Oh how I wish I could have told the doctor I was “eating a tray of fruit” and not “a platter of nachos” when it happened.

Nothing will make you rethink putting junk food into your body ever again like two sprays of nitro and a ride in the ambulance to the emergency room.
Last night during a late dinner with friends, I started feeling a sharp pain on the left side of my chest. At first, I tried to blow it off. I started stretching and moving my body around in an attempt to make the pain stop.
It got worse.
I didn’t want to ruin dinner, or over react because it was probably nothing, right?
But the sharp pain persisted, the sharp pain got worse and suddenly, a feeling of doom over took my entire body and I blurted out the words “I’m having chest pains.”
As soon as I said those words out loud, I wanted to take them back. I was being ridiculous! It was nothing!
I excused myself and went into the bathroom. As I stood in the stall, I could feel the panic set in because the pain wasn’t right, it wasn’t normal and it scared me. A fear that I don’t know I’ve ever experienced before when it comes to my health.
When I came back to the table, I was shaking and pale and asked Tony to take me to the doctors.
As we were getting in the car, the pain got worse and I asked Tony to call 911 on the way home. (We were only about 3 minutes away from home.)
He did.
They rolled up just as we had made it through the front door.
They asked my symptoms and as I told them, they put an oxygen mask on my face and took my blood pressure.
They took a reading of my heart.
“I see some abnormalities” I heard one of the medics say to the other.
“We’re going to give you a spray of something, it’s called Nitro.”
I started to shake. I was terrified.
So were my children. I could see them off to the side and they were nervous.
“I’m ok!” I shouted through my oxygen mask. “I’m going to be ok.”
But I wasn’t so sure and they knew it.
“You’re coming with us, right?” the medic asked as he started an IV.
“But what if my insurance doesn’t cover the ambulance ride?”
“Ma’am, any time you have chest pains like this, you need to get to the hospital right away. We need to take you.”
I agreed and asked them to take me to MY hospital. The one that my insurance will cover, but they advised me against that because it was too far. They wanted to take me to the nearest hospital. I put up a bit of a fight, because I don’t want to get stuck with a medical bill that I can pay for, but they insisted I go to the local hospital. They sounded pretty serious about the whole “we need to get you there in 6 minutes, not 18 minutes” thing, so I reluctantly agreed.
(Dear God, please let Kaiser pay the bill because I can’t. Thank you. Amen.)
We arrived at the emergency room and it was packed. Stretchers with sick bodies were crammed in the hallways. A ragged looking nurse took one look at me and said “you can put that one in area 9.”
That one.
“I’m just a number to these people” I thought to myself. I’m just another one of those stupid people who doesn’t take care of themselves and ends up crowding their emergency rooms with chest pains and high blood pressure and strokes.
I started to cry.
Why did I do this to my body? Why did I gain all of this weight back? Why did I stop working out on a regular basis? Why did I put all of those greasy French fries in my body? Why didn’t I think of my children? Why didn’t I think of my husband? They would be devastated if I left them at such an early age. WHY?
EKG’s were given. X-rays were taken. Blood was drawn.
Hours passed and the doctor finally came in to tell me that everything came back normal.
“So what was it?” My husband asked.
“We just don’t know. It could be her gall bladder (wtf?) or it could have been her heart, we’re just not sure. Just have her follow up with her primary doctor tomorrow.”
I felt like a giant asshole. There was nothing wrong with me and I called 911, possibly leaving my family stuck with a bill that is going to kill us.
Tony lectured me not to feel bad. He said he could tell I was in pain, he could see how pale I was, he could see my eyes didn’t “look right” and he said to never second guess my decision to call for help.
I’m going to take his advice. I was in pain, a pain that I’ve never felt before. A pain so sharp—so real, that I honestly thought “this could be a heart attack.”
Not to get all Soap Opera Dramatic on you, but this experience has changed me. I’m not quite sure how just yet, but I can tell you that from this minute forward I will be mindful of what I put into my body and not because I want to look cute in a pair of jeans, but because I don’t want to have a heart attack and die.

95 thoughts on “Oh how I wish I could have told the doctor I was “eating a tray of fruit” and not “a platter of nachos” when it happened.

  1. Miss Britt

    I’m a smoker.
    I remember one time I had to have a chest x-ray because I had a cough or something that wouldn’t go away. While I sat there waiting for the results to come back I realized I was absolutely petrified of what they would find and I was so pissed. So pissed at myself.
    I quit smoking – THAT time for like a year or so.
    *sigh* but like I said… i’m a smoker.
    (Glad you are OK now!)

