Sunday, May 23, 2021

Today I'm Your John (Heyooo)

Last week I had a nagging pain in my left calf, a kind of pre-Charley Horse cramp deep in the muscle that kept me awake at night. I didn't think much of it, figuring it was from all the ladder work I've been doing at the rental. Then I woke up with a pain in my left jaw, an achey stiffness in the joint I've never had before, which also hung on for days and made me spill more than usual, since I couldn't get my mouth open all the way. And of course through all this I had my usual arm and hand numbness that’s been getting worse all year.

If any of that rings alarm bells for you, gold stars. You know some of the warning signs of a heart attack.

Spoiler alert: I did NOT have a heart attack. It doesn't get me at this time. Which I'm only explaining because you look nervous, and also because I want to make a Princess Bride reference.


;)


I didn't have a heart attack, but what I did have was a John. So when I woke up on the 3rd or 4th day complaining of leg and jaw pain on the left side and numbness in both arms and hands, he started making calls. I was questioned by a nurse over the phone, and after a few more calls, we were off to an urgent care center that performs ultrasounds.

For the record, I didn’t think anything was seriously wrong. Nothing hurt that much, and my anxiety was relatively in check, so I didn't even have chest pains. Still, when I looked at the tightly reined concern in John’s eyes, and when I put myself in his place, there was no question. If it took all day, I was going in to get checked out.

Thirty minutes later I was chatting with a huge bear of a doctor who looked like a Persian Santa Claus in a paper mask. Five minutes after that, Dr. Claus was personally walking me down the hall to the ultrasound, where a kind attendant assured me it was perfectly fine that I hadn’t shaved my legs in 3 days, and let me listen to the whooshing of blood in my leg veins. Better still, no clots.

I was just cleaning the ultrasound goo off my leg when Santa Bear was back, literally waiting at the door to walk us to another exam room for an EKG. It was the end of the day and we were the last ones there, but at no point did we feel like we were inconveniencing anyone or we were overreacting. And listen, if you have a panic disorder and tend to think every new pain means this is The End, then you know what a gift that is.

For the EKG I got to flash my sexiest full-coverage granny bra (in beige, uh thankyouverramuch) at an attractive twenty-something while he hooked up all the little sticky pads to my chest. I’ve never had to hold my shirt up that long for a stranger, so I didn’t really know the protocol on eye contact. I briefly considered – and rejected – asking for Mardi Gras beads. Finally I turned to John sitting in the chair behind me and joked, “Y'know, I’d’ve worn prettier underwear if I knew it'd be getting so much action today. Aheheheh.”

“Please try not to move,” said Attractive Twenty-Something, eyes on the monitor.

Sorry,” I whispered wide-eyed, and attempted to sink through the exam table and under the earth while mentally making a note to burn all my beige bras and buy prettier underwear. Except these beige bras are comfy, dangit. They keep the armpit flab in check and don’t show up under tops the way black or white bras do. So maybe I’ll keep the beige ones, and just buy a few rainbow unicorn bras to mix in for medical emergencies. Except I can’t really predict a medical emergency - ergo the name. Otherwise it's more of a medical appointment. So really all I need is one rainbow unicorn bra to keep in the car that I can change into on the way... somehow. YES. Perfect. Glad we got that sorted. Also this will help explain things the next time John goes to get a napkin out of the glove box and a frilly unicorn bra falls out. 

::proceeds to lose the next 10 minutes shopping for "unicorn bra" on Amazon::


::(I didn't find any, but I did find a rhinestone bustier I want to wear under my t-shirt for my next EKG, because unexpectedly dazzling an attendent with rainbow sparkle boobs would be hee-LARIOUS.)::


As you may have guessed from my shopping side track, the EKG was fine. Well, I think it’s fine. For some reason whenever I get an EKG there's always a little something that shows up in the readout which the doctor will point out, circle, and then tell me not to worry about. Seriously. I’ve had 3 EKGs in my life, 3 charts with circled blips on them, and 3 docs saying I shouldn’t worry about this thing they just specifically pointed out and circled. Why. WHY. Did I not tell you I have a panic disorder, Doctor Santa Bear? Must you torture me this way?

Ahem.

In summation, friends, let me leave you with this encouragement: go and get the test. Get the thing checked. Even if it's probably nothing, even if it doesn't hurt that bad, and ESPECIALLY even if you're afraid you might be overreacting. Like you, I'm always worrying I'll seem "hysterical" or be dismissed out of hand, because sadly most of us women have had that experience, at least here in the U.S. HOWEVER. Today I'm your John, k? Today I'm looking you in the eye with care and concern and asking, "What's the worst that could happen if it's nothing? Now what's the worst that can happen if it's something, and you ignore it?"

