No one wants to hear, “You need to get to the ER right now.”
Luckily, I didn’t hear that today. Today started like any other day. Woke up thirsty as hell (allergy season does that to me). Still couldn’t find the coffee maker filter. Dropped off the older kids at school. Brought the little one with me to get groceries.
During this time I felt my left arm, more specifically, my left shoulder was feeling weird. It didn’t hurt, maybe a pinched nerve. I know pinched nerves all too well. After all, I have been pregnant many times and each pregnancy brings about a different set of ailments, issues with nerves were always present.
When I got home, I tried to rub the achiness away. It wasn’t working. Then like Keanu Reeves at the end of The Matrix, I started to put two and two together.
Last Thursday, M and I got haircuts from the same Asian dude with a mullet since we moved to California. Our barber doesn’t speak much English but he still does a great job. In fact, he is the only one M trusts to cut his hair! I loved the A-line bob he gave me a few years and have been going back to him ever since even though I hate the haircuts he gives me when I walk out the door but when it grows out, my hair has never looked better. A few days of misery is a small price to pay for a couple months of fab hair.
Anyway, when I signed the bill, I noticed that I couldn’t focus on the receipt. I blinked, covered one eye, covered the other. When I was pregnant with M, I used to have circles of bluriness on occasion. That day it looked like my eyelids were playing Fruit Ninja. A long blurry streak on the upper left quadrant of my vision did not go away until I got home and parked myself on the couch. Maybe I was dehydrated. I don’t know.
On Monday we went to a baseball game. I bought Subway sandwiches for us to eat in the car in an effort to make them full before the game. I didn’t want to pay a zillion dollars for ballpark fare but did anyway when we shared an order of nachos.
May I remind you that I have three kids so in the end, my portion of anything (thankfully) is pretty small. Still a sudden sharp pain in my chest for about fifteen seconds caught me by surprise. If indigestion feels like you are being choked by a mechanical claw, I will gladly stay away from nachos forever. It was so overwhelming that you could have punched me in the face and I wouldn’t have felt it.
I ignored it and didn’t eat any more junk.
Last night while I was reading my shoulder started aching. A small price to pay for readers everywhere, right? I just sat a different way and kept reading.
An hour ago, I started to feel panicked. What if these things were related? I would feel like a real dumbass if they weren’t but what if they were? I am the sole caregiver for three kids. I have always prepared them for examples of what would happen if Mommy was hurt. Who would you call? What would you say? Why would I want to put them in that position if I could just pick up the phone, call my doctor, and just check?
And check I did. Tearfully. Facing your own mortality is extremely humbling. I may need to do this more often.
I went over my symptoms with an advice nurse who tried to connect the dots with me. He said to ice my shoulder, pop some pills, and rest. Try reading in a different position.
The two most important things he said to me were (1) do you feel like you should come in and (2) if it doesn’t get better by tomorrow, call us back.
To which I replied, (1) “NO and (2) “I will”.
Even now as I type this, I am sitting at the kitchen table with good posture. My shoulder pain comes and goes but it still hurts.
No one wants to think about this but we should. Better to be wrong than dead, I suppose.