Thursday, 10 November 2005

Embarrassing story #3

I don't want to talk about it! This story is for yesterday's failure. This one is from a couple of years ago. I may have embellished a bit. As usual....I've changed all of the names. I'm proud to report I am now more on the "glass half-full" side of things.

The Heart Attack ?

I have always been of the “glass half-empty” school of thought. I do not like to consider myself a pessimist as such, but more of a realist. Being a firm believer in Murphy’s Law, I was quite sure that whatever could go wrong, would indeed. It didn’t take much faith on my part to believe this. I am an involuntarily strict follower of this law. It seems I am helpless to break free from its firm grasp of just about every situation in my life.

I also have the unfortunate disability of being a worrier, as many true believes in Murphy’s Law frequently are. I worried about things that had happened, would happen and probably never would happen, but possibly could. I worried about my problems, my family’s problems and problems of others around me whether they asked me to or not. I worried regardless of the time of day. I even made sure to awaken regularly during the night to worry in case I missed worrying about something during the day. If I wasn’t worrying, I was wondering what would be coming up next that would cause me to be concerned. It was something that I was unable to escape. With this in mind suddenly something actually occurred one day suddenly to my great distress.

I awoke to a normal day, or so I thought. It was a lovely crisp autumn day. The gently breezes blew the remaining leaves creating a calming sound amongst the branches of the surrounding trees. The air held the distinctive smells that one so often associates with a Canadian fall. Wood burning in a fireplace, browning leaves crunching underfoot, decaying plant matter sitting in the flower beds since the first hard frost the previous week.
I had been feeling a little out of sorts since the clocks had changed just a few days earlier. The days becoming shorter at an alarming rate had left little time to complete the required chores, which had long become the rituals associated with this time of year. I just assumed that it was my normal worrying and nothing new. As the day passed, it became increasingly clear that there was something outside of the norm happening. Aside from having a headache, I found I had come down with a case of some mild indigestion. I contributed the indigestion to my bagel and coffee from breakfast. My chest and back on my left side were also bothering me. This I assured myself had to be because of the damaged mattress and box spring that my husband and daughter had created while playing a game called “Timber”. Timber involved my husband standing at the side of the bed with my daughter planted firmly in the middle. He would then throw himself onto the edge of the bed causing Katie to bounce into the air in a fit of giggles and squeals. This was music to our ears. This was a game they would play every evening after dinner until the day the bed finally gave out a resounding crack that could be heard throughout our bungalow and signaled the end to this form of entertainment.

I was starting to feel what I would describe as palpitations. Slight jumping sensations occurring intermittently in the left side of my chest. I had never before experienced palpitations and was not sure what they even felt like. I needed to find out for sure. I turned to the tool most used on regular bases by hypochondriac’s worldwide that were in need of information on their ailment of the day. I turned to the Internet.

“Palpitate. To pulsate, as the heart, with unusual rapidity; flutter. To quiver; throb; tremble.” Was among one of the many definitions I found listed in the endless source of information.
“OH No! I though and actually cried out loud.” There was more! Listed in various sources was a large number of alarming potential causes for this symptom.
Perhaps it would be prudent to actually make sure that my heart was indeed skipping before becoming too alarmed and coming to any incorrect conclusions.
I headed for the medicine box kept out of reach on the top shelf of a closet out of the reach of curious little hands. In it I obtained a stethoscope rarely touched since I left my nursing career many years ago. I paused wondering if I truly wanted to listen and find out yet one more piece of information that may cause me further worry.
With a deep breath I tried to relax as I made the decision to proceed with the examination. I placed the earpieces into my ears and took my first listen. All seemed normal. A flood of relief washed over me like a calming wave. I wasn’t dieing. That’s good, because my husband—being domestically challenged—is to ignorant in such matters as running a household or caring for children on a daily basis. After all, didn’t he dress Megan in a bright orange striped shirt with purple butterfly pants, green frog socks and sandals one day when left to care for the children. And wasn’t it true that their hair didn’t see a brush at all that weekend, not to mention their teeth. Nope. I couldn’t die right now. My children would become the laughing stocks of the school without somebody to nag them about fashion and personal hygiene.

I reached to remove the stethoscope from my ears, and then it happened. I heard the dreaded sound. The distinctive telltale sound of palpitations, an extra beat. I froze on the spot. Now it was fear that was washing over me. Only this time it was in the form of a wave the size of a giant killer tsunami.

