Nan’s Heart Scare Last Week

Wow.  What a frightening few days!

I kept waking up on Wednesday night with a stiff neck.  This surprised me, as since sleeping on a buckwheat pillow, I haven’t had any neck problems.


When I got out of bed Thursday morning, I was having shoulder blade shooting pains, as well as the pain shooting up my neck.  Within minutes, I was having difficulty breathing, unable to take a deep breath.

As we were heading into Slidell anyway,  we swung by our Dr. C.’s office.  My gal was able to get me in at 1pm.  I told her that I was certain that it was pleurisy, but couldn’t explain the shoulder blades and neck pain.

Dear Dr. C. ordered a chest x-ray.   It came back clean.

Then he did an EKG.  Read the results and told me that he was checking me into the hospital, as “results were abnormal”.

When we arrived at the hospital, they were expecting me.  Zipped us right up to my room.  Before I even had a chance to put on a robe, they were checking vitals, drawing blood, etc.

They wheeled me down for another Chest x-ray.  (normal)

Then did another EKG.  (normal)

Met the cardiologist who said that he was going to give me a Nuclear Stress Test on Friday morning.  Ate dinner, fell asleep, and was awakened at 11:30 pm to say that the doc wanted an immediate CT Scan on my lungs….was worried that a blood clot was causing the pain.

By this point, I’m getting overwhelmed.

Woke me up at 3am to tell me that my lungs were fine.


Wheeled me down to Nuclear Medicine for the first step on the Stress Test.  They inserted Isotopes in my IV which basically makes your heart radioactive.

Shoved me into a tube for 12 minutes to take photos.

Wheeled me up to Cardiology for step two.  They injected “Staci-Scan” (??) into my IV which raised my heart rate and blood pressure as if I was on a tread mill.

Wheeled me back down to Nuclear Medicine for step three, where they shoved me back in the tube to take more pics.

At noon, the cardiologist said that he didn’t see anything wrong, but had to wait for them to develop the photos and show to a radiologist.  He was pretty confident that it was indeed, pleurisy that didn’t show up on the xray.

Said that Rheumatoid Arthritis (have been diagnosed), Fibro-myalgia (also been diagnosed) or Lupus  (one Rheumatologist thought that I might be a “carrier”) could have caused this.

Great.  3 auto-immune diseases in which I have been diagnosed.

Around 3 pm, they came in my room for a heart ultrasound.

At 6 pm, they announced that the stress test showed a 70% blockage in one of my veins.

Cardiologist who had no bed side manner whatsoever talked me through the next procedure.  Saturday morning they’d to an ANGIOGRAM.  (insert a tube through my groin up to my heart, shoot red dye in it, then snake a camera up to have a look around)

He said that this was the only way to confirm heart disease.

Then went on to tell me that if he found something wrong, he’d then put a stent in.  I risked stroke, heart attack and open heart surgery if something went wrong.  He’d have an emergency surgeon standing by.

I basically cried myself to sleep.


They wheeled my bed down to cardiology.  I was the only patient there.  They said that they only do these on Saturdays in case of an emergency.  Oh great.  More tears

They hooked me up to a huge contraption, put Antihistamine in my IV in case of allergies to the dye they’d be injecting into my groin, then proceeded to give me a drug that KNOCKED ME OUT!  (when I asked later what kind of drug it was, they said that it was very similar to what Michael Jackson overdosed on.  I can understand the addictive implications of it)

When I finally opened my eyes, my cardiologist gave me a warm smile (a first) and said, “I wish that my veins looked like yours, Nanette.  Your heart and lungs are in GREAT SHAPE.  The Stress Test was a “false positive”.

Sent me back to my room for 6 hours…. flat on my back.  Then sprung me at 5:45.

*As frustrating and frightening as this all was,  I was glad that I went through it, as my tears had dried, I have great insurance, and a horrid family history.

I have now given up my “beach cigarettes” and weekly few cigarettes with friends Dennis and Cheryl after Mass on Wednesdays.  E-Cigs ONLY in the future!

Heading to Dr. C. on Friday for a follow up, then Mr. Charming at the hospital next Friday.  (One thing I’ll say is that Dr. A. is as thorough as my Dr. C.)