Tales of a journey through infertility into (hopefully) fatherhoodPosts RSS Comments RSS

Medical Emergency?

Tonight was interesting. I’m sort of exhausted by it all, but I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version:

After dinner, I developed pain in my chest that started to escalate quickly. Within a matter of moments, I felt like the better part of my chest and upper abdomen were burning. My pulse quickened and my breathing became more rapid. I started to FREAK THE FUCK OUT!

This made the symptoms worse.

Thoughts raced through my head: “Holy shit! Am I having a heart attack at age 32?”


For the past couple of years, I’ve suffered from a mild to moderate anxiety from time to time… mostly when traveling (planes, cars, ships… ironic, I know – as I travel often for work and LOVE TO TRAVEL for pleasure). On two occasions that I can recall, I’ve previously had what one might call “attacks.” In response, I had a full medical work up (which checked out fine, though I could stand to lose a few pounds) and was given anti-anxiety medication to use (my “crazy meds” for flying). In general, these “attacks” haven’t been a big deal.

However, tonight was different! Far worse than any previous attack. And, I was (in case you missed it) FREAKING THE FUCK OUT!

I took some Roll-Aids (indigestion?) and my Crazy Medication (because I’m crazy?). But, nothing helped. I was pacing around the house like a maniac with a (so I’m told by L) “wild look in my eyes.”

In short, I was quickly becoming completely unglued.

I finally told L to drive me to the emergency room. However, I couldn’t stay seated in the car. My anxiety level was so high, I was pretty well convinced that I was going to crash en route to the hospital and die in L’s Jaguar somewhere on the interstate! (Yes, I know… this is crazy talk).

So, I got out of the car, went into the house, and called 911 for myself!

The next few minutes were a blur as I was trying to explain to the emergency service operator that a) I might be dying, but b) I’m also likely just crazy. I remember apologizing a lot. And, pacing around… waiting for the cavalry to arrive (for what seemed like forever).

Eventually, a fire truck and ambulance pulled up outside of the house. At the sight of help, my symptoms started to subside. I greeted the EMS professionals at the door. “Hi, I’m the patient.” More explanations, profuse apologies, and some tests (pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, EKG). The paramedics were really great. And, I was feeling even better.

We made the decision to not send me to the hospital. The paramedics seem to think that I have (in addition to panic disorder) gastroesophagial reflux disease (or GERD). And, that the GERD might be a trigger for my occasional anxiety attacks. This all seemed plausible (and “confirmed” later by Dr. Google – this article was especially interesting on this topic). After more apologies and thanks on my part, the paramedics departed, and I returned to pretty much a state of normal over the next 30 minutes.

So, I’m not dying. However, I am: embarrassed by my irrationality, sorry for having caused L stress in her “condition,” and simply thinking that I might just be (going) bat-shit crazy. Oh yeah, and I seem to be prone to reflux.

All of this will get to be confirmed by my primary care physician (and associated specialists) starting next week. This has been one hell of a year, medically speaking (between L’s infertility treatment and my earlier broken leg – another story for another time).

Good grief!

Bookmark and Share

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Medical Emergency?”

  1. Myndion Jul 12th 2009 at 10:31 pm

    The good thing is you’re alright! I have never had a panic attack, but I did find out I had GERD at the emergency room (after a 6 hour work up!), and I must say, it can be quite painful, and scary because of the chest pain. When I had my episode, I had just had knee surgery, and I thought for sure I had an embolism or something. Man was I embarrassed when all was said and done, but you know…what if it had been something serious? At least you did something. And now you’ll know better in the future.

  2. Paulon Jul 13th 2009 at 12:24 am

    Yeah, I hope I “know better in the future.” But, I’ve also learned that a panic attack can send me sliding well past the point of rationality. That’s not a happy place.

    This also doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’m very rational by nature, and I’m not an especially “stressed out” type of person. Indeed, I generally perform well in the midst of a crisis. That seems an odd mix for someone who suffers from “panic disorder.”

    Oh well, I’m hopeful (and fairly certain) that my cheese won’t slip off the cracker completely.

    Nonetheless, I’m going to make a point of getting this sorted out. ASAP.

Leave a Reply