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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Part 2: E.R. Trip #1 - Nitro, EKGs and "Protocols" + Vegan Medical Staff!

My "Reboot" and Health Scare
Part 2 -  Continued from part 1 here.

Wow, I got a real surge in hits on my blog on the last post.  Probably from the provocative 'lose 3 pounds in 2 days' phrase.  It just shows how much the idea of losing weight is at the forefront in our well it should be.  It'll be back in the forefront of mine too, when I am back at 100%.

I've been jotting down a list of 'practical' lessons I've learned over the past week, in addition to the 'bigger picture' lessons.  You know, the type of thing where your mom told you to always have on clean underwear in case you ever get in a car accident?  Well....I gotta say....that's some good solid advice there.

For trip #1 to the E.R.  I found that I was very glad that I had:
  *washed my hair the night before (you know how sometimes you just don't feel like it?  I believe I'll be doing this anyway in the future.)
  *shaved the night before (see above parenthetical comment).
  *didn't have on my grottiest t-shirt that I've had for 15 years with stains all over it (thought I'd wear that for trip #2) .

And then this one that I'm still working on.  I had fairly recently come back from an over-night camping trip with a dear friend and had a travel satchel of sorts that I take on day-trips/equine seminars, etc.  It's got various and sundry things in it, dental floss, kleenex, extra chapstick, pens, notepad, bandana, some hand-sanitizer, a few dollars....this type of thing.  As I grabbed my shoes to drive myself to the fire station, I spied that bag and realized I hadn't completely cleaned it out since my return (note to self:  procrastination is NOT ALWAYS a BAD thing!).  I grabbed my current reading book and my mp3 player on the counter and shoved them in the bag as I headed out the door.

 My Keen bag.  Made from recycled materials.  Keen is a pretty cool company...some of their footwear is vegan-friendly--- I have two pairs of Keen shoes I really like.  You can find out more about them here: and find their products on sale periodically here:  I absolutely LOVE this bag.

Turns out there was also a clean pair of undies in there and some work-out/lounge shorts which would come in SOOOO handy later.

I'm now thinking that it might not be a bad idea to have such an over-nite bag laying in the bottom of one's closet.  It may seem a bit fatalistic to have such a thing "in case", but I thought later, what if even a family member was ill or you needed to rush off to someone else's emergency.  I have been through that before as well.  I'll be thinking more about what I might want to add to such a bag.

It would have been great to have a baggie of frozen oatmeal bars or something that I could have grabbed to stick in there although I'm not sure I would have thought to grab it.

To my 'practical list' I am also adding these two things:  keep gas in the car, at least half a tank (mine was ok this time, but I tend to run it low and was grateful I did NOT have that worry on top of everything else), and keep a charge on the cell-phone.  I was down to about nothing on mine.  Not good.


So I find myself wheeled into the E.R. and am quickly met by nurses and admittance staff.  I had been there before about a year ago almost to the day (eerie....) due to a horse-back-riding accident, so my records were fairly current. 

The nurse I had, Kelly, ended up being just wonderful---(I would miss her dearly for trip #2).  As in most things that are subject to the wide range of humanity, I suppose it is natural to allow for differences in treatment....but my husband and I were both surprised at how much variance there is in health care, even in the scope of just a couple of days, to the same facility.

Because I had chest pains, and even though my risk factors were very low (a fact that was brought up many times- i.e. 'normal' weight ---even though I believe I am still a bit heavy--about 10 lbs. and let me tell you after all this, that weight WILL be coming off!----, very little family history of cardiac issues, low total cholesterol, vegan diet, active lifestyle, non-smoker, non-drinker, no drug use, etc.), the E.R. had a 'protocol' to run me through, so we proceeded through the maize of cardiac tests, starting with some blood work to monitor cardiac enzymes.

Since my EKGs had all been normal starting with those printed out in the squad to the constant digital reading in the E.R., (I was now on multiple monitors), the next thing was to check for enzymes and proteins like troponin which can indicate damage to heart muscle.  We had some understanding of this process due to my husband's heart attack several years ago, as this was the only way we knew he had suffered a cardiac event.  He did have chest pain, but later told me it was nowhere near the level of my pain. It was only the elevation of enzymes that confirmed his diagnosis, and he went on to receive a stent, did have significant blockage, etc.

These blood tests are taken every 3 hours as often the damage may not show up til later.

The E.R. doc also ordered chest x-rays and there is a pretty cool side story here....the x-ray tech that came to get me was vegan!  For 16 years!  It was great having a kindred spirit there and her story was an interesting one.  Her motives for going vegan started at about the age of 10 when some family members had hunted and killed a deer.  She recalled vividly the deer carcass hanging up at their property to bleed out and how negatively that had impacted her.  She had begun to think about not eating meat at that point and then several weeks later, she was having dinner with her family--- burgers--- and one of her uncles asked how she liked the burger.  She said 'fine' and he told her that it was the deer that had been hanging up.  That was it for her....the last of any animal food products.

I truly enjoyed having that connection with her and thought it does say something about how many of us really may be 'out there'.

Chest x-rays were fine, continued blood work was fine; I was still having some esophageal pain, but it had settled down and no longer felt like a rod being rammed from my sternum clear through to my back.  Still, the E.R. doc opted to admit me to the hospital and said that the cardiologist would likely want to run a stress-test on me in the morning, they could monitor me all night, that sort of thing.  I didn't want to hear this, of course, but with no definitive diagnosis, acquiesed to the medical authorities.

The very sweet nurses and techs that had been caring for me wished me well and I was wheeled over to the cardiac ward.....that's when the fun really began.

To be continued:   Over-night in the Cardiac Wing....not for the faint of heart.

The Healing Salad  (sorry no pictures).

This is just a salad, like any salad any one can make, but I am calling it the Healing Salad.  Why?  Because I am looking at ALL my food as healing nutrients at this point in time.  If figure if modern medicine can pump chemicals into me and tell me that's going to heal me, then I may as well start calling food what it truly is....the basic building blocks for us to heal our bodies with.

I started with some lettuce fresh-picked from my garden.  Such perfect timing.  I had baby red fire and butterhead, also some kale that I am still harvesting, plus some organic romaine hearts from the store.  I added red peppers, cucumbers, some mushrooms (even though I don't like them), garbanzo beans,  blueberries, some raspberries (seriously CRAVING berries right now) and topped it all with some tofu-based ranch dressing (L. Nixon's Ranch Dip from Everyday Happy Herbivore ).  On top I sprinkled some ground flax seed.

I normally don't put fruit in these types of salad, preferring to separate my sweet from my savory for the most part, but I'm trying to 'blur the lines' a bit in my diet, as well as expand the variety of foods I am eating and will be adding savory to my morning oatmeal as well.

Sue, definitely healing, in Ohio


  1. Yea, I really FELT like I was hanging off a cliff a few times....hesitated to put this out piece-meal like this, but wanted to get going on it.