Heloise thought she was having a heart attack...

So, Thursday night, I come home from school (around 11:00). I lay down on the couch for a few minutes and pet kitty. When I get up, I notice a strange pain in my chest. Oh, well. It’ll go away. Next morning, I get up for work and the pain is still there. Just a light pain, but there nonetheless. I get to work, pain is getting a bit worse. Throughout the course of the morning, I’m occasionally gasping for breath as the pain occasionally intensifies, then subsides.

By 2:00, when I leave, the pain is incredible. I go to the doctor’s office and they run an EKG on me. And X-Rays. No, not a heart attack. Doctor says something about my sternum and breast plate. Huh? Gives ma a shot of muscle relaxer. Take large doses of ibuprofen and call if the pain is there by Monday. By Monday, it’s gone down some, but having palpitations. Go see another doctor. Another EKG. No heart attack. Looks like stress.

Stress? I don’t have time for stress or heart palpitations! I have a full time job, full time school, Mom waiting for me when I get home, because she doesn’t drive, pets that are waiting for my attention, catch up time on the weekends, because I don’t have time during the work/school week. I hardly sleep well during the week, because by the time I feel I get settled down enough for true sleep, the alarm is ringing and I have to get ready for work! Finals are coming up and I certainly have to cram time in for those and as I’m thinking about all that I have to do, my heart is going crazy, so I have to stop for a minute.

Okay, better now. So, I have this new medication for anxiety. It doesn’t really appear to be helping. But, I’ve only had it for one day, so I’ll give it a chance. It’s better than sitting around, waiting for the next what-feels-like-a-heart-attack to come along. Sigh.

Yeee-ikes, Heloise! You poor thing!

As a victim of frequent anxiety attacks, I certainly sympathize. The meds often take up to two weeks to build up to usefulness, so keep taking them.

Uhh, and looking at that schedule of yours? I suppose it would be pointless to mention that’s an awfully big load for one person? Got anyone nearby who you can shove some of that off onto?

Hang in there!

Ick. No wonder you have stress. Hang in there Heloise I know working in time to relax with such a busy schedule is nigh impossible but maybe its worth a try. Even ten minutes a day of calm can work wonders.

Is that your little euphemism for it?

Just kidding. I’ve had my issues with anxiety as well. Don’t know what med your taking, but the one I was perscibed took a couple weeks before it started working, and that was considered normal. So hang in there! It’s bound to get better.

Thanks for the support, guys!

Actually, I’m already on Paxil, but the doctor prescribed something for me that is supposed to be faster acting. Such as, when you feel it happening, take these pills 3x a day. And take your other meds as normal. This is my first day back at work and school, and I’ve been feeling ill about it all day. I just want to go home and sleep for a year. Hah! Oh, well. Hopefully, my system will react quicker to this new pill and my heart will feel regular soon.

Feel better, Heloise!!!

That’s rough, Heloise. I have anxiety problems, too, and take Serzone (an SSRI like Paxil), but I have to take Xanax occasionally. When my life gets to be too much for me, it’s the only thing that will get my heart rate back down, my blood pressure back down, and get my breathing out of the way-too-shallow-you’re-gonna-hyperventilate range. I also have stomach problems when I’m too stressed. So you definitely have my sympathy. And if Paxil isn’t cutting it, maybe your doc can have you try something else in the SSRI* category.

*For those of you who don’t know, SSRI’s are a type of anti-depressant, anti-anxiety med (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) that is supposed to keep your serotonin levels up, and therefore, keep you calmer and happier. Sometimes they even work (just kidding).

Not that I want to contradict your doctors, if they said you were not having a heart attack I imigian they were correct; did they run any other tests beyond an ECG? I’ve always been taught in my ACLS classes that the lack of ECG changes to not rule out a heart attack.

Thanks, Johnny L.A.

TroubleAgain Actually, they want to increase my dosage of Paxil to 30mg. I don’t quite think I’m ready for that. Last time, I got no sleep and I hardly ever sleep well as it is. :frowning:

kinoons They did two EKGs and X-Rays. Said that my heart was okay, that it had to be something else. They just don’t know what the something else might be, so they attributed it to stress. If something else does pop up, I hope they let me know. I’ve had anxiety attacks before, but nothing like this!

Dingdingdingdingding! :wink:

That just reads “stressed” all over, I’m afraid.

