Saturday morning when I went to the bathroom, my knees gave out from under me and I had to crawl over to the bathtub and leverage myself up. Stumbled to the corner of the bedroom and took out my folding cane, which I had not needed for years (since my last torn meniscus).
My BP was low, so was my pulse. I took it easy all morning, skipped the shower and getting dressed. When things didn't improve in the afternoon I called a taxi* and checked into the ER.
*Not a real taxi - it was a Prius late model, the driver was constantly on his phone - holding it in his hand, ignoring the fact that the car has BT and GPS (the display was off). Speaking in a language which sounded African. There was a taxi seal on the bottom of the steering column, but no driver ID. I'll have to send a nastygram to BBB.
It was a long wait, standing in line, hard to stay upright. You would think they would have a bench or something.
Finally a second nurse took me out of line and checked me in. Same guy who checked me in last time.
Sent to an exam room, vitals taken, EKG, all the usual questions.
Moved to an ER observation room, same as a hospital room except no toilet. And I'm on a gurney.
eventually a finance dweeb rolled in his laptop and told me my co-pay was $80, wanted me to pay it right then, just like last time. I told him to bill me, like last time. Last time I was never billed**.
Portable chest x-ray, and then rolled to the next building for the mother of all CT scans. Head and then full body.
So far all my nurses are male, but the one taking me to CT is a woman named Alma. I told her there was a song about her, and gave her enough Tom Lehrer info to find it. She was jazzed to find that out.
Unlike last time, the longer I was there, the prettier the nurses and doctors became. Karma?
The heart rate monitor showed low and irregular pulse. They tried to find a Boston Scientific pacemaker interrogator, and found one after a while but couldn't figure out how to work it. They phoned Boston Scientific, which sent a rep with the right machine in about 90 minutes.
He was stumped.
After talking to my ER doc, who called a cardiologist,Boston rep upped the low pulse threshold from 50 bps to 60.
Doc was going on the theory that the walking problem was due to oxygen starvation, and upping my pulse rate should fix that.
They kept me overnight. But first, the Medicare financial woman rolled in her laptop, explained:
**there was no co-pay for the ER,
I had been admitted to the hospital, but since I was still in the ER it was free
If they moved me to the hospital,it would cost $285/day up to 7 days.
Since I have been admitted to the hospital, they will replace the gurney with a hospital bed.
1:30 am, two orderlies wheeled in a hospital bed, and wheeled out the gurney. It was a challenge transferring.