Monday, January 25, 2010

Welcome to your mortality, Mrs. Bray...welcome!


I am my father's daughter. It's no big surprise that I'm obsessed with taking pictures...filming everything Corbin and Hudson do...or that I need to have "something" going on at all times. It's no big shocker that I create projects for no apparent reason...roll hard candy in my mouth when I eat it...or that every time we go to leave the house..I suddenly have to go to the bathroom. I swear it's not on purpose. But best of all...I inherited those ears and that nose. Got to love that those are the only two things on your body that never stop growing! Thanks Papa Shah...thanks a lot ;)

After I had Hudson, I started having chest pains. Not sharp shooting ones that radiate down my left arm, just a "tightening" in my chest. Mostly uncomfortable and annoying, but alarming none the less to a 28 year old mom with two very small children. I chalked it up to hormones for a while, but when it carried on for a few weeks, I thought it might be time to contact someone before I lay unconscious on the floor with two small people who have no idea how to distinguish between the numbers 9 and 1 on a telephone. So I call up my OB...I know..not sure why I thought calling a "privates" doc about chest pains was a good idea..but I guess I had just been dealing with them for so long (seeing as I apparently "like" to get pregnant) and thought it might be hormonal that I really didn't have any other choices. Of course, the nurse tells me that I need to call someone else. She was very nice about it and didn't blatantly call me an idiot or ask when the last time I saw them use a stethoscope was...so I nicely asked for a referral, which she kindly gave me.

So I call up the Family Practice one floor below the OB. I explained my symptoms to the nurse on the other line and she tells me to come in immediately...I mean within 15 minutes. If you are ever in a hurry at any doctor's office, just use the words chest and pain in the same sentence...well, in the same paragraph...ok, if you ever use those two words to a doctor...the same doctor... you're golden. I don't encourage it..I'm just saying. Corbin insisted on going to see "mommy's doctor" with me...probably so he could finally be on the other side of the table. The nurse was awesome with him..she even tore off part of the paper on the table for him to draw on while she was checking my vitals. Complete with my very first EKG, might I add...not sure if I should cash in my bragging rights on that one..but whatever. I had an EKG ;) It came back normal and when the nurse was finally done, she said the doctor would be in shortly...right after she made a chicken out of a glove for Corbs...she really was awesome! So the doc comes in and asks about my symptoms...he makes some comments and based on my low blood pressure..he determines that I'm dehydrated. PHEW!! I'm not going down today...thank god! But he continues on to ask about my family history...the fact that my dad has had 3 heart attacks..2 of which, were in his 50s...and my mom has had TIAs. Plain as day he says...wow, your family history sucks! Thanks, dude...like I didn't notice. Anyway, just for precautionary reasons...he orders a stress echo.

After several weeks of anticipation and a few hours of shear panic, I go to the cardiologist. Have I mentioned that I'm only 28 yet? Yes..I have a cardiologist. I was definitely feeling closer to 68 at this moment, but I have two new people to think about, so I was just following orders. The nurse explains the process, she puts me in a gown, uses an emory board to scrape me up, and adds all those fashionable white sticky squares all over my chest. I suddenly felt like I had forgotten my oxygen tank somewhere..urgh! She explained this elaborate way to get on and off the treadmill fast enough for her to take pictures of my heart with an ultrasound and then we began. Trust me..an ultrasound is WAY more fun when you a listening to a smaller someone's heart...this, not so fun! First level....seriously....the treadmill was so inclined, I already had to hold onto the bar to not fall off. The goal was to get my heart rate to at least 160 and as close to 190 as possible. AKA...as close to death without dying...oh joy, sign me up! Bring on the stress, lady. Every 3 minutes...the incline got higher and the treadmill sped up. I was doing well up until 9 minutes. At about 9 1/2 minutes I finally hit 160 and she took my blood pressure for the 500th time...bad news, ladies and gentlemen...bad news. She asked me if I was ok and if I could keep going. I said I was fine, but right after my blood pressure flashed on her little machine..she stopped the treadmill immediately and had me lie down on the table in this strange horizontal yoga like pose, she dropped the middle of the table out, and was frantically trying to get a picture of my heart. I had no idea what the hell was going on and they just kept asking if I was ok. Um...I would feel better if you stopped acting like I was going to be lying unconscious on the floor at any second, but at least these two people could actually dial the correct numbers to get me help. One nurse left the room to ask the cardiologist if it was ok for me to LEAVE?!?! While the other nurse explained that my blood pressure peaked at 164/107 and I had extra heartbeats the entire time I was walking. Lovely! Well, the nurse came back and said the doc said I could leave....and just like that..they sent me on my way to wait for my GP to call with the results. Welcome to your mortality, Mrs. Bray..hope you don't die on the way home...