  2. emily

    OMG Y!!!! I am so sorry!!!! At least you WENT instead of just going home… I am really glad you’re okay though.
    Bring your family up to Canada and stay with me. They won’t charge you for a hospital visit, I promise!

  3. Gayle

    My father ignored his own symptoms, he had a heart attack and died the day before valentine’s day in 2005. He always put off the doctor or insisted on toughing things out. I was 24 my sister was only 16, he was 49. He is missed and I have learned never to ignore pain, it is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Never, ever feel foolish about alerting people to the fact that something isn’t right with you, it could save your life.

  4. daysgoby

    Y! How terrifying!
    I hope your doctor can give you a clear idea of what it was…but it’s wonderful that they weren’t able to find anything wrong there (because they were looking for the really BAD stuff)

  5. saintseester

    You did the right thing. I, too, went to the emergency room with chest pains and tingling. I spent the entire night there to find out it was arthritis in my rib joints. Was I scared, Yeah. Did I feel stupid? Yeah. But the doctors told me I did the right thing by coming in. The junkies in the hall weren’t much fun, though.
    Thanks for this story. It has reminded me of how I felt that night. I, too, have gained back all my weight. Maybe this time, I’ll remember how scared I was of dying and missing out on my kids’ lives.

  6. Nancy

    That’s scary, Y. But you totally did the right thing by letting them take you to the hospital. It’s not like you showed up at the ER for something minor like a sprained ankle. You had chest pains, and even the EMTs didn’t want to mess around with that.
    As an aside, I don’t know why it’s so tough for medical personnel to give an IV without butchering the bloody hell out of our arms…

  7. AmyM

    How scary! I’m glad everything turned out ok. It’s sad that sometimes we need something so serious to give us a wake up call. I know I’m like that anyhow.
    I get a sharp pain in my chest sometimes, it runs right under my boob. And that f’n hurts! But it usually goes away before it gets to the point I’m willing to pay an out-of-pocket deductible.
    May the insurance gods be generous to you!

  8. kaleigh

    You did the right thing.
    And you’re going to continue to do the right thing. For the right reasons, too.
    Stuff like this is Soap Opera Dramatic, and that’s okay. Sometimes that’s what we need.
    And the bill won’t kill you. Not like a heart attack could 🙂
    So let’s see those famous aerobics moves and a platter of fruit. It’ll be fun!

  9. Marie Green

    Wow, what an eye opener.
    I recently had my gall bladder removed- I had over 30 stones!- but my attacks felt NOTHING like a heart attack. More like a severe back ache (which is what I thought it was for YEARS). Syptoms can be different for different people, and a GB attack does come suddenly and then leave, but still….
    I hope you find out that you are healthy and that your insurance will pay!

  10. Laura

    I think you did the right thing. You read all the time about women who ignore chest pains and have heart attacks. I’m glad you’re not one of those.
    For the record, my ambulance to the house in the middle of the night actually turned out to be a gall bladder attack – the pain is very intense and usually in the lower chest – like below your breasts.
    I hope your regular doctor gives you good news today and I hope this will be the start of something good for you.

  11. MammaLoves

    You absolutely did the right thing. Young women (cause that’s what we are, I insist!) have heart attacks. My dad is a cardiologist. Young women were the patients that freaked him out the most, because he always worried it would happend to my mom.
    Thank you for sharing this story. Talk about helping to put things in perspective. I don’t want to leave my family either. I really don’t. I never think about food in terms of being able to separate me from them, but it can!!
    thank you!!

  12. Mary

    You did exactly the right thing – that was brave and wise of you to act so quickly! Thank God you’re OK, Y!!!

  13. Carrie

    Hi, Y – You did do the right thing, don’t doubt that at all. I had almost the EXACT same experience a couple of years ago and it was my gall bladder. I swore I was having a heart attack and it turned out I had gall stones. I had the surgery and was fine. Same thing with my Dad and cousin too. Weird, I know. I hope you are feeling better!!

