Chest Pain In The Early Morning Hours

Last night, about 1:30 AM, I start having chest pains. Not severe pain, but pain right in the center of my chest nonetheless. And of course, when you have chest pain, those two dreaded words immediately pop into your head…

Heart attack.

So I asked myself: should I go to the hospital? The pain wasn’t severe and there was nothing else wrong so I thought about it and then decided, “Nah, this is pretty light and hopefully it’ll just go away by the time I get up”. About 2:15 AM, I made it to sleep.

3:47 AM — I wake up. The pain is worse and it’s starting to radiate up into my jaw. I get up and grab a glass of water. This is not good. As I lay down, I can feel my heart beating like a triphammer. Now, I’m really on the bubble about going to the hospital. But, I’m incredibly tired, still not sure about which way I should go, and I slip off to sleep hoping it’ll be better in the morning.

6:50 AM — The phone rings and I don’t pick it up. My philosophy is that if you’re calling me before I normally get up on a week-day, I’m not answering unless somebody died or a bear just ripped your arm off and you need me to drive over and apply a tourniquet.

So as I wait for the answering machine to kick in, I can’t help but notice that my chest still hurts. More. Again, not good. It’s brother on the line. He has NEVER in his life called me at this time of day before. He sounds serious and although I’m still groggy, I catch the words “I just wanted to talk to you this morning, for some reason”.

Suddenly, the plot of a dozen movies and odd news stories I’ve seen starts to flash through my mind. Someone gets a bad feeling about someone they know and they tell a friend or call and can’t reach them then, next thing you know….

That was the clincher for me.

So now I had to decide whether to call an ambulance or drive myself to the hospital. I was inclined to drive, but I wasn’t sure how bad the traffic would be this time of day. I could see myself getting stuck in traffic and then being hit full force with a heart attack. I’ve never had one before, but I remembered Richard Pryor talking about what it was like in his stand up routine…

“I was walking in the front yard and something said, ‘Don’t breathe no more'”

Can you imagine being hit with that while you’re stuck in a traffic jam? I could just see the headline in the Charlotte Observer, “Famous Blogger Dies In Traffic”. Ok, that’s actually the sort of headline Glenn Reynolds would get. I’d probably get “Man Dies In Traffic” somewhere way in the back of the local section assuming it didn’t get bumped by a story about sewage run-off or a fluff piece about charity work done by some guy on the Carolina Panther’s practice squad.

In any case, I called work, filled up Patton’s food and water bowls, and then called 911. Literally two minutes after I was off the phone, I heard sirens in the distance. I barely had time to slap a pillow & David Horrowitz’s Destructive Generation in a bag before the ambulance & a firetruck arrived.

So, I walk over to the ambulance, get in and they slap those suction cups all over my chest, gave me an EKG, and…they told me I wasn’t having a heart attack. Whewwww!

They speculated that the issue may have been a more extreme than normal gastric reflux problem and they gave me the option of going to the hospital or…well, all I needed to hear was that there was an “or” and I was ready to hop out of the ambulance. Then I cleaned up, headed to work, dealt with the chest pain all day, until after work when I could grab some antacids that pretty much fixed the problem.

However, because of this incident, among several other things, I have been completely exhausted all day long. So, this is the last post of the day and there won’t be another RWN update until around 6:30 PM tomorrow. For now, I need to get some sleep, but I’ll be back mañana…

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