I wish I could be there to (lovingly) shove you in the car and drive you myself, but since I can't do that, I'm hoping this boring story where nothing bad happens is a reassurance. I went in for relatively minor symptoms, but no one rolled their eyes or dismissed me. And even if they had, the peace of mind John and I got from a clean bill of health would have been worth it.

Let me add that I know medical care here in the U.S. is stupid expensive, even with insurance. It stinks, it's not right, and I totally get it if you're worried about the cost. Nothing I say will make that better, but here's what I do know: money is replaceable. You are not. If you suspect something life-threatenting, go.

Every time you do the Hard Thing and take care of yourself, know that I am so freaking proud of you. Then be sure to celebrate with chocolate or tacos or impulse buys or all of the above, because hard things are hard and you've earned it, dangit.

HIGH FIVE


Finally here's MY impulse buy, since I just want to show it off:



It's yet another giant silicone phone case, because I can't get enough of these dang things. :p

Love y'all, hope you've had a restful weekend. Now let's get out there, be weird, and have fun doing it.

69 comments:

  1. Molke (who're a small female owned business in rural Scotland who pay the real living wage) have a Uni_Verse bra, which might fit the bill (after I watched their video on how to get into them easily, and emailed on how to fit myself remotely, I can hand on heart say that Molke are THE most comfy bras I've ever worn, and give good shape sans any wiring).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going to second this! I was told to go to ER a few days ago because of dizziness, chest pain and persistent coughing. And the staff were so nice, even though I was sure it was just a nagging cold & stupid anxiety. I had the same fun experience with leg hair and a slightly different experience with the ECG - no bra. So chilly and exposed! Also, I had the joy of having people suit up in face shields, hazmat gowns and blue gloves (2 by 2, hands of blue) every time they came near me. But all of my x-rays & tests were clear, including the second COVID test in 16 days. They're still not sure why I'm sick, but it's nothing major, and knowing that is a huge relief for my whole family.

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG, Jen, I have to tell you two of the funniest stories I've ever heard about exams. Two women that I knew from church shared these stories at a women's retreat, and they were so good.

    My first friend had gone in for her annual exam and pap smear, and was up in the stirrups waiting. The doctor came in and said "Oh my god, what have you done?" She panicked, and then he asked "How did your shins get so bruised?" My friend had forgotten that she was banged up from her recent field hockey game!

    When she told that story and we all laughed, the next women said she had an even better story of an exam. She had been getting ready, and decided to just wash up one last time before getting dressed. She grabbed a rag that was sitting on the sink and washed her lady bits, then dried off and got dressed.

    She was in the stirrups, waiting for the doctor. He came in and greeted her, and then when he started the exam, he said "Oh, I see we've gotten all dressed up for our exam today." She had NO idea what he was talking about, and felt very awkward through the rest of the visit. She went home afterwards and decide she had to get a mirror out and see what was going on.

    The rag she had used to wash up before her visit had glitter on it--her daughter had wiped an art brush off with it, and so she had spread glitter all over her lady bits just in time for her annual exam.

    So you may find a unicorn bra, but I don't think you're going to be able to beat glittered lady bits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That second story...oh, my! Had me lol'ing. I think that story will cross one's minds during their next exam.

      Delete
    2. Bwah ha ha ha ha! These two stories just made my day and I acutally LOLed!

      Delete
    3. Not gonna lie, seriously tempted to va-glitter myself next exam! Bahaha!

      Delete
    4. I have a friend that is an OBGYN. The only patient story he has ever shared with us was from his residency. He was doing a pelvic exam, and the woman pulled a chicken leg out of her purse and started snacking on it. He said that after that nothing could shock him.

      Delete
    5. omg, the glitter story... I almost spit out my tea LOL

      Delete
  4. I ignored my singular symptom of bloat and chalked it up to my poor eating habits until I had pain at the top of my stomach and couldn't find a comfortable position. My "John" asked if I wanted to go to the ER and I caved and went. I told the ER doctor I thought I had pancreatitis. She thought I had a ruptured stomach ulcer. We were both VERY wrong! I had a 30cm 8+lb ovarian cancer tumor (for reference a standard basketball is 28cm!) Thankfully it was stage 1c and after a complicated 10+ hour surgery and 6 rounds of day-long chemo treatments - I am now in remission 6 months later. I am still dealing with the complications from the surgery and my hair is starting to grow back. I'm 42 years old and have no family history of early cancers. All of my genetic screening for cancer markers came back clean. I had no reason to suspect I had cancer. Get the thing checked. Hope it's negative but if it's positive for anything - it's always better to get it sooner than later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Stay Puft, that's scary! I'm so glad you caught it when you did. I had an old friend with a similar situation, apparently our ovaries can hide some HONKERS without it really showing, egadz. Wishing you all the best and swift healing as you continue to recover!

