Ambulance Rides

You think about a lot of things when your heart is pounding at 234 beats per minute.

For no reason.

For half an hour straight.

I thought about my daughter. I thought about my husband. I thought about my cats. I thought about my friends.

I was strapped in the back of an ambulance, trying not to absolutely lose my shit as it took three tries toset up an IV, three tries of increasing dosage of Adenosine to slow my pulse to something less deadly.

I wondered if the last thing I would see would be the bags of saline, set up for easy grabbing by the EMTs.

I simultaneously praised myself for not going to Charlotte’s school (where I was driving when things went sideways) and chastised myself. I would have terrified a group of preschoolers, my daughter included. But if this was it, I would never see her face again. I couldn’t remember what she was wearing, even though I’d dropped her off fewer than four hours earlier. I wondered if she would be okay; my daring, delicate girl with her own heart full of hugs for the world.

I was afraid of how David would find out. Who would tell him. How they’d tell him. When they’d tell him. If he’d be okay. He works on a factory line. It’s loud. It’s busy. No cell access.

I thought about my friends; past, present, and somewhere in between. I thought about people who I shared hours upon hours of conversation with this time last year, who have disappeared or all but disappeared since then. I wondered if they would care.

As the paramedic pushed the third dose of Adenosine into my veins, I felt my whole body seize. My veins were on fire, blue electric pulses exploding behind my eyes. It was only half of a second – if that – but I felt every excruciating moment.

And it finally, finally took. My heart wasn’t fluttering like a hummingbird after chasing a speedball with four shots of espresso. I cried in relief. I would never have found out what happened if I’d shuffled off the mortal coil in the back of the ambulance. But no one else would have to, either. At least not now.

The five hours afterward in the emergency room, as tests were taken to determine exactly what the hell happened to me (SVT – Supraventricular Tachycardia) and why (magnesium deficiency, most likely caused by the weird sweating flu I’d had over the weekend) and if it was a sign of something more (most likely not), were spent texting to keep myself from melting in fear. I was so tired. I was so scared to sleep.

Today, things are back to normal. Charlotte has an ear infection, in that fantastic four year old way, so all focus is on her. I’ve fielded the usual questions from the usual people.

But when I close my eyes, I can still see the saline bags, lined up neatly, waiting to be grabbed.

SVT is said to be caused by stress. Bets are now being taken for whether or not my next bout will happen when I get the bills for this little adventure.

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2 thoughts on “Ambulance Rides

  1. Ugh, I sort of know the feeling, hon. When I had my anaphylactic (?) reaction in Niagara Falls last summer a large part of my terror was from thinking I was going to die in this shitty hotel room away from my wife and my daughter, with my last words to my wife being, “I’m itchy like a mofo – I gotta go…”.

    That, plus the tongue swelling and inability to breathe were not pleasant.

    I’m glad you’re still here. I miss you. All the love.

    – Mark(00z).

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