Skewed Priorities

I’ve mentioned before that I have a tendency toward hypochondria. Any splotch becomes a melanoma, every cough a case of pneumonia, a brief lapse in memory is perceived as senility. My mind is my worst enemy. 

So this afternoon when I had two weird twinges in my chest I immediately turned to Studly Doright and announced that I was having a heart attack. I’ve already survived one fake heart attack, so I know all the symptoms. 

Neither one of us got too upset, until I realized that if I had a heart attack for real it might put me in danger of missing opening weekend for Star Wars The Force Awakens! I refuse to even consider that occurrence, so any heart attacks, real or imagined, have to wait until after the Star Wars franchise has run its course. I might live forever. 

May the Force be with you. And me. 

Peace, people.

  

Surviving a Fake Heart Attack

I could have sworn I’d written before about my near-fatal fake heart attack, but I could find no such post in my archives. Knowing me, I probably gave it some off-beat title like, “Only the Heart Knows” or “Deadbeat Heart” and now I’m unable to locate it. That shouldn’t be a problem with this post.

First, if one is going to have a heart attack a fake one is by far the best kind to experience. Chances are there will be a full recovery given enough time and plenty of TLC.

Studly Doright and I had recently moved into our temporary rental home on the northwest side of Tallahassee. Delighted by the pleasant February weather we decided to ride our bikes around our new neighborhood on that bright Sunday afternoon.

Having moved from Mahomet, Illinois, where February temperatures seldom climb into the 70’s, we pedaled about with abandon. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, the gentle hills of Tallahassee were beckoning.

We rode for thirty minutes or so. It certainly wasn’t a strenuous ride, or wouldn’t have been for someone used to the hills. Or to exercise.  But I was neither. 

When we returned to the house and I dismounted from my old green Schwinn, my heart was beating so hard I thought it would tear out of my chest. I wasn’t in pain, just embarrassed at being so out of shape. Finally it slowed its frantic bump-bump-bumping and we had a good laugh. I promised myself to begin doing some cardio so I could avoid this situation in the future.

I started dinner while Studly showered and that’s when the first Holy Cow pain hit my chest. I had to sit for a minute while the pain subsided. I knew it wasn’t good. Figured, in fact, that I was dying. When Studly found me sitting at a chair in the kitchen I told him just that. 

“I’m dying.”

“No you aren’t.”

I returned to cooking, which in itself often seems enough to kill me. We had dinner and I poured myself a glass of wine and had my second Holy Cow pain. This time Studly witnessed it and we decided to go to the emergency room.

Of course we weren’t sure exactly where that was. Neither of us thought to use the GPS, instead we headed down Thomasville Road to where we thought we’d seen a hospital. Holy Cow pain number three hit just as we located Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s emergency facility. 

The facility was busy, but a suspected heart attack moved me to the front of the line, and I was in an exam room in under five minutes. Emergency staff began hooking me up to machines even as they took my information. 

They were efficient and thorough and were about to send me home with a pat on the head and an admonition to take it easy on the exercise until I acclimated to the Tallahassee terrain when another pain hit and the EKG spiked. The young doctor on duty determined that I should have a stress test, but that their facility didn’t do those. With great earnestness he suggested I go to their hospital, spend the night on a monitor and have the stress test the next morning.

“You’ll be home by noon,” he said. I was then transported by ambulance to TMH’s hospital across town.

Noon he said. Ha! Two long days and countless tests later, my deductible for the year completely satisfied, I was told most likely a chest wall muscle was spasming, but that my heart was quite healthy. 

Thank goodness for good health insurance. Apparently they pay for fake heart attacks just as well as for real ones. Studly makes a convincing argument that my hospital stay would have been considerably shorter had our insurance not been quite so good.

In case anyone wonders, I made a full recovery. The only lasting consequence is any time I have a pain of any intensity Studly is quick to remind me of the expense of a fake heart attack. 


On a serious note–never ignore chest pains. Had this been a real heart attack these guys would have saved my life. I received excellent care, and I’m glad I had everything checked out.

Serious note number two: everyone deserves affordable health care. 

Peace, people!

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