      Delete
  5. I'm so glad you're okay, and I'm really proud of you for Doing the Thing (and John for giving a push)! I'm also *delighted* that you had a positive experience.
    I encourage everyone to BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE in medical situations, as hard as it can be sometimes. I went in for a cough and chest pain and knew it was my 8th bout of bronchitis in 4 years, but the doc took one look at my records, saw "anxiety", and tried to tell me I was having a panic attack. I said "For three days?!" He hadn't actually bothered to check when my symptoms had started. I went home with an antibiotic and the certainty that I could indeed advocate for myself, even with medical professionals. Reiterating, after that anecdote: I'm super proud of y'all!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had my women’s annual exam a couple months ago and I started complaining days before. The night before, my “John” realized that I wasn’t just complaining but working my anxiety up big time. He offered to go with me and even though I felt like such a baby, I agreed. Best thing ever! He kept me calm while we were waiting. We even had to wait an extra 45 minutes because the dr had an emergency delivery. Once she got there, his presence kept me calm and we were all joking with each other. The whole experience felt so much better than the last few. She said she was pleasantly surprised that he came with me because so many men don’t come along. But, seriously, if those visits are hard, get your partner or a good friend to go with you for support because they are important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This! SO MUCH THIS. John comes with me to EVERY appointment, no matter how routine, and his ability to charm and joke with just about anyone has been a life-saver over the years. He also helps me remember things when my anxiety wipes the ol' brain slate clean. For this appointment the doc asked why I was there and I literally had to turn to John behind me and ask for a list of my own symptoms, ha.

      Delete
  7. So glad you have John and very happy everything was ok.

    When I read about your plan to keep a nice unicorn bra in the car for emergencies, it reminded me of the time I had purchased a black satin bra to go under a fancy black sweater I wore to a performance of The Nutcracker with our family. I wore them both allllll day and on the way home from that long day, as my husband drove the car and our kids were asleep in the back, I did the "flashdance" maneuver and took off that bra and shoved it in the jockey box just to get comfortable. This was in early December. Because I rarely wore that uncomfortable bra I forgot about it completely...until about 8 months later, when a pair of 18 year old Mormon missionaries came over to our house asking for directions. Being back before computers, my husband said "We have a Thomas Guide (old school map) in the car, just go get it from the jockey box." So off go the little 18 year old missionaries to my husband's car, they open up the jockey box, and the first thing they pull out was that 38G black satin bra, which evidently over the past 8 months, had become acid, because the young guy touched it, figured out what it was, and then flung it out of the car where it landed on his companion, who also flung it off of his body and across the yard! It was pretty hilarious, and no amount of explanations would have made it any easier, so they went on their way just having to figure out why it was in there in the first place.

    Again, I am SO glad everything went well for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh! Love this story! I can just picture it all!

      Delete
    2. It's pretty much burned into my soul at this point -I feel bad about those poor young -very innocent- guys! lol mercy!

      Delete
    3. I was already laughing by the time you got to the missionaries showing up, omigosh. Bahaha!

      Also I've never heard it called a jockey box, is that a regional thing?

      Delete
    4. I love this story LOL I'm totally picturing it as a 2319 moment like in Monsters Inc.

      Delete
    5. @Jen, not sure where it came from, it's just what our family always called it? Maybe from being in the west from way back in the day? Who knows?

      @Julie, yup, lol, that about sums it up quite nicely! LOL

      Delete
    6. My family has always called it the doghouse. I always have no idea where it comes from... other than it's more fun than glove box.

      Delete
  8. Even in Australia (with Medicare), a lot of people, students and such, don't see the Doctor nearly enough. I didn't see the dentist for four years (being an 'unemployable artist' [rolls eyes]) - turns out, I had a massive cavity - and a lovely dentist, who gave me a discount. Glad you're safe Jen, and glad you have a John. He's a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Glad to know you're ok and only slightly embarrassed over your beige bra. I have found that a light pink bra does the trick under white or black clothing and isn't quite so "boring" as beige!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only if you wear small bras :/
      I can only find: black, white, gray...sigh. "They" seem to have a hard time thinking that fat women may want pretty bras, too. At least the ones that aren't just something to throw on the floor to look pretty (AKA: be functional/comfortable!) :P

      Delete
  10. Yeah, had a similar scare. A nasty pain, directly over the heart. I was only thirty! Far too young for that... Right?
    So I went to the doctor's.
    After an EKG and a blood test (fun fact: there is a protein that stressed heart muscles make, which makes detecting that there's a problem easier), the doctor concluded that it was NOT my heart. I made him tell me three times. Turns out I have a damaged rib muscle, that chronically tears every so often. Very annoying, but not worrying.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had to have an unexpected scan on my liver, on a day where I was wearing dungarees (because of course) so I dutifully took them off, and the attractive 20 something technician was all like "You didn't have to take them off.. Why didn't you just unclip them and wear them like jeans" Because TYLER I DIDN'T THINK OF THAT! AND NOW I'M IN MY PANTS AND TSHIRT LIKE POOH BEAR AND WE ARE ALL JUST GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS REALITY OKAY?!?!

    So yeah, I think they might be used to this kind of nonsense...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bahahaha! I bet those techs could write a book of stories like this - which would be HILARIOUS and also make us all feel better about getting so frazzled, right?

      Delete
  12. This reminds me of when I had an abdominal ultrasound for what we thought could be a hernia - then the tech found gall stones. I had no symptoms and even months later when I finally got surgery to remove the malfunctioning gall bladder (we moved cross country and I had to find a new doctor who would do the surgery at a convenient hospital), I still had no symptoms - but the surgeon had to deflate my swollen gall bladder before he could remove it and was amazed I was functioning so well with that in me. It was a ticking time bomb, and I'm lucky we found it and got it removed before it caused a bigger problem. And I thought the original ultrasound was kinda pointless since I wasn't feeling the pain anymore that caused me to see the doctor and get referred for an ultrasound, and we were moving the next week. So glad I still went. Crazy how life works out sometimes!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really hate to ask this....but...*deep breath* Did you get checked for Lyme disease? Sorry, but it's something that usually doesn't get tested for without the known tick bite or bull's eye, and sometimes you don't have those.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that never occured to any of us as a possibility! This was my first time with joint pain, though - if you count the sore jaw - and happily it went away a day later.

      Delete
  14. Unfortunately both of my preferred to go to urgent care locations are closed because of Covid. Does that make sense to you? Cause it doesn't to me, I mean, its harder than ever to get in to see the actual DOCTOR, cause covid, but then they close the associated urgent care locations. Anyway, so TWICE this year I ended up in the local ER, cause I had a choice between an urgent care that didn't know me, and the ER where they already had all my records because the hospital is associated with my doctors office. And Since I was going in for miserable abdominal pain (in one case, the sort of abdominal pain that makes them think you're having a heart attack), I didn't want to be labeled a drug seeker (been there done that, TYVM) so I ended up at the ER. Which SUCKED SO HARD.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're ok and your experience wasn't like mine!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm sharing this NOT to freak anyone out, but to encourage people to speak up if they feel sure something is wrong.

    In fall 2016, my dad developed chest and upper back/neck pain as well as feeling crummy overall. He was then in his early 60s with a family history of heart disease (his sister had a bypass a few years prior), although he was also thin and had switched to a mostly-vegan diet at that point, so maybe not the first person you would look at and think "heart attack." So ​he went to his small-town ER to get checked out, and the attending in the ER did a few tests (but not an EKG!) and dismissed it as muscle pain, gave him a prescription, sent him home.

    Reader, dad did not feel better after 24 hours - he felt worse and worse. He went to urgent care, where THAT doctor said you need to go to the ER right away. Guess what, he'd had a heart attack, and long story short he was in the hospital for over two months and nearly died several times. He's remarkably healthy now, but it was scary. Now, I blame this partly on a small town doc who was dismissive. But also ... I wish he and his wife had pushed harder, because maybe they would have gotten him into the cath lab sooner and things would not have been nearly so bad.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm so glad you're okay, and good for John! Thanks for the encouragement. I have no John at home and need encouragement/nagging to get checked out. I have had such bad experiences with doctors. I truly hate them. My bestie runs an orthpaedic clinic and has inspired me to go get my foot checked out because it hurts so badly after walking and all the plantar fasciitus stuff I buy isn't helping and so maybe it's something else.

    I had such a bad experience with a doctor at New Year's I haven't been back, despite sometimes excruciating stomach pain. I'm appalled at how they get your medical history wrong and focus in one one thing instead of what's bothering you. (I have a reflux disease which is being treated and all the doctor wanted to talk about was how to raise the head of my bed. His nurse took me aside and said they were going to test me for other things, including gastroparesis,but I was so mad and upset I've never been back.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oof, I hate hearing accounts like this, and sadly you're not alone. I have what I call a "healthy distrust" of most doctors, and it's so true that you have to be your own advocate and really fight to be heard sometimes. If you have a feisty friend, I highly recommend bringing in backup/moral support, that makes a huge difference. And of course, if you can, keep looking for a better doctor; there ARE some good ones out there!

      Delete
    2. Thank you Jen! You're a good egg.

      Delete
  17. Thanks so much for encouraging me Jen. I did the thing! I now have an appointment made for the thing that I have been putting off having evaluated. I am glad that you are okay, and also glad that you got it checked out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOOT WOOT! So proud of you, Cara! Make sure you plan some Fun Stuff for immediately after the appointment, so you have that to look forward to. :)

      Delete
  18. I'm glad you're ok! Good for John!

    When my husband was 44 he was having chest pains and shortness of breath off and on. He thought he was just getting old and needed to work on his endurance. But he kept complaining about it, convinced that if he went to the doctor he wouldn't be able to pass his wellness check to go on a backpacking trip the following summer. The kids had a Monday off from school and I had to work so he took the day off to run errands and take the kids to appointments so I encouraged him to make a doctor appointment for himself. "There are lots of things this could be besides your heart," I said, but I also said he'd feel better if he got it checked out. Then--this is the part that made the difference--I said "do you want to be like ____ or ____?" I named two men we knew who had just dropped dead one day with no warning, no known health problems, just died. He didn't want to be that guy.

    Well. He saw the primary care doctor on Wednesday, who sent him to the cardiologist on Friday for a stress test. The cardiologist sent him to the hospital Friday night and Saturday morning he had two stents put in his heart, including one in the LAD artery, which was 99% blocked. That one is called the widow maker. Another artery was 75% blocked. He was supposed to go camping with friends that weekend. Before he left for the hospital he was moving camping gear into his friend's truck. I am convinced that if he had not gone to the doctor he would have died on the campout that weekend. He would have been that guy.

    That was almost 10 years ago. He hasn't had any other problems. He went on the backpacking trip he had planned (and others since then). And pretty much all of his friends had to go get checkups because their wives insisted. And he still says I saved his life by being a nag.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My grandmother had advice for everything, much of it good, some of it random. One gem she would occasionally bestow on anyone of driving age was, "Always wear clean underwear in case you're in a car accident."

    As most of us could think of better reasons for clean undies (and more important worries in an accident), this became something of a family joke - to the point where, many years later, when my mom was in an accident that left her sore enough to get checked out but fortunately not seriously injured, she let her mother know by calling to say she had Good News/Bad News for the day, starting with "The good news is, I was wearing clean underwear..."

    Your point stands, though - never let clothes or anything else keep you from getting something checked when you need it. No medical professional worth their title will care what's on your body while they're fixing what's wrong with it. (Frankly, unless it's as unique as a unicorn bra, they won't even remember your outfit an hour later.) What matters is you and your health.

    Thank you for this post, and I'm glad you're okay. =-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Parents were in a former USSR country (about two years ago) and their tour guide was telling them that on the Day that their Dictator fell, she went home and put on new underwear, just in case she died. It's also one of Nanny Ogg's rules (1. Always wear clean underwear... 2. Always get the young man's name and address. 3. Never get between two mirrors)

      Delete
  20. That rhinestone bustier looks like it would be uncomfortable, but it might be worth it for the SPARKLES. And hey, when you find a bra that is comfortable, YOU KEEP IT AT ALL COSTS, dang the consequences. At least you were wearing something, right? :D

    ReplyDelete
  21. OK, here's my addition. In fall of 2019 I had a slight ache on my left side. I thought it was an ovarian cyst, so I would rub it and move on with my life. My husband asked why I kept holding my left side, I brushed him off. Then I woke up in the middle of the night with a host of stomach problems (vomiting, etc. I spent the night on the bathroom floor.) I have an allergy to shellfish that hits me that way, but I have been so careful, and I had cooked all our meals the day before. I called out of work and told my husband I should go to the doctor. He tried to talk me out of it, and I waffled. What if it was a stomach bug. By noon, though, I still felt awful and I called. They saw me right away and my GP said "do you know what I'm about to say?" I said, "it is not appendicitis. That causes pain on the right side." (I know my anatomy.) She agreed that was usually the case, and then pointed out that whenever she touched my right side, I stopped her. 12 hours later, I had my appendix out. The found a tumor on it (all ok now).

    Jen is right. Go to the doctor. Trust that little voice that says it could be something. And accept the pain pills. I declined at first and then reconsidered.

