That's right, I could have died last weekend. I had a high blood pressure attack on Friday night which caused tingling in my extremeties and pain in my left arm. Now, when many people experience these kinds of symptoms, their life flashes before their eyes. I, on the other hand, began to worry about my current level of term life insurance and how I can increase my coverage. I'm lucky to have a brother that works in a doctor's office and he had me check my blood pressure.
I also suffer from white-coat syndrome. Its a pre-existing condition. That means that if I see someone in a white lab coat coming at me, my blood pressure skyrockets. So you can only imagine what it did when I felt under-insured. When I got to the doctor the next day, I told her what my bp was the night before and she stuck her pen in her pocket and took three steps back. Apparently, I was lucky. The slightest knick could have caused an explosion so violent that we would never be able to sell the house.
On a side note, I think that I have passed the white coat syndrome to my son. He freaks out when he sees the pharmacist at Publix, not to mention his pediatrician.
So here's the really funny part. I had to have a Venus Dopplar scan on my arm. Sounds impressive, doesn't it. Well actually... no. Its the same machine that they use to perform ultrasounds on pregnant women, goop and all. Ask any woman whose been pregnant in the last 20 years and she'll tell you about the goop.
I was escorted back to this little room in the back of radiology by a seemingly pleasant woman named Maria. The name took me by surprise as I tend to think of it as having a mostly latin descent. Maria, however, looked like she came from Khazakhstan and her dialect seemed to match. I had to lay down and get gooped from my next down to my wrist. My wife found this very amusing and considered it some sort of karmic payback for all the ultrasounds that she had to go through.
So then Maria says, "I poke you now, okaaay.", in her Khazakhstanny idiom. At the time I couldn't fathom a response. Seriously, what are you supposed to say in these situations? "Oh, a poking? That sounds nice. Thanks Maria!" And so the poking commensed. After about the third poke, I got up enough courage to ask, "Why are you poking me?" Maria came back with a "I collapse your veins." My first thought was, "What!?!", but then I thought "What?!?" Maria went on to explain that her seemingly desctructive poking was merely a test to verify that my veins would pop back. Of course they did, and it filled me with a sense of resiliency. On the other hand, if they had not popped back, I could have died. Good thing I was already in a hospital. Of all the places to have a near death experience, I think that the hospital is at least in my top 5.
And so I made it through ok with no obvious issues and without having to use the "wand". Once again, ask a pregnant woman. :)