Adventures in Medicine

The past two weeks have been very odd for me. I rarely have problems with my body…I mean, I only get a cold maybe once a year.

On Monday the 18th, I started having problems. About an hour before I went to the gym, I felt a slight shortness of breath. I figured it was just the warmth of the day.

I could only get in about 20 minutes on the elliptical before I had to stop. I started having a pain in my chest. Determined to continue my workout, I went to the butterfly machine & did a few reps before I absolutely had to stop.

I got home and couldn’t stand up straight…my chest was hurting that badly. I thought I probably just overworked myself at the gym. I took an aspirin and tried to sleep.

The same pattern would follow for the next week: I’d wake up and feel okay, and once I started moving around I’d get shortness of breath again. But when it happened, it always seemed to be after walking to my car. I thought it might be allergies.

I had a pretty bad episode Saturday the 23rd, so I knew I needed to go to the doctor.

Monday I did just this. I told my doctor I seemed to get shortness of breath going outside & whenever I eat. I knew I was hungry, but I could only get in a few bites.

Doctor gave me a chest x-ray to rule out other things, then diagnosed it as abdominal pain & gave me prescription heartburn meds. Um…okay…

Wednesday I woke up with a terrible headache. I knew headache was a side effect of the medicine, but this felt different. I felt like my brain was going to explode in my head. It felt like I had to hold my head or it would fall off. My dad took me to the ER.

All of my vitals were normal, so obviously I wasn’t having a heart attack (but it surely felt like it). Doc said it was a migraine (which I do get from time to time). Nurse gave me a shot of Imitrex & something to prevent nausea from it.

It worked, but then I had the shortness of breath again. Doc thought I might just be having a panic attack, so he gets the nurse to shoot me up with Valium. I was not happy; I don’t like being so medicated.

The pressure didn’t really go away. Doc finally asked me about my family history & figures that without a history of heart or lung issues in my family, it must be something else– <costochondritis, an inflammation in the chest wall. He confirmed this by pressing on the center of my chest. It was extremely painful. And I read that it can mess with your eating habits, hence the misdiagnosis.

So it seemed plausible. I probably overstrained my chest muscle either at work or the gym. I’ve spent the last couple of days in bed in a sort of med-induced stupor. I’m feeling a little better this morning; I just wish I had seen the doctor sooner. Chest pain is nothing to play with.

Also, I’d like to add that it’s hard not to use your chest muscle. I’m not supposed to overwork it until it heals fully. You have to use it to go from sitting to standing…even a little when walking. Kind of annoying for a gal who likes to be on the go.

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