    ReplyDelete
  22. As someone who hates to go to the doctor for anything less than having a limb reattached (and I have great insurance, just also anxiety), I'm glad to have a John-like husband who pushes me to get things checked out and treated, too!

    BTW, TomboyX used to have a rainbow unicorn print bralette (which has been my pandemic style of choice), seems that was discontinued but they do have a new similar print now: https://tomboyx.com/products/bralette-balloonicorn

    ReplyDelete
  23. I also have anxiety and am very slow to actually go to the doctor because I never know what's "bad enough." I just went through a few months of gastro issues (not helped by a walk in clinic that was no help). Finally went to a specialist and she was just so good at listening it was such a breath of fresh air. I felt so validated in going to see her. I had the same feelings of doubt about my follow up visit and again, she really made me feel heard and like it was a good idea to go. Some doctors really are great. I'm glad you went to have things checked out--and for the reminder to do so.

    Also LOL at not shaving for 3 days. I don't live in Florida, so my legs often have a month or three of growth! I have given up on shaving for medical appointments!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh goodness, I'm glad you are okay! I have terrible doctor anxiety and really need to go. I wish I had a John!

    ReplyDelete
  25. A few years ago I was having chest pain, and went to the urgent care. I got an EKG...and it turned out I had pulled a muscle in my chest (right over my heart) playing Taiko Drum Master...

    ReplyDelete
  26. So glad you got checked out and are ok! I’m also in the beige bra club... it goes under everything no problem! And holy rhinestones! That’s a lot of them! 🤣 confession: I haven’t been to a doctor in almost 15 years 😳 other than an ortho doctor for my hands (aka work comp nightmare- but one more hand surgery (#4 total between both hands) and I’ll be done! At least I better!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I had a coworker drive me to the ER a few years ago when my weird pains when breathing were joined by arm pain and numbness. It is impressive how fast you’re seen when you show up with those symptoms. Ended up with a diagnosis of Costochondritis, which was such a relief after such a scare.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I recently had a couple repeat high blood pressure readings that I attributed to stress but then I got a weird feeling in my chest. Not pain, not heavy, just not right. I had no primary care provider but mention those things together and they got me in the next day, with a warning to head directly to the ER if things worsened before my appointment. I told the doctor i thought it was much more likely to be anxiety than a heart attack and even though I kept correcting him when he called it, "chest pain," he ordered an EKG, chest x-ray, and blood work. For my EKG, once I told them my bra had underwire, they made me take it off completely! All tests came back normal and I was even able to get my blood pressure back to good by watching my sodium! Glad you got checked out!

    ReplyDelete
  29. At the age of 48, after too many nights spent laying in bed thinking I was having a heart attack but talking myself out of it because I'd been having this type of pain for years and I hadn't died yet, right??? I finally succumbed and called an ambulance. Taken to local ED, all the tests, etc. Good news, not a heart attack. Bad news, there's definitely something going on in there and you need to see a cardiologist. Numerous tests later, turns out I have a faulty aortic valve, a random birth defect that had never been detected. (for the curious, bicuspid, rather than tricuspid) My heart was working at about 70% capacity and had probably been that way my whole life (which put a lifetime of avoiding exercise because it made me feel like shit into perspective) but was getting worse with age and weight gain. Long story slightly shorter, open heart surgery, mechanical valve, full recovery, new lease on life. As in, I can walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like I've run a marathon which was new for me. Get it checked. Don't just assume you're not working hard enough, or that those niggling symptoms are 'part of life'. It's probably nothing, but if it is there's a very good chance they can fix it.

    Oh, and just as an aside, all of this delay was because I didn't want to seem like I was being a nuisance. I live in Australia. Ambulance rides, ED visits, all those tests? Were covered either by Medicare or private health insurance. My $50,000 heart surgery, three days in ICU and a week in hospital cost me a co-payment of $500.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, totally celebrating with you over here that you did the hard thing and got it checked! Plus I know this is going to encourage a lot of folks out here - if nothing else, it's an encouragment to move to Australia. Only $500??? ::cries in American Healthcare System::

      Delete
  30. So glad you went and got checked out; especially glad everything was fine! I just had my first mastectomy (all good) and the tech had me so at ease... kind of funny to think that we were just chatting about all sorts of stuff as she's manipulating my tracts of land in a machine and it totally didn't seem weird LOL Thank you for the encouraging post, and for the Princess Bride reference :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Um, I'm not sure I understand, Jen; what *exactly* did you guys *think* was wrong with you? I'm guessing blood clots?

