Pristine arteries – that was the information we received after seven hours in the emergency room – oh, wait, it’s no longer known as the emergency room or ER, now it’s the emergency department or ED. I had my middle son drive me to the ED yesterday morning after experiencing chest pains that came on quickly and strongly and then began to radiate up my neck. At first I thought I just had heartburn (a condition for which I do take medication), but I quickly realized that the pain had progressed beyond typical heartburn. I sat for a few minutes in one of my old lady chairs, sweating profusely and trying to convince myself that nothing was wrong. However, it was very clear to me that I was experiencing the types of symptoms common to women heart attack victims. I considered sitting it out, but remembered hearing that it’s better to head to the ED and be a little embarrassed than to sit home and be sorry. So, off we went. My husband met me at the ED door and we were quickly ushered back for monitoring and evaluation. I won’t go in to all the details, but throughout the next seven hours, the staff performed several different tests to be sure that I hadn’t had a “cardiac event”. The end result was that, while they couldn’t tell me what had caused the pain, they could tell me what hadn’t caused it – I had not had a heart attack and I found out that, in fact, I have pristine arteries. That’s nice news to hear.
As I sat in the bed throughout the afternoon yesterday, waiting to find out what had happened, I was scared. I was afraid that this was, in fact, a “cardiac event”. I feared that this was a blatant statement from my body that I had reached a new stage in my life – not one I’m anxious to admit or succumb to. I worried that healing from foot surgery would be nothing compared to the healing that would be necessary after a heart attack. Instead, I learned that I have pristine arteries and I feel a renewed sense of excitement over finishing this foot healing and beginning the process of rebuilding my muscles and fitness level after this surgery-induced hiatus.
For a lot of people, having a heart attack is a reason to improve their lifestyle. I’ve had a pretty healthy lifestyle for a long, long time and, even though I’m on the bench right now, I know I will go back to the lifestyle – and having had this heart attack scare really helps to remind me of who I am and what type of lifestyle I want to lead.