Numbers on a screen above my head. Pretty colors, but no time to admire or enjoy. Staying in the hospital bed I’m trying to make sense of what those numbers mean, afraid that one will show something serious. Panic sets in when the monitor starts beeping, but a nurse comes and presses a button. It stops.
First medication for pain doesn’t work and another one is on the way. My left arm and the left side of my face is numb, cannot relax and I start looking around for something to distract me. Everyone is busy, but no one looks like they have anything serious – small relief, but not much to take me out of my state. My attending comes to check up on me, asks me if I’m sure I don’t want to do the head CT the neurologist that saw me minutes before recommended. I decline again and she sees through me. She figures it out and makes the nurse go for a benzodiazepine to get me out of my state. The pain is gone and so is my fear, now I am just tired. I have been here for approximately 4 hours and all I want to do is go home and sleep – it can’t be much longer now.
Before I go another doctor needs to check up on me. A cardiologist. That makes me feel anxious again, what is wrong this time? A nice man in his forties comes followed by 3 residents. He looks at my EKG and tells me that a line is a bit off, might be something serious or not. I tell him I have had EKGs before and we decide I should bring them tomorrow morning so he can look at them. I am free to go.
In the taxi I start thinking about failure and how often we experience it in life. Where have things gone wrong? Is it something I did? Stupid questions that have no real answers, just my mind circling around in a state of horror, trying to solve something that has already been solved. Still, I am not ready to accept my diagnosis, there are other things I need to check out. A little voice in the back of my head tell me there is none, it is all in my head and I need to make peace with it. Can I?
I meet the cardiologist the next day and he says everything is fine, there would have been something to show on those papers, but it isn’t. No heart is perfect and mine is pretty average, which means I’m healthy. He tells me that it wouldn’t hurt to do a stress test and we make plans to have one the next day. I go to work and keep my mind occupied, but my days are unpleasant at best and torture at their worst. I go through with it any way, I have no other choice.
Stress test went fine, nothing to show again. As I leave the hospital I try to make myself think straight. It partially works, but no more than that. Everything is as before, nothing has changed. I keep on walking and trying to find solutions. What if there is none? What if this is it?