Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So What Does an IDIOT Do About Chest Pain?

Last Thursday, while three miles into a 20-mile bike ride, I was making a left turn from one street onto another. As I made the turn, directly in my path was a huge snake, about 4 ½ feet long … maybe longer if it had been stretched out straight. I did not recognize the kind of snake it was, but it wasn’t one of those harmless “black racers,” so typical of Florida.

Because of last year’s incident with an Eastern Diamondback Rattler (see earlier post), I reacted quickly to turn around. My left brake failed, locking, and tossing me onto the street.

Before I realized what happened, the snake was long gone, and I was trying to get back on my feet (actually back onto the bike).

My left forefinger was bleeding badly. The inner side of my left knee was scraped and bleeding. My right kneecap was bleeding pretty badly and my right elbow was badly scraped, but not bleeding. I really did not hurt badly. I was more shaken up over the snake than anything … the snake that was probably in the next county by that time. The reason for the multiple "injuries" was the fact that in addition to the fall, my bike landed on me.

I continued my ride, finishing at 20 miles, and not feeling badly at all, except for the areas that had bled. There was a bit of soreness, increasing in my right elbow and shoulder.

Saturday morning I felt a bit of pain in all the aforementioned areas, but all-in-all it wasn’t too bad.

Fast forward to Sunday morning at 8:08 … I was sitting at my computer doing my work for AOL. Suddenly I felt a rather severe pain in the middle of my chest, extending to the same area of my back.

I felt no rapid heartbeat, no sweating or chills, no pain in my jaw or left arm, and although the thought of a heart attack entered my mind, I was somehow strangely calm, just hoping the pain would stop. 

I sat quietly at the computer and did a Google search on “heart attack symptoms,” but nothing truly matched what I was feeling. However, a sub-link leading to an article on GERD that matched my symptoms more than the link on heart attacks. The pain was entirely gone within 20 minutes.

Long story short: I’ve been going to a physical therapist several days a week since February. I had an appointment slated for yesterday at 1 p.m.

When I got there, and Todd (my therapist) asked how I was doing, I told him that he was going to be disappointed in me and I related the tale to him.

Todd replied, (paraphrasing): “If you had told me that you went for a 20-mile bike ride, then for a 5-mile run, went home and mowed the lawn and moved the refrigerator all by yourself, I’d be disappointed in you. There’s nothing wrong with being scared by a snake and falling off the bike. Shit happens!”

He pointed to a chart on the wall and showed me the muscles that governed the area around the heart and proceeded to physically work on me in those areas, followed by work on my knees and right elbow and shoulder. There was a lot of popping and cracking going on.

When I left his office, I immediately noticed that I was having difficulty steering, even though my car has power steering. Similarly when I left a business establishment, I had difficulty pushing the door open with my right arm. It felt like it was lacking strength. I’ll address this with Todd at my appointment tomorrow.

The message to be found in this post? Well, I was remiss in not going to the ER room after Sunday’s episode. It could have been a bona-fide heart attack, and I could very well be dead today. I guess I was lucky … that time.


~Cheryl said...

Oy RJ... Ya got medical insurance? Use it! You're worth it. Let us know how this turns out and what's wrong.

RJScott said...

Yep, I have medical insurance, Cheryl. I feel fine. Per Todd, when I fell, I must have hit my chest on the handlebar and Sunday's episode was a delayed response to that injury.

Steve said...

I had GERD and not a heart attack when I was admitted to hospital last October. Check your BP and chloresterol levels RJ. These pains are never nothing. I'm thinking of you!

RJScott said...

Hey Steve, hiya! Nice to have you stop by. I checked my blood pressure, and it was 123/66. My cholesterol at my last semi-annual physical was 126: HDL, 48: Normal, 48-80, and LDL: 63, normal 50-100.

I talked to a gal today whose husband suffers from GERD, and she said that the "attack" that I had was similar to attacks he has ... the pain goes away in 15-20 minutes.

I have a semi-annual exam slated for June 21, and I'll tell my doctor what happened.

Thanks for thinking of me, my friend from across the pond!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the fact you feel OK, I DO hope you went ahead and had it checked out. Heart attacks can be funky...and even worse in women! PLEASE, for us, get it checked out!