  14. MamaLee

    This same thing happened to me. Do not mess with chest pains, PERIOD. And I’m so glad you went to the hospital pronto.
    I thought I was having a heart attack as well. It wasn’t, but boy, that freaked me out.
    Take good care. xoxo

  15. Dani

    Glad you’re ok! Similar instances like this is what drove me to have my duodenal switch. (I am NOT saying you need weight loss surgery, I was 310 pounds at 5’6″) Not being able to lay down without feeling like I was drowning and not being able to walk up the stairs to our condo without having serious heart palpatations sucked.When my knees repeatedly kept giving out on me one day it finally pushed me over the edge to “Ok this is fucking stupid, I need to do something.” I had tried so many times in the past to keep my weight off and I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own and I was way too young to waste my life anymore. So that was that.

  16. Nola

    How frightening. You did do the right thing–what if you didn’t call 911 and it was serious? I’d be shaken up and re-evaluating my choices too. Interested to see how it shapes things for you in the future.
    Good luck with the insurance. Sad that that even crossed your worried mind at such a critical time.

  17. Liana

    I’m so glad you’re okay! I’m also impressed that you decided to take this scary thing and use it in a positive way to inspire you to take care of your body better (for your family AND yourself!!). What a good attitude. 🙂 Go Y!!

  18. Gina

    I always feel like I’m such a bother when I go to the Dr. or god forbid I have to go into the ER. I feel like I don’t belong there, and I’m taking up space for someone who is more sick than I.
    Glad you are feeling better. Keep the gallbladder in mind. I had 7 attacks that mimic’d a heart attack, and had 3 doctors tell me that it was all in my head. Once I was referred to a “real” doctor, we found out that my gallbladder was the issue all along.

  19. Beth

    Oh, sweetie! How scary! I’m glad you’re doing okay now. Tony is right – it’s best not to second guess yourself when it comes to your health. Thanks for sharing your story – I needed the reminder, too. Take care! *hug*

  20. Susan

    I’m so glad you went. My husband had a major heart attack at 34; it can happen to anyone. You can’t be too careful!
    My mother had gallbladder pains prior to having hers removed, and she said it was by far worse than all 5 childbirths, a gangrenous appendix, and her mastectomy pain. THAT’S some pain!
    ((((HUGS)))) to you.

  21. Susan

    Oh, and BTW… I called an ambulance for my son when he had an asthma attack at 4:00am a few years ago. They came, gave him oxygen, breathing treatments, etc. and recommended they take him to the hospital. I DECLINED because I was worried insurance wouldn’t pay. I promised them I’d take him myself (and did).
    I got a bill for something like $6k from the ambulance company, shortly thereafter. My insurance wouldn’t pay for their visit to the house BECAUSE HE WAS NOT TRANSPORTED TO THE HOSPITAL! If I’d let them take him, they would’ve covered it.
    Fortunately, my husband knows the owner of the company, explained the situation, and they wrote it off. Thank GOD.
    Still — who would’ve thought???

  22. Marriage-101

    You should never feel guilty about calling for help. Even if you do get stuck with giant bill, at least you’re still around to pay for it – and spend more time with your husband and children who love you.
    I would call this a blessing in disguise.

  23. Maya

    If you Eat to Live, you will never have to worry about a heart attack. Or stroke, diabetes, dementia.

  24. TamiW

    I had 3 gall bladder attacks and the pain was through the roof. I thought for certain that I was having a heart attack. I’ve had a modified radical mastectomy, torn ligaments and broken bones and the pain from the gall bladder attacks was worse than all of those combined. Emergency room morphine is a wonderful thing.
    If it turns out to be your gall bladder the surgery to have it removed is very simple…AND…when I had mine removed it started me on a very significant weight loss situation. All I had to do to keep the surgery weight off was to continue to eat right. Once your gall bladder is removed you have to change your eating habits and while it’s a pain in the ass in the beginning…in the long run it is totally worth it.
    Hang in there!

  25. Mir

    Holy cow, girl. I’m glad it was a scare and not an actual crisis, but Tony’s right — you did absolutely all the right things. Now get to the doc and find out what’s going on. Please.

  26. MisaGracie

    Honey – don’t feel bad. The important thing is that YOU ARE OKAY!! If it is your gall baldder – it does feel EXACTLY like a heart attack, so you’re not over reacting!!! You can take this as a wake-up call to really prioritize. I know I have. What is more important, sitting with my husband holding hands for many MANY years = or that plate of onion rings? That’s a no brainer!
    Good Luck and God Bless!!

  27. Jenn

    I am glad you are okay, that is what is important. It’s sad that we have to worry about the bill before getting treatment these days.

