It started with a ferocious leg cramp.
Like a charley horse on steroids, it hit the muscle in my shin. Never felt anything like it. Whined like a baby as Brian tried to stretch and massage it.
I stood up and hobbled around the room. Finally sat on the steps leading upstairs and planted my feet on the tile floor. Tried to gently stretch the muscle back out.
We’d been hiking that day, but nothing too strenuous – three miles out and back. It had been hot though. Really hot. So maybe I just needed some water?
Brian gave me some electrolytes. Fancy stuff from the runners store. Tasted horrible, but I chugged some down.
Then I started feeling dizzy. Cold sweat. World fading in and out.
Cassie and Savannah had been out jumping on the trampoline. They just walked in when my world started going woozy. They tell me I turned shades of green, blue and finally ashen. Cassie grabbed frozen potstickers from the freezer and put them on my neck (we were out of peas – she made do). Mom got a cool wash cloth and put it on my forehead. Savannah went to a side table, pulled out a kleenex, sprayed it with water. She brought it over and pressed it into my neck. “This will make you feel better, Mama.”
Oh baby girl…
I started to come back around. Brian ran for the blood pressure monitor and they placed it on my arm. It tried to read my pressure two times before saying “error.”
The world started fading again. I was drenched in sweat. Brian was holding the phone in his hands. “You better call,” I said, before I dropped my water and crumpled down another step.
I could hear Brian talking into the phone as Cassie cradled my head – I was in and out. Although I do remember having the wherewithal to hope the EMTs might be handsome, young and single since I’d messed everything else up for Cassie’s second day in town.
The ambulance arrived. The guys asked me a ton of questions and hooked me up to an IV. I’d had some arm pain so they were concerned about my heart. They suggested I go in to the hospital to get some more tests. I was scared enough to comply.
They loaded me up on the gurney and into the ambulance.
Brian would follow close behind while Mom and Cassie kept an eye on Savannah.
The ambulance started moving and the EMT asked me more questions. I knew I was a little slow in answering, but I tried to stay focused.
Then he raised his arm to adjust something on my IV. His forearm was directly in front of my face and he had a very large tattoo.
The grim reaper.
Big. Shadowy. Dark cloak. Skull. Reaper thingy in his hand.
On his arm.
In an ambulance.
Suddenly I was no longer at a loss of words.
“Nice choice of tattoo.” I managed, quite clearly.
“Oh,” he said, as if it were no big deal that he has a GRIM REAPER on his arm in an ambulance with a potentially dying, delirious woman on his gurney. “I got that before I started in this job.”
Oh, you mean back when you were working as… a murderer?
I kept my eyes open. Alert. Aware. Watched his hands. Don’t move a muscle mister. I watched Karate Kid 1, 2 AND 3. I got moves.
We arrived at the hospital and I was never so happy to be wheeled in to an ER.
They ran some tests. It seems it was all just a perfect storm of going hiking on a hot day with one kidney and little water. My calcium was low too, and that seemed to intensify it all. Follow up with the doc and maybe a few more tests, but all in all – not near as bad as it could have been.
It was not my heart. I didn’t die.
No thanks to the grim reaper.
So here’s the thing, I know tattoos are really popular these days. But if you have any type of cloaked figure, skull and crossbones, poison symbols – anything dark and deathly and you happen to work in the health care field – cover it up. Masking tape. Gauze. Paint. Long sleeved shirt. Anything.
Please cover it to avoid giving a perfectly healthy dehydrated human a heart attack.
So that’s the story. Oh, and while Cassie didn’t find the man of her dreams in the EMT crew, we did manage to have some fun for the rest of the week. And we also received some adoption news. to check that all out, you can watch the YouTube here.
Be safe my friends! And may none of you encounter a grim reaper this week!