Thursday, June 14, 2007

seriously? muscular?

The other night, we broke out the air-conditioner for our bedroom so that despite the heat, we would be guaranteed a good sleep. It seems that whenever you figure you'll have a great sleep, the opposite happens...and boy did the opposite happen to me (and subsequently Jordan, as it is difficult to sleep well in the same bed as someone who is having a terrible sleep).

Before I went to bed, I felt some discomfort in my ribcage but figured it was just an annoyance, took my bra off to reduce any pressure and then kind of forgot about it. I had a bit of trouble getting to sleep at first because of the new sound of the air-conditioner and I felt like maybe I had a little bit of heartburn so I had to dig out the tums to take a few...but eventually I fell asleep.

I awoke due to shooting pains in my "chestal area". It was seriously some of the worst pain I've ever been in and as someone who doesn't generally get heartburn, I started to feel sorry for the people that get it a lot. I took more tums and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, I couldn't get comfortable in any position. The pain was just too intense.

Eventually I started to think "you know, if I was 20 or 30 years older and wasn't in good shape, I would really think I was having a heart attack". But, I figured I obviously wasn't but tried to look up what it could be using one of those handy web-MD type sites. Well, of course the thing told me I was dying and should seek medical attention immediately because I was experiencing acute chest pain, a bit of tightness and it was worse when I leaned forward or lay down. Knowing very well that I was not in fact dying, it still scared me a little...but I tried to sleep it off.

I would fall asleep then wake up and think "oh, it doesn't hurt anymore" but then I'd move and the pain would start all over again. It drove me nuts. I almost called the telehealth line, but figured that they would always have to err on the side of caution and would probably say "it is very unlikely that it could be an emergency, but because it is left-side chest pain, we feel you should go to the emergency room".

As I was still alive, but in quite a bit of pain when the alarm went off, I decided that as work is just a few minutes from the doctor's office, I would go into work, but call the doctor as soon as it opened because while I figured I wasn't dying, at least she could give me something.

Meanwhile, as I work in health research, both my boss and a few of my co-workers decided to give me their opinions as to what I had. So, we came up with: gastritis, gall bladder problems or spleen problems. Now the gall bladder is on the right side, not the left, spleen issues happen more if you have mono or some other underlying problem, and gastritis occurs mostly in smokers, older people or people who drink too much...but whatever. Regardless, I figured at the very least, it was some sort of stomach problem and maybe a strong antacid would be the cure.

Off to the doctor and of course I have to describe my pain. To me that is very difficult. If it hurts, it hurts. I really don't know what the difference is between throbbing and burning. Is there a difference between "shooting pain" and "it feels like hot knives are piercing my insides"? I have no idea. But, she's asking me all these questions, asks if I've had a cough (the answer is no), checks to see if there is any sort of puncture wound (which you'd think I would have at least noticed if not mentioned as a possible source of the pain) and asks about difficulty breathing. I said "well, I did have to use my blue inhaler on the bus this morning, but I don't know if it was because of the pain or because I am asthmatic and it is allergy season". I really suck at being a good patient.

Then she says "i think it is muscular. but, I'll send you for a chest x-ray just in case. take ibuprofen [which i had been avoiding just in case it was a stomach thing] and rub some muscle cream on you". Seriously? Muscular?

So tell me: how on earth can i hurt my chest muscles so much that it prevented me from sleeping for two nights (and i can still now only sleep in one position without pain) and have NO IDEA what caused the injury?

(this also raises the question of whether or not i trust my doctor...which is just not a good feeling to have)


Kirst said...

What about the chest xray? Anything show up there? Maybe your boobs are growing? ;)
I hope you get a better nights sleep tonight. and I will send you pictures once we get them, of the house.

lu said...

oh dear, i hope you feel better soon.

i know what you mean about trusting doctors though, i am always sceptical. but remember dr caird and his advice to research, research, research.

dr caird, yum.

totally unrelated comment - when will you be in calgary?!

Heather said...

Kristen that's weird. Maybe you're dying. I hope not. Seriously. That would suck.

K said...

ah, dr caird. good looking, but one of the most socially awkward people i've met. i also wonder if he is still trying to sneak knives and other blades onto airplanes as a statistical experiment.

i'm not dying...i'm fine (ok, so it is still sore, but i'm fine)