Here I was worried about Dave, trying to work on our eating habits to make them healthier, and to keep Dave’s cholesterol from getting too high and I am the one who ends up in the ER with chest pains. Everything is okay, my heart is fine, but the irony isn’t lost on me. Now that I know it wasn’t my heart but rather a messed up back, pulled muscles and anxiety, I can see the humor in the situation. Dave still doesn’t, he still worries that I don’t focus enough on taking care of myself. I admit, I don’t focus much on that, and I probably need to. I’m not getting any younger either.
Here’s what happened…
I was doing a lot of gardening, including pulling weeds and digging up a whole flower bed. Dave wasn’t happy that I didn’t ask for help (and I did all of it while he was gone), but I didn’t think I needed any. I worked on this for three days. Every part of me was sore, and my back hurt, but it seemed ok. I just figured I over worked my muscles. A week or so later the muscle pain had for the most part subsided, or so I thought, but what I was left with were these nagging, and sometimes shooting, chest pains. I tried to ignore them, because I’m an idiot like that, but they didn’t go away completely. I would have days where I was fine, and then days when the pains would come back. In hind sight these where probably days after I put tension on those same muscles or did something to grind on a nerve in my back. I have also been known to occasionally have an anxiety attack, which I find rather embarrassing. These attacks mirror almost every sign of a heart attack including numbness in my arm, so when my heart would pound, I just told myself that it was just anxiety. This went on for a few weeks (again, yes I’m an idiot, if you have chest pains go to the ER) Dave noticed something was up, but I told him I was just sore, and gave him an excuse for why. Until, one day when Dave got home from work, finally I was scared enough to confess to him that I had been having chest pains for weeks. I also told him that I really thought it was just pulled muscles, because the pains would come and go. His response was did I want him to take a shower before or after we went to the Emergency Room. In other words, he didn’t give me the option of going or not, we were going. I felt kind of stupid in the ER hooked up to all the gizmos and what not, that is until the ER doctor made me feel even more stupid about not coming in right away. Once they completed the tests and found my heart was ok, the doctor told me the chest pains were likely cause by severe muscle strain and exacerbated by acute anxiety. I still had to go back in for a stress test the next day, but they let me go home. At this point I felt totally stupid for not having gone in sooner. Dave acted relieved, but watched me like a hawk for the next few days. I still had chest pains after that, but since I knew it wasn’t a heart attack, they didn’t get worse because of anxiety. Flash forward another a week or so, I wake up and my upper back is killing me. I figured I just slept wrong, but then after it persisted for a few days I broke down and went to a chiropractor. She took x-rays, which she showed me, and very clearly there was a problem with my upper back and my neck. She adjusted both, and voila! I have not had a single chest pain since.
What did I learn from all of this? Well, if you have chest pains don’t be an idiot, go to the ER! Rule out the really scary stuff first, you’ll feel much better. Don’t keep things from Dave, sorry Dave. Also, don’t just focus on everything and everyone else – Handle Your Health Jane!