I parked the car in the first space I could find and lifted my bag out of the back. It wasn’t too heavy but it certainly wasn’t what could be called lightweight. My daughter knew how to pack for many eventualities, and it seemed she had made sure I would have everything I would need.
Up the stairs to the the main entrance to the hospital then a quick visit to the information desk to find out where CCU was located. The directions were a tad complicated but it was seemingly close to the ward I had been in the previous night so that was where I headed.
When I arrived at the entrance to the wards, I couldn’t see anything for CCU so headed towards the ward I had been in the night before. As I walked into the main area I saw a nice young man with ID badges and smart clothing. Obviously medical staff so I stopped him and asked if he could tell me where CCU was located. It was just down the corridor and he would show me. I followed, wondering how I had managed to walk past the place I was looking for.
The young man turned and asked why I was looking for CCU, was I visiting someone? I replied that I had no idea, I had just been told to report there. “Are you Karen?” he asked. I was a bit taken aback at that, how bad was this if people actually knew my name before I had arrived? I confirmed I was as we walked through the door to CCU.
He took me to the nurses station and introduced me to one of the nurses. “Karen this is Karen” we looked at each other and laughed. Nurse Karen took me to a side room where I immediately started stripping off layers of clothing. I was not used to exercise and that walk from outside into the heat of the hospital had me suffering.
I was to be wired up to a heart monitor and needed blood pressure and such taken. I was quite pleased with myself that I had the foresight to bring my pyjamas and offered to change into them to make things easier. Nurse Karen agreed and suggested that I get myself comfortable and she would be back shortly. I changed into my pyjamas, set the kindle up beside the bed with the charger, got my water bottle out and of course the cuddly toy that was still in the bag.
I was just finishing getting ready when Nurse Karen came in and suggested I settle myself on the bed and get comfy.
I did so and she placed the sticky things for the wires on my skin and got me wired to the monitor. Obs seemed to be all good and nothing unusual was happening. As I chatted away happily I mentioned something about going home in a few hours. Nurse Karen looked at me shaking her head. It seems I was to be here for at least one night so that I could see the cardiologist in the morning. “But it was only a baby heart thing” I gasped, “It’s not like I have had a proper heart attack”.
“All heart attacks are proper heart attacks” was the reply.
This was not what I had expected, I was still erring on the side of anxiety attack and didn’t feel like those people you see on TV or in movies. I hadn’t been rolling on the floor in agonising pain, I hadn’t fallen unconscious or anything. I felt like such a fraud.
Nurse Karen was having none of it. I was to be wired to the monitor, no exertion at all unless absolutely necessary. The toilet was just across the hall from my room and if I needed to use it I was to unplug the wires leading to the monitor, tuck the end of the plug into my pyjamas and let the nurses at the station know I was going. Plugging myself back into the monitor on my return.
I was utterly shocked, I couldn’t possibly be proper not well, my OH was up from London, it was Hogmanay, I was back to work in a couple of days. This was no time to be ill. Nurse Karen advised me to treat this as “Enforced Bed Rest”.
I phoned my OH to see how things had gone at my parents and to let him know I would be staying in hospital overnight.
He and my Dad had discussed how to explain my absence to my Mum when they returned. According to my OH it was all settled and they would be telling her that I had a bit of a problem I was getting checked out. That was until my Dad walked in the door and told my Mum that I had been called into work for some emergency. My poor OH was left trying to avoid eye contact with my Mum and had made his escape rather quicker than normal. He would be through to see me shortly so I settled back on the bed and got out my kindle. Thankfully the hospital has free patient wifi so I was able to download a few books in case of emergency wifi failure and settled back to read.
A young doctor came in after a short while and asked me to talk him through what had happened and my symptoms that led to me calling for an ambulance. He also asked about my signing out and returning that morning. After I explained that all to him he advised that the cardiologist would be round in the morning and I should rest.
Throughout the rest of the day there were regular checks of blood pressure and temperature. Nurse Karen was a saint, with each visit she gradually got it into my head that this was a serious matter and not something to be ignored.
When my OH visited bearing gifts of the obligatory grapes and juice, we sat for a while just coming to terms with the fact that I was in hospital. The fact that I didn’t feel unwell was a positive and that there was a cardiologist coming round the next morning – New Years Day – was suitably impressive. He also brought me my crochet – I have not long learned and was almost finished a shawl which I thought would be great to wear in the hospital. By the time he left me, I was sat in bed with my crochet trying to be as easy a patient as possible to the staff.
Late evening my daughter called to say a friend had been into her work and was on her way to visit. I can’t tell you how nice a feeling it was to have someone take time out of their night on Hogmanay to come to the hospital. She spent a good 15 minutes with me making me laugh and helping me feel less sorry for myself. After she left it was time to sleep. Tomorrow would be a New Year, a new decade and my new future.