Meditations in An Emergency (Room)

by Valerie on July 11, 2010 · 12 comments

Yesterday morning, I got up, took a shower, brushed my teeth, and out of nowhere started having throbbing pain at the back of my neck, in my left shoulder, deep into the left side of my chest, and down to my left elbow, and also started having trouble breathing.  The pain was so intense I was immediately nauseous and started blacking out.  Needless to say, my husband took me to the emergency room – this was not even a case of me having to ask him. He got dressed as soon as he saw me crumple up.  In the cab and the waiting area at the emergency room, I asked him several times to make sure they ran an EKG on me. You see, I have read way too many stories such as this one where women in their 30s end up in the emergency room with a heart attack and get told they are having a panic attack and to go home.  While I was not coherent enough to say EKG (the pain was coming in fast waves, with barely any breaks between the waves, though I did still remember some vague outline of these statistics) he understood, as well as me asking him about what test to ask for for blood clots.

Kudos to the GW emergency room, because those were the first two test they ran on me, along with doing a chest xray, bloodwork, and some other tests.  They also gave me a bronchial dilator to see if that would help my breathing, which I eventually realized was problematic because it hurt to breathe (as opposed to being unable to breathe).  By then the test results had come back as all negative, my blood pressure and heart rate were fine, and the nurse gave me a shot of non-steroid inflammation-reducing painkillers.  After five hours there and the shot, my pain had gone from an 8 to a 4 (out of 10), meaning I was semi-functional, so the doctor said it was likely a cervical radiculopathy (aka pinched nerve) or maybe an inflammation around the heart or my left lung. Either way, prescription ibuprofen, rest and follow-up with my general practitioner was what I was left with.  Seeing as I was not in any immediate danger, I figured the best course of action was to go home and re-evaluate after a couple of days.

We walked home, at my insistence. I needed to feel like I was alive, and a walk seemed as good a way to do that as any, despite the pain, especially because I wanted to pick up a coconut water shake at Java Green.  Incidentally, I have found coconut water shakes to be a great pick-me-up after bloodwork.   As we were walking I reflected that I was grateful for health insurance and for the fact that my symptoms were taken seriously.  And since I know the majority of my readers are women, I did want to mention this story to you – while I was lucky and no one, at any point, discounted my symptoms, I felt prepared if that had happened, and I hope you do too.

As for me – it is Saturday morning and I am working on finding a comfortable position to sleep in, though I was able to sleep. I had been scheduled for follow-up with both my doctor and my naturopath (they are in the same practice) Thursday next week since this past April, so at least I have that in place, even if I can’t get an earlier appointment.  And in the meantime, I am thinking anti-inflammatory foods.  I have chana dal soaking, as well as adzuki beans – and you know I will be cooking them in the rice cooker.   Incidentally neither need to be soaked, but I find that all beans and lentils benefit from soaking.  I am also thinking that my love for raw cacao (pretty much the only chocolate I eat) is going to have to be shelved for a little while.  Raw cacao has many health benefits, but it does contain some caffeine, which can be inflammatory, so until the pain goes away, I am focusing on carob and chocolate-flavored stevia. And while there are lots of eggplant and tomatoes at the farmer’s market right now, I am going to abstain on those too.  Otherwise, my diet is already pretty anti-inflammatory, though this episode is a good reminder that I need to rest more.  And with that, I am off for another nap.

Image credit here.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
General Disclosures & Disclaimers

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Olivia (Green Junkie Living) July 11, 2010 at 3:47 am

Oh my goodness, Valerie, I'm so glad you're ok! You've been on my mind a lot lately (I was actually telling friends at a dinner party about your blog last night, as I was wearing a TranquiliT dress), and I bet the universe was saying you need a little extra love sent your way. What a scary ordeal that must have been. Thanks for sharing this story, and again, I'm so glad everything seems to be ok.


2 TheAnalyst July 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I am glad you are feeling better! The experience alone must have been stressful. It is good you are able to find some relaxation and good foods for nourishment.


3 Lavanya July 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Oh my god, Valerie!- that sounds scary. Do take rest. Also keep us posted about the follow up. So glad you are better now. *hugs*


4 Lauren July 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Wow, what a way to spend the weekend! I am so glad that they took care of you at the hospital and you were able to get back home. Rest up and feel better soon!


5 Carolyn July 12, 2010 at 12:03 am

Oh my goodness – thank God you're okay!!!!!


6 Globetrotting Cacti July 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm

That all sounds rather scary. Hope that you are at home and recovering now…. rest up x


7 The Curator July 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I'm so glad you're okay!!! How did you get a pinched nerve? That must have been really scary…good for your husband and the hospital. I hope you feel better soon!


8 Farty Girl July 13, 2010 at 2:40 am

What a scare! The body can do such amazing GOOD things and such amazingly SCARY things too. I love your beat it attitude to start thinking of healing foods and working towards feeling better. Keep us updated on your progress! Happy healing!


9 Karley July 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm


I am so sorry to read this. I hope you are feeling on the mend. Please take care of yourself (I know you are)…




10 Analiese Marie July 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Oh my goodness…what a scare! I'm so glad you're ok, and, equally,so impressed that you had such an empowered + proactive attitude during what must have been a traumatic experience. Thank you for the important reminder, and for sharing your experience. I hope you feel better soon! *Hugs*


11 The Voracious Vegan July 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry I missed this post when you first published it. You poor thing, that sounds like a terrifying experience. I'm so glad you had a helpful hubby and a good medical team looking out for you. And what a relief that even though it was really painful it turned out to not be anything too terribly serious. Youch, I can't even imagine the pain you were in. I'm so sorry! I hope you feel better soon and get lots of rest.


12 moi August 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm

You looked so beautiful when we met for book club — I had no idea of your recent trauma. Shame on me for not keeping current! Looking forward to catching up with you this week.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: