The Emergency Room

July 31, 2017

One way to make sure you’re up for the rest of the night is to wake up from a deep sleep with an unusual pain and immediately Google it.  You might as well make the coffee because good luck falling back to sleep.  It was only a little chest pain and probably nothing, but my middle-of-the-night thinking decided I should double check the Internet.  I read through the list of heart attack symptoms, which was not especially helpful.  “Unusual fatigue.”  I don’t know – how tired am I usually at 3:00 a.m.?

I was trying not to overreact, not exactly my strength.  I went to work and kept quiet.  It was a Monday and I assumed any minute I would feel better.  I occasionally (almost constantly) rechecked Google to make sure there were no new developments.  Although we usually share our various health complaints with each other at work, you can’t really mention chest pain without committing to it, so I didn’t.

The only thing I had planned for that night was the gym.  The one place you can’t go when you have chest pain is the gym.

This is where you can go when you have chest pain:

Any Emergency Room.

So I headed straight from work to Woodwinds because it’s the nicest ER I know.  In fact, one time when I brought my husband there, his nurse gave ME a warm blanket along with a fair amount of sympathy while I waited.  It’s also close to home for all the visitors after the inevitable surgery to unclog my arteries–the price I would finally pay for eating so many donuts my whole life and for smoking while I was in college (which I regret.  Don’t ever smoke.)

As they wheeled me to X-ray, I wondered if I could save money by walking down the hall by myself.  I drove myself here, I can certainly walk to X-ray.  Also, do I really need an X-ray?  I feel like they’re probably expensive and we are trying to save for a house.

I was so sure it was something, and I was so sure it was nothing.  The verdict:  it was nothing. Or “non-specific chest pain”, which means they ruled out the important things with their expensive tests, and they don’t know what unimportant thing was bothering me.  This left me relieved and weirdly disappointed because:

1-I hate overreacting but it happens so naturally for me.  This is probably not going to change, so I’m just grateful I didn’t call an ambulance.  Seriously.  I can’t even imagine how much worse that would have made me feel.

2-I love my health.  It’s one of my favorite things.  I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long in life to care about my health.  And although I don’t love going to the gym, I love being able to go to the gym.  I want the gym option for a long time.

I suppose if you are in a position to pick the nicest ER you can think of, maybe it’s a sign you don’t need to go to the ER.

The chest pain is gone.  The bill arrived (but is not yet opened).  I’ve returned to the gym.  And I’m grateful for this ER-free Monday.  Here’s to our health.





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  1. I went to the ER with “non-specific chest pain” once. It was a snow day, so no school, and I sometimes wonder if it hadn’t been, would I have ever gone in? The bill was huge and I felt bad about that, but I was able to stop worrying about the pain, which did eventually go away and has not returned.

  2. I’m so glad you went to the ER! Women die from heart attacks b/c they don’t want to overreact or trouble anyone. I am so bad about this — I’m so worried it will be nothing, then what will the doctor think? Who cares? I guess I do. You give me courage to take it seriously if it happens!

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