Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Emergency Comes To My Bathroom

During the Vietnam war a soldier treated by a paramedic within the first hour of trauma had a 98% chance of survival.  Some studies found that this survival rate was better than the rate present for auto accidents on American highways.  In the 60's a public program was launched to try to improve the rates of survival from cardiac issues and has since expanded to just about every possible health emergency.

In a television show called, "Emergency", two young paramedic/firefighters, Gage and Desoto, gave us a look at some of the events that the LA County Fire Department was involved in.  Over the years Seattle has been especially proud of their Medic One team since it is widely considered the first of its kind in the country.  Thank your lucky stars that they expanded it to the rest of the country.

Yesterday I had my first need for some help and they where there.  I work in the city of Bellevue with a fire station less than a mile away.  Their response was quick and they took charge and evaluated me and advised that I be transported to the critical care facility of my health provider.

I went to work like normal and didn't feel bad in any way, shape or form.  As I have said before we are moving the parts department so I have been putting in some long hours (probably too many, looking back) and yesterday was no exception.  I arrived at 3:00 o'clock a.m. knowing it was going to be a long day.  I had stock orders arriving that were huge and we are working out of boxes.  Finding gaskets in a 45" X 48", three foot deep plastic gaylord isn't exactly easy.

Looking for this gasket,
In this container,

Is like searching for a needle in a haystack.  Add to that, nothing is where the computer system says it is and an extremely busy week before Thanksgiving and to say the frustration level is high would be an understatement.  Add to that an employee who calls in sick, one who comes to work but goes home sick and a manager (me) who takes it upon himself to try to take up all the slack by not taking a lunch break.  In fact, not eating anything.

We were concerned about the possibility of running out of oil filters and I thought I had seen some in one of the Pods we are storing parts in until we can find permanent homes for them.  it was pouring down rain so I went into the bathroom to get my coat.  As I grabbed my coat from the hanger I suddenly felt light headed and disoriented and apparently fainted.  A co-worker saw me fall as the door was closing and called for help.  Some of my co-workers got me up to a chair after a few minutes, but I didn't feel right.  Rather than take a chance I let them call 911.  So Emergency visited my bathroom.   I was inspected, tested and it was determined that a combination of stress, low blood sugar, long hours had finally caught up with me.  It was suggest that I be transported to critical care.  One of my co-workers took me in and my wife picked me up about 4 hours later.

In the critical care unit I was monitored and tested further.  They did a chest x-ray, EKG, blood and urine work.  I was put on and IV and monitored over the course of my stay.  Once the results were in the doctor concluded the earlier diagnosis by the paramedics was correct however she wanted me to spend the night in the observation room just in case.  I chose not to do that and signed out against medical advice and came home tired, beaten and embarrassed.  I am wearing a 24 hour monitor that is watching my heart for irregularities and I have to follow up with my physician.

This morning I am feeling weak and tired but for some reason I can't sleep.  I can't go to work because I can't drive and my car is still at work.  There is so much to do but the doctor pretty much summed it up during my consultation last night when she said, "You do realize that if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be around to do what needs to be done."  I have always thought I could just keep going and going.  I always have kept going.  Apparently when we get older the doctors feel the need to announce the fact by saying, "Your not as young as you once were".  She put that line in right after the one above.  It has me thinking.

I decided to sign a waiver that I was leaving their care against medical advice and come home.  I understand the doctors position with the waiver and I didn't take it personally that she had me sign it.  She is covering her backside in case something should happen.  And I don't think she took it personally that I chose to leave rather than follower her advice.

Overall, everyone involved it this whole event was caring and willing to do what it took to get my situation resolved.  Since all to the tests came back good, I suspect the monitor will show nothing abnormal.  At least I hope so.  I am taking the next two days off to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family and move on from a place I never expected to be.


  1. Glad it was nothing worse and I hope you are back to 100 percent very soon!

  2. Signing out against medical advice? Well, not the greatest idea but I sure hope you are feeling better in a day or two..take it easy! And I do agree with the aren't as young as you use to be, you need take care of yourself. We all do, if we want to be around for those 'golden years'!

  3. What a scare! Sounds like a wake-up call to me. Isn't it annoying that we can't do everything we could when we were younger? :) I hope your heart monitor shows nothing serious and that you feel better soon, Ken.

  4. Glad you're okay. Maybe your body is telling you not to work so hard. Happy Thanksgiving.