I had an interesting day yesterday... but it really all started over the weekend. I will start with Sunday night.
Steph and I had just finished watching 'our show', Grey's Anatomy (ironically, a show that takes place in a hospital). I felt a little bit of heartburn, so I popped a few Tums to stave it off, then went to bed. Almost instantly, I started feeling tight pressure in my chest, with pain radiating out to my left shoulder blade and up to my jaw. It wasn't a sharp, stabbing pain, but it was persistent and very uncomfortable. I was also feeling a bit short of breath, and found breathing to be a chore. I tried changing positions in the hopes to alleviate the pain, but it wouldn't go away. I briefly thought, "Is this what a heart attack feels like?", but dismissed it as just being a side effect of my ongoing pneumonia-like lung ailment. I took a few Advil and crawled back into bed to tough it out, not saying a word about it to Steph.
I eventually fell asleep, but awoke during the middle of the night to use the restroom. My back and jaw pain was gone, but I still felt pressure in my chest. I took another one of my Expectorant/Cough Suppressant pills and went back to bed. I awoke at 6:00am feeling very well rested, but still feeling like something was very tight in my chest. I didn't feel like I needed coffee (a rare thing), so I just had a bowl of Cheerios. When I went to drink the leftover cereal milk, I felt a bit of discomfort in my chest with each gulp. A short time later, I felt the need to belch... but it was difficult to get the air out, and when it did go through, it was a bit painful... but a huge relief once it passed.
I went to work with the intent of calling Kaiser to make an appointment for this pesky (and now a bit painful) chest ailment. No appointments were available, so I got put on a call-back list.
In the meantime, I went in to discuss what had happened with JD and Nick. JD asked, "Have you looked up the symptoms of a heart attack online?". I had not. Nick asked, "How do you know you didn't have one?". I replied, "Because I woke up in the morning". Nick was flabbergasted.
I went in and googled for the symptoms of a heart attack. Yikes! I had just about all of the symptoms, minus the lightheadedness, fainting, sweating and nausea. Could it be?
At about 1:00pm, the advice nurse from Kaiser called back to get more information from me. I told her that my chest ailment had been feeling better until Sunday night, and I described what transpired. This immediately raised a red flag for her and she asked if my family had a history of heart disease. I said I didn't think so. She said they didn't have any appointments available at the clinic, but she would phone the on-call doctor and advise me of what to do next. She phoned my back and informed my that I should either go to the Urgent Care Clinic (which opened at 4:30pm) or to the Emergency Room. I called Steph to tell let her know what was going on and made plans to run up to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital a little before 3:00pm, and I checked in. They took my blood pressure and my pulse, and strapped a little pink plastic band on my wrist. I was soon led back to the ER where they hooked me up to a heart monitor and started asking a few questions. The nurse who helped me felt very confident that my heart was perfectly fine, based on my strong heartbeat and on the fact that the walk into the hospital was not difficult for me. Still, he needed to order an EKG, just to be sure. A few minutes after the EKG tech had finished recording my heartbeat (and disconnecting all her sensors), a doctor came in to let my know that my EKG looked 'perfect'. That was good to know.
Now that my heart was given a clean bill of health, they still needed to see what was up with my lungs, so they ordered a chest X-ray. I quickly headed down to radiology for a few photos, and headed back to my little 8x10 curtained cell. A nurse came in to hook me back up to the heart monitor and oxygen, but I told her that my heart was fine and she didn't need to hook me back up... she reluctantly complied with my wishes. After waiting close to a half hour, the doctor finally returned to tell me that my chest X-ray also looked 'perfect'... there was no infection or pneumonia in my chest... it was just a virus. So what was going on?!?!
The doctor then turned his attention to the heartburn-like feeling I had experienced before my 'red flag' symptoms started occurring. He determined that I was having a severe acid-reflux episode, and those symptoms, when combined with my chest cold, were mimicking a majority of the symptoms of a heart attack. I was also passing large amounts of gas (belching), which was not helping the matter. He prescribed some Zantac and sent me on my way.
So what caused all this discomfort? My own cooking. I had cooked a marvelous Mexican food feast on Saturday, and I had partaken of plenty of leftovers on Sunday. I had a rather large helping of refried beans, rice, steak (loaded with onions and bell peppers), guacamole, cilantro and Tapatio. I had to wash it all down with a couple Jarritos soda pops, too. It just needed a few hours of percolation to start causing problems...
I was still having some painful belches last night, but they have finally subsided, and this morning I feel very good. My chest congestion seems to finally be clearing up to the point where I pretty much feel normal... I just hack things up periodically. I hope to be well by the end of the week.
I don't care to see the inside of a hospital again for a good while... not until our little girl comes along in a few months... :-)