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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

To go, or not to go

Yesterday was a laid back morning. Not much going on. Pretty much finished with real work here and surfing the web. We went to lunch at the small local sandwich shop where I go every workday. I got a bowl of really good chicken mushroom soup, which I had gotten a cup of the day before. Then, while walking back into the building from the parking lot it happened. I got extremely sharp chest pains in my left breast area. I held my breath waiting for the pain to subside. It didn't. I kinda curled my shoulder around and protected the area with my left arm. It still hurt, a lot. I stopped walking completely. The two women with me stopped and looked back. I slowly got into the building, and the pain was still sharp. They had me sit down. The pain started to not be breath-taking sharp, but still was there. We found my team lead and he asked what I wanted to do. What I wanted was for him to make that decision. I'm over 50. But I have no prior history of heart disease, or any family history of it. I don't smoke, don't drink alcohol very much and I'm 115 lbs. But it hurt like hell. Co-workers gathered, looking concerned and waiting for me to make a decision. I couldn't decide, couldn't come out and say, yes, lets go to the ER. I had them page the Unit's medical guy. He made the usual comments, that I should go to the ER, that time was an issue. I asked about secondary symptoms, none of which I had. The pain had backed off a bit, but still hurt way more than it should have 20 minutes after it had started.

I ended up going to the ER. Two co-workers dropped me off on their way to another errand. I said I was fine to stay alone, and walked into the ER. One of them stayed until I was acknowledged, and then left reluctantly. They got me in quickly, on a heart monitor, gave me an aspirin and then something else to help my stomach, even though I said I didn't need it. While drawing blood the technician said I seemed dehydrated. I stood for the chest x-rays. Then I catnapped on the gurney in the ER room for a couple of hours waiting on the results. The two co-workers stopped back. I said that I was ok, the pain was gone since the aspirin, and they should just go on. When they turned me loose from ER the diagnosis was inflamation of the cartilage between my ribs and breastbone. I went to the waiting room to call for a ride, and Willy was there. He hadn't really wanted to leave me the entire time, and had sat there and waited for me. We called the team lead for a ride back to work, and then headed home after gathering up our stuff from there.

I didn't feel well that evening. Jimmy, the other co-worker noted from the heart monitor that my resting heart rate was 90. That is too high. That is me not doing anything to get into shape and drinking waaay too much caffein. This was a wake-up call. Not sure for what, but I'm drinking water this afternoon. I still don't feel up to even just a stroll on the treadmill at the hotel. I can tell my heart is still running around 90 bpm. I also know that when someone is having chest pains I won't just look at them with questioning eyes waiting for them to make a decision. That was the one thing I didn't want to do, be the one to decide. So, if someone looks hesitant at all about whether they should go to ER, I'll dump them into my truck and take them. The person in pain is not the one to be deciding if it's serious enough or not. That just adds to the stress.

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