My heart

I was feeling jet-lagged and a little off all of last week.  It's amazing what the long trip does to your body! (well, my body anyway).  On Thursday I debated going to bootcamp because I was still sore from my bootcamp on Tuesday and I had the half marathon to run on Saturday.   I went ahead anyway.  45 minutes into class, we were doing ice skaters and all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my chest.   I told Tricia that I thought I had heart burn or something similiar and she advised me to get a sip of water.  I looked at my water bottle and thought there was no way I could bend over.  The pain was paralyzing.  She handed me my water and the pain partially subsided. I walked outside and for the next ten minutes I felt chest pains on and off.  The pains were sharp and strong.  I felt like my clothes were too tight and I was I was feeling emotional.  I kept telling myself, "I am fine.  This is nothing.  I will be ok."   The pain radiated into the back of my shoulder and down into my arm.  Tricia came to check on me and when I told her what was going on, she calmly said she wanted to take me to the embassy nurse to get me checked out.  She went and got my things and we walked to the car.  On the way there, I had one more sharp, tight pain .  The only thing I can compare this pain to is contractions from child birth.   It was full on.  The car ride there was surreal.   We talked about politics, but I couldn't really focus.  Everything felt unreal.  I walked into the embassy and told the nurses what happened.  They were amazing.  They took my vitals right away and everything looked good - thank goodness.  They got a driver to take me and one of the nurses to the hospital just to check me out.  I called Warren on the way.  He was surprised to say the least.   I know he was worried too.   I got to the hospital and they immediately took my blood and did an ECG.  They asked me to stay for observation for at least 4 hours.  My  heart rate was low so they were worried about that, but there was lots of discussion back and forth about how fit I am so it would be ok for me to have a low heart rate.   The rest of my vitals were ok.  The embassy nurse stayed with me the whole time, as did Warren and Tricia.   My ECG looked good, but then one doctor thought there was some variance in it....but the other said it could be normal variance.  My blood results came back a few hours later and all was good!  They said I definitely didn't have a heart attack since I didn't have elevated levels of heart enzymes (or something like that).   They wanted to get more blood just to be sure, so I stayed at the hospital even longer.   My final blood results looked good and the third ECG looked the same.   I was allowed to leave the hospital around 8pm.  From there, Warren and I went to go meet Liz who was with one of her cardiologist colleagues from New Zealand.  He graciously interrupted his dinner to look at my ECG and to check in with me.  From all the results, he was not concerned but said I needed a follow up appointment with a cardiologist.  We went to pick up the kids from Wendy's.  She fed us dinner and all the while, I felt like I was in a dream.

The next morning, I went to school for assembly and still felt like I was sleep walking.  I started thinking through what would happen if I was gone.  Where should Warren go with the girls?   How would the girls do without me?  I cannot imagine it.  I don't want to think about it.  I went to get a massage and almost started bawling on the table.  I pulled it together, came home, and started chatting more with the embassy doctor, my doctor friend here, and the embassy nurses.  It was left at the hospital that the cardiologist would e-mail me within a week or two.  I wasn't comfortable with that.   I was scared just to walk up the stairs.  I wanted answers.  I live in a country where if I collapse it could take 30 minutes for an ambulance to come.  I need to be here and alive and I don't want anything to happen to me.  Anyway, I just spoke to the embassy and they agreed it would be a good idea to get some of my tests pushed up.

Yesterday I got an ultrasound of my legs and another blood test to rule out any blood clots from flying.  Everything was good.  Phew!   Now, I am just waiting to get in with a cardiologist and get more tests done to see what actually happened.  I feel like I may never know which is pretty unsettling, but I guess better than heart blockage.  Maybe it was a nerve thing.

I am SOOOOOO grateful for my friends here and Warren too.   Wendy watched my kids and has listened to me non-stop.  Tricia took me to the nurses and stayed all day with me at the hospital.  She has been checking on me a lot.  She has had the perfect level of concern while not freaking me out.  Liz referred me to her friend even though she was in the busiest work week of her life.   Lisa has offered me her medical expertise and has been a huge source of support and Warren has helped me to remember I am fine, and I will be ok!  While he absolutely DID NOT want me to run the half marathon (I am so so so bummed I missed this), he understood why it killed me not to do this once a year race.       I feel grateful to be surrounded in such love.  

I am ready to exercise again.  I am ready to not worry anymore.  I am ready to know what happened!  I am too young for this!!!!!   Hopefully I will look back at all of this as no big deal.   Until then, wish me well friends.   I appreciate it.