Pain and Anxiety or, “It’s Just Stress!”

So, I guess I best explain that last statement. One day, at work, when I was trying to do everything and be everything to everyone (I am the ultimate people-pleaser in the ultimate people-pleasing profession as a Registered Nurse) I had this chest pain. You know, the kind you probably shouldn’t ignore. Right overtop of my heart, slightly to the left, persistent, as in ALL DAY LONG. But of course I was just tooooo busy doing for others to stop and take care of myself. And it wasn’t the first time after all either. This had been going on intermittently for a couple months. Yeah, I know, BAD NURSE. But that day, it was scary, because it didn’t go away. So when I finally couldn’t possibly accomplish anymore at work, I thought, I’ll just drop by the urgent care and get an EKG or something and get this checked out.

HA. HAHA. Silly rabbit. Not only did I get the EKG, I bought the full cardiac workup and a trip via ambulance to the downtown medical center due to my dismal family history (uncles who died at 37 & 45 and an aunt that died at 60, all from heart attacks/heart disease). Next thing I know, I’m bouncing around in the back of an ambulance being attended to by a young, and I must admit handsome paramedic. They hit every chuckhole on the main route on the way there, and I felt terribly old. The whole thing made me want to cry, and I did shed a few tears alone back at the urgent care.

Thank God for my sister…she is my awesome support system. I disrupted her evening out to dinner with friends with my tearful, whiny phone call. She just said she was on her way. From another city. In another state. Isn’t she the best?

To make this tortuous story short, they found nothing physically wrong with me. NOTHING. After the 2D-Stress Echo, the attending physician and his gaggle of residents spoke with me in the hallway (so much for those privacy laws!). Basically, no physical evidence of heart disease. OK…so now what? Yeah, that’s when he blurted out something about stress management. Still stunned, I could only ask what he thought would help? Refreshingly, he honestly said, “I wish I had the answer.” Hard to find a good physician these days.

So, basically, it’s all in my head. And all these doctors had my medication list, and they all remarked, “you take a lot of medication.” Better living through chemistry I think. Did they think they had any responsibility to go beyond what they might be able to diagnose with scans and bloodwork? Apparently not, not a single question about the state of my depression or if I might be anxious about something. Go figure.

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