Well I ended up riding in an ambulance to the hospital last night. It's a long story, but basically I'd been having chest pain and difficulty in breathing since 1:00 o'clock on Tuesday, and when my arms went numb last night when I was nearly asleep, I pretty much thought I was dying. It was just like on TV when the room sort of looked like I was staring through the wrong side of a pair of binoculars. I was shaking, nauseated and dizzy. I couldn't stand. It was horrible.
"I'm dying," I say to my husband. "Call someone!"
Seems like it takes forever for them to come, even though I'm dying. What are my children going to do without a mother? "Please don't let me die," I beg my husband. The lady on the phone starts asking questions and he tries to hand the phone to me. "I'm having a heart attack," I scream, not in the mood to talk about it. She keeps asking my husband questions.
Finally, a man and a woman arrive in a firetruck. They have equipment and start doing an EKG, begging me to try to breath evenly—very hard when it hurts and I'm panicking. Tears are leaking from my eyes like crazy. Then the ambulance and another truck arrive and soon my bedroom is filled with guys—eight or nine of them (PG rescue never do anything in a small way). All those good looking, buff, young guys, and I had no makeup on and was wearing pajamas. (Well, right then I didn't know they were good looking, because my eyes were mostly closed, but later at the ER a couple of them checked in on me and I noticed then, since I'd decided not to die after all). It was all so embarrassing. They had to take me down the stairs on a stretcher since I collapsed when I tried to walk. (I just hope they don't connect me, the crazy dying woman, with me, the poised author.)
After several hours and tests at the ER, the doctor told me I have costochondritis (a type of inflammation of the cartilage joints near the breast bone that often has symptoms indistinguishable from those of a heart attack) that should get better in a few days with rest (though the Internet says it can last up to six weeks). Meanwhile they gave me Lortab for the pain/pressure, which I can only take at night or jumping off the balcony starts sounding like a good idea. I still can't breath well. This so weird! They don't know the cause. It could have been the bicycle ride we took last Saturday. (Coughing, laughing, and any other strain can also cause the condition.)
I've been in bed all day and am still wearing those same pajamas. (Just realized I still have some of those stickers on my ribs where they did the EKG.) I'm feeling all right if I don't move. Ha! Ha! I even read e-mail and surfed the Internet on my laptop for a bit. Being alive never felt so good!