It started off like most Wednesdays, with a stumble out to the kitchen to throw a lunch together for my husband, make some tea and coffee, feed the dog, check out the Sac Bee food section - not always in that order. I was back in bed, lunch made, drinking my coffee, dog fed, reading the paper when my husband calmly tells me he is having some chest pressure and he is about to call 911. His recent back pain was now more like extremely uncomfortable pressure and his first nitro he popped since his heart attack seven years ago took the pain away for a few minutes."WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME BEFORE NOW?" was my response. He reminded me that I needed to stay calm, so I said "why didn't you tell me before NOW?" I went and threw on some clothes, opened the front door for the paramedics and wandered around aimlessly trying to wrap my head around this unwelcome development.
Ernst had been dealing with back pain for over a month, and it kept getting worse, but he was by no means sick. A few weeks ago he dug up a stump in our front yard for crying out loud, his heart and health were great. And now we're calling the fire department out for nothing but some back pain? Silly us! Here we are getting the neighbors all worried about a huge fire truck out front and about a zillion firefighters pouring through the door. (While it's not something I wish for anyone, if at some point you can experience the rush of thankfulness and relief that a zillion firefighters pouring into the house brings, you'll know how I felt.) They took his stats. Fine. They took his EKG. Fine. They asked me if he looked pale, and I had to admit he did look a bit off. But of course back pain does that to a person, right? Any stress lately? No. OK maybe a little stressed that our living room is full of firefighters looking concerned about a guy whose chest pressure went away with nitro, but other than that, no stress.
While trying to be a good hostess to the rescue guys and gals, and trying to not look like I cause any stress whatsoever to my husband, I thought it might be a good idea to make some phone calls. I called our neighbor Linda and our friends Jeff and Myra. Jeff showed up in mere minutes, dressed like he was about to teach a course at a fancy college. The only thing better than having a zillion fire fighters show up, is having a well dressed friend show up in an emergency. It was decided that Jeff would follow the ambulance to the hospital and I would grab some items that one needs to for an ER visit, like my brain and my husband's medications. I could not locate the former, and I mistakenly grabbed the stash of old medications Ernst keeps in the fridge for dire emergencies instead of the current ones he keeps in the vitamin drawer. With my hair disheveled and really needing to be washed, my bare feet shoved in some boots because it seemed like a good time saver, and all the wrong meds, I raced out the door to pick up our neighbor on the way to the ER. She was well dressed and had a bag of practical items that would prove very helpful on this Wednesday to remember.