  28. Lisse

    I’m glad you went. I’m glad that you are OK.
    I HATE that one of your first thoughts was that your insurance might not cover you. There really is something wrong with this system if you have to be concerned about that in a potentially life-threatening situation.
    I hope they figure it out.

  29. Julia

    it could very well have been a gall bladder attack especially if you were eating something greasy. My friend had one when her twins were 6 months old and she thought she was having a heart attack and her husband yelled “you can’t leave me alone with those babies!!!”. he was so panicked. You were right to call 911, this was the perfect example of when it was RIGHT to call.

  30. Bethiclaus

    I hate Kaiser from my own personal experience, but I seem to recall them telling my husband, after we sat in the ER waiting room for hours (after driving an hour out of our way to get there), that in true emergency situations (and yours would certainly count as one), they will cover your bill no matter which hospital you go to. I’m sure the bill will still be hefty, but they should at least cover the portion they would have covered if you’d gotten to Kaiser.

  31. Dee

    Y, I’m sorry to hear this happened… I hope that you feel better very soon and that the billing/insurance situation works out.
    IF the billing ends up NOT working out, is there some way I could send you a few bucks? (No strings, of course)
    We all love ya! If I was there IRL, I’d have to give you a big hug (if you’d let me, that is!) 🙂

  32. Chag

    You did the right thing. There might have been something wrong with you.
    If it makes you feel any better, we had to call the ambulance for my wife about three years ago. She was experiencing chest pains. The ambulance came and took her to the hospital. Long story short, she had heartburn. She had never had heartburn in her life prior to that moment.

  33. Kellan

    Good GOD – I thought you were gonna’ die! Good thing you are better. I’ve had these moments where I was sure I was having a heart attack – I never was – but never ignore these sorts of signs. People (especially women) have heart attacks all the time.

  34. geeky

    I’m glad you’re OK Y! If it makes you feel any better, we went through a similar scare with Mr. Geeky’s dad a few months ago. He was having chest pains, sweating, etc etc. They called the ambulance and rushed him to the hospital because they thought he was having a heart attack. Turns out it was his gallbladder! He was feeling better by the next day, and after some temporary diet changes hasn’t had any problems since.

  35. Melissa

    Never feel guilty about taking precautions. Never.
    Also, a co-worker’s dad died from a heart attack despite the fact that he was a vegan, jogged regularly and took “good care” of his body. Heart disease didn’t run in the family either. So, while it’s important to take care of your body, heart attacks affect everyone.
    I’m so glad you’re okay, Y.
    Also, if it makes you feel any better, my boss’s friend used to go to the ER thinking she was having a heart attack when it just ended up being really bad gas. Nothing a good fart didn’t cure. This happened on more than one occassion.

  36. mandy

    OMG- I am so glad you are okay! I pray Kaiser will cover you too! It’s sad when we have to put finaces over our health, we have done that too. I was in the ER for what they thought was a brain bleed. It was the day before our insurance ended. I was there until the next morning and they wanted to transfer me to another hospital in an ambulance. I had to decline, because I knew the bill would kill is. I went home wondering if I was dying. It was so scary. Luckily, I haven’t died yet. But we still have no insurance until my Dh’s new job’s kicks in…we are just praying to stay healthy for 3 months. Cobra will kill you!
    SO, SO glad you went and you are fine!
    Best wishes to you and your family!

  37. Mish

    I am so glad that you’re ok!! Holy cow, that’s scary.
    Calling 911 was the absolute right thing to do. That’s what they’re there for. I had a similar experience just over a year ago. At first, I thought it was food poisoning, but food poisoning doesn’t make you writhe on the floor in agony, feeling like your chest is about to explode. (Not a pretty sight, btw.) Turned out to be a 6mm gallstone wanting out. I’d never felt pain like that in my life, and don’t care to again. Oh, and the EMT blew the vein in my arm trying to get the IV in.

  38. Amy R

    I am so glad you are ok. There have been many times I have felt uncomfortable in my chest, but since it wasn’t pain, I wouldn’t do anything about it. After reading your blog, I am going to schedule a physical with my Dr. and make sure it is not my heart. I have gained way too much weight myself and have high blood pressure. I constantly worry about dying and leaving my husband and kids alone.
    Thanks for sharing.

