Monday night I had an attack of acute gastritis. Since I haven’t established my health insurance out here yet, I went to the ER at the local hospital, San Mateo Medical Center. The hardbitten triage nurse pretty much ignored me (you could almost hear her thinking, “Yeah, yeah, so what if you’re vomiting and in pain, there’s no gunshot wounds”) — until she tok my vital signs, and found my heart rate was 43 beats per minute. Although she kept chatting with her friend, her attitude changed: “Let’s get this guy in there right away, his hear rate’s down to 43, put him in T1.” That’s “T1” for Trauma Unit One.
So they put me on a heart monitor and immediately discovered that I have heart arrythmia, which I have had for as long as I can remember. I fuzzily tried to explain that it wasn’t serious, but I knew they were going to keep me in overnight. Sure enough, that’s what they did — attached a heart monitor to me and admitted me to the hospital about five o’clock.
A hospital is a terrible place to be ill. Mostly I just needed to sleep, but in the hospital they wake you up every couple of hours to draw blood, or take your vital signs, or maybe your IV runs dry and the insistent beeping on the IV machine wakes you up. Then, too, you’re somewhat at the mercy of your roommate. My roommate wasn’t as bad as some — he had the TV on until about 2 in the morning, he snored incredibly loudly, but he didn’t groan that much. In short, I could only sleep in short snatches.
As for the hospital food, the less said about it the better. When you’ve been puking your guts out, there are some alleged foodstuffs that you don’t even want to look at. In general, though, I can’t complain. Mostly I got excellent care. The doctors, nurses, and the various other people were kind and caring, and they were attentive and listened well.
They finally discharged me at 2:30 p.m., sending me home with meds for my stomach. Maybe I have an ulcer, they said. Carol heard one of the doctors say “mild hypertension.” I know what the real problem is: I have been overworking for the past four years, and it finally caught up with me. My name is Dan, and I’m a workaholic, and it’s time for me to get over being a workaholic.