Hey, friends. We interrupt FREEDOM PARTY WEEK to give you an update on Gabe and why I posted a pic of him in a hospital gown with oxygen up his nose last night at 10pm.
Here’s the deal. I gave a little overview yesterday of Gabe getting some questionable blood results and how a visit with one of his docs at lunch (to talk about the blood work) resulted in some serious anxiety. Then some conflicting advice. Then he came home and was in tears most of Monday.
In the midst of that, he made two phone calls for help. One to his cardiologist begging him to order an angiogram and one to Dr. Esselstyn (we’re signed up to attend one of his seminars next month) about the conflicting dietary advice he got.
I blogged here about our decision to try a plant-based/whole foods diet. Our hope was that we could eliminate Gabe’s risk of another heart attack which would then set his mind at ease and his anxiety would be gone.
It has been a loooooong, hard, but God-is-good two years of chest pains and anxiety and doctors and counseling and losing jobs and not having money and anxiety and chest pains and you get the picture.
Yesterday morning (Tuesday) he told me he couldn’t go to work, and I said, “Then go to the hospital. Tell them you want to see a picture of your heart. Tell them you’re having a hard time believing that you’re fine when some of your blood results aren’t good and you’re having chest pains and you think it’s inflammation. Demand to see your heart. You’re not going to have any peace until you do.”
In hindsight, we should’ve just driven to his cardiologist’s office, banged on the doors, and demanded (or asked nicely, whichever) to see a picture of Gabe’s heart.
But I drove him across town to the same hospital we went to two years ago (as opposed to the one right by our house where we’ve always gone when Gabe has anxiety/chest pains) and dropped him off around 9am.
A few hours later, they had done some more blood work, checked his cardiac enzymes, ordered an echocardiogram/stress test and told him they wanted to keep him overnight. They’d do the stress test in the a.m.
Um, why? Because we’ve played this game before, and I know that a hospital bed = one very, very expensive (and uncomfortable) hotel room.
The girls and I went to the hospital at 3pm, and I asked why he couldn’t come home and come back for the stress test at 9am.
Oh, protocol and all that. He came in with chest pains, and this is what we do for patients with chest pains.
Even though Gabe has had chest pains every day for the past two years. And each time we’re in the ER, they tell me things like, “You did the right thing. Anytime you feel a chest pain, you need to call a squad (hundreds of dollars) and come in (thousands of dollars) where we will keep you for 24+ hours and you can use our TV and take our expensive meds even though you have the exact same ones in your pocket from home, etc etc.”
(Oh, do I sound bitter?)
They told us that if we left, we’d be going against medical advice, and the echo/stress test order would be null and void.
Whose dumb idea was it to take a little jaunt over to the hospital, get some heart pictures taken, and go back on our merry way?
We called Gabe’s cardiologist and left a message to see if he could order a stress test instead, so we could leave. He never called back.
The girls and I left the hospital at 5:30pm, so we could eat and go to tutoring. I was angry, in tears, feeling defeated (I left out a bunch of my interaction with various hospital personnel, because boo.)
Tutored. Massive headache. Gabe calls at the end, begging me to come back. I said no, because I wanted to free him from prison, and he chose to stay because he’s worried he’d never get a heart picture if he left (probably true). He said his heart rate had shot up to 130 at one point and he thought he was having a heart attack and they gave him meds and put him on oxygen.
It was a panic attack, caused by being in the hospital alone.
Our friend Pam offered to stay with the girls at our house, and I went back to the hospital. It was sad and pathetic and depressing, and I told Gabe I love him and this is all going to be okay, and I didn’t throw anything at the nurse when she told me I couldn’t give Gabe his meds I brought from home because they weren’t in the original packaging and she had no way of knowing what kind of illegal drugs I might be pumping into him (I just said “bite me” under my breath when she left).
Then Gabe’s phone rang and it was Dr. Esselstyn, whom we have previously only seen on CNN and Forks Over Knives. He was very sweet and encouraging.
And I find it mildly, if not wildly, ironic that Dr. Esselstyn returned Gabe’s call and his own cardiologist didn’t.
And right when Gabe didn’t want me to leave and I was exhausted and his roommate had been snoring for hours and it was almost 1:00 am and I went to get him some earplugs and the nurse realized I was still in his room and that’s a big no-no and did I want a comfy pillow so I could sleep in the family waiting room which brought back delightful two-year-old memories of another October 29 where I tried to sleep in a family waiting room but someone was snoring louder than a jet plane engine and I “slept” on the very cold, hard floor in the brightly-lit hospital hallway.
“No thanks. On my way home right now.”
Got home at 1:00ish, relieved sweet Pam from her Mom duties, climbed in bed.
Gabe just called. He’s scheduled in a bit for the echo and stress test. It will take three hours or so. Then hopefully I’ll go get him and we’ll all come home.
And I will wake up tomorrow on my birthday in my very own bed. Claiming that here and now in the name of Jesus.
Thanks for your sweet words and prayers, friends. They’re a big part of what keeps us going. xoxoxo