Yesterday I had sudden sharp chest pain while I was at work, accompanied by shortness of breath and nausea. I have a history of minor heart troubles, so I mentioned my discomfort to my colleague, who is a nurse (okay, I went bawling to her in a panic), and she whisked me down the street to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.
And she stayed with me. For hours.
She sat knitting calmly and talked me through it and kept me laughing, and even when they took me away for ECGs, x-rays, bloodwork, and monitoring, she stayed in the waiting room knitting until I finally came flapping out in my hospital gown to tell her I'd be a long while and she should go home. There was no point in both of us getting home late. She put up a fight but I prevailed.
My examination was thorough and prompt, though I can't say much for the bedside manner of two of the nurses. One took me down to xray and was walking quite fast, and I was having trouble keeping up. I told her I was walking slowly today, and she said, "That's okay. I'm a fast walker," and kept on going until she was about fifty feet in front of me. Now if you have a potential cardiac patient wobbling after you in her backless gown, wouldn't you stay close to make sure she doesn't topple over in the hallway? After the xray she shooed me back to my room unaccompanied and it took me a while to find the right place (thanks to the janitor who steered me right!). And then they forgot to hook me back up to my monitor and left me abandoned for about 45 minutes. The doctor finally came in and did her assessment and said it was costochondritis (inflammation of the chest wall, thanks to the virus I've been fighting. Not serious, just painful). You can only address it with anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
And then she left and I didn't know if I was supposed to go home or what. I flagged down a nurse and asked if I could take off the little sticky tab thingies from the ECG and get dressed. She said sure and left again. What she didn't hear was that I was really saying, "Please take these sticky tab thingies off of me." So I did it myself, giving myself a pat-down to make sure I got them all without the benefit of a mirror (no doubt I'll find more as the day progresses). Anyway, I got home by 7:30 last night and I'm all right. I'm glad to have this pain diagnosed, I'm warmed by the attentiveness of my colleague, and I now have an excuse to pamper myself a little this weekend.
When one's life flashes before one's eyes, one's thoughts naturally turn to chocolate, so I brought my colleague a little gift bag of Godiva truffles this morning as a thank you for her kindness. She came to me to tell me, "You didn't have to do that." To which I replied, "Neither did you. But I'm glad you did."