It all started last Monday night in the middle of the night when all of a sudden I felt three sharp stabbing pains that came within seconds of each other. Needless to say the pain woke me from sleep although I tried to ignore the pain and go back to sleep as my symptoms did not worsen but nonetheless I called my doctor who did not feel it was necessary for me to go to the Emergency Room which was a trip I would not have relished for many obvious reasons.
Tuesday morning while lying down as I had not slept through the night due to my “heart event” I again felt the same three stabbing pains in the center of my chest as I had felt hours earlier. My symptoms did not worsen although I did feel (or thought I felt aka anxiety produces telling my mind something was going on when it isn’t)pain going down my left arm a headache, and not to mention some discomfort in my still not healed fracture in the T-12 section of my back.
That afternoon I went to another appointment that I had scheduled the prior Tuesday. My anxiety level at that point was 10 out of a possible 10 as I was meeting with a Social Worker to whom I described my symptoms to but after I finished my description of what had been transpiring it was decided that even though I was in an office at a top Brooklyn, NY hospital (Maimonides) that no distress call had to be sent out to the Emergency Room to come and get me.
I then walked six long avenue blocks in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn to get to my doctor’s office who took me right into the Examining Room after greeting me with his warm smile and welcoming manner. The testing then began. My blood pressure was fine as was my pulse, and oxygen. Now it was time for the EKG which when compared to my prior EKG would determine if a heart attack was occurring or had already occurred. My EKG came back showing no changes from an older EKG. I breathed a sigh of relief and allowed a smile to crease my face.
Despite the apparent good news my doctor felt my heart rate was too fast and needed to slow down to prevent any future damage although none had occurred to that day. As a remedy my doctor started me on 25MG of Metoprolol which is also a beta blocker (stops the impulses that often produce heart attacks) with the added benefit of helping reduce my always elevated sense of anxiety produced by any ache or pain out of the norm.
Unfortunately for me the beta blocker did nothing for my anxiety as I was supposed (the key word here is supposed) to have gone for an MRI last Sunday in a closed MRI machine that would have taken 20 minutes. I just could not go due to my fear of being closed in (in the past closed MRI’s never bothered me) not to mention the eternal wait for the results having convinced myself (once again) that something serious was wrong with me aka cancer. It matters not to me that all my blood tests (including a blood test for cancer) came back negative. Old Joel was not and still is not convinced everything is fine.
So this Sunday I am scheduled (the key word here is scheduled) for an MRI at a different Radiology facility that has an open MRI. The doctor that sent me for this test (my neurologist) has a strong preference for closed MRI’s but when I explained my problem he acquiesced to my wishes by agreeing to the open MRI. Now all I have to do is get up Sunday morning and get transported to the facility to have my “exam” done. The only problem being I am still scared of the test and the wait for the results will make me very nervous and on edge. Anti-anxiety medication will work for a short time and then it is back to square one. If you deduct from all of this I am a nervous wreck as they say you have deducted correctly.
Before this night mare day arrives I have to see my primary doctor (I think the world of him) as a follow on how the Metoprolol is working. Wouldn’t you know it I still get the odd twinge of chest pain with pain in my back and other extremities? Yet I know cardiac wise all is well or should still be one week later. Wednesday will be interesting. If all goes according to plan (when does it ever?) there is shopping to be done that translates into a long walk plus having to walk through the streets carrying heavy shopping bags. This activity has never produced any problems up to now. But with my luck…
All these physical ailments are due in part to my diabetes which for the most part I control my sugar fairly well and seemingly got worse when the reality of turning 60 years of age back in March hit me like a ton of bricks. My father (of blessed memory) passed away from heart trouble at age 65 from heart related problems after battling cardiac issues for years. Now according to my way of warped thinking I have five years to live. Unlike my father I don’t have a real history of heart trouble except for a couple of false alarms including one days before 09/11.
The moral of this story (if there is one) is take care of yourself and do what you need to do or what your doctors tell you to do in order to stay well. If your body starts sending you signals by way of pain don’t ignore It (or in other words don’t pull a Joel) and try to pretend all is well when it may very well be or maybe not. If all your test results come back make a clean smile and go back to enjoying life.
Don’t do Google searches for every serious disease you can think of, as the warning signs of these diseases are similar to things like anxiety, depression or even gas. Last but not least on my laundry list is before you go for that invasive colonoscopy test have your stool tested for blood and your blood tested for anemia. If both come back clean the need for that test unless colon cancer runs in your family is not a necessity but according to some doctors it should be done especially when you reach “my age.” How much more “reassuring” can they get.