Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You've Gotta Have Heart

I woke up yesterday morning at 6 am with a burning pain in my left shoulder. Needless to say I was a little worried about this since the pain seemed to have come out of the blue, and I had heard that most heart attacks happen in the morning.

Maybe I should have gotten up and gone to the hospital, which really is quite nearby, but I did not do that. I stayed in bed and eventually the pain went away.

I did not really feel bad, but later in the day I did go to a doctor. The nurse gave me sort of a hard time for not coming sooner. They checked my blood pressure, which was 100 over something – a really fantastic number for a guy my age. They gave me an electrocardiogram (ECG) and took some blood to check for cardiac enzymes, etc – I guess to determine if I had had a cardiac incident like a heart attack or something. The ECG was normal, and all the numbers from my blood test were within normal range. According to the doctor, my heart was fine. Yayyy!!!!

She said that I was doing about everything right – drinking a little wine, losing weight, cutting down on fat in my diet, going vegetarian, exercising, not smoking, dealing with stress. In fact, if a person has heart disease, these are the risk factors that the doctor suggests that you address first. (Does anyone remember my post a few weeks ago that talked about this?) In other words, short of taking medication or having surgery I am already doing most everything I can do to avoid serious heart problems.

Do I feel better now that I have gone to the doctor? Somewhat. The main reasons I went were to find out if I was ok, and to consult with someone who could tell me what I should do in the future if I encountered a similar situation. I got the answer to the first question, but I am not extremely clear on the second one. And I wonder what I am supposed to do if I wake up at 6 am tomorrow morning with a burning pain in my left shoulder. After all, I have already been to the doctor and there was nothing wrong with me.

I don’t know. I don’t think my condition has reached heart attack proportions yet. If I were having a heart attack I think I would have shortness of breath, the pain would probably be worse, and I may even be nauseous. Therefore, if I ever have trouble breathing, if I can’t bear the pain, and if I throw up for no apparent reason, then I will call 911. Until then I guess I will just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

I do worry about all this, though. I smoked for a long time, and I did not always eat a healthy diet. But there’s nothing I can do now except keep doing what I am doing and hope it is not too late to avoid serious consequences for my youthful behavior.

PS, It is now the next morning after all the excitement at the doctor’s office. I had a good night’s sleep last night without any pain. In fact it was so dark and rainy this morning that I wish I had stayed in bed longer, but my son got up early and started moving around, so that was that.

I put some BenGay and a heating pad on my left shoulder last night. That seemed to help. And I tried to be sure not to roll over on my left side while sleeping.

I find that the older I get, the more precautions I have to take: don’t sleep on my left side, don’t lace my shoes up too tight, don’t eat too much fat, etc. I liked it better when I didn’t have to worry about all that. But that is ok. You live and learn. If you don’t learn, life can be pretty miserable. If you do learn, and if you do have to take certain precautions, well that’s life. And besides, the alternatives really don’t seem so appealing.

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Ed Bremson said...

One other quick point: apparently I was relatively healthy when I walked into the doctor's office yesterday. But then I had to sit there for an hour with all these sick people who were sneezing, coughing, and blowing their noses. All I need now is to get a case of the flu in April when I have not been sick in about eight months. You've gotta have heart, yes, but you've also got to have a sense of humor sometimes.

Raggedy said...

I am glad you got checked.
I am also glad that there is nothing wrong. It always better to be safe than sorry.
I hope your shoulder feels better soon.