    My Vulcan is my John; he got plenty of practice being a patient advocate when his father was going through fatal Stage 4 lung cancer. He already has Resting Grump Face (it's The Vulcan Way), but his voice drops a couple octaves and his brows knit like Sam the Eagle. Plus, he keeps all the info straight that I forget. Very handy.

    I had to have a really tiny lump in my left boob biopsied earlier this year. I was terrified, so of course I took 2 Ativan and smoked a bunch of kind bud before we left; still terrified, but much more jokey. After I'd stripped to the waist for the attending nurse, I said "So, hey, not too bad for nearly 53, right? I come from three generations of women whose boobs ended up looking like two oranges hanging in a pair of socks, so I feel pretty good about The Ol' Girls, I does." She laughed so hard she had to lean on the exam table. We got along great, and the test was negative, thank Bowie!

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad your test was negative, Storm! Sometimes not knowing/waiting for test results can be worse than actual treatment.

      Delete
    2. It's always an ice cream treat kind of day when you comment, Storm. Bahaha!

      To answer your q, John suspected some kind of heart failure, and then the nurse on the phone was more concerned about a possible blood clot, so told us to get both tests to be safe.

      Delete
    3. GET TO KNOW ME! I'm frickin' hilarious. Actually, sometimes I worry that I'm too much and put you off; my affections are such that I seem to have a Lwaxana Troi Effect if I don't restrain myself.

      And before I read your reply I'd just finished eating TWO Drumstick treats with caramel in the middle, since the first was not enough; life is uncertain, why not start with dessert much less have two? TREAT YO SELF.

      Delete
  32. Totally off topic, but am I the only one who sees the dino about to sneeze out the unhappy bear? 😂 Love the new case!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm glad you're ok Jen! You had me worried there for a minute. Thank heavens you've got The original John.
    Now, how about a "How to bling your bra" tutorial?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh geez . . . as I was reading your story, I was getting more and more scared for you. SO glad you're okay. And I cannot echo your comment enough . . . Get checked out!

    After blaming my tiredness, swollen ankles, migraines, strange pains radiating up and down my wrists, shoulders and neck on everything from stress, to eating poorly, to bad sleep, to literally everything about getting old (I was 49), last November I finally convinced a doctor that it was none of that and finally got a nuclear stress test. (I'd had a cousin that died of a heart attack early in life, which scared me to action.) Swiftly, I was scheduled for an angiogram. While on the table, a doc came in, saw my images, and said "welp, that doesn't look good". Turns out I had a 98% blockage in my LAD coronary artery and 1st diagonal. Should have been having a widow-maker heart attack, but as a woman, no one recognized the signs. The traditional "left arm, numbness, chest pain, terrible cholesterol" signs weren't there at all!

    The stent/angioplasty surgery was super easy, and now I can take a hot shower without needing rest afterward. :op The moral of the story . . . only YOU know your own body. If your intuition is telling you something is wrong, then insist on being taken seriously, even if you are stressed out, have panic attacks or PTSD from childhood, etc. Has your body ever reacted like that before to those stressors? No? It could be something else. As you said, the alternative could be much worse if you don't. Much love you to and JOHN!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was 38.5 when I had my first cardiac incident and the ER sent me home on muscle relaxers, not recognizing the heart attack a young(ish) female was having. I ended up with 2 stents and 1 additional angioplasty once my regular GP got the ER on the ball the next day. They're just so often not prepared for women.

      Delete
    2. So glad you're okay! And you're totally right. Docs are not prepared for women, even though heart disease is our number one killer. Much love to you and your new lease on life!

      Delete
  35. On April 1st, I had to be my own John, because my husband (Pat, not John) died in January of 2020. I'd been having some aching issues in my shoulder blade area for a week or so, but didn't go to the doctor because, hey, I had an appointment coming up sometime around the 7th of April. Well, on the 1st, I couldn't catch my breath, and there was some serious pain when I tried to go to Michael's craft store. It turned out that I was correct to get my fat carcass to the ER, as I needed a triple bypass. I was in hospital for 23 days, and more people have seen my boobs than I ever thought would. I'm in the middle of healing now, and applying for Medicaid to pay for those 23 days in ICU and the rehab unit, as well as the weekly x-rays, blood tests, and visits to the cardio surgeon since I was released almost 5 weeks ago.

    The moral of my story is similar to Jen's: don't wait. Get it checked out.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you so much for posting this. Last month I had a similar experience--I didn't really think my symptoms were severe enough to be anything, but my husband encouraged me to call and ask if I should come in, and I did, and they told me to come get checked out. I think it was "just" anxiety and a pinched nerve. Since it cost over $800, though, I've been feeling really dumb about it, since I didn't feel THAT bad at the time. But this reminds me that it really is ok to value ourselves enough to do what it takes to make sure we are all right.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Glad to hear you're ok...and that John is always there for you.

