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.