Some kind of “burying the lede” prize has to go to Teresa Nielsen Hayden for using a comment in a downblog thread, rather than Making Light’s front page, to tell her readership that she’d been carted off to the hospital following what was probably a heart attack. This event has since been discussed elsewhere, and we’re starting to get a pile of email (most of which can be summarized as “WTF!?!?”) from friends who didn’t happen to have read 157 comments into a thread from several days ago. So it seems only fair to bring the rest of the world up to date.
A little after midnight this past Thursday night / Friday morning, Teresa and I were talking—about how to code an image in a Making Light post, no less—when she suddenly experienced an unfamiliar and intense pain in her chest, rapidly radiating up into her neck and lower jaw, accompanied by a sensation of powerful pressure deep inside. After a brief discussion we called 911. Impressively well-equipped paramedics arrived in about seven minutes and performed tests on the spot. We were then taken in an ambulance to Brooklyn’s Lutheran Medical Center. As of this morning, Teresa is still there, having graduated from the ER to an actual hospital bed. Further tests have been performed and more are to come. She is not considered to be in critical condition.
Teresa has had odd and hard-to-classify cardio/circulatory events before; among her other health problems, she’s occasionally prone to vaso-vagal spasm. So was this really an Infarction, Class Myocardial? The answer is: it seems probable from everything we’ve been able to find out. It appears to be what the medics assume when they’re not using careful diagnostic-speak. The speed with which the symptoms receded as soon as she was given nitroglycerin (in the ambulance, on the way over) is suggestive. Obviously, we’ll see what Big Medicine has to say when they finally finish all their tests.
Meanwhile, is she okay? Sure; mostly bored. Lutheran Medical Center is a good hospital, but they’re still a hospital, all hurry-up-and-wait, vagueness about what to expect next, and long delays, particularly over a weekend. Since hospitals aren’t really a great place to leave valuables unattended, houseguest Elise Matthesen and I have been bringing her computer to her every morning and taking it home at night. She does have a net connection, but don’t count on her for instant responses to inquiries; for the moment, anything urgent should probably be bounced to me.
What’s next? Well, “lifestyle changes,” no doubt. We do both still expect to teach at Viable Paradise on Martha’s Vineyard a week from now; we will, after all, have an EMT on staff, and we the workshop’s logistics can be adjusted to accommodate physical limitations. Other than that, one day at a time. More when we know it.