Chest Pain Sent Me To The ER At The Age of 43

Fortunately, I was able to do that. I don't have to eat Cheerios to fix something, but to preserve something that through the grace of God already works. I don't have an answer to my pain, but the worst case has been ruled out.

So I ate a second bowl of Cheerios. Tomorrow, I might have oatmeal. It could be days before I can even see my doctor and gosh knows how long until there are answers, if any are available. But I can do something. I can eat Cheerios. And those of you with anxiety know that having a plan, a routine, a course of action can make a big difference in managing our anxieties. I am not afraid I will die of a heart attack. So I'm gonna tap into that and incorporate some healthy changes to strengthen my resiliency.

I'm not out of the woods. In fact, the woods is a great analogy for anxiety - we are never out of the woods, we simply learn to exist within their boundaries. I could have pleurisy or a host of other conditions. It could still be some remote condition that is causing my pain. I learned that my cousin's heart attack was not picked up during her first visit to the hospital. Deep breath.

Anxiety is not for the faint of heart (ha!) at all. It is frightening enough to feel dread and anxiety that you know intellectually is irrational. It is exhausting to face those feelings and power through situations rather than run and hide. Top that with the fact that the anxiety feelings might be due to something else - something more menacing - and that's a powder keg of emotions.

But while I was at AGH, they mentioned that the med evac was landing with a patient transferred from Sharon Regional Hospital. There's an energy that fills that ER when such a situation is taking place - it is both more quiet and more intense. My nurse told me that the attending physicians were all working on a patient so she discharged me. And when we walked to the car, we saw the helicopter preparing to take off, presumably to return to its base. That's very humbling to witness.  It puts your own stuff into perspective.

And so I went home and ate my Cheerios. And made my plan. Wait, is that sort of like bargaining with God?

Heart attack symptoms for women from the American Heart Association.

Anxiety disorder symptoms from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

On Tuesday, we braved -9 temperatures to visit my PCP. I was diagnosed with "costochondritis" which is a huge relief. First, it is NOT a cardiac condition.  Second, it is real and not a product of my anxiety. 

I'm still going to stick with Cheerios in the morning. Maybe Honey Nut?


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