    ReplyDelete
  38. When I had my EKG they had me remove my bra. They showed me a drawing of a man with the placement of all the sticky things and I was like, "so I need to remove my bra?" They're like "yup". Course this was many moons ago at a Military hospital (shows how long ago that was as I don't think the military still does hospitals stateside). I was also fine. Glad that you were and I hope they figured out what was causing your pain. That's always a bummer when you get the "you're not dying but we don't know what is causing your symptoms." Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm glad you went in! A couple years ago my husband had some very minor stroke-like symptoms and I drove him to the hospital, both of us thinking "well, this might just be weird migraine stuff, but better safe than sorry". He was feeling 100% fine by the time we made it to the hospital. It turned out he did, in fact, have a stroke, and had clearly had multiple previous strokes. Thankfully he has no deficits at all, and the giant hole in his heart that was causing the clots/strokes has now been repaired, so he feels way better overall! Get the thing checked, it's worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  40. My DH was complaining of knee pain for the last year so I finally got him to go see a doctor to find out what was wrong. He had a Bucket handle tear in the Meniscus. A couple days after his surgery my knee was hurting really bad. I've had this same pain off and on for years and just figured it was a bit of arthritis since I'm overweight so I have blown it off. Well this time it was so bad I was struggling to care for DH who couldn't put any weight on his leg and needed me. I called and got an appointment for the same day as his 2 week follow up. Everyone was joking that it was sympathetic knee pain but after an exam the Dr decided that a follow up MRI to confirm the suspected arthritis was the only problem. Well a week later I was back to get the results of the MRI and the Dr said if he'd seen me and my DH at the same time he'd have fixed my knee first. I'm supposed to go in the 2nd week of June to see if they can fix it, if not I will need a new knee sooner than later. OF course in the process of getting ready I had to get a complete physical. This has resulted in my GYN being concerned about an enlarged uterus (It was nothing), My Asthma Dr referring me to a Pulmonologist which has led to a PFT, an EKG, Ultrasound and CT Scan. I got the report on the CT and don't understand what it's saying but there are areas of concern so I have to wait till that appointment next week to find out if it's something or nothing. Either way because I ignored my knee for over 4 years I'm facing more uncertainty than if I had addressed it sooner.

    Don't ignore pain!!! It may be nothing but it may be something serious!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Now for a Funny to make you laugh....
    Several years ago I had an individual ringtone for my husband that went something like this:
    "Hi Honey, It's me, Answer the phone, *slightly whiny* Why won't you answer your phone? *more whiny* Please answer your phone! *Ultimate whine* Why won't you pick up, don't you love me? Pleeeeaaaaassssseeeee answer... I love you...."

    I told DH that I was going to the Doctor so there was NO excuse for what happened next!
    I was in the Stirups mid exam when my phone went off!! "Hi Honey, It's me, Answer the phone, *slightly whiny* Why won't you answer your phone? *more whiny* Please answer your phone! *Ultimate whine* Why won't you pick up, don't you love me? Pleeeeaaaaassssseeeee answer... I love you...."

    We both ignored it. Until.....

    "Hi Honey, It's me, Answer the phone, *slightly whiny* Why won't you answer your phone? *more whiny* Please answer your phone! *Ultimate whine* Why won't you pick up, don't you love me? Pleeeeaaaaassssseeeee answer... I love you...."

    I hear a noise like a muffled giggle.... then

    "Hi Honey, It's me, Answer the phone, *slightly whiny* Why won't you answer your phone? *more whiny* Please answer your phone! *Ultimate whine* Why won't you pick up, don't you love me? Pleeeeaaaaassssseeeee answer... I love you...."

    At this point there was no helping it.... I asked her to hand me the phone, I answered and said, "I'm at the GYN Mid exam..." and hung up. We then both burst out into laughter!!!
    I have a different GYN now and always silence my phone when I'm with a doctor!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Regarding the blip on your EKG, my wife had one too and was sent for a bunch of follow-up tests. The referred cardiologist took one look, rolled his eyes at the PCP, and said, "It's because you're a woman." We were very confused, but apparently, it's extremely common that women have that particular extra blip, but of course, that doesn't get taught to non-specialists.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The fact that you worried about your bra and how to interact with the 20-something is priceless and so relatable! This is why I have followed you for years (and support the unicorn, rainbow, bedazzled emergency bra and protest you throwing away all of the comfy beige ones).

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>