Saturday morning started very normally. Catie had to be to work at 9, so we were going to head out the door at 8:45. At 8:15 it crossed my mind that I could get a quick shower, but I decided nah, I’ll do it after I drop her off. And brush my hair. And brush my teeth. And get more protein to add to my “only had an English muffin and coffee” breakfast. Except, no.
8:45 I’m walking through my laundry room on my way out the side entrance of our house. I’m passing by the dryer and OW OW OW OW OW. My chest suddenly feels like there is a really tight elastic band around it and it HURTS. I can’t breathe, even, because it hurts so much.
What is RULE #1 of chest pain as an adult? PAY ATTENTION TO IT.
I paused a few moments, thinking it would pass quickly. It didn’t. Catie came up behind me, so I started to walk forward again. I took a step or two outside the house and stopped again because, really, I shouldn’t ignore this. Catie is looking at me at this point. I get my phone and start to google “women heart attack symptoms” because I know they are different from men’s. The first one is chest pressure. Well, yeah. But I don’t seem to have the other ones, so I get in the car and keep scrolling, holding onto part of my chest because it still really hurts. Catie gets Dad, and I start to think–you know, I probably should get this looked at. I drive to urgent care and let Jim take her to work.
Urgent care scolds me, saying I should have gone to the ER. She calls 911. At this point I’m starting to get a little scared and cry a bit. Which I hate. Because I am woman, hear me roar, not cry in public! Jim calls and finds out what’s going on and agrees to meet at the hospital. The ambulance pulls up, gets me on a gurney and out the door (humiliations galore–I DO NOT like attention!) and into the back of the ambulance. The start hooking me up to stuff and asking 100 questions. The comes a moment when the band tightens around my chest and I literally couldn’t breathe at all. It passes and I can breathe, but am kind of getting really frightened at this point. If it isn’t a heart attack, what the heck is it?
We arrive at the ER, I’m wheeled in, hooked up to their EKG and asked more questions. They do bloodwork and a chest x-ray quickly. Jim and his mom come in. I get another squeeze-can’t-breathe thing. My bp (normally 110/72) is 145/82, which kind of freaks me out. I NEVER have high blood pressure. Even pregnant with quadruplets I never had it.
EKG is normal. Chest xray is good. Blood work is good except for the D-Dimer, which is positive or elevated or something and might indicate that I have a blood clot. It’s going to be a few more hours. I feel ok, so Jim’s mom leaves to go home to the kids. Jim leaves to get me McDonalds and then head home to take Ethan and Laura to a field trip with Overbrook at a local park. My sister comes to the ER to keep me company. The CT is ok, although the contrast part hitting my system is WEIRD.
While waiting for CT results, what the doctor tells me is that I did not and am not having a heart attack. Which, HALLELUJAH. Thankyouverymuch.
CT shows I have slight pneumonia. And the horrible band of pain and pressure is Costochondritis. “Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). Pain caused by costochondritis might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.” (mayoclinic.org) Yeah, that.
They sent me home on a Z-pack and an anti-inflammatory. I took it easy the rest of Saturday, but Sunday I was up and doing regular stuff. Today I was grocery shopping and feeling fine. If I had to go to the ER and have a dramatic adventure, at least it’s with an “all’s well that ends well” ending!