Pausing the Stubborn

For quite a while now we have seen the ads, heard the speeches and probably like most still ignored them all.  The Go Red for Women campaign.  There is a reason this exists.  Women are a stubborn gender.

We endure many things as silently as possible.  After all, we are the caregivers, the providers and the rock of many family units.  We do not like to show weakness, and this includes pain or giving into illness.  That big ‘Ignore’ button is always flashing and ready to be pushed at a moments notice.  And let’s face it, we push it often.  Too often.

I was a lucky one but like many before me I pushed that button so many times two nights ago it almost short circuited.  In foresight, it was a dumb thing to do and I’m glad I eventually made the right decision.  But if this story had been different, it may had been one time too many.

Sunday morning, first longish run after a half marathon, group of ladies hit the trail like we do every Sunday at first light.  It was a chilly 48* which is perfect for running.  Unfortunately my ankle was just not going to allow me to run so I speedily walked until everyone had completed their intended distances.  We hopped in the car to head to our breakfast hangout and as I was turning back to speak to the ladies after yet another forceful sneezing frenzy a very sharp pain shot right through the left side of my chest and down my left arm.  I had never experienced such a pain.  I knew for certain it was not muscle strain or the like.  It was just ‘different’.  I stopped mid word and could not even breathe.  I played it off like a champ and all of about 30 seconds later it eased off and I finished that word and continued through my day.

At 1:00AM that morning I woke suddenly with severe upper stomach pain and nausea.  First I thought perhaps it was something I ate and just laid there for about 30 more minutes trying to breath my way through it.  Then came the slight dizziness.  I chalked it up to being tired.  Then the chest pain hit furiously.  Just on the left side.  It began to radiate through my back and to the center of my chest.

I would get up and walk around to see if I could make it ease off to go back to sleep.  I even had a slight thought of heart attack and started up my Surface to do some research.  There was no throbbing, no dull ache, no pain like explained on the many webs sites for heart attack, not exactly as written anyway…

I went back to bed again and then my left arm went numb.  That funny feeling that you get if you sit on it for a while and the blood comes rushing back.  Almost painful.  The nausea got worse and I got scared.  I really had the feeling if I closed my eyes and went to sleep I would not wake.

All the moving around woke my husband and I actually still tried to talk him out of going to the emergency room as it was 2:30AM.  Our daughter was asleep and I did not want her to miss any school as she is having her nine weeks tests this week.  I didn’t want to wake the in laws at this hour especially since this could still have been something else.  I just did not want to burden anyone.  That is why I did not intentionally wake him.

But finally I gave into the fear and we went.  As I mentioned, I was lucky.  They repeated told me I did the right thing and diagnosed me with Costochondritis.  They mentioned it feels just like a heart attack.  If this had actually been my heart waiting all day to mention it ( well I guess I really did not mention it until almost 16 hours after that first pain shot through my chest) could have left my children motherless because I did not want to inconvenience anyone.

As a gender, we women are stubborn and not always as smart as we would like everyone to believe.  This could have turned out much differently and unfortunately for many has and probably will.  Moral of this story?  You never know.  Just go if only to ease your mind.  Think of the inconvenience of not being there you would cause your family instead of the few hours it takes to see a doctor.

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