This week found me in the hospital again. I’d been having a sensation for a couple of weeks. It was as if I’d swallowed something that got stuck around the chest region. It would come and go, but then I noticed my blood pressure was starting to elevate. I started tracking it daily and while it wasn’t alarmingly high, it was at the beginning level of high blood pressure. I left a message for my doctor, who in turn called me into her office to check things out.
Of course, the day I went in everything returned to normal. Chest was fine, and blood pressure was fine. The EKG looked good. She ordered up a stress test and told me if the sensation returned I was go to the ER immediately.
The next morning I was awoken with that chest pressure again. This time seemed a bit more intense since it had caused me to come awake. I got up and puttered around the house, but it wasn’t getting better. I took my blood pressure and saw it was starting to go up again. Sigh.
I thought about waiting but then remembered I’d promised Mike to take this seriously, so I got him out of bed, explained the situation and we went to ER.
The admissions nurse was great. He said, “You are a young 64.” I liked that part a lot. But wouldn’t you know, he had to continue. “But you are 64, so we need to look into this more.” Not really what I wanted to hear, but I wasn’t surprised, either. As Mike came in from parking the car, I was getting fitted with a hospital bracelet and being led to a room to spend the next several hours. Getting blood drawn, having a chest x-ray, taking pills, having more blood drawn, having my vitals checked. My blood pressure went up and then it went down. No idea why. Happily, I was released in the afternoon.
Monday I have the stress test. This is not how I planned to start spring. Once again, art is pushed to the back burner.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.