Hospitals have nerds too

There are nerds every where you go. Scifi nerds, comic book nerds, computer nerds. You know, nerds. Turns out, there are also nerds working at your local hospital’s emergency department, mostly in the imaging labs. A fact that I got to find out about first hand this week.

Sunday I had a mild soreness in my chest. It carried into Monday and increased in severity. Also increased was my heart rate (or at least it felt like it) and my anxiety level. I’ve never felt anything like it before. We can use the word scary, because it was.

I had Stella take me to the clinic across the street from the house. Arriving there and getting checked in, my chest pain changed from a dull ache to a sharp pain in the center of my chest. Also, my blood pressure was high. **Much higher** than normal in fact. And I was getting dizzy. And the anxiety was blinding.

EMT and ambulance was called. They hooked me up to their portable EKG, started an IV and started what would be a continuous monitoring of my blood pressure. By the time I was loaded into the ambulance, the pain had started to subside but my blood pressure continued to increase. By the time I got the hospital, it was 166/104. I’m not doctor, but when my normal blood pressure is 130/80, I think that’s a bit high.

The nice thing about arriving to the hospital emergency department via ambulance is getting VIP treatment. No need to go through the door where the people of Walmart are waiting to get their fingers stitched back on, no sir. Straight to the front of the line. I was moved into a wheel chair and promptly taken to get another EKG. After that, room 20 was mine and waiting for me.

Upon getting there, the IV tube was replaced, blood pressure and pulse monitoring continued, along with a battery of other things like blood being taken and instructions given to me about what was happening and what would be happening next. Very efficient.

First trip in the hospital bed was to the imaging lab. There I would be getting a trip into the CT scanner, followed by a chest x-ray. The techs in that part of the hospital are very enthusiastic about the work they do and very knowledgeable, especially in how their machines work and what those machines specialize in. And they were only too willing to describe all of that to me in as much detail as time allowed. It was fascinating.

Tests were returned that had results that dictated more tests needed to be performed. Actually, only 1 more test and that was another pass through the CT scanner. Actually, a different, newer, CT scanner than the first one, and with a dye injected into my blood stream. The dye was to help add definition to the image. Cool.

Before that test could be done, my heart rate had to be slower. Much slower than even my resting heart rate. They needed 55 or lower to get the best imagine possible. That meant a new drug that does exactly that. About 90 minutes after taking that, my heart rate had dropped significantly for the tests to be done. More nerds hauled me to the lab in preparation for the test.

This time was different. Since my heart rate was so slow, I had zero energy. No way I could stand, for example. I could barely scoot across the gurney onto the CT bed too. And the sensation of having the iodine dye in my blood stream was very interesting. Fully explained, how and why, by the tech as expected.

To keep this long story even longer, I have no idea what happened other than I did not have a heart attack. I have an appointment with a cardiologist next week to check things out further unless my primary care doc wants me to do something sooner. All tests point to me being mostly healthy as far as my heart is concerned; EKG was good and my CT score was very low.

I was just impressed with the nerds.

Categorized as Personal

By Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.


  1. Glad to hear that your situation is stable, DB. Good move for Stella and you to be aggressive taking care of whatever it was that ailed you, and thanks for sharing. Stay healthy.

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