Sunday, September 28, 2008

From Flagstaff with Love

When I went to Flagstaff, AZ for my job, I never figured the week would end like it did.

The work stuff seemed to go pretty well. In my free time I even got to see Meteor Crater, which was pretty cool. You can check out my pictures from there.

But on Thursday night after I had gotten back to my hotel from a great walking tour of the downtown of Flagstaff from one of the people I worked with at the homecare agency, I started feeling a bit nauseous. Then I started also getting light-headed, and then started feeling some pressure in my chest. This got worse until I was dizzy and thought I was going to pass out. I also felt like I was going to vomit, though I couldn't. And all the while the pressure in my chest was getting worse, and I started getting hot and cold flashes.

It persisted for quite some time and I was getting pretty freaked out by it. I decided to go to the emergency room at 11pm. Josh kept me company on the phone. The hospital didn't waste any time at all. They immediately gave put me on oxygen, a bunch of monitors, did an EKG, and also a chest x-ray.

They also gave me a cocktail for esophageal issues which was supposed to numb my throat and esophagus. That it did...and magically my chest pains started to subside. Later on when the effects had worn off some, they gave me a little water, and as I lay back down, my chest pressure started to return.

It was at this point that they suspected it was really a bad case of acid-reflux, but needed to completely the tests with a cardiologist on hand. And they did come in until the morning. So, they kept me overnight. I could have refused further care at that point, but doing so without a complete diagnosis is bad if you intend to have your health insurance work.

The hospital did a number of additional tests, bloodwork, a stress test with EKGs, and also a cardio-sonogram. After those things they did not see anything wrong with my bloodwork or other tests concerning my heart. So, the suspicion that it was actually acid-reflux mimicking the symptoms of heart-attack were correct.

It does turn out that my cholesterol is a bit off. My LDL is in the high-normal range, and my HDL is in the very low-normal range. They would like to see that change. I agree and am going to get back into more of my exercise regiment that I had been doing until the past few months. And I'm going to try to avoid a bunch of different foods also for the most part.

Cheese is going away. I am going to try to only eat cheese if it is sliced off a brick of cheese with fruit and wine. So, things like pizza and other dishes smothered in cheese will have to be off limits. This is going to be difficult, as I'm going to the Incredible Pizza Company tomorrow for my daughter's birthday! Also, I'm going to nix most fried foods and fast-food. That will be difficult during trips because it is so accessible in airports and such. But there are salads and grilled chicken. Another thing going away is most soda.

That will help me health and weight wise, but it will also help my acid-reflux...as sugar and grease are my biggest issues (not necessarily acids like tomatoes, but instead sauces with corn-syrups added). I've also been directed to start taking Zantac 150 before all my meals...at least for a time.

So...that is my Thursday and Friday. I had to move my flights a day ahead and fly out on Saturday, which was a pain and expensive. But I needed to stay in the hospital...so there was nothing else I could have done. Live and learn, and hopefully be wiser.