Tuesday evening, I felt a sharp pain in my chest. It came on suddenly, just after I had finished eating my char-grilled chicken. I had eaten late, because of the Rhino's soccer practice, so I thought it might be heartburn, and I kept trying to get comfortable as I was sitting on the sofa. No matter how I sat or even lay down, I couldn't get comfortable. When I got up to go to the kitchen, the pain immediately got worse; so bad that I found myself reflexively taking aspirin, even though I have a healthy heart, because "they" say that's what you do for chest pain. I took antacids, too, still thinking maybe heartburn, and tried to go to bed. I ended up sitting up all night long, because it hurt too much to move around or even lie down all the way.
The Engineer took the Owl to school Wednesday morning, and I remember telling him that I was feeling bad and was going to the doctor today. He figured, like I did, that this was something that would go away over time, and so he went ahead to work as usual. A little later I got up to take the Rhino to school.
The chest pain, literally, took my breath away as I tried to just pull on some clothes and get going. I moved in slow motion, taking shallow breaths, because it just hurt too much to breathe in deeply. I couldn't figure out why my chest hurt so badly; I had been walking for exercise, hadn't lifted anything heavy, etc. I took off my bra, thinking, "to hell with this", it just hurt too much. It was bad enough, sharp and harsh, that I thought, "I will just take the Rhino to school and go straight to the doctor's office from there. I just need to make it to his school."
I didn't make it. Halfway down the road from our house, the tears started rolling down my face as I struggled to take a breath. Now it was getting harder and harder to breathe; the pain stabbed me with every breath. Even breathing shallowly hurt so badly that I couldn't concentrate on driving. I didn't want to scare the Rhino but I couldn't keep from getting panicky--I couldn't breathe! I pulled over and told him, panting to get the words out, that I was calling his Dad to get him. The Rhino, bless his heart, told me to call the hospital first, get an ambulance, take care of myself. He could see I was in a lot of pain, and I don't usually let the boys see me hurting if I can help it. I managed to dial their Dad (thank goodness for "contacts" programmed into my cell!), told him breathlessly where I was and to come NOW, hung up the phone and dialed 911, holding my chest and wincing with every breath and fighting to get air into my lungs.
The ambulance came and they gave my oxygen right away, 4 baby aspirin and double sprays of nitroglycerin under my tongue. They hooked me up to a heart monitor, tried to calm me down--all the while, the Engineer was calling my phone, trying to find out what was happening, and I was worried sick about the Rhino, who I knew was scared for me.
I won't bore you with all the details, but I spent all of Wednesday and Thursday in the hospital, hooked up to heart monitors and, for the first day, oxygen. They gave me morphine for the pain and more nitroglycerin, but it wasn't until they gave me something the RN called, "like ibuprofen on steroids, really strong," that I started to feel better. That's when I knew for sure that it wasn't my heart, and I calmed down some more. Of course, the doctors had to test EVERYTHING until they were sure: I had ultrasounds, Cat Scans, EKGs and vials and vials of blood taken from me (and they had to stick a new hole in me every time, woohoo). I was really feeling better by Wednesday afternoon; they wanted to keep me for observation and the Engineer wanted a definite diagnosis. He likes things very clear, and he didn't want it to happen again. He went home with our boys after visiting me, everybody reassured I was doing better.
And then, a couple hours later, as I was just lying in my bed in the hospital, doing nothing, it happened again! Stabbing pain that robbed me of breath wracked through my chest as I fought for air. I frantically pushed the call button for the nurse and gasped out, "I ...can't....breathe!" Again I was put on oxygen, given aspirin and morphine. I asked for an anti-inflammatory and the nurse gave it to me, grudgingly, telling me that she didn't see how that would be better than morphine. But that IS what finally made me feel better.
To make this already long story a bit shorter: I was finally released last night around 9 pm, with a diagnosis of pleurisy and pleural efflusion, which is a fancy doctor's name for fluid in my lungs and inflammation as a result. I was told that part of my lung had collapsed(!); the doctor assured me that it was only a small part and would heal itself over time. Who knew lungs could do that?
So! I am advised against any strenuous exercise (as the Engineer said, I don't do that anyway!) and I am taking ibuprofen, breathing slowly and carefully now, with the occasional twinge replacing the sharp, scary, breath-taking chest pain.
And that, my dear readers, is why yesterday no new prize was posted, and why today's prize is posting late. I know you will all understand, and forgive, the tardiness. You have to admit I had a valid excuse! : )
I'm posting a new prize today, in just a couple minutes.
And I'll announce the winner of the pedometer later today, as well.