Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eventful Day II

I was scheduled to go to New York yesterday evening, spend a few days there getting the NY developers up and running on automated builds, and so forth. I had lunch with Pierrette, said goodbye, then went to the TD Bank to get some US$.

I waited in line for ten minutes, and then as I was third from the front or so, I suddenly felt as if I'd lost all the blood in my head -- vision went black, "closing in" for about a half second, then came back, and my heart was racing, both fast and strong.

Possibly because I was a little disoriented by that, I finished my line, did the cash exchange, then went and sat in the chairs. I was still feeling like my heart was racing, and I was sweating a little. At this point, I wondered if wearing a blazer and a winter jacket in a bank line was the only source of all this, or if there was somethign deeper, so I went down to the Shoppers one floor below and got my blood pressure checked. The Pharmacist said that my pulse was a little high and my pressure a little low, and that I should take it easy, but that nothing was necessarily wrong.

I walked (very slowly) back to the office; that took maybe 20 minutes, at which point I was still feeling like my heart was racing, so I called TeleHealth. They suggested that I should probably go to emergency, just to get checked out, so I let my colleagues know that I wasn't going to NY, went down, got in a Taxi, and went to Toronto General.

It took about 15 or 20 minutes to see the triage nurse, who I guess decided I wasn't critical, because it then took another four hours or so before I got in from the waiting room. (Whee). During that time, I cancelled my travel arrangements and then Pierrette arrived. Within about half an hour of waiting in the emergency room (sitting, in a chair), I felt pretty normal again. Pierrette brought me some fruit and water, which helped to stave off hunger. The moving sign said I shouldn't eat or drink before seeing a doctor, which in the modern system of long wait times at the hospital seems like bad advice, so I didn't take it.

When they finally let us in, they hooked me up to an EKG machine, took my blood pressure and some blood. After analyzing the results, I am apparently fine, so they decided that I had a small bout of vasovagal/positional presyncope, which apparently means, in this case: you came in from the cold to a hot area, wearing two jackets. The heat made your blood vessels dilate. You stood in line for a while, causing the blood to pool at your feet. The combination of these factors lowered your blood pressure, causing dizziness/faintness (pre-syncope), which your heart tried to compensate for by beating faster.

It's a "rational" explanation, but I haven't heard anyone else relate to me the time they were hot in a bank line and felt faint, so I have to admit I'm not very satisified by the explanation: it doesn't give me much to go on, or to do. So, yes, I'm going to set up an appointment with the naturopath and with Dr. Sood and see what they have to say. In the meantime, I'm going to take it easy and hope that I don't see any further signs of something being off.

Fingers crossed.

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