We made our move from Florida to Kansas City in May of 2009. We moved into our home on a large lot on the corner of NW 65th Place and Nevada in a community called Thousand Oaks. The job I held at the time of the move was a remote position in which I worked from home. So a move between these two states was not an issue, especially since the company was actually in New Jersey. The remote aspect of the occupation obviously provided great flexibility for me and my family. But within a few weeks of arriving in Missouri, and one week from closing on our new home, I was laid off. Not a great start to the move.
Fast forward to 2011, I was given the opportunity to return to the same company in a consultant role performing the same duties I had before in quality assurance. Granted the money was less as contractor of sorts, the pliability of my schedule remained. But over the next two years my job duties evolved. My responsibilities and workload increased to where I was handling more important projects beyond that of my previous employment.
Shanti and I began discussing the idea of pushing for a return as a full-time employee. Despite the fact that we knew it would restrict the liberal schedule, being on staff would come with an increase in pay and benefits including paid time off.
I began negotiating this with the company in early 2013. By the beginning of April they agreed to bring me back to full-time status the aforementioned salary and benefits. After paperwork and some light training, May 13th was assigned as my official start date as an employee.
I have to admit I was little nervous throughout the process. Mostly because my previous role was more in the background, and that is my cup of tea. Now I was working my way up a ladder of sorts which put me more in front of people. Granted “in front of people” actually consisted of regular conference calls from the comfort of my home, but I hate the phone.
As the start of my new role approached the stress began to creep in. It wasn’t just a change in my position at work, it was a shift out of my comfort zone and routine. Presuming it was related to said stress, I had started to experience intermittent chest pains in the weeks leading up to the big day of May 13th. They weren’t excruciating by any means. And although I was in my early 40’s and enjoyed chicken wings and pizza, the minimal pain and infrequency kept the blip of a heart issue from appearing on my radar. That was until one day the pain didn’t stop.
I was sitting at my work desk on Wednesday May 8th, five days from starting my new appointment. Let me reiterate that up until that point these pains hadn’t been extremely painful and they typically faded after 15 to 20 minutes. I was going on about 40 minutes this particular day so I did what any wise forty-something adult would do…I consulted the internet.
Being the poster child for the stereotype that men usually ignore health concerns and doctor treatment, I caved and made an appointment after the sensation lingered for an hour straight. What I mean is, I called Shanti at work and had her call the doctor’s office…I’m not a phone person remember. So she called, made the appointment, informed her boss and then headed home to pick me up. I then let my boss know of the situation. While I had her full support and understanding I’m quite sure I perpetuated the chest pains by dwelling on the fact that I was leaving work just five days before my boss was going to give me more money. But I guess I couldn’t do the job dead, so I relented…even if only slightly.
Not knowing what the doctor visit would have in store I called my mother on the way. While I felt there was no serious concern I knew I should still inform her since she was half way across the country in Florida. Of course I proactively explained that I hadn’t mentioned the issue previously because I felt it was no big deal. But seeing as I was on my way to get checked out for “chest pains” I figured she should know.
As soon as I hung up Shanti expressed that she was surprised I didn’t ask Mom to fly out. Again thinking there was no real severity I didn’t think it was necessary, but she knew if there ended up being any health concerns that my mother should be there. Knowing that Mom was retired and could easily get a “buddy pass” from a retired airline relative I figured it wouldn’t hurt. I called her back and asked her to fly out. After hanging up she immediately arranged for a flight first thing the next morning. Part of me thinks she was packing a suitcase before I called back to invite her out.
After several test and details that are essentially boring to write about(and I tried) the doctor told me that they were 85-90% sure that there was nothing going on related to my heart. However, if it was my heart, I was over 40 with a desk job and a diet that consisted of essentially non-food. The doctor’s advice was in two parts. He first suggested I get checked out by a cardiologist to be on the safe side. Part two of his advice was that since it typically takes one to two weeks to get an appointment with a cardiologist, and again since it is my heart we’re dealing with, that I should simply check myself into the hospital’s ER overnight and the on-duty cardiologist will check me on his rounds.
That was not how I wanted to spend my evening, but it seemed like the wisest choice. After a few hours I was checked into the hospital and finally spoke with the cardiologist. He felt there was no need for Shanti to stay over night. The doctor clearly said it would be an uneventful evening and we felt that if she stayed that it would worry the kids even more – it would be best to have Mommy at home.
We said our goodbyes and eventually the nurse got me settled into my overnight room. I talked with Shanti and the kids before they were put to bed back home. It seemed like a long day and I was tired by 8:30 that evening, but it was difficult to fall asleep as I was informed that every three hours the nurse would be coming to check my vitals. And that would continue throughout the night.
Thunderstorms had started rolling into the area, I could see and hear the rain through the window of my room. Around 9:00pm the nurse came in for a vitals check. Before she left the nurse confirmed that she’d be back in around midnight to check again. I fell fast asleep within minutes of her leaving the room.
For whatever reason I just happened to wake up around 11:50pm before the nurse returned. I reached over to grab my phone off of the side table and there was an email from a friend in the neighborhood. I opened the message upon my finger swipe to see the subject line of: “Fire”. The body of the email simply said, “You guys ok?”
Now, my friend doesn’t know that I’m not at home. He doesn’t know that I’m in hospital. So he doesn’t know I’m in the hospital getting checked out for chest pains…waking up to read an email titled “Fire” and asking if “You guys ok?”. Then another email comes in. This one was a push notification from our neighborhood’s Facebook page. I opened to read the neighbor’s post. –
“Cable’s out, lightning strike at 65th and Nevada!”
Well I hate to leave my cravers hanging, but after these emails I failed to reach Shanti to make sure everything was ok. I was left hanging myself…I had to wait for what was next. Check back soon for the next craving
Peace, and forgive me!