That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 9 (The “My Blood Pressure is Too Low” Chapter)

96 St. Botolph St. Apartment building in Boston, Massachusetts

I found an old picture of where I used to live! That’s the building I walked out of (heading for the bus station) in the story.

It’s Wednesday night , so the story continues. Last week, I left off about to leave for another weekend of work out of town.

I left my apartment with thank you cards in hands for the doctors and nurses who had taken care of me the previous week. The hospital was on the way to the bus station, so I thought I’d drop them off, then head for New York.

I was not feeling well at all when I left my apartment. I was quite dizzy, and having some trouble staying upright. But, I had just been in the hospital the previous week. I already knew I had a heart condition. What more could I do? I figured I’d tough it out. I had to go to work, after all.

I headed for the bus station, walking down the beautiful brick sidewalk along my street. (I miss my amazing Boston apartment/neighborhood.) I’m walking along, really feeling dizzy. I have to stop a couple of times to catch my breath and get reoriented. (And this is not a long walk. It’s less than 1/2 a mile.) I hold onto little fences along the street at points along the way.

When someone is struggling to walk this much, they probably should see a doctor. Yeah, I know. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. I guess maybe I thought there was nothing else anyone could do for me, or maybe I just didn’t want to be a problem kid or something. Who knows?

Not surprisingly, I go down before I reach the bus station. When I come to, there are two sweet girls on the phone getting help. They wait with me until an ambulance comes. Back I go to Tufts Medical Center. When I get there, the nurses and I joke about how the ambulance was door to door delivery service for me and my thank you cards.

My blood pressure and heart rate were taken. Not surprisingly, they were both super low. (I don’t remember the exact numbers (or have my charts or anything), so for those of you medicine-y types who like specific numbers… sorry.)

My heart rate and blood pressure are already, on a normal day, lower than the low side of the recommended range. Once I was on beta blockers, I was a walking zombie. The doctor (or was it a nurse? It was 3 years ago. I don’t remember every detail…) even commented, “Why would they put you on beta blockers?” I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

little brownstone neighborhood in Boston

This was the kind of beautiful neighborhood I was walking through. (Though this was not my exact neighborhood. And I was leaving at night…)

I’m not blaming any doctors. They all have to make a billion decisions a day. Doctors were able to find a tiny abnormality on a test that ended up saving my life. I had doctors that paid meticulous attention to everything, and really looked out for me. Even though I’m getting on them a little here (because of my intense hatred for medicine), I have an unlimited amount of love for them.

I get hooked up to an IV of – I don’t know, salt? Whatever blood pressure raising IV cocktail doctors give you, that’s what I had.

They kept me overnight for observation, which drove me crazy. I can’t remember a time I’d ever called off of work in my life (before this month it happened – considering I’d just called out of another show earlier in the month). All of a sudden, in a span of 2 or 3 weeks, I called out from 6 performances of a show, and a tape day for a TV show. Who am I?

Anyway, slumber party in the hops. This is where I’ll pick up next time.

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