"Choosing trust over doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened." -Victoria Monfort

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So I Thought I Was Having A Heart Attack...Fred Sanford Style..

Let me preface this by saying about a year ago, I took my wellness test at work, where my blood pressure was pre-hypertension. The nurse said I should follow up with my Dr. in a week or so for a re-test in case I was just stressed out. 

I never did it.

So, in the back of my mind, everything weird about my body, is because "I probably have high blood pressure".

I had a small episode last week when my 15 year old persian, Fizzgig developed a medical problem that scared the bejeezus out of me. I had a hard time breathing, my heart was racing...it was not enjoyable. I probably have high blood pressure. I should go to the Dr.

Who wouldn't worry about this pretty girl? 

Flash forward a week later. My boss tells me that the day before, she knew I was running in circles to find some information out the entire day, but she wanted to teach someone else in another department a lesson that a process needed to be in place. I said "I was the only one wasting my time here!" I was pissed. Later, she told me my face was really red. It was!  This project is new to the department, and it is managing thousands of employee's bonuses.

So..I started thinking, I probably have high blood pressure and I never got tested! Then, it all started to fall into place.

I hurt my left arm at bootcamp that Monday, but what if it wasn't my muscle, and it was a blood clot. The more I thought about it, my arm started to throb. Then it started to tingle. My heart was racing. I was clammy. I was having chest pains, and shortness of breath. Then, my fingers started to tingle. I had a feeling of impending doom! I kept picturing myself being carried out on a stretcher.

My dad died of an aneurism and my brother has blood clot issues. What if I'm having a heart attack? It spiraled pretty quickly. I started to feel dizzy. The numbness was getting worse.  I couldn't take it anymore. I stood up and announced I was going to urgent care.

In the car I called my Mom, because at this point, the entire left side of my body was numb, my chest was tight, my heart was POUNDING, and I couldn't catch my breath. I was worried I'd die in the car on my way.

Mom told me I was probably having a panic attack. She said if I were having a heart attack I wouldn't be driving my car. I said "no Mom, I'm legit dying, I physically feel like I am dying right now, you have no idea how I am feeling". (Mind you, my mother suffers from severe anxiety, and in fact did know a little something about how I was feeling.)

Once at urgent care, they take my blood pressure, test my blood sugar, test my pulse, and by the time they are hooking me up to the EKG, I felt safe because I was there, so I say to the nurse "you know, I actually feel fine right now".

So the Dr. read me all my results, which were all NORMAL! So I told her about what my Mom said about our family history of anxiety, and she in fact concluded that..Yes..I had a panic attack. 

I had always heard about people thinking they are having heart attacks and it turns out to be a panic attack. But I really never imagined the physical symptoms would be so physical and so SEVERE! She explained what the body does during an attack, and why and how the symptoms escalate, and how it resulted in a loss of feeling in my left side. It all made sense.

What doesn't make sense is that why at 38 did this just happen to me now? For no real reason? With no history of my own? I am always very zen, and don't let things get to me.

My biggest lesson of all is to not dismiss people who suffer from this all the time. I guess I have always been kind of skeptical of it's severity, and karma slapped me in the face really hard!

But I'm mostly happy that instead of paying $40 bucks to visit my primary Dr. I am now going to pay hundreds to find out my blood pressure is fine.

A very expensive lesson, to listen when a nurse says to follow up with your Dr.