“Carol … Something’s wrong.”
She turned from watching the Phillies’ Cliff Lee on the mound, “What?”
“Something’s not right with me.” And that quickly, I was out cold.
The next thing I remember is coming out of this fog, my head drooped slightly. I’m freezing cold. I sense I’m still at the ballgame; but I can’t figure out how it got so damn cold at Citizens Bank Park.
Ice bags … There are pounds of ice in bags on my neck and shoulders.
Uh oh …
Then the yelling started … “Mike!! Mike!! Can you hear me?!?” Not just one voice either … a lot of them … No, not good.
My surroundings are under water; all these wavy figures are hovering over me. People … lots of people … standing in the early stages of a Phillies game.
No, not good at all.
As things are become clearer, I try to find Carol. The look on her face is a glaze of immense relief over deep concern.
Man, am I in trouble …
That fast and a Phillies game on a warm, humid September 11 turned into a six-hour medical ordeal.
The heat had nothing to do with it. Neither did the one beer I barely touched. I was feeling fine all day; had cut the grass in the mounting heat the previous evening with no problems.
We arrived just before the start of the game; and I was standing in the aisle minutes before for The National Anthem following the annual 9-11 remembrance. My only problem at the time was this stabbing pain high on the right side of my ribcage towards my back.
The pain was a couple of days old, self-diagnosed as a pulled muscle …
(Hey, I spent six months pre-pre-med in college, ya know.)
… probably the result of moving boxes or bags of solar salt for the water softener. It was intermittent and seemed random, but very sharp when it acted up.
For some reason on Wednesday night the pain was driving me nuts. Couldn’t get comfortable in my seat. Kept stretching and twisting my back which seemed to help a bit. It was the worst the pain had been since it started several days ago.
Finally, I get situated in a position that didn’t provoke any spasms and settled down to watch the game. For all of maybe 10 minutes …
As I’m sitting there, gazing towards the outfield, I suddenly get this weird feeling, a spell of dizziness I expect to pass quickly. Only it doesn’t. It starts getting heavier and heavier, as though someone had placed a wet bag of sand on my head.
I feel groggy, not nauseous … But something is definitely wrong. My vision gets murky.
I start to panic a bit because I can’t figure out what’s going on. What do I do?
Should I try to make it up to the concourse for help? Do I tell Carol? If I tell her, game over … rightfully … with swarming EMS teams and maybe even a medevac extraction from behind second base!
… And a chance to meet Chase and Jimmy!
So – of course – I decide to see if this will pass before I set off The Panic. Wishful thinking – most times – only gets you so far.
All this took place in the span of maybe 60-90 seconds.
When I broke out into a cold sweat, I gave up the struggle to hide my oncoming Medical Attack (a professional medical term). That’s when I turned to Carol and this blog post begins.
The episode was scary enough for me. But I feel terrible for what I put Carol through. She told me I was out of it, lips blue, face white, at one point convulsing, and unable to speak briefly when I did wake up …
… Minutes later apparently, and I remember not a thing from the moment I turned to her to waking up under all those bags of ice.
This was one of those moments when I was glad I married a very beautiful, accomplished, and knowledgeable nurse!
Fortunately, I was still sitting down when the lights when out. And after a preliminary evaluation at the Citizens Bank Park first-aid station and a more thorough going over at Abington Memorial Hospital’s ER, no obvious physical cause was found.
That’s a bit maddening though. Not knowing the whats and whys, only a theory.
The predominant theory appears to be the passing of a kidney stone or some other blockage that caused the back pain (which has disappeared since Wednesday’s episode), and triggering something called a vasovagal reaction to the pain.
It’s a weird, somewhat embarrassing explanation that seems to fit the circumstances. I had never heard of it, but every medical expert we have seen favors the theory.
Could have been a lot worse.
One lesson learned was it ain’t funny – apparently – to the spousal unit left to manage the care and maintenance of a cherished (might be a stretch here …) fainter, especially when there’s no readily available explanation. Got in Big Trouble posting my little adventure on a favorite social media site in mid-evaluation.
She promptly dislocated my iPhone from my possession.
Lesson: Never piss off a nurse!
I finish this with very high praise for the guest relations and first-aid personnel at Citizens Bank Park. They were responsive, professional, and very understanding given the circumstances. The Phillies guest staff did an excellent job!
Thanks to all!
So glad you came out ok. My family has a heredity of vasovagal issues. When I was a kid I remember a couple of my aunts “swooning”. I do not share the biological link but my 2 sisters have problems. One had to give up all of her fav amusement rides because excitement, fear, stress and pain can get this thing going. When she was a teenager it started and she would pass out. They thought it was menses related and nerves so they had her all doped on on valium, not good. Later they killed the nerves from the monthly pain in her lower back and it didn’t help. She found out years later on a tilt table at Deborah Hospital what it was I hope you are going further in your medical attention to this. I wish you continued good health!
Well, I spent hours at the ER and followed up with my family doc. They all have the same opinion (vasovagal), and told me I may never have such an issue again. I was checked out pretty thoroughly at Abington’s ER.
Glad you are feeling better. What were the bags of ice for. Heat stroke? Nurses are wonderful!
Yeah … I think the obvious reaction was to think it was the heat. It was warm, but not really that hot. I think they were being cautious.