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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Of Spirals and Hospitals ...

Everything seems fine, then things begin to spiral ...

It's nine days since I posted to 70 Plus, but I must say I have a pretty good excuse for the unusual pause in communication.

On Monday I began preparing for a story about family history and went to bed happy and feeling well.

At 1.15 am a sharp pain in my chest dragged me back from my dreams.

It wasn't the worst pain I'd ever experienced, and there wasn't any agonising shooting up the arms you hear about with a heart attack, so I waited to see what would happen.

It was pretty scarey given that I was alone in the house and the pain continued to plague me for two hours. I began to think that heart disease was a real possibility.

By 3am I knew it was time to get help, so I rang the ambulance, not wanting to disturb the sleep of my loved ones.

Two great officers came in no time: reassuring and efficient.

There I was flat on my back, wonderful female ambo administering pills and linking me up to machines, with her male partner driving.
It seemed two minutes and I was in Emergency at the local hospital.

Cut a long story short - no damage to heart and a lung x-ray showed nothing untoward.

I spent 31 hours tethered to machines with hospital staff and specialist consultant hovering.
They'd counted out all of the life-threatening possibilities, so now I must follow up with my GP in the next few days to find out what was really going on.

Apart from the dubious hospital food and the lack of sleep because of the hovering, it was a reassuring experience.

However, it's a shame that in our society attention to mental health problems aren't as de regeur as with cardiac illness ...

One day we'll get rid of the stigma towards psychiatric illnesses in the same way that we have with heart disease and cancer. The sooner the better, I say.

These diseases are after all manifestations of physical malfunction, without exception.


Does anyone have a view on the way mental health is regarded in their country of origin? Let me know in a comment ...

Watch out for the family history post in the next few days.

And please support our friend Sylvia in her valiant attempts to get her blog going again after it crashed this week.

Link to
Sylvia from Over the Hill - enjoy, learn and help a mate.


  1. June,

    good to know that you are generally OK after being completely checked out at the hospital. I am just curious, did they do any ultrasonography of the area ? Please take care.

  2. June, oh my goodness I am glad that you are ok and it wasn't your heart. I was wondering and thought you may ahve been away. Hopefully it is something minor.

    That must have been frightening but you handled it very well and took no more risks than you had to. Take Care - your health is more important than your blog and your readers will still be here ready to read when you can get to do the post. Love family history material so look forward to your next post.

    I will go and check Sylvia's site out - yes that is a huge issue really. I wondered myself what would happen if my blog crashed. I need to learn how to backup.

    Take care and my prayers and thoughts are with you!! And I so hear you in terms of treating all illnesses the same - it is slowly happening I believe as mental illness is getting far more prominent coverage in the media.

  3. Hi Suranga
    No - no ultrasounds. They had a heart monitor attached for the 31 hours, plus probably a dozen ECGs, blood tests, chest x-ray, temperatures etc. I think they thought I had a chest infection after there was no sign on the other scans.I do have problems in that way. I do feel fine though - and there is no pain anywhere now.
    I will go to my GP early next week and she's generally pretty thorough. I have spoken to a chiropractor and a naturopath recently and they pointed to something I'll look at as well.
    Do you have some advice?

  4. Thanks Lilly
    Yes gradually gradually we are looking at mental illness, but there's a long way to go.
    I really do feel well. It's nice just to chat with my friends. I never let my blogs rule. I rule them!
    Poor Sylvia.
    Blogger suggests a visit to this link for instructions on backing up (backup):
    We should be aware that there are several steps, including exporting comments etc.
    Thanks for your good wishes.
    Are you getting thunder storms? We are here - rumble rumble...
    Cheers June

  5. I am glad you checked out o.k. I am also glad you are going to see the doctor. Keep us informed if you learn any answers.

  6. Thanks Margie - I know there's nothing dramatic, and that's the main thing. On with life ...

  7. June,

    The minute I read your post, I recalled my dad having really bad pain in his abdomenal area, and how someone palpated something and then did an ultrasound to find the actual cause. I assume, that there wouldnt be much of anything palpable in a fit person in a bony area like the chest, and just wondered if an ultrsound would simply clear all doubts.

