#1. I am perfectly healthy, it was not a heart attack.
But that didn’t prevent me from spending Monday and most of Tuesday in the hospital reaching this conclusion. I hate to complain, as you know, compared to the terrible things that happen to people this was a trip to the Waldorf, but it was super-not-fun to say the least, emotionally stressful, and the food, good God.
On Sunday after a 3 mile run, I had chest pain. It was a powerful blast of pain to the left side of my chest that had made me grip my chest and then, not wanting anyone at the gym to think I was having a heart attack, let go. And then I thought…Am I having a heart attack? It had been brief, less than 5 minutes maybe, but I recognized that there was no shortness of breath, no fatigue, no nausea or any other signs of a heart attack.
So I didn’t go to the ER until Monday. There were reasons for this, maybe not good ones (and Christ, everyone and their brother has felt the need to lecture me about my foolish decisions) but I knew that I was not suffering. I also knew that no one would see me until Monday, and that in the ER on a Sunday there would be a billion people coughing flu virus into the soupy atmosphere of same area in which I’d be sitting, waiting for a gurney, for hours. I also knew that if in fact I had had a heart attack, the “markers” for it would still be in my blood 24 hours later.
So I went on Monday morning.
There was no one in the waiting room. The nurse who admitted me confirmed my suspicion that Sunday would have been difficult at best. There had been no available beds, so, goodish decision there. Within 10 minutes she had taken a blood test and told me I had not had a heart attack. (No markers in my blood). I thought…Whoopee, I’m out of here in 10 minutes….but no.
The pain could have come from blocked arteries. Yes, of course. My father had blocked arteries at 68. My father who ran everyday, didn’t smoke or drink, and ate steamed green beans for every meal had blocked arteries. Now I was worried. I know blocked arteries require stents. It solves the problem, but, stents. Surgery. So tests all afternoon to find blocked arteries. There was the possibility that I would be out by dinner time. But not a good one.
No tests materialized as I spent the entire day in a hospital bed in Cardiac Care twiddling my thumbs. Mid afternoon when it was clear that no tests were imminent I was allowed to order a “Heart Healthy” lunch. Turkey sandwich. Salt free.
My cardiologist showed at 5:30 and verified that I would have tests in the morning. I was staying overnight. Super-not-fun.