Sunday, November 13, 2005

Trip to the ER


Today was a first for me - my first ever trip to the ER. I had been experiencing chest pains since Thursday, and the stabbing pains were only getting worse. After only getting 2 hours of sleep last night because of the pain, I finally gave in and decided to drive over.

What exactly qualifies as an ER-worthy condition, anyway? I spent the entire 4 hours there feeling guilty for bothering them. I felt like they thought I was faking, or seeking attention. I mean, who has heart-related chest pains at age 26, anyway? I know I must've sounded nuts, but I figured chest pains weren't something to take lightly. And yet I still felt guilty for being there.

Well, the chest x-rays and EKG turned out normal, so the doctor threw around a bunch of big words as to possible causes, none of which were "fatal": costochondritis, pleurisy, and pericarditis, just to name a few. In the end, I don't think he really knew exactly what the problem was, just that "rest and elevation" should help it go away. He didn't seem too worried about it. So I figured I shouldn't be either.

That is, until I overheard what was going on in the partition next to me (the ER's "rooms" are just spaces marked off by curtains, so it was kinda hard not to). Anyway, this woman was describing symptoms IDENTICAL to mine: sharp stabbing chest pain the size of a golf-ball, spreading up into the left jaw, and worse when laying down. There must've been 4 different nurses/doctors in there getting her comfortable and helping her, getting an IV into her, getting the pain to stop immediately. Meanwhile, I've been laying on a gurney on the other side of the curtain in my lame robe for what seemed like an hour, listening to all this (thinking they had forgotten about me, too). The difference? She was 50-years-old with a prior heart attack, whereas I'm 26, and well, no prior history of anything.... But a "history" has to start SOMEwhere, right? After hearing that, I was no longer feeling as good about my pat on the back and "take two of these and call me in the morning" advice.....

1 comment:

Mamasita said...

If you've read Tia's blog on Layer by Layer, you'll get an eyefull of what she went through in the ER. They completely misdiagnosed her and a MIDWIFE that works with her regular doc was the one to finally get it right. I'm sorry you went through this crapola. Yes, you're right, a "history" has to start somewhere. I'd follow up with your physician and make a stink until they do what they're paid to do...give you correct medical care! :D

I hope you feel better soon. ER visits are horrible no matter how quickly they get you in to be seen.