I was mortified earlier this week. I work in an ED and during this story, keep in mind that I am a 25 year old healthy-looking female. I have taken lamictal for depression for 4 years and have not had problems with depression. I have been happy as a clam. I also have a prescription for ativan, which I had not taken for 4 months. When I took it, it was because I had obsessive thoughts about things my dad had said to me (he's very heavy handed) and I was up for hours at night regurgitating these thoughts in my head. The ativan helped me to sleep.
Well, the other day I was at work and kind of felt odd, and I purposefully did not drink the one mountain dew that I normally drink at work. Later during the shift, I felt a little odder. When I got home, my heart was beating rather fast, but I did not take my pulse, and I fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning, I took my pulse and it was 100-110. I decided to push fluids, wondering if I might be dehydrated. I went to work. My chest started hurting that morning before I headed to work at 2 pm, when my shift starts, but I didn't tell anyone. Then, I was just standing there at work a couple hours into my shift and I could feel in the snap of a finger, that my heart had kicked up its ticking by 100 notches. Then I took my pulse and it was 145. The charge nurse was nearby and took my vitals. My blood pressure was 140/85, when it's normally 100/60 and pulse was 137 (pulse is normally 88). So charge nurse said that I needed to be admitted and get a stat ekg. So there I was admitted in my own ED where I work (can we say mortifying--esp. with a psych hx?). I told them that I take the lamictal for depression and that I have ativan, but haven't taken it for four months. They put me on the monitor, did a portable chest x-ray. Did an ekg (which looked like sinus tach, but they didn't rule out stable svt [with a foci really close to the sinus node]). They gave me 3 bags of NS, even though I had no reason to be dehydrated. They gave me an aspirin and nitro paste. Then they did blood work and found a positive d-dimer, which means you might have a PE. So then they took me for a spiral chest CT with contrast. I got quite anxious about the idea of a PE and waited to be offered ativan [felt weird asking for it....didn't want to be thought of as a psych pt by the nurses I work with]. The nurse came over and ask me nicely "how much do you usually take." I was so embarrassed because I hadn't been taking ativan for four months and had told her that previously. The CT came back negative for PE. They finally gave me metoprolol or labetol, which slowed down my heart and I left the ED after 8.5 hours with a heart rate of about 100-105.
I didn't go to work the next day and my chest still kind of hurt.
I went to work the next day and my chest still kind of hurt. But I was working. Well, at one point I had been standing for a while near the nurses station and suddenly my chest felt stabbing pain and I started sweating a little and put my hand on my chest. Well, the nurse nearby looked at me and sweetly said in her normal tone of voice (i.e. not a whisper) "do you have any ativan?" I said "no... IT'S not anxiety." However, I was just mortified that she'd say that at the nurses station (how could she say it out loud like that?). She told me she was sorry later and that she thought that the thing she had asked me to do immediately prior to my chest pain had made me anxious [which it had nothing to do with it]. So she said she had felt like she caused it. So...I'm thinking....she thinks I have an anxiety disorder.
So I go find myself a family practice doctor the next day to see, who happens to be a resident and she does what I perceive to be a very unthorough exam. [i mean...I would at least get a follow up EKG or set of cardiac enzymes if I had a pt with chest pain]. She left for a while, probably talking with her attending and came back and said she thought it was anxiety. She said that I should probably get on klonopin. So I said, why don't you prescribe that? And she said she didn't feel comfortable prescribing it. Well, later I wondered if she was just nervous about prescribing a psych drug if the problem wasn't a psych one. She also suggested an antacid, which was probably a good idea. I've never had a problem with acid reflux before, but it's a good idea to try. It didn't help. I took 4 mylanta yesterday and it didn't help. I took two this morning while we were hiking, and it still didn't help. Today I went hiking with some friends and felt more chest pain 2/10. It was a fast paced 7 mile hike. In terms of anxiety, an example of anxiety more typical for me would have been an incident that happened last night. I was at a party and someone showed me that someone else was crumpled on the floor. My heart rate increased. I took some deep breaths. Walked over. Checked responsiveness. The woman was reponsive and there was a nurse at her side talking to her (and several other people). Once it was okay, I walked away and my heart slowed right down in 3-4 minutes. And during that whold incident, my heart did not increase near 140 beats a minute.
So...my question is.....fine.....I suppose I *should* trust the doc and treat this as a psych problem. Obviously starting a job in an ER is anxiety provoking, as is being away from my family for the holidays for the first time. Given that I'm so young, it would be odd to have something else major going on with my heart.
But klonopin during the day? Can people work on klonopin? The doctor said that lots of people work on klonopin. I'm not an expert, so I thought maybe some of you would have thoughts on this. If klonopin will prevent another incident of 140 bpm heart rate and quell the recent chest pain....fine....but I've never made a medication error before or done anything unfortunate, and I'm worred that taking a benzo at work might make it easier to make a mistake?
As for the ativan that I hadn't touched in four months, well, I am so mortified that all the nurses know I have ativan and how they might think of me that I have been taking it to help me fall asleep at night the last two nights or else I keep thinking about the nurses' station for hours (I hadn't taken it for 4 months).
As for the job. I love the job. I love working in the ED. I know I have what it takes to work there. one piece of advice someone gave me yesterday is that I absolutely must not mind-read what other nurses are thinking about me now that they know what is supposed to be confidential information about me [which was shared at report and through word of mouth all around the ED]. My supervisor was even at the nursing station when the nurse asked me if I had any ativan (mortifying, I say).
Any constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated.