Last week while attending a conference in San Diego, I began feeling very sick to my stomach. I began to vomit and within a few hours my heart started racing in my chest. Here I was, thousands of miles from my comfy place and I feel like I’m having a heart attack. Great way to start a post, right?
Being practical and no drama, I entered a cab at the front of the Sheraton and asked them to take me to the Medical Center Emergency Room. The cab driver never even looked at me. I could have died in the back of that yellow cab and I am pretty sure he would have gotten my AMEX out, swiped it, paid himself, and dumped my dead body at the door of the ER. Mission accomplished.
As I entered the room, there were at least 75 people. I texted my husband, “I’m pretty sure I’m gonna die before I’m seen.” I handed the woman the yellow card with my information on it through the smallest slot in the plexiglass (no gun would fit in there) and I looked around for some place to go die. My luck – not a seat in the house. My final moments would be standing, I guess.
In the few moments of waiting (and it really was less than fifteen minutes, so much for being “no drama”), they had me with a triage nurse and ushered to the back. I’m pretty sure the dude in prison shackles next to me wasn’t happy that I got preferential treatment, at the same time I wasn’t sold on trading my heart attack-like symptoms with his blood in urine. Yep, I will keep my cardiac event, sir.
I went to the back where Marco the nurse had me hooked up to an EKG trying to catch my shortness of breath moments. While doing all of this, a red light went off and all the doors in the ER immediately shut close, locking you in while a woman screaming bloody hell on the other side of the wall wailed on and on. I was seriously scared. Is this good for a cardiac event because I don’t think it is? I remembered to take a snap of it, though, at that moment and saying on Snapchat it was pretty scary shit.
About five minutes later, the red light went off, Nurse Marco came back, and it was business as usual in the ER. I just kept thinking, “What the hell just happened?” Nurse Marco said it happens a lot. Talk about stressful working conditions!
After several tries with the EKG, all of which were unsuccessful, he took me back to Bed 7 with Nurse Arielle. She was just as you can imagine, too. Long-flowing California locks, big eyes, pretty smile, down-to-earth attitude, and pretty pink nails. (I gave her a hard time about painting her nails because I know hospitals say don’t do this and she said to me, “Shh…don’t tell them!” She was so nice.)
Then, sauntering in was Dr. Manbeard. (At least, that’s what I called him.) He was a young doctor with a man bun and hipster beard who pulled up a chair and asked me questions I don’t think any doctor has ever asked me before:
“What do you do for a living?”
I told him I worked in social media, I supported the brand marketing of a very large insurance broker, I do a fair amount of professional speaking, and I travel quite a bit. Dr. Manbeard said, “Cool job.” And then he asked me another question I’ve never been asked:
“How much sleep do you get a night?”
I’m thinking, “Hey buddy – – – My heart is freaking out here and you’re playing twenty questions!” I entertained the doc and told him about four hours a night on average, but some nights are less, some nights are more like five. Dr. Manbeard leaned on my bed with one arm like he was tired and then asked me another question:
“How much water do you drink a day?”
Are you kidding me? I dunno. What does this have to do with anything? I told him I drink my fair share (no clue what that meant, but I was hoping to get back to the topic of my heart which was rattling away in my chest). Dr. Manbeard said, “Ok – I’ll be back.”
That dick left me like that. Can you imagine? I sat there for about 30 minutes and Nurse Arielle came back with an IV and started getting to work on hooking me up. I asked her what was the plan? She said, “Let’s get a bag of glucose going and then wait for your tests to come back.” Ugh – always tests. C’mon now.
Well, I fell asleep waiting for those tests. Apparently, this was their plan all along, though. You see, Dr. Manbeard figured out I was dehydrated and while I slept there for a few hours (I had no clue I had nodded off to be truthful) he had Nurse Arielle give me two bags of fluids and I woke up with the need to pee. He then asked me, “When was the last time you peed?” I stopped and thought about it. It had been that morning when I woke up, I think? I shared the information with him and padded down the hall to take a leak.
When I came back, Nurse Arielle and Dr. Manbeard said they were discharging me. My arrhythmia had stopped completely, my eyes were no longer bloodshot, and then they told me something I didn’t even think was real. I was told to go home – I had palpitations resulting from extreme exhaustion and dehydration with a little anxiety as the cherry on top.
(One of the things Dr. Manbeard mentioned to me in the hospital was during my chit-chat about my desire to lose weight was the lack of sleep is a big reason I’m not dropping any weight. Hmm…maybe I should listen to this? More on that later…)
However, I laughed because I thought “exhaustion” was only something the rich and famous suffered from when they needed a vacation from paparazzi. Dr. Manbeard filled me in on my critical need for sleep. At 45-years-old (it sounds awful when young people say that, by the way) I should be shooting for 7-9 hours per night. No exception.
7-9 HOURS A NIGHT????
Are you kidding me? I mean – really? Who sleeps this much? I shared with him I was having horrible insomnia and he said I needed to consider getting a sleep schedule in place and he urgently requested I leave the conference and go home. I was being kicked out of California. (Can you top that?)
Can better sleep change your life?
I returned to Missouri where my husband was there to pick me up at midnight from the airport, escorted me straight to the bedroom, and it wasn’t for fooling around. I was going to sleep! The next three nights a family member has reminded me of my bedtime like a young girl and ushered me straight upstairs to my bed. They make me turn my phone off, and guess what? I go to sleep.
I’m several days into my new sleeping pattern and I can honestly say I feel much more rested! I also do have a logical side of my brain which says if Arianna Huffington left the Huffington Post to run a company fixated on sleep and wellness, ok – there must be something here, too.
Fatigue – another eff word in the books! Sheesh.