Posted by: rundadrun | August 31, 2013

Oh my aching heart!

Heart image
You always hear it said, “DON’T ignore chest pain!” I have heard it for years. And you would think, having Type 2 Diabetes, having a huge family history of heart disease and having had a brother recently go through an angio that left him with a stint in a blocked artery, I would know that I of all people, should have been on the phone at the first twinge of chest pain.

But a funny thing happens when you have any pain in your chest, at least it did for me. I honestly started giving myself a long list of other things it could be. And believe me, I had a pretty good list going. Maybe it was my hiatal hernia making a comeback. Maybe it was just the back pain I had been experiencing the week before. After all, it was just on the other side of my body! Maybe it was the result of my 46-year-old body trying to keep up with a bunch of high school cross-country runners as they did their core work and hard mileage. All of these things sounded like perfectly feasible reasons for the annoying pain I had been having for 2 or 3 days under the right side of my sternum.

Add to this mix, I was in the final days of getting ready to take my first child to college(no stress there!)

So, I had lots of reasons to keep from calling my doctor. But after finally telling my wife what I had been feeling, we decided it was time to see my doctor. So, the call was made. I even spent a short time telling the receptionist at my doctor all the reasons I really didn’t need to come in, something I am sure she had NEVER heard before!

Luckily, they have a very good protocol of questions for just such ignorant men as myself. I was bumped to the front of the line to see the Physicians Assistant, and after a wonderfully uneventful EKG, I was told it was probably nothing, but let’s get a stress test just to be sure, and also to have a baseline for the future. So, the next day found me on a treadmill with more wires coming off me than my home entertainment center! I was a bit nervous, which is funny, since I am usually quite at home running. But this was different, this was serious stuff. As we went through the stages of the stress test, not surprisingly, I had a little trouble getting my heart rate high enough to be “stressed”. The nurse and I had a good laugh about that. But finally, I reached the proper heart rate to finish the test. When the nurse told me that she had everything she needed and to run as long as I felt I could, I jokingly asked her if there was a record. 🙂 Sorry, I am a runner, we think that way.
The great news is, I passed with flying colors. The better news is, I came away with a new respect for those little muscles in your chest that are so easily irritated by over-doing a good thing, like push ups, crunches and speedwork with teenagers!

But the real takeaway here was to NEVER ignore chest pain. Don’t be the guy whose last words were “I don’t have time for this”.
Here is a real good link to help know what NOT to ignore.
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/12-possible-heart-symptoms-never-to-ignore

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Responses

  1. Hey there Rundad! Glad you’re ok. I know all too well about the wonderful world of chest pain denial. Have a quick read from my archives… http://lloydhouse.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/a-wake-up-call/

  2. Oh my heart started racing imagining how your story would end! I personally know several people who had the same head conversation, but with a different ending. So many think it can’t be happening to them, it has to be something else, give it time and it’ll pass. Listen closely to your body, swallow pride, fear, inconvenience, whatever is telling you to not get it checked out–immediately, and then make that appointment or drive to the er. What’s a day or two out of our busy lives to make sure that life continues?

  3. My uncle had diabetes and he was a fitness freak. If you look at him, you wouldn’t guess that he has any disease whatsoever. He really looked good for his age. One day he noticed diffuse body aches, and mild heaviness in chest. He attributed it to a new workout machine in his apartment complex. we asked him to schedule a physician appointment, he waited for 2 days and unfortunately he did not make it. Never ignore the slightest pain or chest discomfort especially if you are diabetic. As you know diabetic patients with heart attack present with atypical symptoms.

    • Sorry to hear about your loss. I know that denial of any kind is exactly what we need to guard against, especially as a diabetic. Hopefully we can help a few people see that you just cannot ignore chest pain of any kind. Again, so sorry for your loss.


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