For the next half hour or so I continued to monitor my symptoms. After much deliberation—which took all of about 30 seconds—I decided to call the doctors office instead over calling 911.
“ Dr. Forrest’s office, how may I help you?” The receptionist stated with a professional tone.
“Yes, I am a patient of Dr. Forrest’s, and I seem to be having palpitations. I was wondering if this was something I should be concerned about.” I said, trying to sound cool, calm and collected. But not so much so that she wouldn’t see me today. After all if the decision were to be that she wouldn’t see me, I’d be forced to take option number two and call for an ambulance.
“Are you having any other symptoms?” The receptionist asked.
Attempting to continue displaying a reasonable amount of calm—but still not too much calm—I answered, “Well. Yes, I am having some pain in my chest and back, as well as indigestion, a headache and oddly enough sore ears.”
This last symptom slipped out before I had taken a reasonable amount of time to think about it. Once I did, I realized my ears were sore from walking around with the stethoscope attached to my ears for the last half hour. Hopefully this part of the conversation wouldn’t get passed onto the doctor. I got the impression that she had already come to the conclusion that I was a bit odd from my previous visits.
The receptionist decided that it was worth a trip in. I could come right away. This was a good thing, because by this time my ears were becoming down right irritated.
Upon a thorough examination my doctor concluded that I might be suffering from and anxiety disorder.
“Anxiety disorder?” I asked slightly confused. “But I’m having palpitations!”
“That’s one of the ways that it can manifest itself.” She informed me.
“Hmmm. What brings you to the conclusion that it is anxiety over something to do with my heart?” I asked.

“Mrs. Halffull, in the past month you’ve been into see me with…” she paused to check my chart. “A sebaceous cyst, which was completely harmless. A breast lump, which turned out to be normal breast tissue. A severe headache which you believed may have been a brain tumor.” Here she paused to look at me over the top of her glasses, “which turned out to be a migraine related to too much chocolate. Lower back pain. By the way, did you get a new mattress set yet? And problems sleeping because you wake up periodically during the night feeling anxious.”

I felt deflated, embarrassed; yet oddly relieved. “At least it’s not terminal, right!” I replied with a nervous laugh. Dr. Forrest went on to discuss ways in which I could deal with my anxiety. This included the possibility of going on medication for a time.

I was preparing to leave; with informational pamphlets in hand, when she casually tossed out, “Oh, before you leave—just to be on the safe side—stop off downstairs for an ECG and some blood work.” As she left the room she mumbled, “We’ll let you know if there’s a problem.”

I don’t remember making my way down to the lab for the tests. I was back to thinking about Murphy’s Law. It had to be my heart regardless of what she had said. That was the worst possibility of the two. What else could it be? Surely not something as benign as anxiety!

Once arriving at the lab, I walked directly to the reception desk. No need to delay the inevitable any further. I was indeed having a heart attack. It was time to receive the final confirmation of this. Hopefully I wouldn’t expire before they administered the test and took my blood.

Oh wow! a thought just struck me! Since the first part of the above story was embarrassing all in itself, why don't I just stop there for now! I can post the rest (the rest doesn't get any less embarrassing) if/when I fail again! Have a good day, and wish me luck! [sinister smile]


Kurt said...

Total blood cholesterol: 221

Adventurer said...

I would have guessed panic attack or from carrying children around on your left side.

If it were just pain on the left side, I'd have also guessed dog strain ... i.e. from walking the dog, the dog seeing a squirrel or other silly creature and jerking the bearer of the leash staight into next Tuesday.

Maggie Ann said...

I'm so glad you came by knitting kat and left a comment! Your posts are 'rich'...I love your sense of humor and writing skills. I'm still wondering if your tests were normal. I've had heart palpatations and they are scary. Anyway...I'd lost track of you and it takes a huge amount of courage for me to get into Blogger and put folks in the sidebar....but one of these days! And...who doesn't belong to the Murphy's Law gang. We just admit it *lol*. Love that story of your mattress!

Maggie Ann said...

Forgot to add that I think its wonderful that you are taking piano lessons. I'm sure you enjoy it...practice..practice...thats what we have to do now. *smiles*

Anonymous said...

What a great site
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