It's been my observation that there's always a new adventure in life, sometimes just around the corner.
Sometimes they are planned; sometimes they are unexpected.
Sometimes they come on a Tuesday in a little Nail Salon in Kapolei, Hawaii.
I can't see. I am sitting having my nails done in the same place in the same way as I always do when I'm on-island. But suddenly I feel so very strange. And I can't see well. Somethings in the way of my vision. I'm not dizzy, I don't feel faint. But I can't see. It's like I'm looking through crystal -- or everyone's under-ice but me. They are crystallized.
I struggle to focus. But it gets worse. Now I break out in a sweat. Steams of sweat are pouring down my face, rivers of sweat are running down my back and my legs are drenched in sweat.
I turn to Mr. C, who's seated nearby, and tell him "I don't feel well".My vision gets even worse. I'm starting to get frightened. Mr. C asks if I'm OK, and I respond that I definitely am NOT. That I'm feeling very strange.
That's it. That's all I remember before blacking out.
My nail tech, God bless him, hangs on to my hands and arms and keeps me from pummeling to the floor. Mr. C is at my side "in a heartbeat", as well as a Registered Nurse, who's just finished her pedicure.
I'm out for awhile. I hear mumbling in the distance, Mr. C is gripping my left hand and telling me, softly, that I'm alright, that he's right here. The nurse (God, I wish I knew her name!) is holding my right wrist very tenderly, and has flung her left arm under my head to hold it steady. Mr. C is worried that he can barely find a pulse -- and asks her if she can find one. She responds in the affirmative, but just barely -- that's it's both weak and erratic. So she's tenderly holding my wrist (instead of my hand) to monitor my pulse, not just to give me comfort -- even though I'm terribly comforted by it. I am grateful that she was present, and that she chose to get involved -- because we all know that she didn't have to.
Mr. C is dialing 9-1-1. I mumble that surely that's not necessary. But he ignores me.
I don't know how much time goes on like this (Steve has subsequently told the Dr's that I was "out" and "out-of-it" for something akin to 10 minutes); but suddenly (suddenly to me, anyway) the EMT's are here, asking me to open my eyes, asking me if I know my name (got it right -- both first & last -- I've had three of the latter, remember); and if I know where I am (Garden Nails) and if I know the year. 18 is floating in my brain, but I know that's not enough digits -- so I go searching until I find it. And I'm proud to blurt out that it's 18 --It's 2018!
Now they want me to track their moving finger with my eyes (this is difficult, takes a lot of focus, but I manage it).
Next they want to know how I'm feeling. If my vision has cleared up -- which it has NOT. If am dizzy, which I never was. If my vision is blurry, which it never was. Cold & clammy as the dead, I am though. My fingers start to tingle. I think I must be having a heart-attack as the tingling spreads up my arms. I hate to admit it -- but I start to freak out. I start to overreact, start to cry, start to hyperventilate.
But the EMT stops me. He tells me to take a deep breath of 4 counts in -- hold it for 2 counts - and let it out for 2 counts. Thank goodness, this does the trick. The tingling caused by my lack of oxygen subsides immediately.
I feel so foolish, having caused so much hub-bub in this little shop. This can't be good for business, the fire truck out front and the ambulance pulling up out back, lights & sirens blazing.
They lay me briefly on the table in the massage room, where I instantly begin to feel better. The clamminess and vision start to clear up.
Now the ambulance has arrived, and they roll me out on the gurney to greet my new friends. The gals are awesome, they take good care of me. Before long we're chatting like girlfriends. She says she wants to take me on in to ER, just to be sure. Blood pressure is way low, blood sugars are pretty high. Mr. C pipes in to say that it was never an option NOT to go on to the hospital.
It feels so strange to me, always healthy as a horse, to be hearing the sirens from inside instead of out. I've never had a broken bone, a hospital stay, an ambulance ride, or had to take a medical leave. I' have a high tolerance for pain, have powered through migraine headaches, dental surgeries, natural childbirth (twice!), you name it.
So this is just plain weird.
That horrible flu has hit the island of Oahu, now, so the ER is overflowing. People with blankets and face masks are huddling in the waiting rooms; the hallways are lined with beds. There are a lot of really ill people here, and I don't feel like I should be taking any one's valuable time away from them.
But (here's something I learned) Ambulance patients take precedence, so they whisk me right by all those waiting, into a room where they take my clothes and give me a fetching robe to wear in their stead; and start poking and prodding and sticking me with needles and inserting IV lines and the like. They hook me up to a dozen electrodes in bright colors and co-ordinating wires which hook to a jet pack that transmits to a brightly colored monitor. This immediately starts tracking and keeping records.
They are efficient, and I feel like I'm in good hands.
Then they start rolling in all the testing machines -- all brought to me instead of me going to them. Portable X-Ray's, & EKG's; they draw blood and start labs. And I am just looking for dinner.
It's 6:30 PM by now, and I had breakfast at 9:30 AM. For those of you who know me, that's a long wait, as I'm a "grazer" as opposed to 3 squares; so I'm used to munching on cashews or fresh veggies or something every couple of hours.
So she assures me that I can have some food, gives me a menu to order from, even! Next they come back for a second EKG -- 'cause something was suspect in the 1st one. That doesn't sound so great.
I am highly motivated to be OK -- as we have a trip for the 10-Year Old Grandbabes booked for New York City next month; as well as family visits to Oregon; and the big one -- a month in Greece at the end of April.
And then the Doc comes back with not-so-good news that they are keeping me overnight.
And thus begins my very first hospital adventure. Not one I was particularly looking for.