  39. Heather

    I’m very, very glad to be Canadian when I hear hospital bill horror stories!! :-/ I hope you get it sorted out soon, Y, and that you’re okay.
    I had gall bladder attacks and got my gall bladder removed right before Christmas last year. I had no idea that gall stones could be caused by losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time! I remember distinctly feeling that was NOT FAIR, and I was supposed to feel *better* after dropping 40lbs dangit! Of course, now I’ve gained it all back. Bleh.

  40. Mrs. Chicken

    Please, please do what you say you will. My father never took care of himself. He was nearly dead from anemia when he was diagnosed with the cancer that would kill him five years later. I know what it feels like to lose your parent, and in a way that could have been prevented.
    Please, do take good care of you!

  41. Danielle

    I had KILLER chest pains when I was 15 and I suspected maybe a panic attack but it sure as hell felt like a heart attack. It turned out I did have gallstones. Had my gallbladder removed and it was the easiest surgery ever. Don’t question your decision because whatever the problem is, it’s a problem, and now you know it’s not the worst thing it could be.

  42. Christine

    Don’t beat yourself up about it. You absolutely did the right thing. I considered not having nose surgery this summer because I didn’t want to pay for it, even though I was miserable with a cold every other week and non-stop headaches. But I’m so glad I came to my senses and had the surgery. If it had been one of your kids you wouldn’t have even thought twice about whether or not to go the nearest hospital. But it’s hard for us moms to take care of ourselves. That’s part of being a mom, I guess. Always taking care of others. I’m glad to hear everything turned out ok and you’re feeling better. I wish you the best of luck at your doctor’s visit.

  43. gigi

    glad I don’t live in the US anymore, it’s like living in a third world country, especially with the lack of an adequate healthcare system

  44. loralee

    From someone who just finished paying off a HUGE ambulance bill after 3 years (It was “Unnecessary” in the end) It worth the cost it to seek medical care for that kind of pain.
    I waited three days in agonizing pain in my leg to go to the hospital because I didn’t want to make a fuss, we were dirt poor, and thought I had pinched a nerve in my back.
    I damn near died of a massive blood clot.
    You did the right thing. Think about how bad your family would have felt if you didn’t go in (Especially if it was because of money worry) and there was a serious problem.

  45. Pam

    Y! SCARY! Tony is right, you definitely did the right thing. Dying in a bathroom stall is never better than calling 911, just in case.
    I hope it was just anxiety and that it never happens again.
    Ouchie on the arm pic!!

  46. Heather Elmer

    I work in the field on an Ambulance and chest pain at any age is nothing to mess around with. But also having just finished nursing school, there are many crotchity nurses who forget patients are people. Sorry on behalf of the bitchy ones. Kaiser rocks- they should cover it no questions asked becasue it was documetned there was a need by the medics. Hang in there!

  47. Wisconsin Mommy

    Oh hon. Try not to beat yourself up about it. You did the right thing! Sometimes these things are the little push (or big shove) we need to get us going in the right direction and it winds up saving us from something really scary down the road. I think I might be getting one of those myself right now. (Though not nearly as dramatic as yours.)

  48. anne nahm

    Do not feel like an asshole – that is terribly scary! And having them not be sure yet is way better than the news that something catastrophic had happened.

  49. Sandra

    Ditto all the other folks who said GOOD CALL to 911. You just don’t know if it’s nothing or The Big Bad until you go. My DH thought he had a stomach bug… ended up w/an emergency appendectomy! My episode of chest pain last winter ended up being a pulled muscle (no duh – I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t the REALLY BIG MUSCLE INSIDE MY RIB CAGE)… the silver lining was the handful of Vicodin that I got for recovering at home!!!
    Be well.

  50. Mimipz5wjj

    Holy Cow! You must have been scared shitless!
    Same thing happened to a friend’s husband, it was his gallbladder. He’s okay now.
    I’m so sorry this happened to you!

  51. Maya

    Melissa –
    “Also, a co-worker’s dad died from a heart attack despite the fact that he was a vegan, jogged regularly and took “good care” of his body.”
    Vegan doesn’t equal healthy. Eat to Live is a plant-based diet – that doesn’t necessarily mean a vegan diet.

