Reluctance to go to the hospital


Things have changed quite a bit over the past several months. I have written about my almost nightly episodes. It has reached the point where on 5 separate occasions I have actually fainted/passed out with them. Now I have never actually fainted or passed out before. I am not sure if the epileptic seizures count. But they were different in that I would just be doing what ever and the next thing I knew I was down on the ground with no warning or idea how I got there.
These are different. It hits me like a sudden wave. It feels like my head is swimming and that my body has lost all strength and down I go. First 2 I hit the floor pretty hard. Human’s are so adaptable. I realized, when that wave hits in a matter of maybe 2 or 3 seconds I am going down. Once I am down my head is just swimming, I can’t focus and am not sure how clearly I am thinking. I have zero strength, can’t do anything. Thankfully this is short term maybe a minute, my head clears and the body returns to normal. Within 3 or 4 minutes, I am fine.
My point with this is I learned that I have that initial 2 or 3 seconds of warning time as the thinking ability fades away. I have learned to quickly drop to my hands and knees or at least grab on to something to help break the fall. Now I am sure this is blood pressure related as, as soon as I am able, I check my blood pressure and it will be something like 70/48 with my heart just racing. I have also learned that at that point, just lay down for 10 minutes or so and everything returns to normal.
Now seeing this obviously causes Vi great concern and she is in a panic to get me to the hospital. She gets quite annoyed when I refuse to go. Now, I do have my reasons.
Firstly, I know these episodes are short. By the time we could physically get to the hospital everything will have settled back to normal. What could they do but monitor me for 3 or 4 hours and send me home. I would be tying up an uncomfortable hospital bed needleessly. Would definitely be more comfortable at home.
Now my awareness of/fear of taking up a bed needlessly is based on a couple of experiences. Several years back, I went to the hospital with all the classic heart attack symptoms chest pain, breathing issues, sweating, left arm the whole thing. At the ER you have to present to triage where you are assessed. When I present I am always immediately rushed into the back. As I arrive I see the triage nurse is just finishing with a patient. I take the closest chair as I am going to jump the line and present next. Now I don’t even know where he came from but suddenly some guy jumped in front of me. Now my first reaction was to get upset, thinking of potentially how serious my condition was. My first inclination was to rush up and demand to be seen first as I as there first, never mind all the others in line that I was jumping in front of. I grudgingly sat back down thinking, this better be quick and quick it was. In almost no time they had him wheeled back into the ER with even the triage nurse going with him. I took the spot at the triage desk and within a minute a different nurse appeared. I was quickly assessed and also wheeled in the back. Being wheeled down the hall it was obvious there was a lot of activity in one room. Passing the room I looked in and could see it was the gentleman that had cut in front of me. I was put in the next room. I wasn’t even on to my bed when a code blue was called. People came running from everywhere all going into that next room. There was a lot of activity for 20-30 minutes then everything stopped. Approx. 30 minutes later a stretcher went by carrying what appeared to be a sheet covered coffin. I shutter when I think of the guilt I would be carrying today if I had as my first inclination been to pesh my way forward demanding to be seem first. If I had and later learned he had died. How would I deal with that.
Second point that follows/haunts me at the thought of taking up a bed needlessly. There is actually a medical inquiry going on here in Winnipeg. There is a lot to this story but a lady named Heather Brennan was obviously prematurely discharged from hospital. She was sent home in a cab and collapsed in her doorway as she entered her home. Ambulance was called taking her back to the hospital where she passed away the next day. Formal inquiry is ongoing but it seems a lack of beds likely at least contributed to this.. Things strike closer to home when someone you know is involved. Heather was a friend and neighbour, living but two doors down the street from us. I was at home actually saw the ambulance take here.
Wow, a real ramble here today. Tired myself out.

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4 Responses to Reluctance to go to the hospital

  1. Linda Cameron says:

    Hi Bill, I have followed your blog for many years all the way from Australia. I have always found it inspirational and it reminds me how precious life is and how we should always keep things in perspective. I’m sorry to hear about your horrid episodes but glad you still find time and energy to keep blogging.

    • Mel says:

      Pretty sure when Bill sees that, Linda, you’ll make his day! Thanks for deciding to share that with Bill–and with all of us. Heck…LOL…You made my day, too!
      *hugs*

  2. Mel says:

    Wow, Bill…..there’s quite the story. Saddens me about your neighbor, and no doubt it brings everything close to home when you put it together like that. (Here comes my “but”!! LOL) BUT I’m sure Vi would feel better about that decision if a physician put their seal of approval on it. I can only share with you the relief my spouse had when I just picked up the phone and ran my symptoms past the doc’s nurse….who in turn consulted the doc and called me back with a green light and the qualifiers for when I needed to get in the car and GO. MIGHT be nice to give that gift to your loving wife, as I’m sure you would want her to do were the shoe on the other foot/were it her body you found on the floor. JUST sayin’…..

    We are adaptable creatures. I’m glad you get those few seconds to prepare for a better/safer landing. Has to be a bit frightening to have this happening, on top of the racing heart episodes….more than a bit frightening. Like Vi, I want you safe and not having these episodes. Safe if there’s no solution but to ride them out to the other side.

    And these “ramblings”? Priceless… They speak to the you you’ve aspired to be. Loving. Selfless. Unobtrusive. Adaptable. Even in scary moments.
    I hope to achieve those attributes someday.
    I’ll keep at it. LOL. They tell me practice makes perfect! 😉

  3. hilarymb says:

    Hi Bill – my thoughts with you both and the family – bed space is precious, but sadly so many don’t think like that … and we never know what is going to happen. I am glad that you have that brief second or two to be nearer the ground, so your fall won’t further damage you … Mel seems to make sense here …

    Take care and enjoy what you both can do together … Hilary

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