"
"Are you on any medication"
"Any fever?"
"I dont know"
thermometer showed 38 deg c.
"I'm going to send you to A&E"
"The symptoms added together may indicate a viral heart infection."
"er... ok"
Imagining the endless waiting in an A&E dept "Should i have dinner before i go?"
"NO! the condition may cause SUDDEN DEATH"

my life didnt exactly flash passed me, but all i could think about was
- what's going to happen to my kids?
- How's E going to handle not having me there?
- Who's going to cook that mushroom stew for pot luck gathering the next day?
- What's going to happen to the presents i got for everybody?
... ... i know, i can only plead confusion as my defense.

I took the doctor's letter to NUH A&E, and upon seeing the scary phrases of "chest pain" "difficulty breathing" and high fever, they whisk me through triage on a wheelchair and directly into A&E for chest x-ray and ECG. Even registering almost everything for me with me only having to give my own and ICE contact details.

Fortunately but anti-climactically, i started feeling better and even my fever started coming down without medication.

After asking almost the same questions as the GP, and asking about family history (Dad survived a minor heart attack at 58). But seeing that I am a pre-menopausal non-smoker female, they decided that it could be pulmonary embolism which is a sudden blockage in a lung artery.

The doctors took my blood for tests, hooked me up on to an automated blood pressure and heart rate monitor and put a tap into the top of my hand and... left me there.

Under the bright lights of the observation room and incessant beeping of monitors and machines, i spent my time people watching. The doctors being very focused on their own patients and ignoring other patients, the nurses doing almost the same with some trying to look busy, the patients either just lying there or raising a ruckus refusing to pee/ defecate into their diapers, wanting to leave or just being plain delusional. The majority of the patients were the elderly as expected, but a couple were minor accident victims who were hurt badly enough to not have to queue at the waiting area but not enough to be operated on (yet).

3 hours later, they came to check on me, they knew enough to know that they didnt know what was happening to me and so refused to let me leave. It was thus decided that i will take a series of 3 blood tests in 8 hour intervals that will determine if i had suffered any heart damage. I was then sent to the EDTU (Extended Diagnostic and Treatment Unit) just after midnight.

E had been waiting for 2 hours outside A&E by then, came in to talk to the doctor and to see me and pass me a book. :)

I was then plastered with ECG Monitoring Electrodes

all over over in kinda like this pattern although i had more...

adjoined to 2 sets of lead wires (each holding 5 clamps) and left alone to catch some sleep.

Since E didnt come from home, he didnt bring my glasses and i decided to leave my contact lenses on.

Surprisingly, not only I was able to fall asleep, I slept well.

They took my blood twice more, and since all the tests were negative let me discharge with a MC for 3 days, a letter and a caution. That i was to make my way immediately to a polyclinic or hospital with the letter in hand if i was to suffer another episode within the week.

I then left the hospital to go home to make a mushroom stew dish , and also wrap presents for belated Christmas gift-exchanges, and arrive for pot luck dinner gathering with friends at 630pm.

Unfortunately, 3 bites into the pot luck dinner, my chest started hurting and i started sweating profusely. I was probably taking the whole thing too easy. I didnt want to alarm my friends (who didnt know know about the hospitalization) so I pushed the food around my plate and tried to breathe. And little by little, the pain went away.

That was 3 nights ago, and 4 more to go.

And oh, E said that my mushroom stew was the best dish of the pot luck dinner :)


I love the use of different font sizes and colors
pls take good care & dun over-exert urself too much...

happy new year
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