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My Emergency Room Confession

In the ER with chest pain

I had no intention of sharing this recent episode in my family’s life, but it’s becoming such a large part – it’s difficult to avoid.

For starters, I’ve got an irregular heart beat which means my cardiac ticker tends to tock when it should tick. It’s not been an issue – until recently.

On Wednesday, August 29th at 6:45pm I had to call 911 to have an ambulance take me to the hospital for severe chest pain.

They ran a battery of tests and kept me overnight due to my family history of heart issues – I’ve included a couple very flattering pictures I was able to snap with my untethered arm as mementos of my ER stay.

The IV they used for the myriad of blood tests

The attending medical team seemed to think it might have been an atrial fibrillation that caused blood to back up into one of the chambers in my heart – thankfully, there was no cardiac damage or injury to the vascular network that feeds blood to my heart.

I’ve been fine since the incident, but I recorded a short video to explain some of the lifestyle changes I’ve consciously made.

I meant to say in the video that I’m on a low-dose aspirin regimen (no other meds) and a low-sodium, hearth-healthy diet.

Again, I’m feeling fine but the goal is to do everything I can to ensure I’m around as long as I can be for my wife and kids – trusting God for those things I can’t control.

Question: Have you ever had to call 911 for yourself or a loved one?


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  1. theromanticvineyard says:

    Wow, Tor. I’m so glad you are doing okay. We’ve gone through the whole Atriel Fib with Tom’s step dad. It seems like a frightening thing to experience. We will pray for God to heal you and bring your HDL levels up.
    Daily runs and WW should help a lot.
    We had to call 911 for my dad during my son’s high school graduation. Right as they were calling Jason’s name, my mom leaned over to me and said, “I think your Dad is having a heart attack!” Talk about mixture of emotions. My sister is a nurse so she immediately gave him an aspirin and called 911. The paramedics were there in minutes and we all left with him and went to the lobby. When Jason returned to our seat we were all gone. He thought we left as soon as he received his diploma and had no idea what was going on. :-( Needless to say, when Jason graduated from college, I was in tears at finally getting to see him enjoy the full honor of graduating with our full attention.
    My dad ended up not having a heart attack–it was a reaction to some meds he was taking for blood pressure.
    Blessings to you and your family,

  2. Glad you are OK! It must have been scary. Sounds like you are on your way to better health. Prayers for success in your efforts and for healing of your body. Post a picture of your kids in front of your treadmill to motivate you. ;-)

  3. Nan Porter says:

    Thanks for sharing, Tor. We can pray better when we know what the need is. You are going to be successful at W.W. forever, with this experience as motivation. Go for good health!! Just like you told your son when he rolled over successfully, celebrate your victories :)

  4. God bless you Thor. I think this is harder for men. I’m so glad so that the solutions given are some that you can do and see good results from them. Take care of yourself!

  5. Kim Sickles says:

    As the owner of a tocking ticker, I know your pain, worry and apprehension. Mine likes to occasionally skip every fourth beat, making for a worrisome feeling. I have found that staying away from caffeine also makes a difference. Alcohol also throws mine off, even just a glass of wine. Stay on top of things. Remember to relax. Listen to your doc and your wife. Smell the roses and look forward to a long, happy life.

  6. Know the feeling my friend. We had to rush my ex to the hospital when my son was about 5 for the same reason. The good thing is that he prayed very effectively in shul the next morning…
    Good thing our diet is ALWAYS low sodium- you are welcome any time!

  7. I have never had to call for myself (However during my 1st kidney stone episode, I truly believed I was about to checkout) I have had to call for my oldest son back when when he was about 16. Turned out it was his gall bladder. I have also had to call for both of my aging in-laws. They are always times to reflect on what is really important in life.

  8. At least you thought to call 911. I am emergency trained, fairly knowledgeable about medical practices, and still… but I’m getting ahead of myself…

    My wife had just had laser surgery on an internal organ and wasn’t doing all that well. It was late at night when she started vomiting, bright red everywhere. Training or not, I began ordering what I had to do: get dressed. Get her dressed. Figure out where the hospital was. Bundle her into the car. Lay down a blanket first… and what is that smell of strawberry?

    I honestly thought my wife was vomiting blood, and my “orderly thought” seemed rational to me. It wasn’t until after we figured out she was throwing up strawberry Jell-O that it occurred to us that I never once thought to call 911 even though I’d been doing ride-alongs with an EMT friend all week.

    Lesson’s learned: Don’t count on me in a family emergency (I’m fine when it isn’t a loved one) and eat LIME Jell-O after surgery.

    Prayers with you, Tor!

  9. Tor, praying for you.

    Yes, I’ve had to call 911 for a significant health issue that my wife dealt with in the past. Thankfully, things have been better.

  10. Wow. I had no idea. I must say, it was an eye-opener for me… certainly as it regards you, my friend, but even startlingly as it relates to me. A wake-up call, of sorts, shouting to me that it’s time again to start the turnaround to a healthier lifestyle. Thanks for sharing. As you know you (and your clan) are in our hearts, and always in our thoughts/prayers.

  11. Bonnie Anderson says:

    Oh my, Tor. How scary. I’m so glad you’re okay and taking care of yourself. What a comfort to know God is in control. A couple of years ago I had to call 911 for Bob when he became overcome with carbon monoxide while remodeling our bathroom. It was a night I’ll never forget when he stumbled out to our porch, collapsed and went unconscious. While waiting for the ambulance, which arrived in about 4 minutes, he came to but couldn’t speak. He kept looking at me with empty, helpless eyes. When the paramedics gave him oxygen he came around and I drove him to the hospital where they kept him and monitored him overnight. His levels were so high but he came out fine, just as smart as ever.

  12. So glad you are ok! The heart is such a scary situation. Will be praying for you!

  13. Glad you’re ok! I did have to call 911 for my son once, bringing about a stay at the city Children’s Hospital after a visit to the local emergency room. Scary at the time, but he came through fine.

  14. hipmamamedia says:

    Oh my goodness, Tor! That is quite a serious situation, and scary, too. Glad you have good medical care and are doing what the doctor ordered. You definitely want to dance at those weddings! Never called 911, but we did rush our daughter, then 3, to emergency where she was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes. She had a blood glucose of 661,which is near-coma for anyone, much less a tiny toddler! I know it was God’s care that kept her until we got to the ER. We had the same with our son, 10 years later, when at 15 he also came down with type 1. Both are dependent on an insulin pump to keep them alive, but I thank God always for His care and provision through modern medicine. Serious health issues like that, and your heart condition affect the whole family, so prayers and thoughts with you and your family.

  15. Hi Tor, you may not know me but I’m a coworker of Michelle, who guest blogged here and she told me you went through a serious heart problem recently. I’m praying you will be well and just want to let you know that there are people wishing you to be well. – Jasmin from Philippines.

  16. Tor, not sure how I missed this. Very sorry. Have been a bit out of the loop.

    Have been there; for me, it was abuse of energy drinks that put me in the ER.

    Far scarier was when my wife suffered anaphylaxis subsequent to eating a mango. Almost lost her. Wouldn’t have had the kids we now have.


  1. […] written a few times on this blog about the scary heart issue that I had toward the end of last year and my subsequent overnight in the hospital emergency […]

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