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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

It was NOT a heart attack!

Good morning, Netizens...


Good morning, Netizens...


Well, between Jeanie and I, we have been collectively wracking up our frequent flier miles with the health care system during the last six months, and to be honest about it, I am certain neither of us are having much fun, as the confusion simply mounts up each time we attempt to interact with the health care system. My experience(s) last Thursday night, largely a case of mistaken identification, caused me to spend time overnight with Holy Fumbling's Emergency Room and an overnight stay, and while it was, at times frustrating, at least diagnostically-functional.


My experiences all began with chest pain, something I should be sensitive to after having had three heart attacks, albeit nearly ten years ago. Conditioned as I am from those experiences, my wife and I went forthwith to the ER and reported my chest pain which, in the parlance of the medical community was “a high six on a scale of one to ten”, in short, it hurt badly, but I've had a lot worse in the past.


Fast forward to the cat scan, which to me was almost as bad as the pains themselves. When they designed the cat scan machine, it positions the patient to where one is looking directly into the overhead light fixture. Since I do tend to suffer from claustrophobia, the combination of the light and the tight quarters of the cat scan machine made me nauseous. After over 24 hours of chemical and other diagnostic testing, it was judged that my heart was fine, with no enzymes or other signs of cardiac difficulty other than my usual heart murmur, I think I finally got to the bottom of my chest pain issue.


According to the cat scan, I have gallstones, which they could see in the cat scan. After consulting with various online sources, I have found gallstones can hurt nearly as badly as a heart attack. Well, here I am 48 hours later, much wiser for being admitted to the hospital, and once more being functional at 100% for an aging fatbody of 67 years of age. Since gall bladder issues tend to be hereditary, and since my son had his gall bladder removed after having experienced pains, I guess I have to take that into consideration in the future.


Given the fact that the entire time I was in the ER I couldn't help but hear a constant round of coughing, wheezing and general discomfort from patients waiting for treatment for the flu, when the nurse offered me a flu shot and pneumonia shot, I didn't give them any grief. I had already been exposed to one or both simply being in the Emergency Room and thus was probably a safe bet.


My God, my body is failing me, but my brain continues to function. Now all we have to do is wait for the billing procedure to see how well my health insurance works now under Medicare. That might be mind-boggling in and of itself.



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.