Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bad patient

There's never a good time for a panic attack.

Sitting at my desk at the office typing a dictation wasn't any better or worse than any other time. I went from clickety-click-click to holy shit, why can't I catch my breath? And why does my arm hurt?

I tried deep breathing but OMG I CAN'T BREATHE, MUCH LESS DEEP BREATHE.  I rubbed my arm, took a gulp of water. The old tricks weren't working. I hadn't had a doozy like this since 1988 when I actually had to leave a They Might Be Giants concert, in a small venue no less, because I felt like my chest was going to explode.

I called Ginger who works across the lobby.  "Do you have any aspirin?"

Her gaze shifted from her screen to me. "What's going on?"

"It's nothing."

She didn't believe me.

After half an hour and much jackassery on my part about medical insurance, we were in her car which was clamoring for gasoline and gliding through one of the sketchier neighborhoods of Cincinnati.  Locals will know it as Over the Rhine or OTR.

Have you ever tried to buy gas in a rough neighborhood? Society and commercial enterprises do not cut those folks a break.

The line was too long and Ginger didn't want me to escape from the car and run pell mell through the cracked streets back to the office so we drove on.

All the while I was telling her I was fine, take me back to the office, it's nothing.

"And what happens when you have a heart attack at the wheel, crash your car, kill three people including yourself?" I love an optimist, don't you?

And there I was with a wristband, the dreaded hospital gown, a bruised arm (the fabulous nurse thought I was joking about my veins), and 3 plus hours to kill with one of the best friends a panicked chick could hope for.

Thankfully it was nothing, but the ER doctor was clear - women should not ignore their symptoms. Heart attacks in women mimic the symptoms of an ordinary (ha!) panic attack. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Ginger was right to force me to go.

If only we'd found the surgical masks.


  1. Thank goodness you're okay and thank you to Ginger.
    (that's a very silly picture)

  2. they are right, take it from one who waited much too long.

  3. Yay Ginger! I had heart palpitations one time from having too much caffeine (one of those long, leisurely two-hour cafe breakfasts where the waitress tops off your coffee cup every 5-7 minutes. It took the combined efforts of my wife and both parents to drag my sorry ass to the ER. And we had outstanding health insurance.

  4. So glad you are ok... I love the music group from Cincinnati - Over The Rhine; named for said neighborhood. :)

  5. Thanks and props to Ginger!


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