Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love
Chapter 13: June 7, 2010
Sandra drove as fast as she could. The discomfort in my shoulders and upper chest increased as every minute went by. She dropped me off at the entrance to the clinic and quickly drove away to find a parking space. I labored into the building, took the elevator to the second floor, made my way to the doctor’s office, and checked in at 7:26 p.m. The doctor reviewed the vital signs, asked me a few questions about how I felt, and immediately ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG) to determine if there were any irregularities in my heart function.
The nurse attached electrodes to my chest, turned on the EKG machine. We watched the machine whiz and purr as the needle on the printout page rapidly moved in a zigzag motion, drawing tiny peaks and valleys on computer paper. As soon as the machine stopped whirring, the nurse ripped out the computer printout and quickly disappeared into the hallway. The doctor came back seconds later to tell us the EKG reading was abnormal, and I should proceed to the emergency room for more tests.
By the time the doctor finished her diagnosis, the nurse was in the hallway, standing behind the wheelchair that was to take me to the emergency room on the other side of the large complex. Walking briskly, she pushed the wheelchair out of the clinic hallway, into the clinic lobby, and out to the main hallway that led to the hospital, about half a city block away. The nurse moved swiftly as she fumbled with her cell phone. Sandra offered to push the wheelchair so the nurse could use her phone. Suddenly the nurse’s brisk walk turned into a trot and, ultimately, a jog to the emergency room. Tall floor-to-ceiling windows formed a breezeway that connected the clinic to the hospital. I could see out to the cafeteria and the parking lot beyond. Life outside was moving at its usual pace, and I was heading toward a crisis.
My mind swirled with random thoughts that ranged from doom to confusion to relief. Could I be having a heart attack? Why didn’t the doctor say that? Was she just taking precautions by sending me to the emergency room? Why was Sandra pushing the wheelchair at a jog? Why was the nurse excitedly talking on the phone and to whom? I couldn’t hear what she was saying because of the noise that was filling my head with questions.
We got to the elevator in the hospital and went down one floor. When the elevator doors opened, we raced across the lobby straight into the emergency room, where I arrived at 7:41 p.m. Three doctors wearing white smocks waited for us. Within seconds, I got my answer. One of the doctors said, in a calm and matter-of-fact voice, “Mr. García, you’re having a heart attack.”
To be continued . . . at Amazon.com!
Order your copy of Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love on Tuesday, June 7, 2022!