Saturday, September 15, 2007


If I had to list all of the things I didn't think I would be doing this year, dialling 999 (UK version of 911) because Hubby's having chest pains would be right there at the top of the list.

He's only 30 for Pete's Sake! And he was seriously having some problems. He was almost gray and I felt his heartbeat, which was... how do I put this... wonky?

beat... beat... beat.......................................................................... beatbeatbeatbeatbeatbeat

I thought I was imagining things at first. It couldn't be what I thought I felt... could it?

I asked him immediately if he wanted me to call an ambulance, and he said he didn't know. So I just let it go, and carried on trying to get the kids fed and ready for school, all the while keeping one eye firmly planted on him. A few minutes later, he said "I think calling an ambulance might be a good idea."

So I had Caitlin see to the little ones and made the call.

All I could think of was the fact that both of his grandparents and his father all died of heart problems. And both his mother and one of his uncles are living with heart problems. That's 5 people - that we know of - in his family with heart problems. On top of all that, his father wasn't exactly old when he died - only in his early 50's.

So there I was, dealing with 4 kids, a very sick hubby, and keeping a look out for both an ambulance and Syrina's school bus. How the hell I managed to stay calm with all of that going on is beyond me, but somehow I did it. Hell, I even managed to get the kids to school at their normal time, and we didn't forget anything.

I spent a very restless morning in the house. I alternated from I'm too stressed, I can't concentrate on doing anything to I can't sit still, I've got to clean something. By 11:30, I hadn't heard anything and I couldn't stand it anymore. So I called the hospital. They put some woman on the phone who couldn't even speak English properly (doctor???), and I managed to make out that he was stable, and they were waiting until 7:30 p.m. to do another blood test.

I decided to run into town as fast as I could and do the grocery shopping. If I didn't do it then, then it would have to wait until Monday, and besides, it would give me something to do. I just wished HE would call me. It's one thing to hear from some stranger that he's doing okay, but it's a whole different matter entirely to hear it in his own voice.

Almost as soon as I got into town, I ran into my neighbor/friend and her daughter. I told them what was happening, and I said to them that I just wished HE would call me. From there I went to Ethel Austin because I was hoping they'd have a smallish backpack that Lexi could use for school (I'd looked at a few other shops, but all the ones I found were way too big for her). Almost immediately after entering the shop, my phone rang. Thank the Lord above, it was him.

Once I heard from him, I could function almost like a normal person. I was still worried about him, especially since the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong yet. But hearing from him that he was okay... it was almost like it gave me permission to go about the rest of my day as usual. Daft, I know. But that's what it felt like.

At 8:30, I called him to find out if he was coming home or not. He had said that he thought they might let him go after doing that other blood test, but he wasn't sure. The kids kept asking if he was coming home or not, so I called him to put their minds at rest as well as my own. Unfortunately, he did have to stay the night.

I can't speak for him, but my god, that was hard for me. For one thing, it was the first time in this new house that we'd been apart. For another, I was worried about him. What if he woke up in the middle of the night with more chest pains? What if they were worse? I knew that if something like that did happen, he'd be in the best place for it. But if something like that happened, I wouldn't know about it. And he's my husband, for Pete's Sake!!! These are things I SHOULD know. Ya know?

Sleep wasn't easy, but it did come to me eventually. After spending at least a half an hour going up and down the stairs to investigate sounds that apparently weren't really there. I kept thinking I saw something out of the corner of my eye as well, before I even went to bed. I realized that I was nervous and paranoid, but I couldn't just ignore what I thought I heard. What if it was a real sound, somebody breaking in or something, and I just ignored it? I couldn't take the risk.

Finally around 12:30 p.m. or so, he called me and said not only did they figure out what was wrong with him, but he would be home within the hour.

The diagnosis? Pericarditis. The Pericardium is the lining around the heart. Between the pericardium and the heart there is fluid - basically a cushion for the heart. He has a viral infection in that fluid and/or the lining itself. Having worked (somewhat) in the medical field, as soon as he said "pericarditis," I knew exactly what he was talking about. I wasn't sure exactly how serious it was (I assumed it would have been a bacterial infection, not a viral one), but I knew what it was.

But since it's a viral infection, there's really nothing he can do for it besides rest and let his body fight the virus. But he was warned not to do anything too strenuous, because the infection could possibly lead to a heart attack if he's not careful.

So he'll be out of commission work-wise for at least the next 3 weeks, but I don't care. As long as I know he's going to be okay eventually, I'll deal with having him under my feet all the time.

It's a very small price to pay.

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