At 5:30 on this Friday morning, I give up. I have spent the night with the nicest people, but they just won’t leave me alone, deciding at all hours to continue coming into my room to talk and indulge in other activities. Oh, they’re nice about it–no problem there–and when they awake me, it’s with a gentle voice. “Shirley, Shirley, are you awake?”
Around 10:00 pm, one of them shot my belly with a sharp needle. At 11:30, they did an EKG. Waiting until the EKG people were finished was a sweet girl from the lab, who sucked out more of my blood, followed by a young man pulling a machine that snapped up a recording of my blood pressure. He stuck a thermometer in my mouth, quickly removed it and said, as though quite pleased with himself, “Ninety-seven point eight.”
I was sleepy, so I settled into my bed and had drifted into a sweet sleep when I heard the pleasant voice of my nurse, Mandy…”Shirley.”
“I have pills for you.” I sat straight up in bed, smiled and said okay. The clock on the wall before me said 12:30. Mandy brought three pills, explained what they were, then handed me a white styrofoam cup. “Potassium. Your potassium is slightly low.” She smiled as she handed me the cup. “Afraid it doesn’t taste too good. I’ve mixed it with apple juice.”
She was dead-right about the taste, but as she stood by my bed and watched, I drank down the concoction and handed her the empty cup. “I’ll be back with another dose in two hours.” Sweetly she said the words, and she smiled as she took the cup.
I couldn’t help myself. I looked again at the clock and did a quick calculation. 2:30. 2:30 am. It would be 2:30 on a Friday morning when I again would have the privilege to drink down potassium laced apple juice. She smiled, did sweet Mandy. “Anything else I can do for you?” No, I said, smiling back. I’m fine.
Sound asleep I was, when Mandy’s kind voice said, “Shirley, I have your potassium.” Sure enough at 2:30 this morning, into my already nauseated little tummy from a white styrofoam cup, I ingested a potassium/applejuice cocktail. I could hardly get it down, but Mandy was standing sweetly by, so how could I refuse her. (They’re smart here–that standing by business–for truth be told, had I been left on my own, I just might have shared that fine cocktail with the white porcelain sink that sits in a corner near my bed.)
At 4:30, I was visited by the NA with the thermometer and the blood pressure machine. “Any pain?” he asked. I muttered in the negative. He sounded out the temp: “Ninety-eight point 1.”
Into my guest room at 5:20 came the sweet young lady, who I had learned last night is from Memphis, Tenn., and who now operates one of the EKG machines here in Lake Havasu. A kind smile accompanied her soft brown face as she turned up the room lights and nicely inquired; “Did you sleep well?”
“Uh, yes, I slept well.” I paused for effect, then added. “In between visitors.” She smiled and went about the business of decorating me with sticky patches to which she fastened a bunch of different colored wires.
5:30 “I’m here from the lab. Doctor wants me to draw some blood.”
“Okay. What’s it for?”
“Heart enzymes,” she said as she dinked around with my left arm. “Little stick here.”
….so I give up. It’s now daylight. The night is far spent.
Now, don’t anybody worry about me. I had this lingering peculiar sensation in my chest yesterday, along with some nausea, and after calling my doctor’s office in California for an appointment, the nurse said go to the nearest emergency room. So they popped me in here for a 24 hour observation. Everything seems fine, a heart attack has been ruled out, the cardiologist told me last evening, he doesn’t think it is my heart at all, but I’m having a stress test this morning, then I’ll probably be released. I’m fine, but I do appreciate your prayers.