Poor thing! That must have been quite a scare. Take it from someone who has to undergo a 5-yearly full check-up because of a slight heart rythm disorder: being worried about your ticker ain’t cool (the docs keep telling me mine is 100% A-OK, and it’ll work for another 175 years. It’s just that getting the all-clear after the tests is VERY good news to me, every single time).

Whatever you do, make sure you’re the one coming up on top. You work hard, you study, you have your mother to take into account… that’s a lot of work right there. Don’t let it get the best of you. Remember: you’re gonna be useless at work if you’re burned out, useless at school, and your mother will probably go nuts if you’re at home all day. :slight_smile:

Know your limitations - you just got a mild warning. The meds may help (and I sure hope they do!!), but these sort of things are life’s little reminders to always keep your priorities straight.

Good luck, dear.

Thanks, Coldfire, you’re a sweetheart. I’m glad your heart is doing well, too. Did you mean you have to go to the doctor five times a year, or every five years?

Last night was my first night back to school, right after work and it wasn’t too bad, until they reminded us that finals start on Friday! ACK! But the practical exams start on Monday, so I have all weekend to work on that, thank God. Then we get a four day weekend from school, so maybe I’ll actually get to rest!

I’m glad it wasn’t a heart attack, but that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to go back to your regular schedule. Coldfire was right…know your limitations. Let other people help you. If you can’t get to something, don’t feel like it has to be done right NOW! The most important thing is your health and if that goes to pot, so do everything else. Take care of yourself!

Dang Heloise, the evening of May first I thought I had a big case of heart burn. My wife insisted she take me to the hospital, turns out I was having a heart attack. Nothing to fool around with, always get it checked out.

Thanks, Grace, I know I need to slow down, I just haven’t figured out how yet. I would sooo love to be able to quit my job, but am still looking for grants, etc.

Wow, Fletch, I’m glad you’re okay now, but ack! That sounds scary. You are okay, I hope?

Do what I did. Find a rich sugar daddy. :smiley:

Just every five years. I just KNEW I was phrasing that poorly. :slight_smile:

Glad to hear you’re doing better now… and I hope you can get a grant that’ll allow for some more spare time.

Let’s see… Invest my money and live off of the dividends, or be a sugar-daddy to Heloise? Hmmm… Tempting… :wink:

Hey look! There’s an airplane for sale! :smiley:

Been there, done that. Just a couple of months ago. You can’t use the words “chest pain” in a medical office without getting a ride on the EKG train.

As with you, Heloise, it was my body reacting to stress. The annoying thing was I went through exactly the same thing five or so years ago. Same symptoms, same tests, same diagnosis.

The good news is that it wasn’t more serious. But it IS a warning. Simplify, simplify. Use this little episode as an excuse to DO LESS!

All those things you have to do won’t get done if you’re dead. Does that help put it in perspective? Hurrying home to drive Mom where she needs to go is wonderful, but I’m sure she’d rather re-arrange her schedule a little than lose her daughter. Ditto your pets. Would the world end if you missed a semester of school?

Anyway I’m glad you’re OK.

The good news (in my case) was the secondary diagnosis was indigestion (which was also incorrect) but they gave me some pills for heartburn which work like magic. AND I slowed down a little.

I feel better.

Our office is getting infused with the virus, so they took our internet connection away yesterday. Sorry for the lack of response.

Grace Is that all there is to it? And here I’ve been trying to do it all myself! Silly me! :wink:

Johnny L.A. What a sweet offer! But you’re still pretty young to be a sugar daddy, aren’t you?

Coldfire You scared me for a moment. I was thinking, five times a year, but they’re telling him he’s okay?
Thanks, the medication is helping and the grant search continues…

pluto Thank you. What kind of pills did they give you? Actually, school itself is only 15 months long, so it kind of seems like a one shot deal. Mom is great, she doesn’t mind if I have to rush from work to school and stop home for lunch in between, it’s just an additional pressure that comes from having someone live with you. I wish that I had known exactly what I wanted to do when I left high school. I think I may have been a bit more able to stand the strain back then!


I’m so glad you’re ok now!

One of the things you need to remember about school is that you’re there because you love to do it. The practical exams, even though the Chef Instructors put alot of emphasis on them, are not as difficult as you think they are, and the farther along you go in school, the easier they become.

And, of course, you know you can always copy my old homework assignments if you need to… :wink:

Have you looked into scholarships from the James Beard Foundation?