14 August 2007

Repeat after me: "I am not dying"

[dispatches from the Late Unpleasantness last Thursday night/Friday morning, written while it was going on...]

That wasn't how I'd planned to start my next entry, but the chest pain that woke me at 5:30ish (when I'd gone to bed around 4a.m.) and wouldn't let me go back to sleep or do anything else had other ideas. Have never felt anything like heartburn this severe before, don't like it at all: chest pain is bad! And yes, I know that Occam's razor would suggest that we attribute it to heartburn rather than to heart problem, but when chest tightness & pain/burning can be a symptom also of something Very Bad, and you are awakened in the middle of the night by it and it won't stop, it doesn't make you happy or not alarmed. Hence the need to tell yourself: "I am not dying. I am not dying. I will be okay. I will be okay." And then try to work to make it okay...

Of course there were no Tums or anything else to be had in the house: ran out months ago, but I only ever feel any need for then once every few months, so they're not on my regular agenda or noticed so much by me.

Oh, and by the way, my glasses had been missing since sometime last night, which didn't exactly facilitate the search for possible home heartburn remedies:
  • online (not so useful: most sites = about preventing heartburn, or seeming totally flaky and untrustworthy, or contradicted by other sites)
  • baking soda (which I'd at least heard of before & made sense, but could not find in our kitchen -- at least not w/my glasses off...but I'm not even 100% sure we have some right now)
  • milk (some sites said yes helpful, some said no -- but in any case we didn't hae an normal milk, just soy, but I had a glass anyway, figuring it couldn't hurt)
  • seltzer water (nothing recommended it, but I thought that folks sometime drank seltzer to aid digestion, like a ready-mixed Alka-Seltzer?)
  • ancient tiny pepto-bismol-like pink chewable tablet in the tiny pocket in the depths of my backpack (has probably been there for at least 2 or 3 years, but it by itself = unlikely to be much help)
So since none of this was helping, and I couldn't lie back down and go back to sleep (most sites frown on the prone position for the former & discomfort wouldn't let me do the latter), I set about to find my glasses (without which I would be foolish to leave the house, let alone drive the car!) and set off for the 24-hr CVS pharmacy to get some over-the-counter stuff to deal with the situation.

They say that sleep deprivation makes you as bad a driver as drinking. I'm sure I believe it, but I didn't want to walk alone the 10-15 min each way to the CVS at 6a.m. -- figured I would just be very careful, cautious, and that the light traffic at this hour would help. Made it there and back without incident, though definitely feel woozy and somewhat coordination/response-time impaired. Talked to pharmacist: she asked a few questions (e.g. abt do I have high blood pressure, or do relatives, etc.) recommended going on the hypothesis that it's the less serious/more common thing first (heartburn, notheart problem) and taking some Pepcid and also Tums.

So I have returned safely and done both (took the Tums right then & there at the CVS counter, in fact).

[Friday, 6:51 a.m.]


Definitely not dying (hooray!) -- no more so than usual, anyway

Feeling considerably better -- not perfect, but better. Slept some from 7ish to 8:50ish -- Mike came down, found me on the couch, told me it was 10 to 9, and I thought I'd better call my doctor to see if I could see her. Finally managed to get through to someone useful (after the answering service--I guess the office doesn't open until 9:15?, the receptionist, the nurse's voicemail, etc.) around 9:30, when they said "She's going on vacation next week, so if you want to see her you'd better come in now" -- and I said "I'll be there in 10 minutes." And I was.

Now I get to learn all about acid reflux and why all the things I like to eat or drink may trigger it (grrrr, oh well! really put a crimp in our Shabbat menu, since every other ingredient was something that was a bad idea)...

[Friday, 1:53 p.m.]

1 comment:

Jenny F. Scientist said...

Alternatively, one of the daily antacids (the cheap ones- like generic Zantac) works great. Because if it's anything like mine... stress-induced.