  52. erin

    Oh Y. I’m sorry. Do trust yourself every time. So many people in my family have had heart attacks. My dad tried to put it off and he barely made it through alive. He ALWAYS says to err on the side of caution and go because it’s not worth it going the other way. Listen to him 🙂

  53. Kim Root

    That must have been so scary! Next time please, please, please don’t go to the bathroom by yourself – that is where most paramedics find someone who isn’t doing good who was with friends at dinner. And, it’s usually women – we don’t want to look foolish and we don’t want others to be put out so we head to the bathroom. Unfortunately if things take a turn for the worse you’re in the bathroom alone with no one to get help. Hope everything turns out okay for you – and I sympathize with the medical bills, we’ve had a few ER trips that weren’t covered! OUCH!!

  54. Papa Bradstein

    Good for you for going in to get checked out, and I’m glad that things have come back in the clear so far. Don’t stop asking questions now, though–not until you’re satisfied that you have a complete answer. As for the gall bladder thing, I’ve never had any problems (knocking wood) there, but I did have the beginnings of an ulcer that caused pain that sounds almost exactly like what you’re describing–high on the left side, made me pale, made me think I was going to die. So, it could be something other than your heart. Keep checking, but hey, the fruit platter’s good for your stomach too.

  55. Danielle

    I’m so glad you are OK. When are you going back to the doctor for follow-up work? Soon? Better be.
    About three months ago I donated blood. 72 hours after you donate, you can find out your cholestrol. Mine was past bad. My mother-in-law had just started medicine for hers and mine was almost twice as high. I was shocked.
    It really was the shock that I needed. I want to be alive for my kids and husband. I do not want to die in the next ten years.
    I’ve lost 30 pounds in the last seven weeks. It was the push that I needed to do this.

  56. sassy

    Gallbladder out at 19 years old. Suffered multiple painful attacks of chest pains before being diagnosed. “We think you have gas”. I have never had gas like that! But yeah…19 and I thought I was having a heart attack.
    I hope you get answers soon. I hate that you had to worry about the cost. Your life is more important. The world kind of likes having you around!

  57. Jesseeezmom

    TYJ! That you are ok. I went through a similar thing but they diagnosed as anxiety, it was the worst pain I had ever felt and could not breath. Kaiser declined the bill a couple of times. If they decline it just keep with it and tell them your symptoms (pain on your left) and they will approve it- the emt’s thought it was necessary. Good luck and be strong with Kaiser they suck!!

  58. Liz

    (holy crap there are a lot of comments here!)
    Firstly, I’m so glad that everything came back normal. What a scary experience for you (and the family).
    I have some experience in the gall bladder department and I’m here to tell you: that shit HURTS! I had my first attack when I was 5-months pregnant and I spent a week in the hospital and a year on a strict non-fat diet before I could have the surgery to remove it. But glory be! That milk and cheese tasted DIVINE when that organ went the way of the dinosaur.
    Y, I hope you continue to feel well and that Kaiser pays your bill. It was an honest-to-god emergency, being a reasonable human being, I can’t see why they wouldn’t.

  59. Izzy

    Dude..when your blood pressure is that high, you’re not okay. You totally did the right thing by going to the ER. I’m glad you didn’t die or anything because I sorta like you and stuff 🙂

  60. JoyLynn

    While in middle school, they rushed my mom to the ER by ambulance, afraid she was having a heart attack. Her gall bladder was removed the next day – so it’s always a possibility.
    Either way, hope you’re feeling much better!

  61. Candace Martin

    gall bladder removed too. chest pain symptoms. I was young when it happened at three am. first attack. er looked at me like I was on drugs and made me wait. we need to revamp the whole medical system. as for your awesomely written post…
    well, it stopped me from finishing the nuggets off the highchair.

  62. Candace Martin

    gall bladder removed too. chest pain symptoms. I was young when it happened at three am. first attack. er people looked at me like I was on drugs and made me wait. we need to revamp the whole medical system. as for your awesomely written post…
    well, it stopped me from finishing the nuggets off the highchair.

  63. marjorie

    I’m so glad you’re okay. But it sounds like you have high blood pressure, and that’s really not okay. I have it and I have to take medication. Its rsomething to keep an eye on and get it under control. I have a monitor at home, which I admit I don’t use very often. But I take the medication faithfully. Hopefully your doctor will prescribe something for you. There are some really good meds out there now.

