Saturday, January 31, 2015


It's been a difficult couple of days.  On Thursday evening, while I was in Houston for work (5 hours away from home) Doug went to the emergency room with chest pains and shortness of breath. He called from the hospital and said that they were running tests.  My friend Mindy, that I was in Houston with, and I discussed what to do.  We decided to wait to see what the results showed. A couple of hours later the numbers that look at to see if you are having a heart attack were up a little, so they did the blood test again.  After a couple more hours, and conversations with the nurse at the hospital and my sister that is a nurse, Mindy and I loaded up our stuff and headed home.  About half way home,  Doug called to say that he was being sent home with "unspecified chest pains."  We got home at 4am.

I don't know what I would have done without Mindy.  She drove the entire trip and never batted an eye at leaving early and not being able to stay for important meetings. I am so very thankful for her!

I finally got in bed and dozed a little from 4am to 6am on Friday morning, but Kylie was on top of me and sleep was elusive.  I got the girls to school and worked on my grad class some while Doug tried to figure out what to do.  My sister Libby went to work, so thankful that she is a cardiac nurse.. and talked to one of the cardiologists that she really respects.  He said that Friday was a really bad day to try to get into a cardiologist, that he could see Doug on Monday, but that given Doug's family history, if he continued to have pain and shortness of breath to come to Ft Worth to the big heart hospital and tell the ER that Doug was a patient of his.

Well, after a couple of hours of Doug still not feeling well, I finally just asked him if he was going to be okay feeling like this till Monday. He said no. So we packed up our stuff, got in the car and drove to the hospital in Ft. Worth.

One thing I can say, when you walk into an emergency room with chest pain, they don't play games or make you wait! I was really impressed with the level of concern, how quickly they worked and the quality of the staff.  Doug was immediately put on an ekg machine in the triage area and within probably 5 minutes he was in a room in the ER. They did some repeat tests that they did the night before and asked a truck load of questions.

Libby got off work and walked over to the emergency room and found us.  I have to say, having a sister that works in a big hospital is a blessing.  Having a sister that works in cardiac care is gift. But having a sister that is well respected and loved by others in a big hospital is beyond compare.  We were sitting in our ER room and I heard Libby's voice and then a chorus of "hey Libby" 's and greetings and asking what she was doing over here and such from the staff as she made it to our room.  Then as staff entered to work on Doug, they would stop and talk.  The doctor, the nurse, the pharmacist, they all new her and respected her.. you could tell by the way they interacted with her.  WHAT A GIFT!

Anyway, the cardiologist on call with the group that Libby wanted Doug to see came and consulted with us and suggested a plan of action.  We were in complete agreement and Doug was admitted.

They did a CT scan with dye of Doug's heart.  This is not the typical protocol, but one used for athletes with major family history of heart disease.  

I left the hospital and made it home around 9pm.  I had to get a couple of my discussions completed for my grad class and finally got to bed around 10:30.  That was a LONG, LONG time between sleeps!

This morning Maddie had to be at school at 7:30 for her first WinterGuard contest. I dropped her off and worked on school work for a little while and drove back into the city. I got to the hospital a little before 11. 

The cardiologist on call came in at 11:45am with the all clear. No plaque, No calcium. NOTHING! This was HUGE.  Doug's dad had his first heart surgery at 38 with many, many problems in the years following until his death eleven years ago.  Doug is 47 and has been on blood pressure and heart meds for 20 years. As Doug and the doctor discussed, these tests results were equivalent to a huge burden being lifted that has been resting on Doug's shoulders for years.

We then spent the next 6 hours waiting to be released from the hospital.  THAT WAS NOT FUN! It was crazy.  The nurse even said at one point, well... it is raining... that was very frustrating.  But given that Doug had just been given the gift of a clean bill of health, I was trying to be patient.

We finally made it home about 8pm.

It is now 10:15 and I'm waiting to go get Maddie from school...she won't be home for another hour.

Needlesstosay, I am exhausted.  I am beyond thankful for friends and family that have stepped into the gap these last couple of days. I don't want to think about how hard this would have been without them.

So where do we go from here? I don't know.  I know that Doug didn't have a heart attack and that his heart is healthy. Something we did not expect.  As to the "unspecified chest pains," that's the official statement on the release papers from today as well.  But as I told Mindy on Thursday night, I am used to living in the land of no easy answers and in the middle of grey area.  Why did Doug have horrible chest pains? no clue. Probably a mix of a respiratory virus, asthma, allergies and stress. Amazing what a few doses of morphine and nitroglycerin will do for a body. 

And how am I doing with all of this? Good. except for a few tears when talking to one of Doug's best friends and asking him to go to the hospital to be with Doug while Mindy and I drove home, I've been pretty even keel. but now, I am tired.

And I have a dirty house and lots of laundry.

But I have a healthy husband. Thank God.

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