Two days doesn't seem like a long time, but in the purgatory type limbo I was currently living in..it was an eternity. It took TWO freakin' days for that doctor to call me with the results. TWO DAYS! I didn't speak for two days...horrible images of my children growing up without a mother flashing before my eyes...TWO DAYS! I know I'm dramatic..but seriously...I moped around for two days. Richard constantly asking if I was ok..if I wanted to talk about it. What was there to talk about...28, cardiologist, 164/107, and the image of some psycho bimbo teaching my babies the proper way to blow a smoke ring as ol' papa Bray revs up his brand new Harley...I think the uncomfortable silence was legit!

Finally, my GP calls with the results. He tells me after I answer the phone that he has them and I say..uh oh. He says No uh oh..they are great. Um...WTF...I ask him if he's sure he called the right person. I'm beyond confused. He goes on to say the cardiologist's report states that I have normal heart function with no signs of ischemia. English please....aka...my heart is not failing. Well, that I could have told him. So I ask about the crazy a*# nurses that made me think I would die if I even lifted my right pinky toe and after several minutes of going back and forth, it turns out that...you ready for this....wait for it....I'm out of shape. Yes. You heard me..the 28 year old that just had 2 children in 2 years...was only a good 10 weeks out of actually giving birth at this point...is "out of shape". TWO DAYS! I could have killed and kissed that man all at the same time!


So it turns out that if I'm ever offered an envelope carrying the day I will die in it...I should politely decline. My father had his third heart attack when Corbin was 6 weeks old. He coded right in front of us while the nurse was trying to take an ultrasound of his heart. In the crazy yoga pose. It's all I could picture as this nurse frantically dropped the middle out of the table and ran the same type machine over my chest. I can't imagine my life if something had happened to Papa Shah that day. If Corbin never got to jump on the bed with his Bapu or have Bapu come play in his makeshift tent....if he never got to see Hudson's smile or make him laugh. So I wonder who they would become if something happened to me. I tend to get lost in the details (have you noticed?? Ha ha). In the day to day...did Hudson nap at the right time..did I feed him when I was supposed to...is Corbin watching too much tv? But that's not what their stories will be. Not the things that will really shape who they become. Richard and I plan on moving to a better school district before Corbin starts kindergarten. I wonder if he'll remember this house. If he loves it as much as I do. My story is here. We got engaged in front of the "sold" sign...we slaved over the beadboard in the nursery...I took my hormones out on the artist that painted the mural. Will Corbin ever say...I lived in that house for X years and then we moved to the place where I grew up? I'm sure. That will be his story. Bapu is part of his story. I am part of his story and my father is very much a part of mine. I can't imagine my life without him, but I can't imagine who I would be without standing there as they took an ultrasound of his heart..then 2 years later of mine. How much I would take for granted. I recently jumped on a treadmill..hardcore...to get "in shape". Not only because it's what you are supposed to do, but because I have a responsibility to my children to be a part of their story. To help shape that story into one that they will love looking back on. My father did the same...works out everyday...it's the reason he's still here and I am who I am. He'll never know how much that was appreciated and someday, I hope my children will feel the same way.