Not Good…

January 13th, 2010 Comments

About four hours ago my head started to pound like it never has before.  I’m a lifetime veteran of serious migraine headaches, I understand pounding headaches – this was different.  It was the back of my head, pounding.  In addition, I felt light headed and nauseous.  I thought I might have a stroke if this kept up.

I checked my pulse rate: 50.  Again, not a good sign.  If I were a marathon runner, that would be good, but I’m not.  I went into the other room where The Wife and Kids were just settling in to watch a video. I asked her to pause the video and I explained the above to her.  At this point I was seriously thinking about calling 9-1-1.  Jennifer asked me if I wanted to go to the Emergency Department?  “Yes.”  She suggested we take my blood pressure – it was 202/111.  This was a hypertensive emergency.

We loaded up in the car and drove across the bridge to St. John/Peace Health Medical Center in Longview– about 15 minutes away. Within 15-20 minutes, I was being evaluated.  Blood pressure, pulse-oxygen saturation, temperature, full history, etc.  By now, the crisis had subsided and I was feeling better.  My blood pressure was still a bit high, for me; and my pulse rate was a bit low – but I was not experiencing the headache, dizziness, and other symptoms like before.

Fortunately the ED was not busy, and I have to say it was a very pleasant experience – everyone was very caring, professional, and spot on good at their job.

A tech came in and did a 12-lead EKG, my blood was drawn, they checked other body fluids, and they continued to monitor my blood pressure.  After awhile, my wife and kiddos came back to see me, or get the cell phone charger, I’m not sure which.  The kids were VERY curious.  This was quite the exciting field trip for them!

The ED Tech thought she saw atrial-fibrillation on the 12-lead EKG, but that turned out to be the voice of inexperience.

The Wife and I were trying to figure out how they could go home and get the kids to bed, meanwhile find a ride for me, when the Doc came in and said I could go.

He seemed to think it might be related to the meds I was taking for my infected tooth, so he wrote me new prescriptions – a new pain killer and a new antibiotic.  And then we came home.

I’ll have to follow up with my Doc in the next couple of days, and most likely will have to be treated for hypertension, but either way, I survived the night.

There’s nothing like a trip to the Emergency Department to put one’s perspective of mortality in order.  Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers from my friends via Facebook and Twitter!  You all are awesome!  The good thing from all of this is I feel very loved tonight!

Men, don’t be a hero, if you are experiencing chest pain/discomfort, or anything else that could prove life-threatening, go to the hospital or call 9-1-1. While my issue tonight turned out relatively benign, it could just have easily turned out with me lying in a heap on the floor and my wife doing CPR on me.  Don’t be a hero, go to the hospital.

Thanks again for the love everyone.  It’s time to go to bed now!


  1. I ended up in the ED a few weeks ago with chest pain…..turns out I am a diabetic and according to their blood tests have been one for at least 3 months now! Shocker. I'm still sorting this one out.

    1. gwalter says:

      Thanks Marli – sorry to hear your news, but it's better than being ignorant. Now at least you can …

  2. Sorry about your scare, Gary. Those meds can really cause some problems. I'm very glad you are ok and home with your family!

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