    I have this terrible habit of trying to analyse medical happenings. Call me someone who missed her vocation. But I thought I should just ask you anyway, as doing an ultrasound would clear up doubts, if any.

    I am sure your GP will do a fine job and set your mind at rest. Good wishes from here....

  8. Hi June, I am so glad you are home and feeling o.k. but you definitely need to check out every route. I went to emergency with something like what you have several years ago and found I had acid reflux and it had burned a hole in my esophagus and this can cause a lot of pain between your shoulders and in your chest. I was treated for my condition for several years and now I don't have any more problems but I can't eat much after six in the afternoon. Please take care of yourself and continue to let us know what is going on with you when you feel like it. Like you said, mental health is treated differently here than physical health or at least it is where I live.
    Take care. I missed you and am glad you are back.

  9. Hi again Suranga
    The GP is an great friend and she'll swing into action I'm sure. Ultrasounds are very useful and I'm COMPARITEVLY fit but there's still lots of room for palpable stuff in my rolls!
    I think it's very wise to use our life's knowledge of our bodies to do our own investigating and theorising. And looking up on the web for reliable university sites has helped me in the past.

  10. I think you have hit the nail on the head Judy.

    My sister told me yesterday that what she had been told earlier was a haitus hernia was indeed acid reflux caused by a leaking valve in the gastro-oesophogal area.

    She said her daughter had been thought to have heart problems which in fact weren't. I remember my Mum used to take peppermints all of the time to quell her tummy.

    I just didn't realise this sort of thing could bring on my symptoms.

    I could now tell the specialist (and my GP) a lot more.
    And that's what I'll be doing.
    Familes are a lot more than pretty faces - they're history from whom we can learn.

    Yes, mental health is a hidden area in so many places - and so unjustly!


  11. June, thank goodness your alright. You have to be careful, and take even the slightest possibility of heart attack seriously. Make sure you follow up with your Doc, and take care of yourself.

    I could go on and on about the mental health issue. I'll try to condense some down, and get back with you.

  12. G'day Eric
    Thanks for the concern. I think I've worked out what it is - a nuisance but not life threatening.
    I'd be really interested in detail about mental health in the USA. I'm trying to get a new Act changed here in my State and I MAY be getting a hearing from people with a say.
    However, working in the field (as a volunteer mind you) is like wading through mud.

  13. That must have been quite a scare. A very good friend was treating her chest pain as GERD (reflux disease), when in fact she was having a heart attack. It's always a good idea to have those chest pains checked out.

    About health care and mental health, I was just thinking the other day that most insurance coverage in the states manage to separate the body into very distinct parts. Medical insurance typically does not cover eye care or dental care, despite the obvious fact that the eyes and teeth are in the body. Some insurance policies will cover 20 visits per year with a therapist for mental health care.

  14. G'day Robin
    In Australia we have had universal health care since the 1970s.

    I still remember queuing with my first doctor's receipt in the new shiny medicare office and leaving with a FULL CASH REBATE there and then!

    It was a wonderful relief.

    During the regime of the Howard Government, voted out after eleven years last November, Medicare was watered down, creating consternation.

    We have been paying increasing amounts ourselves as a result.

    Hospital standards have also plumetted because Federal funding was not so forthcoming to the States

    Howard wiped out dental care leaving many Australians with holes in their teeth - until recently very rare here.

    However the new government is pro health care and hopefully things won't slide further.

    I think I might put this comment on my blog as a post as health is so important and everyone seems interested ...

    So - to be continued in my next post - about to appear now.


  15. Oh, June, how terrible. I am sorry that I am so late to this post and I am very glad to hear that you are okay.
    Someone way over here is thinking of you...

  16. Pearl you are a sweetie. I'm fine though.
    Hugs back and I'll get to visit everyone myself as soon as I catch up ...


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