You say heartburn, I say heart attack.

I’m being totally serious when I say, this morning, thought I might be a goner. And just now, typing “morning” I typed “moroning,” which is apropos, because that’s just how I felt walking into work at 10:30 after calling in sick with a heart attack.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a hypo. But nowhere NEAR hypo enough to drive myself to the ER, or even the doctor, until symptoms have had at least a few days to take hold. Until this morning.

I was getting MP ready for school when a sudden and totally unexpected bout of heartburn came on and progressed rapidly. I couldn’t make sense of it, especially considering I hadn’t eaten a thing since dinner the night before. Within 15 minutes my entire chest was tight and I felt nauseous. In the car on the way to MP’s school, I broke out in a cold sweat, and by the time I’d dropped her off, the pain was radiating to my back.

I had already called work to let them know I’d be a little late. Because I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack and was driving myself to the hospital.

I think I can say full-blown panic never really did set in. I arrived at the hospital, got out of the car and walked to the ER doors. I sat down on a bench outside, debating whether to go in. I REALLY didn’t want to spend 500 bucks for a monster case of heartburn. And, I figured, if I DID collapse, I’d be right outside. Eventually SOMEONE would find me, right? (Which, in itself, is sad commentary about our health care system, but I won’t get into that.) Two times I got up and walked to the doors, feigned a cell phone call, and walked back to the bench. I imagined the conversation on the other side of the glass.

“I got 10 bucks says she comes in.”

“$20 says she goes home.”

“Five bucks says she passes out on the bench.”

I waited it out. I sat on that bench for an hour, mentally measuring the pain every five minutes or so. Slowly, but surely, it seemed to be decreasing. As I got up to leave, I wondered which RN or receptionist or orderly won the pool.

Ten minutes later, a slightly scruffy but absolutely adorable guy in an old Volvo pulled up next to me at the light. His antenna was topped with plastic flowers, and I swear he had a bottle of Corona in his fist … but that can’t be. His window down, he looked over at me, smiled and waved. The light changed, and we turned our separate ways. And in my overactive, overly dramatic mind, I imagined him as the Ferryman, come to usher me across the River Styx. I imagined him having a change of heart, and moving on.

Another day, Mr. Ferryman.

I have miles to go before I sleep, and a little one who needs me. Who right this very minute is yelling from the potty — where she’s been sitting, reading books for 20 minutes — for me to try and find her. And when I step into the bathroom, there she’ll be, hands over her eyes, honestly believing I can’t see her.


Filed under Piece of My Mind

29 responses to “You say heartburn, I say heart attack.

  1. that’s scary! hope you’re feeling better today. you see that ferryman dude again, send him packing.

  2. OUCH!
    But go to the doc and get it checked out, will you? It may “just be heartburn” but trust me when I say, sometimes a major case of heartburn is caused by something else. Like gallbladder disease (trust me on this one!).

  3. Yikes — Gallbadder Disease? I suppose that’s better than a heart attack. I WILL get it checked out.

  4. Whoa, now that’s kind of freaky.
    Take care yo’self, girl.

  5. littlemansmom

    heartburn…anxiety….adrenaline…whatever it was, a check-up is in order my friend….do yourself and your pumpkin a favour and look after yourself

  6. Eek. It’s worth getting it checked out, even if you feel like a hypochondriac-swaying ninny, as I did last last year. One EKG and a visit to an infectious disease specialist later, it turned out to be nothing more than stress. “Try yoga,” they told me. But it’s worth a visit to your doctor, for peace of mind if nothing else.

  7. I’ve actually been meaning to start up with the yoga again — that’s a good idea. Finding time is impossible, but I suppose my body’s trying to tell me to make it.

  8. That’s what my anxiety/panic attacks have felt like.
    Once i had tingly extremities and I lost my shit and went to the ER. Nothing but a panic attack. They are scary, I hope you’re feeling better!

  9. What an awful attack! I used to get it that bad when I was pregnant. Was it a panic attack? I hear those can mimic heart attacks to. Whatever it is, you need to find a chance to RELAX!

  10. I think you need to spend more time relaxing, eating fatty foods, drinking red wine and various spirits, and reading blogs.

    It could only help.

    Seriously, girl, what they all said. You know you want to.

  11. Deb

    Oh, MommyPie, you are me and I am you.
    I’ve done that exact same thing AND as you know, I’m hypo to the max.

    BUT, the constellation of symptoms you had make me think there may be a gastro component to what you experienced. Either way, can you make a physical appt. and have them check you out thoroughly (EKG, etc.)? That way, you’ll set your mind at ease.

    And by the way? Beautifully-written account of the attack, the Ferryman and MJ with her hands over her eyes.

