Friday, October 29, 2010

The Verdict...Part Three

My heart started racing the minute he gave me the news, but by the time I got off the phone, I could actually feel my heart ticking, beating in my chest. I tried distracting myself with television again, but it wasn't working. I went through a few magazines. I suddenly found myself unable to breathe. My chest felt tight. I tried to eat something. Nothing felt right. Soon I was sweating profusely, for no apparent reason.
I thought I was having a heart attack.
I told myself to calm down. I did a little Pilates breathing, but it didn't seem to work, so I laid down again and tried to focus on something incredibly dumb on the television. It was a no-go. Okay. I got up and grabbed my laptop, intent on doing a little Internet surfing. I figured I would bang out a few emails and just futz around.
From the moment I turned on my laptop, I started thinking about Toni Braxton. Toni Braxton had just had a widely-publicized heart attack. And she was in better shape than me. I went to "How old is Toni Braxton?" The answer came back: Thirty-nine. 39! I was almost thirty-nine. I wiped the sweat off my brow, and tried taking a deep breath, but the tightness in my chest made it come out shallow.
Maybe I was having a heart attack.
I talked myself out of it. I didn't have any pains--in my arm, or anywhere else--but I knew enough to know that a woman's heart attack presented itself quite differently than that of a man. I felt stupid, sitting there alone, thinking crazy things. Then I thought about it: what if I really was having a heart attack, and I sat there and did nothing? Roc wasn't going to be home until almost three in the morning...what if he came in to find me lying on the floor, unable to breathe...or worse?
I started getting an awful round of reflux and the sweating and the tightness persisted. By midnight, I decided that it was time to take myself to the Emergency Room. I didn't know what else to do, and as the night wore on, I kept feeling worse and worse. I wasn't sure that I should drive, but I was at my wit's end. I hadn't heard from Roc in hours. I took the dog out and explained to her that Mommy was having a heart attack, but that I would be back. I grabbed a book and a bottle of water, my purse, my keys, and headed for the car.
Once I was on the way to the hospital, I began judging my decision: how stupid was I going to feel when I went to the ER and found out it was nothing? I told myself it didn't matter. The symptoms hadn't let up and I didn't know what else to do. I arrived at the hospital and found parking, then walked up to the ER. I went in and looked around, unsure of what to do next. I found what looked like a check-in station and went there.
After a series of questions, they had me wait in the waiting area. I sat there for a while feeling stupid and scared. Not to mention very much alone.

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