Posted by: monsonmadness | December 3, 2012

Emergency room with benefits!

I spent just over 3 hours today at the hospital. I’m not complaining. For once it was quite pleasant. Allow me to elaborate…

I haven’t posted any follow up information since my abnormal EKG and heart murmur stuff just over a month ago. Didn’t want to worry any family members unnecessarily. My good cardiologist friend in Utah had given me lots of advice, and sure, an echo cardiogram would be recommended, but since they don’t have a machine or anyone to read it on the island, I’m out of luck. She reassured me that unless I was having symptoms, chances are I am totally fine and don’t need to worry about anything.

Great. I felt really good about that until a couple of weeks ago when I started having symptoms. It started with a racing heart beat out of nowhere. Not when I exercised or had been doing a lot around the house, just when I was sitting minding my own business doing nothing. It would last around 20-30 minutes and then it would go away. Ignored that for a week or so and then the palpitations were accompanied by dizziness, light headedness etc. Normal resting heart rates are supposed to be 60-100, with healthy people around 60-80 and 100 really being too high. On some days I was at 112 and got really faint. Yesterday before church I collapsed in front of the kids (Michael wasn’t home) which scared them a little. I didn’t faint, I was still conscious, but I just “crumpled” and had to lay on the floor for a few minutes, all the while telling them that I was fine and I just needed to rest.

In our minds we were trying to rationalize between whether anyone can possible do anything here, or whether I need to fly to Hawaii to get some tests done. We decided that I would go in today and “demand”,  if possible, another EKG, and a complete blood work up so that we could check my thyroid again and rule out anemia. We figured if all the tests came back normal, then we might need to go off island to get an echo and see a cardiologist.

I called my visiting teachers last night and they took care of everything. Speaking Samoan is the key here, so this morning they got on the phone with the OBGYN’s office and told them what was going on and that I needed an appointment to come in. Sorry, doesn’t work like that. I have an appointment on Thursday, and if I need to be seen before then, I have to go to the ER.

So off to the ER we went. They brought two friends over to stay with the kids (Baby Malia’s Mom and her cousin), and they took me to the hospital. As I walked into the ER, my phone rang and it was the doctor who originally found the murmur and ordered the EKG. I had been trying to contact her for days, and she finally called and had arranged for me to get another EKG and blood work and be seen at the ER. Perfect timing, just what we wanted.

The ER was packed though. There weren’t enough seats to sit down. No-one offered their chair, so my Samoan friends said something, and some people got up to give me their chairs! There were more than 20 people in line before us. No-one had any visual symptoms, but here you can’t get clinic appointments easily, so people use the ER for really small things.

I went to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled, and when I came back, I had an “episode”. My heart was beating fast and I got light headed. It feels like I’m trying to catch my breath after running. Before I knew it, my friend was tapping me on the shoulder saying, “it’s your turn” I was confused, we’d only been waiting about 30 minutes or so, but it turns out that she had gone to the front, explained that I was having trouble and needed to be seen immediately. She wasn’t quite as polite as that, but it got me through!

They took all my vitals and then I had the EKG. Then I got to lay down while I waited for the doctor and my blood tests. That still took a while but at least I had skipped a couple of hours of waiting in the waiting room and I was comfortable. My friend read quietly while I rested. Next thing I know, three more ladies from church showed up, including Malia’s grandmother and great aunt. None of these ladies are my “peers”. They are in their late 50’s and 60’s so I don’t usually associate with them very much. They got straight to work on me, giving me a massage with special Polynesian oils! It was awesome. Have you ever had three people giving you a massage at the same time before? Head, legs, and feet all at the same time…then they got all giggly and starting telling funny jokes and stories. It was the best hospital wait ever!

So now my tests are done and after I was rested and back to normal I got to go home (should have pretended I wasn’t ok, turns out lying in a hospital bed being massaged and giggling at funny stories is a lot better than being at home with whiny kids and a stressed husband in a hot house)

I get to go back on Thursday morning to meet with an OBGYN, and then with another doctor to discuss my test results. In the mean time, doctors orders are REST, REST, REST! So grateful for the love and service that I was shown today by my special “sisters”.





  1. What wonderful sisters! Get plenty of rest (such that you can) and I hope the doctor has good news for you — or at least news that will help you feel better.

  2. anna and afiona, what a blessing you are!! love those ladies!!

  3. Tender mercies come in all forms!

  4. That’s wonderful have sisters to help and serve you! Sorry about the problems though. I hope it’s nothing too serious.

  5. Mmmm. . . triple massage! Bless them. I’m glad you have good friends to take care of you there! REST UP!

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