Every breath I take
While at the football game yesterday, I noticed that when I took a deep breath, I'd feel some pain in my chest. It wasn't unfamiliar. I've had it pop up before, maybe over the last year or two, and I want to say I chalked it up as a muscular issue. Some pain in the left pectoral area did get me to have an EKG done at the doctor's office last year, though. If I recall, he attributed it to posture and the like. Nothing appeared to be wrong with my heart.
The pain varied in intensity while I was at the game, on the ride home, and while I sat at home watching TV. I'd experienced the pain in the same spot, but I couldn't recall ever having it for this long of a time. And thus began my great capacity for worrying. Logically I didn't think I was having a heart attack or displaying the symptoms. I'd engaged in no physical activity that would explain its appearance, but there it was anyway.
This is the point where I began looking up information about heart attacks and the like to determine if I really should be getting to a doctor as soon as possible. It was later at night, and by now I had sufficiently scared myself into deciding that I would call the doctor's office first thing in the morning. I also had the irrational (?) idea that I'd be better off staying awake the entire night so that if something more serious did manifest itself, I could call 911. I didn't want to go to sleep because what if something happened and I didn't/couldn't wake up?
I didn't feel in immediate danger, although I'll grant that not wanting to go to the emergency room and rack up big bills there was playing into the decision too. My attempt to stay up all night couldn't be maintained by the time 3 a.m. rolled around, but I awakened a mere three and a half hours later to sweat out the remaining time until the doctor's office opened.
As it turned out, I couldn't get an appointment today and was pointed toward urgent care or the emergency room. Again, trying to keep costs down, I went to urgent care and gave a detailed history as to what I thought might be going on and why. Long story short: the EKG seemed OK, but you walk into urgent care reporting chest discomfort and (as I found out) you're pretty much guaranteed to go to the ER. They would not allow me to drive myself. That's understandable, although I wasn't thrilled.
So I was transported by ambulance to the hospital. All the time I felt like I'd be OK and that I'd made a possibly expensive decision to get this checked out. But what was done was done.
Blood and a couple chest x-rays were taken. I laid out the whole story to I don't know how many people again. And then I waited while arranging for my aunt to be available to take me back to my car. (Like I said, I felt pretty certain that this wasn't something serious despite my presence there obviously meaning I'd been worried enough.)
My blood was fine. No clots were spotted. Everything looked OK. The doctor thought that it was musculoskeletal and may have been a lingering symptom from the early 2010 car accident I was in. He offered to crack my back, so to speak, and that this may pop whatever into place that was causing the problem. I agreed to give it a shot, and I'm relatively assured that this may be all that was needed. (The ER doctor said something about everything in my back perhaps having been out of alignment.)
I left with prescriptions for ibuprofen and muscle relaxants as well as--and more importantly--(mostly) peace of mind. After a night of working myself into a fearful state, I'll take that result.