Last Friday I woke up feeling like I was having a panic attack. Stabbing chest pain, pounding heart rate, trouble breathing, all that fun stuff. I pushed through work, where the techs took decent care of me between visits and the other doc made sure I was monitoring my heart rate and pulses, and after a few hours when the breathing wasn't getting any better I realized it wasn't panic.
Okay, I figured; it's probably just a bizarre manifestation of my seasonal allergies. They usually show up as coughing fits, but stuff changes sometimes and shortness of breath makes sense as an asthma/allergy sign. Once I got home I dug up my (expired) inhalers. No help. But hey, they were expired.
So I spent Monday arguing with my doctor's office trying to get them refilled ('but why do you want a refill on a medicine you aren't taking?'). I was finally able to pick them up Tuesday.... and they were still no help.
Yesterday morning I got an early appointment with the NP at my doctor's office, who insisted that I seemed fine to her. Lungs clear, even though I was having to pause for breath after every few words. Strength "normal" (note to self - having medical professionals assess for weakness by checking grip and bicep strength after 2 years of circus arts leads to skewed results). I was told to take Claritin and I'd be fine.
That night, when umbran
saw how I looked and sounded, I went to the ER. It's amazing how quickly you get triaged when you go in with chest pain and shortness of breath. And after 5 hours, 2 EKGs, chest x-rays, unsuccessful nebulizer treatments, extensive labwork, and the ultimately diagnostic low-tech test of my doctor asking me to lean forward and see if it stopped hurting, I got my diagnosis.
Pleuritis and probable pericarditis. For which the treatment is, unfortunately, 'be miserable for a while.' With a side order of 'don't do too much,' and cringeworthy doses of prednisone.
I've managed to reschedule all but one of my house calls for today, cancelled my private silks lesson, and called out from tomorrow's relief shift. I'm tucked into the sofa with a crochet project I haven't picked up in months, a stack of Astro City comics (thank you hungrytiger
!), and only a moderate sense of guilt that I'm not working on my certification program or cleaning the house or... much of anything other than breathing. And drinking. So much tea. Stupid prednisone.
At least I finally get to fulfill my wish of being a languid tragic Victorian damsel.....