About that Covid stuff. You remember, I thought we were doing great on Day 2?
On Day 3 in Covid Compound, we were both in worse shape than the day before. Seriously worse. Dave was heavily congested and so was I. Neither of us could move around for too long. We tried to continue working. That was a failure. We were down. Stuck to either bed or recliner.
Friday morning, at about 2:00 A.M., I woke with the worst chest pain I’ve ever experienced and nausea that kept my head swimming and my body weaving. I drank half the largest size of Maalox and thought it helped for a while but it was only a short while. By daylight, I knew I should get to the ER. I called 911 and pulled on the first bra I could find and covered it with my pajama top.
I told Dave (can’t remember where we were), “Ambulance is coming.”
“You called 911?” he asked. “Yourself?” He followed close behind me through the house.
I think I might have said, “Fastest way.”
He tracked me to the front door. The ambulance had arrived and the responders roamed the street. (This was at The Compound, where everybody has trouble figuring out where to go, sometimes including the residents.) I staggered across the yard to the ambulance holding my chest with my cell phone and waving with the other.
As I serpentined toward the vehicle, Dave yelled from the front porch, “Call me and I’ll pick you up.”
“Chest pain,” I said as I pulled myself into the side door and up the three steps to what looked like a big reclining chair. I kept adding,”I have COVID.” Nothing exacerbated, but I was about to throw up. The attendant pushed me into the bed thing and handed me a big plastic cup with something that fit under my chin so that nobody would be splashed with vomit. I thought how efficient that little bowl was and wondered why I’d never seen one of those until then. She slapped some wires on me, took vitals, and off we went. Somebody was radioing all my problems. I heard, “Patient is ambulatory” and thought, She won’t be for long.
Poor Dave. No one paid a bit of attention to him. He could have passed out on the floor and no one would have noticed. I bet he didn’t even have his phone in his pocket.
When a person claims chest pain, they get a lot of attention at the hospital.
The cool, young, well-tatted doctor said, “Hello, Diana, I’m Stephen and I’m going to get you better.” I like this guy. He knows me. I saw him when I fell in the freezer and broke my ribs. I didn’t remind him. Stephen is his middle name. His first and last names have a whole bunch of consonants. I wondered if he might be from Iceland.
The nurse took vitals while we talked and hooked me up to the equipment that seems to keep tabs on everything–blood pressure, oxygen level, and more. She ran an EKG.
“So you’re not feeling too well,” he said. “Tell me about this pain in your chest.”
I gave him the rundown, whispering, while the pain in the center of my chest intensified. I let him know about my gallbladder issues. (It’s full of stones.)
“Let’s listen to your heart,” he said.
He asked if I was having trouble breathing.
“It’s pretty shallow,” I said, “but I don’t think breathing makes the pain any worse. I’m getting along. The breath only goes down so far. Asthma, you know.”
“Well, we’re going to run a couple of tests, okay?”
“Sure,” I said.
He and the nurse stepped out.
The X-ray people were the first to come to the room. They were fast.
Dr. Stephen came back in with the nurse behind him.
“Your blood pressure is up. Do you take blood pressure medication?”
“Yes, losartan, amlodipine, and HCTZ.”
“Did you take it this morning?”
“Heavens, no, it was never a thought,” I answered.
“We’ll get you some,” he said, and left.
The sweet nurse came in and handed me a pill and a small cup of Maalox. I told her I’d dosed myself generously several times before I got there. “Stephen wants you to have it,” she said, “and I’m going to put some lidocaine in your IV.”
Her effort might have have helped some. But just some.
I think I dozed in between tests, tests, and more tests.
The doctor came into the room to feel me up again. None of the tests offered any diagnosis, he said. Even the gallstones were ruled out. Everywhere he prodded hurt, but my chest pain lingered. My heart was fine, he said. But the squeezing pain was still there. Maybe it just couldn’t get any worse.
“What did you eat for dinner last night?” he asked, pushing on my belly.
I answered, “Chicken, broccoli, potato.”
“I bet that chicken was fried,” he said.
“No,” I said, “as a matter of fact, it was baked in the oven with a few bread crumbs sprinkled on top and sprayed with olive oil. Now I did drink a skinny margarita.”
He chuckled. “Whoaaaa,” he said.”You’re my girl!”
I didn’t know quite what that meant, but I laughed, too.
“I think it was the margarita,” he said.
“I don’t,” I said. “This is not your regular heartburn.”
Well, huh. I had heard that alcohol and Covid do not mix well, but just didn’t think about it when I downed my sugar-free concoction. But I still felt that this was something more. It was like some sort of spasm under my breastbone, and it was still there, only a slight bit less than when I arrived at the ER.
Dr. Stephen released me with the instruction to see my regular doctor in a week.
“This will get better,” he said.
I left the cubicle wondering about the possibility.
I called Dave from the waiting room. When I got in the van, he asked if I was any better.
I shook my head.
Dr. Diana remembered that Dr. Ben Smith one time told her the best muscle relaxer in the world is Valium. Of course, no one prescribes it much because it’s so addictive. I was about to go on a hunt.
Mom was given a prescription for the generic by hospice, and there were a couple left over. I found it in the top layer of a box of her clothes on the bedroom floor and swallowed one in a hurry.
In thirty minutes, all pain was gone.
We got well over seven days. Actually, I don’t even remember how Dave was doing. I think he was over it before I was. The virus like me more than him. I wouldn’t wish ill for my sweet man, but I do think life just isn’t fair sometimes. I mean, he had a skinny margarita, too.