Trip to the ER a wake-up call

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 25, 2017

couple of weeks ago, I found myself in the emergency room at River Region.

The reason was chest pains, or rather a pain in my chest. Fortunately, it was a false alarm; the pain coming from overdoing it on a new exercise bike that works the arms a well as the legs.

It hit late on a Friday night, and concerned me. I asked my wife to drive me to the hospital, telling her I had chest pains. Her first response was “where does it hurt?” then “better put some pants on.”

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While changing from my track shorts to more presentable attire (not that it would have mattered that much), my wife and daughter peppered me with 20 questions: do you feel tingling in your arm; do you feel nauseous; do you have a pain in the upper back (that from my wife, who had her gall bladder removed years ago); does your head ache; does your shoulder hurt (the answer was yes, because I have arthritis in my left shoulder).

The questions continued in the car on the way to the emergency room.

When we arrived, I went in met with the nurse and put down the two magic words, “chest pain,” which got me into the back probably sooner than some other patients waiting to go in. I don’t mean that as a joke or to be humorous; I’m glad they recognized the potential for a problem that could require immediate care.

After I went back, the nurse took my vital signs, asked me more questions about my pain and went to find a room for me. In the meantime, I underwent an EKG and was moved into a room, where my wife and I sat and waited for test results. The only stressful time was when the charge nurse came in to take blood. My fear of needles is legendary in my family, and I’m sure my blood pressure hit new records when she produced that needle and those vials. I will have to give her credit. I barely felt it.

When the doctor came in and told us everything was normal, I let out a sigh of relief. After that, the only anxiety was waiting to be released. I’m not complaining about the staff. Anyone who knows me very well will tell you I hate being in hospitals and emergency rooms — especially emergency rooms.

My experience was enough to put a bit of a scare into me to take better care of myself, lose some weight and try and exercise more, and when the bill from my visit comes in, I’ll probably have blood pressure spike. But I’m glad I went.

I also want to thank the people expressed their concern for my health and who offered up prayers. It was all very appreciated.

And I hope if anyone else runs into the same situation I had, they’ll do what I did. Better safe than sorry is a pretty good rule to follow.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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