Chest Pains in the Dead of Night

The change in ribs

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They say that chest pains should never be ignored. Rob refused to give his credence and look what happened. He could easily have died last summer.

So when I woke with chest pains in the wee hours Wednesday morning, I debated about 5 minutes before waking Rob.

I’d been seeing a physical therapist for rib pain that I thought stemmed from a neck/shoulder injury and just really bad desk ergonomics, but the pain I felt at 4 A.M. was across the top of the chest mainly and in the breastbone, so off we went to the E.R.

The E.R. in the Fort is a dicey proposition. The doctors are hit/miss in terms of interest and bedside manner and the nursing staff even mores so. But we lucked out, and there were just three other patients already in rooms when there could just as easily have been sick folk packing the lobby and stacked in the hallway like cord wood.

The doctor was foreign. They are all foreign. I don’t think white people pursue medical careers in Canada. And he was very young. My own doctor is Indian and not even as old as Edie. As a result, I am not quite sure if I am simply being imprecise with my description of what ails me or they are working from different English grammar book than the one I used to teach 7th graders with. Regardless, I always end up feeling frustrated and cut off, but eventually, the Dr. Ali Baba seemed to understand what I was trying to say.

Part of the problem was that I couldn’t fix on what the pain felt like other than it hurt and the doctor and nurses kept trying to spin what I was saying to match up with their checklists.

But Dr. Ali Baba did at least exam me. Canadian doctors so rarely look up from their laptops, let alone put them down and lay hands on you that I am beginning to wonder if they have divine powers.

Diagnosis? Costochondritis. An inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone. It can result from injury or from overuse or as a result of a chest infection. I am three for three on all counts this last six weeks.

Prescription?

“Rest your torso,” Dr. Ali Baba said.

As the torso makes up, well, pretty much everything that isn’t appendage, I am struggling with that and the contradiction …

“And also exercise and stretch.”

The nurse came in with a trainee who then was allowed to practice on me. The doctor ordered an injection of an anti-inflammatory which hurt probably more than the inflammation, and after it kicked in – we were cut loose.

Dee, naturally, had to be awakened from a sound sleep for our trip in. To her credit she was a trooper and betrayed not even the slightest bit of worry. She gets that from Rob.

Rob dubbed me an “official crisis weenie” though because I was a bit more than a little freaked out.

Well, duh. It was chest pains and he nearly died last summer.

But, I am a marathon girl not a sprinter, I need time to adjust and slip back into sanguine. Perhaps I should look for that meditation teacher and build up my calm muscles?

Yesterday then, and today still, I feel worse than I have for a week. I am propping myself in front of the infrared heat lamp and getting ready to sauna again before lying down to read on the heating pad. I have to teach yoga tonight, and I need to build up a bit of ease in the trunk, but in all likelihood, my students might spend the entire class prone.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time. Drywalling looms and Rob was counting on me at least to be his helper for the duration because the older girls and Sliver have limited time off to help.

In yoga, they say that injury is a sign to slow down. When one is moving too fast and doesn’t recognize the subtle signs that leisure and contemplation are necessary, it whacks you. And I won’t deny that I have been thinking and pondering changes and that be more mindful and leisurely would help facilitate the process. So, universe, duly noted.

But the ribs? Seriously. A little carpal tunnel wouldn’t have been done just as well?

 

7 responses to “Chest Pains in the Dead of Night

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