  64. Zelda

    Glad you are ok:)
    FYI — you may not have hypertension (fancy doctor word for chronic high blood pressure). Your instance of high blood pressure that night was probably due to the MASSIVE OUCHY PAINness you were experiencing. Don’t let it worry you just yet…but obviously your regular doctor (with whom you visit regularly….)will work you up for that and let you know about anything abnormal.
    And I don’t care what any veganites or Eat to Lifers out there are saying. You could eat celery and bean sprouts and soybeans until they come out your ears, but until one of us develops supernatural powers, we will never be able to predict with 100% certainty who will and who will not get a heart attack, stroke, or anything else. the best we can do is live the best we can to drop our risk…but we all die of something eventually.
    And…ladies: the #1 killer of women in the United States is NOT breast cancer, or lung cancer, or ovarian cancer. It is HEART DISEASE (meaning strokes, heart attacks, etc).
    If anyone wants specific information about the statistics in women’s health and heart disease, email me and I will send you some very interesting material. I’m a med student and we just did a special unit on women’s health. Fascinating. One in three women will die of heart disease, compared to less than one in ten from breast cancer.
    And which one do women mostly worry about?
    And what does this say about our society? That we care more about our breasts than our hearts? And who has conditioned us in this way? Why can’t we make ourselves and each other more aware of these horrifying stats?
    And women are NOT less likely than men to die of heart disease. It depends on their age. Men start getting heart disease before women, but we catch up with them after menopause, and then some.
    One last thing before I step off my soapbox: if you EVER feel that you MIGHT be having a heart attack, do the following:
    1. CHEW UP ONE ASPIRIN. Do not swallow it with a glass of water. CHEW it up, and yes it is nasty, but it will save your LIFE if you are actually having a heart attack. Chew it up as much as you can and slug it down with plenty of water.
    2. CALL 911. DO NOT have anyone drive you to the hospital unless it is literally blocks from your location and there is NO TRAFFIC. People who drive themselves or are driven to ERs with heart attacks do worse than those in ambulances. In ambulances, they can start IVs, give nitroglycerin, and get EKGs to have you all set once you hit the ER. Not to mention you get treated ASAP when you come in on ambulance. And if you drive yourself and you are sitting in traffic and stressing out, your heart works harder and fails even more if it is actually having a heart attack, and the damage will be exponentially worse if you do indeed survive.
    Sorry for the soapbox. Women’s health is my passion. Just getting the message out.

  65. Carrie

    So glad you are okay.
    I had a crippling pain in my shoulder a few months ago – it lasted about 30 minutes and I had even called my Mom – then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone and I felt so stupid. When describing it to a friend the next day, she told me about how gall bladder pain manifests itself that way and it happened to her a few years ago and she ended up having emergency removal of her gall bladder! Weird.
    So, I’ll be curious what the Doc says on your follow-up. And yes, nothing is more of a reality check than something like that.
    Again, so glad it wasn’t a heart attack. But you did the right thing.

  66. dcrmom

    OMG. That sounds so frightening. Incidentally, almost 2 years ago now (wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long) I had a really strange “attack” when I was at a friend’s house, that involved 911 and an ambulance ride to the nearest (read: skanky) hospital. They did all sorts of tests, I saw specialists, and eventually they threw up their hands and said it was a strange manifestation of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It happened 2 more times in the next year and then it hasn’t happened since March. I’m so scared of it happening again, it is so scary when it does, but there’s really nothing to do to prevent it as far as anyone knows.
    All that to say, I know how scary it is to have something like that happen and then to have no explanation afterwards. I hope they figure something out for you.

  67. Jeanette

    Having been there with the mysterious chest pain and feeling like an idiot when there was nothing conclusively wrong… I’m going to give you the same advice the nurse gave me when they were releasing me from the ER.
    You’d rather go in and find out it’s nothing than say “oh, it’s nothing” and have it turn out to be something after all.

  68. mothergoosemouse

    I’m so glad you’re all right.
    Kyle once took me to the ER because I was in severe, inexplicable pain. They did all sorts of tests, including a sonogram of my gall bladder, and found nothing. I felt ridiculous too, but damn, if I hadn’t been in so much pain, it would’ve been a different story.
    You did the right thing. Even if you get hit with a shitload of bills (and I hope-hope-hope you don’t), you did the right thing.

  69. Kelley

    Wow. I haven’t read all the comments, right now I am so thankful that I live in Australia and don’t have to worry about bills at a time like that. We pay $100 odd bucks a year for ambulance cover and (most) hospital treatments are free.
    I almost cried for you reading your post. The thought that you had to worry about finances while in such horrendous pain makes me angry.
    I hope everything is OK.

