Friday, November 21, 2008

Hospital Trip

I woke up Thursday morning with chest pains and numbness in my left arm. I wasn't in a lot of pain, but my uncle Jerry died of his first heart attack when he was about two years younger than I am now, and I have a history of heart problems on both sides of my family. Not wanting to take any chances, I checked myself into the hospital, and they held me for observation.

One of the first things they did was put a heparin lock in my arm. This is basically a catheter inserted into a vein so drugs can be administered during a cardiac arrest, when veins can collapse and are difficult to locate. They performed an EKG, did a chest x-ray, and scheduled a series of blood tests to check for cardiac enzymes. There are chemicals in the heart muscle that are found only there, and finding cardiac enzymes in the bloodstream indicates damage has occurred in the heart. They take blood at least three times during a 24-hour period, and having a tech wake you up in the middle of the night to draw blood has become one of my least favorite things.

The good news: the tests came back negative and my heart is fine. The bad news: my problems stem from a huge blood pressure spike brought on by stress, which carry with it problems of its own. I see my doctor sometime next week, and from there, we will decide what to do.

Fortunately, I will still be able to attend the book signing at the Capital City Art & Craft Show tomorrow at the Charleston Civic Center. I will be there from 3:30 to 7:00 pm, signing copies of both "Legends of the Mountain State" books at the West Virginia Book Company table. Stop by and see me if you're in the neighborhood.


JBL said...

Serious but not untreatable. Glad it wasn't worse!

Anonymous said...


Sending out positive energy to you. Keep a very watchful eye on that pressure. I recommend working on meditation. I had a blood pressure spike about three weeks ago, but it was not too high for any problems. A concern none the less. It was 140/96 for a couple of days when I was under stress. I have been trying some deep breathing meditation. If your blood pressure becomes a problem, you will end up on vasodilaters (which like all meds have some side effects of their own).
Keep an eye on excess salt in your diet as well as it can show up in places you would not think to look (i.e. canned vegetables).

Hugs, Kali