… is what the Doctor told me.
At that moment, I don’t think I had the “correct” reaction. I’m not an argumentative person, but clearly, these health professionals were wrong. I grew up watching Redd Foxx have “The Big One” en route to joining Elizabeth, so I knew what a heart attack looks like. I actually laughed out.
She didn’t flinch, and stood her ground. “We’ve already got an ambulance dispatched. This is not a joke; if we do not handle this with seriousness, you could die.”
The saga started the night before. I felt, well, weird. Hard to explain; I just couldn’t sleep. Babetta asked me to check my blood pressure using the home cuff she recently purchased. The numbers were scarily high.
“You need to go to the hospital,” she counseled. I scoffed at this. I was not going to pay for that. Costs for emergency room — after insurance — would kill me anyway, I argued. She was not happy. “We need to go now.”
I should point out that I’m not an argumentative person, but she wouldn’t drop it. It’s not like I don’t value my well-being, but to go to the emergency room at 2 AM meant waking up the kids. And did I mention emergency room fees? Finally, I gave in told her if the numbers were still high in the morning, we’d go to a Walk-in Clinic after the kids got to school.
Later that morning, they were high. Higher.
So we headed to the clinic. I mentally patted my back for avoiding the needless medical fees of the emergency room. They checked me in, took a blood pressure reading, and then it was ON. The look in the NP’s eye first indicated to me that something was seriously wrong. Before I could say “jump” I was manhandled, stripped topless and subjected to icy cold EKG pads.
And then it was really on. That’s when the doctor walked in and gave me some scary, scary news.
It did not sink in immediately. It did not register for a few seconds. I explained that I knew what heart attacks looked like. I had watched a few episodes of ER, House, and I had even mimicked Fred Sanford as a kid. I was not having a heart attack!
An ambulance? Seriously? I can see the emergency room from here?
I have a soccer practice to run later!
It didn’t register till I heard my wife quietly crying beside me. My wife doesn’t cry. The psychopath gave birth to three kids without medication. Seeing her tears brought the situation home. Then EMTs burst in with the grim faces and the blighted gurney.
Was I dying?
So here I was, working hard to avoid the emergency room, and I ended up being transported 200-some yards to the emergency room across the street. By ambulance, no less. While I lay in the ambulance and allowed the nitro pill to marinate into a good headache, I couldn’t help but grouse about this type of nonsense only happening to me. Whatever.
I thought of crazy things. I rued not teaching m kids to eat Urhobo starch. Not getting to take my wife to Spain. Not building my parents a house. Not listening to my buddy Chris warn me about taking stuff wasy. Not getting six-pack I knew was in there somewhere. Not “polishing” the devotional I had been writing. Not getting to see MIB 3. And, for a shamefully moment, not being all I can be for God.
Not making enough of a difference.
I didn’t die. That might be a bit of melodramatic, but I do believe it is important to emphasize. I got through that day. The following fortnight was full of stress tests, radioactive substances and echocardiograms. I did wake up, though. The initial experience, a mere few weeks ago, changed me. Fear is a good motivator. And, while I don’t like to argue — really… I don’t — , I do believe there is quite a lot of things I still need to argue for and against. Too many people that need a voice, and just a little bit of hope.
It was hard writing this. I oscillated between fear and denial. Writing this sort of makes the experience real. But it’s almost okay now.