  12. Seriously. We were separated at birth. And thanks for the nice little writerly ego boost 🙂

  13. Jen

    From what you’ve described, it sounds exactly like something I’ve had before. It usually happens to me at night. It really does feel like a heart attack (or at least like I would guess one would feel since luckily I have never had one). I always tell my husband to call 911 if I pass out. It would take that for me to pay the deductible on our insurance. How ridiculous is that??!!

  14. The Ferryman can just stay far, far away.
    Unless he should appear in the “Spooky” 250-words-or-less story…

  15. Jen — Comforting to know I’m not the only one with issues … from the comments above, there’s actually a WHOLE bunch of us out there! Ah, it warms my heart.

    Okay, themeatically … you’re working for San Diego Momma, aren’t you? Oh, the PRESSURE …

  16. Ok skeery for you, but also funny. Is calling your almost-heart-attack bad?

    Awesome post. And I’m glad you didn’t die.

    Now make sure you don’t die and get thee to a doctor.

  17. awesome. now, i am not a hypochondriac, but i understand those of you who admit to (kind of) being one. you see, i can have the same HOLY SH*T I’M DYING thoughts… i just think, “oh well.” and move on… and it is undoubtedly my type who ends up dead in the kitchen, going unnoticed for days…

    morbid much?

  18. Eh, as long as you’re not alone with starving cats or dogs …

  19. Ok, first, I hope when The Mom said she lost her shit, she meant she flipped. B/c if losing your shit literally is part of panic attacks, I’m in trouble.

    This post is freakin’ hilarious. I say that without saying first the “Oh, I hope you feel better” b/c I have so lived this post. I completely get it, and I just love you for writing about it and making me laugh.

    I’ve done the heart attack thing, but I’m kind of partial to thinking I have a brain tumor. For real. B/c you can survive a heart attack.

    I’ve had that “heart burn” by the way. The first time ever I got heart burn I had shooting pains all over my body. The doctor, almost laughing (but that was b/c I was trying to be funny), assured me I was having anxiety and it was heart burn. It didn’t burn. It killed.

  20. Thanks OWWI! You and me and Web MD — there’s a song in there somewhere …

  21. First of all, I am SO HAPPY you are alright.

    And secondly…who else but YOU can make an “almost heart attack” so funny??!! I was dying laughing (sorry, no pun intended) with the part about you thinking the nurse/staff were making bets on what happens to you.

    Mommy Pie…..don’t die on us!!!!!! Your Doogs depend on you for our daily laughs!

  22. Bring out your dead!
    Bring out your dead!
    Bring out…
    …your dead!
    Bring out your dead!
    Here’s one.

    I’m not dead!
    Nothing. Here’s your ninepence.
    I’m not dead!
    ‘Ere. He says he’s not dead!
    Yes, he is.
    I’m not!
    He isn’t?
    Well, he will be soon. He’s very ill.
    I’m getting better!
    No, you’re not. You’ll be stone dead in a moment.
    Oh, I can’t take him like that. It’s against regulations.
    I don’t want to go on the cart!
    Oh, don’t be such a baby.
    I can’t take him.
    I feel fine!
    Well, do us a favour.
    I can’t.
    Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won’t be long.
    No, I’ve got to go to the Robinsons’. They’ve lost nine today.
    Well, when’s your next round?
    I think I’ll go for a walk.
    You’re not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn’t there something you can do?
    DEAD PERSON: [singing]
    I feel happy. I feel happy.
    [whop, knocks DEAD PERSON unconscious]
    Ah, thanks very much.
    Not at all. See you on Thursday.

    you will only understand this if you know Monty Python

  23. wow, that was really, really long

  24. I’m so glad you cleared up that crazy funny comment with the explanatory Monty Python ending. You are a RIOT, my friend. I haven’t watched MP for years, but I think I just became a fan all over again.

  25. You’re so smart. To park yourself in front of the ER and not go in … smart… nothing worse than an ER waiting room. And they would have seen you collapse.

    Seriously, though – you’re so brave … but go see someone. Sounds kind of scary.

  26. wow – glad that you are feeling better and back to your potty rescue duties 🙂

    happy POW-wow friday!

  27. Yes, yes, glad you are going to be fine.

    Great that you didn’t waste $500 on entering the building. Very smart move to wait on the bench, brillant idea to fake cell phone calls. I am sure you are correct that they were betting on if/when you would enter. Next time you have an hour to yourself go yoga.

    Very funny post, thanks for sharing.

  28. ha ha ha!! I am so glad you chose this for POW!! It is definitely POW-worthy!!

    Now go and get the gallstones taken care of already! Sheesh!

  29. Take it easy! Relax and care for yourself.

    Happy POW!

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