The only way I can thank everyone who came to my aid on Saturday night is to put it in writing. First let me say, that as of this writing I feel fine, but on Saturday night during the annual FROGS dinner dance I felt a sudden and uncomfortable pain in my chest. It felt like a cramp or like a Charlie Horse. I mentioned it to a few people and several of the doctors in the house felt strongly that we should call 911. Before I knew it, the fire department arrived, they are first responders in some cases, and then the paramedics arrived.

There is a history of heart problems in my family and with that in mind the EMS felt that I should go to the hospital for a complete checkup. I was put on a stretcher in my cocktail dress and as I was wheeled to the ambulance I gave my best Michael Jackson wave. Remember the wave he gave when he was wheeled out after being burned during the Pepsi commercial?

I must say the paramedics were very kind. As soon as I was secure in the ambulance they put an IV in my arm and prepared me for the first of many EKGs. They also gave me four baby Aspirin, mmmm tasty (whoops that is Candy Crush Saga). Who knew that all this goes on in the back of the ambulance?

As we were driving to St. Margaret’s Hospital I “interviewed” the paramedic. He was from a small town outside of Pittsburgh but now lives in the city. He has been a paramedic for about 20 years and his wife is a paramedic also. As we rode out Route 28 I tried to encourage them to just drop me off at my house because by this time I was feeling much better. Needless to say they weren’t having it.

Did I tell you this was my first time in an ambulance and I had not been in the hospital since 1989? When I arrived at St. Margaret’s they gave me the prize for the best dressed patient of the week. My good friend LaMont Jones was with me and he looked dashing. As far as hospitals go, I think St. Margaret’s is one of the best. Each room is a private room and the menu is really varied and large. They also have good cable channels. If you aren’t too sick it is the place to be.

When the “wait staff” delivers your meal they are dressed in black and white, just like a waiter in a restaurant. In the morning, with my French toast and bacon, they brought me a Sunday paper. But one thing you don’t get in any hospital is sleep, noisy patients, beeps and constant tests kept me awake all night.

The doctors don’t know what the pain was from, but they know now that is wasn’t a heart attack. Thanks to the FROGS and their many guests, to all my friends and family who have showed concern. It was the wakeup call that I needed.

(Email the columnist at deb­bie­


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