  70. Kris

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, Y. Now get thee to your follow up. Don’t pull this “oh I’m ok now” shit and not go. GET THERE. It’s important. (Or we’ll sick Judy on you!)
    I’m really surprised that not one person has mentioned that heart attack presents differently in men and women (It’s usually under the boob – radiates to the back, etc, etc.) Research it when you get a chance.
    And when you *think* it might be indigestion instead of heart attack, try to belch. If you feel better after a belch, it’s likely indigestion – but still – chest pain is nothing to screw around with.
    Hang in there, sweetie. What are you still hanging around reading comments for? GO MAKE THAT FOLLOW UP APPOINTMENT!! (Oh, Juuudy… )

  71. Mom101

    1. I’m assuming you’re okay but holy shit. I’m really really glad the worst of it is a bruised arm.
    2. Don’t take diagnoses or medical advice from people on the interwebs, however well-intended.

  72. hilarey

    Y! im a constant lurker but never commenter, but i just wanted to say that you did completely the right thing.
    im a cardiac technician, working in a major hospital, and beleive me we MUCH prefer the people who give us a call and come in than those that dont, because if you had just left it, the pain may have got worse, the worry would definately have got worse, and what may have been heartburn could eventually develop into a heart attack just because you were worrying about it.
    also, the paramedics did an EKG, and wouldnt have brought you in to the hospital if they didnt think it was worth their time.
    DEFINATELY make that follow up appt. its really important, particularly with borderline hypertension which you seem to have

  73. Shanny

    Hey Y – Just wanted to tell you that sounds very much like a gall bladder attack. Usually the pain is on the right side of the chest, but it can radiate to other areas. And the nachos may have been just the thing to provoke the attack. Fatty foods and sometimes spicy foods can cause this, and a combo of both can be very bad. I know because I have had these attacks and my sister has also. I would definitely try to avoid fatty foods and read up on gall bladder disease – it is fairly common among overweight women, and I am one so no offense to you at all. Just hoping I can help and it may alleviate your fears about your (probably very healthy) heart. Take care.

  74. Angel

    ((((Giant hugs))))) I’m so glad you’re ok!!
    I have conditions that mimic chest pain, and it is DAMN scary. I’m glad you went and will be praying that insurance doesn’t fight you on the bills.

  75. Mimi

    Long time reader. Check out Dr. Weil’s book, “8 weeks to Optimum Health”. I am working thru the book right now and since you had the thoughts of, Why didnt you think of your children and your husband, it might help you finish your health journey. Part 1 is a little wishy washy but once you start reading (and doing) your weekly program it can and will change your life for the better in all realms of mind-body-spirit. GET HEALTHY – you inspire so many of us! Mimi

  76. Gry

    I’m sure plenty of people have said it already, but I’ll chime in with gallbladder attack.
    I asked my hubs to take me to the hospital about a month after I gave birth because I was in so much pain. Usually you just have a gallbladder attack and a couple of hours later you’ll be fine (happened to me many times, but then I didn’t know what was actually happening to me, just that I had really bad indigestion), but I had a stone lodged and it was creating an infection – gallbladder attacks can be dangerous too, so if it turned out to be that then it’s still something to go to the doctor about. 🙂

  77. MommasWorld

    I was at work when my “Heart attack” started. I was bent on finishing my project first. When I turned it in I excused myself to visit the Dr. My boss knew my Dr was 2 hrs away and he said I looked like I needed an ambulance. After resisting the ambulance he took me to his local Dr.
    I had pulled several muscels across my back and had water in my shoulder. Dr. said it was best to come quickly and never second guess if you think you are having a heart attack get to the nearest hospbital as soon as possible.
    You reacted exactly as you should have.
    The next day my boss saw to it that I had a new desk and the best erogranomic chair on the market.

  78. Trisaratops

    I can totally relate to you – the pain is excruciating. I had a few gall bladder attacks, and the only thing that kept them away was to not eat any meat, and no fat. It was so painful to pass up cheese and peanut butter and fries – because – yum! I eventually had the surgery, and I’m glad I did. I hope you’re feeling better.

  79. Nancy R

    My Dad made two trips to the emergency room with chest pains and one to the chiropractor (assuming it was a ‘false alarm’ again) before the chiro gave him an adjustment and said, “If you’re not feeling better in the morning go to the ER because it’s probably your gall bladder.
    I hope you’re feeling better!

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