Back to the Argentine Hospital

24 Nov

I had so much fun at the eye hospital a couple of weeks ago that I decided to go back to an Argentine hospital last night. Well, not really, but I did have to make a late night run to the ER to straighten some things out, yet this visit to the free clinic wasn’t quite as successful as last time. What happened is starting on Sunday night my heart started to beat erratically and infrequently. Beating too fast, then too slowly, it left me short of breath and coughing at some points. Yet it wasn’t a consistent enough nuisance at first for me to worry. Rather, it was like someone kept startling me throughout the day, and when it happened it lasted for much longer than it should.

At first I chalked it up to not eating dinner Sunday or breakfast on Monday morning. I went for a morning run and though it was my normal, easier route, I had to stop twice. A long wait for lunch and first eating around 2:30-3 pm didn’t help, but even after eating it was beating all out of whack, and into the next day at work. I considered going to the hospital from work, but a long and busy day made that impossible, so finally after eating dinner when the discomfort didn’t end, I decided enough was enough. It wasn’t pain, but any irregularity with the heart is disconcerting and needs to be taken care of.

Heading over by around 11 pm, the nearly deserted Rivadavia Hospital on Avenida Las Heras and Calle Austria had a creepy feel to it. Dark and with the expectation for zombies to pop up around the corner, I headed in and told the nurse/receptionist my case. She yelled at me for saying that if it’s a problem with the heart I shouldn’t have waited two days. I thought about whether or not a scolding would really help, and though she said they normally wouldn’t take someone at the “guardia” (ER) after a day or two, she would let me pass.

I waited there in the sad room with only one person in front of me, who was quickly called in. Soon more people lined up and I was glad that I got there just in time. No visit to the hospital would be complete without the obligatory crazy guy shouting at the emptiness until a cop came over and told him to wait outside. It was late and pushing my bedtime, but as I was falling asleep in the hard chair the suddenly called my name (just an hour or so after getting there). The check-up was completely disappointing.

I tried to explain to the doctor what the deal was, even though with my advanced Spanish it was hard. I guess it would be tough in English too. Literally all she did was check my pulse and tell me that everything was OK. She wrote a “prescription” to come back to the heart specialists in the morning and get an EKG, or scan on my heart. She said to be there at 7 am, but when I asked if I’d make it to work on time by 9 am she said no. This put me off a bit and already thinking that I’d simply tough it out, or die trying anyway.

I woke up at 6 am regardless and decided that the heart wasn’t bothering me enough to wait in line at the hospital again, so I went back to sleep until the normal wake up time of 7:30 am. With a long, busy and stressful work day the heart held up, and I’m hoping that this has passed. I even went for a run tonight and felt fine. No problems or stopping, though I went slow at first to be safe. It might have just been stress related or a simple case of arrhythmia, but either way, it’s a scare when something unusual happens to your heart. Being young and in shape, and just having run a 10k, there’s no reason why my heart should be acting abnormal. Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on it, and if anything happens again I’ll go back to the hospital. There’s no reason to mess around with that.


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