Is the room spinning or is it just me?

Usually, I like my blog to be about ideas. About pulling them apart like cotton candy and examining them, but I’m preoccupied right now. So I’m going to share what has me preoccupied. It’s a funny little personal story. If it isn’t funny feel free to throw tomatoes.

Recently I started having dizzy spells, a couple times I thought I was going to faint. No feminine Scarlett O’Hara swoon, but an awkward kerplop. I have also had some chest pain and shortness of breath (minor details, I’m invincible remember?), so my doctor wants me to wear a heart monitor to see if heart arrythmias are causing the problem. No, that is not the funny part, hold those tomatoes!

I called the Cardiology people and they set me up with this “event monitor.” And it has a name: the King of Hearts. Don’t you love that? Some doctor out there has a sense of humor. That should have been my first clue of the crazy things to come.

It’s pretty basic: two electrodes and a monitor that is just the right size to fit in my “fifth pocket” (translation: my bra). When I have an episode of dizziness, I just push a button and it records the “event”. Simple. Oh, one minor detail…it makes this continuous beeping sound for about 60 seconds while it is recording. “Will that be a problem?” the nurse asks. I tell her it won’t since I work overnight shift and the boys will be asleep. Oh, and “please bring this back. Some people don’t, and it costs $1500.” Gotcha, bring it back.

I admit I was a little nervous at first. Not nervous that it might pick up some arrythmia, but nervous that it would not. What if I had one of those “mechanic” moments. You know like when you take your car to the mechanic because it is making a strange noise. The mechanic test drives it and says, “Sorry, ma’am, we can’t duplicate the problem.” All the while, he is looking at you like perhaps YOU are the problem (loose wiring inside your head.) So I’m wearing the monitor and waiting…

Here is where the fun begins. I go to work and we get a call on the radio, “Girls Program requesting Back up.” Remember I told you we don’t “put hands on” on Overnight shift because there is not enough staff, so I mosey over there thinking there will be some “planned ignoring” or maybe some diplomatic negotiations ahead. (Yeah, right, emotionally unbalanced teenage girls do NOT negotiate.) When I got there, I found another staff member (from Swing shift, uh oh!) saying to two girls, “Ok, girls, your direction is to your rooms. I’m going to give you a five count and then we are going to put hands on.”

As he is counting down, I’m thinking, “Hey, we don’t do ‘hands on’ on this shift!” And, “ok, can I at least take off this $1500 heart monitor, first?!” I can’t help but laugh to myself when I imagine what his reaction would be if I actually said that. “HEART monitor???” he might say as he turned pale. Fortunately, the girls went to their rooms, disaster averted. And no, I never told him.

The first “event” actually happened while I was home alone, so no problem. I started to feel a little more relaxed this won’t be a “mechanic” moment after all.

The next time was more complicated. I was at work and wouldn’t you know, the boys were not going to bed. I was sitting in the hallway near them doing my “planned ignoring” thing when it hit. This episode was pretty strong and I thought, “Oh no! The machine beeps.” Once again, there was an imaginary conversation, “That’s it boys, I’ve had it. I’m going to explode! When you hear the beep, you better take cover!” Maybe not.

Meanwhile one of the boys is talking to me, and I’m feeling dizzy and short of breath and not really listening so I mumble, “ok, whatever” (as all moms sometimes do). Discreetly, I push the button. The beep starts and I pretend I am engrossed in my book and don’t hear it. The boys, however, are looking all around and trying to figure out where the noise is coming from. “Does he have an alarm on his door?” asks one who is opening a door that he shouldn’t be and quickly closing it, I might add. I’m trying not to laugh…gotta be still for monitoring, you know. I guess even teenage boys get a little freaked out about unexplained noises in the night because they all got up and went to bed. That was handy.

The next “event” happened while I was in the library at my children’s school. I had just sat down at a computer and several other moms, friends of mine, were sitting close by talking quietly with one another. Then it hit, dizziness, shortness of breath, pain in my left shoulder. “What timing” I think to myself and push the button. As the now familiar beep sounds, I hear the women around me wondering aloud, “What is that sound? Is that the computer booting up?” asks one. “I’ve never heard it make that sound before,” says another. I just sat there staring at the computer and pretended I didn’t hear anything, not the questions and certainly not the beeping sound. Afterwards, I thought about confessing, but nah, somethings are better left unsaid.

That night as I arrived at work a couple boys were fighting. The Staff were trying to keep them apart, and well you guessed it. We had to put “hands on”. (I don’t know why I keep telling you we don’t do that on my shift, apparently we do.) The boy ended up on the floor in a “T restraint”. I was kneeling on the floor holding the young man’s left arm. Another staff member was holding his right arm, and there were two other staff members on his legs. Then all we have to do is wait until he calms down enough that he is no longer a threat to himself or someone else. No problem, we’ve done this before.

Only…you guessed it. I started getting dizzy! “Shall I push the button now,” I thought, not without some amusement. I wondered what the nice folks who lent me this $1500 equipment would think if they knew I wrestling on the floor with teenage boys? For that matter, what would my doctor, who recommended the heart monitor, think if he knew what I was up to? I think I’ll keep that question rhetorical.

Still I haven’t had one of those near fainting moments, so the King of Hearts and I will be spending a little more time together. Time enough for some more funny incidents, I’m sure.

You may be wondering if I will tell you the test results. Only if I can find a way to make a joke out of it.


  1. Welcome to the club!At least you can find some humor in it! Hubby’s wondering why I’m laughing so hard (maybe it’s because I’ve worn one of those things a time or two myself?)…

  2. Thanks Pili, I’m glad I could make you laugh, that was the point of sharing!!!I lost my sense of humor once and a couple months of depression followed. I hope I never go to THAT place again! Leslie

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