I’m dying, I thought to myself as I woke up. It was my fifth day living with an unidentified pain that resided in my chest near my heart. As I rolled over, my arm felt numb. This is it, I nearly said out loud, this is the beginning of my end. For a few minutes, I was too groggy to realize that I had been lying on my arm, thus the pins and needle sensation. Thankfully, WonderWife™ wasn’t making toast for breakfast because that might have sent me into a tailspin. So I wasn’t having a heart attack, but I didn’t have an answer for the ache in my chest.
I’m not a hypochondriac. I rarely get sick. I didn’t want to go to the doctor. I wanted to hide in the back of my closet. This was impractical, unrealistic and foolish. I needed to act. People in this world depended on me and loved me. But I was scared. Scared of what this pain might mean. Scared of what the doctor could tell me. I forced myself not to look anything up on the internet.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I told WonderWife™ about the pain knowing that once I blurted the truth to her, I couldn’t run away from it. She wouldn’t let me.
“I need to go to the doctor,” I told WW™ quietly over breakfast. “There’s something wrong with me. I know it. I’m scared. I’m dying.”
She rubbed my shoulder and reassured me in a way that said, “you’re going to be fine” and “you’re a freaking lunatic.” I wished she would have said, “You’re not dying you just can’t think of anything better to do.” But that’s a foolish pipe dream.
At this point I did what any rational non-rational person would do and made an appointment with the my GP. After I carefully laid out my symptoms, the doc seemed rather nonplussed about my condition. I didn’t take this as a sign of encouragement, because the man might be the most blasé person I’ve ever encountered. He did tell me that it was unlikely I was dying, but so that I might someday be able to get back to sleep he would run a few tests.
I was escorted to a small, seemingly little-used back room of the office where, sitting amongst boxes of files haphazardly strewn about, was a treadmill. Electrodes were glued all over my body and I tried not to think about how they would feel later being pulled off of my fuzzy chest. I ran on the treadmill while the doctor and a nurse cranked it faster and higher all the while reading beeps and lines of the machine that was connected to me. Or they could have been playing Angry Birds. I’m not really sure because I was busy huffing it on the treadmill, silently pleading for them to stop the machine before I passed out.
As predicted, none of the things a doctor wouldn’t want to see on the test were there. Everything was fine. Sure I had blown through my deductible in one visit, but I now had peace of mind. For now. I’m getting older. It’s really just a matter of time before something else happens.