Wait. Hold on… Is that a discomfort in or around my chest area or is it a CHEST PAIN? Is it the pizza I had for lunch? Or the harbinger of sudden doom? After basically ignoring my actual chest pains 3½ years ago until I almost keeled over from a massive heart attack, I’m a tad wary of any kind of activity in that general area of my body. Call it watchful waiting, hyper vigilance, or hypochondria: it’s my new pastime.
My cardiologist tells me heart attack patients typically experience the same symptoms during their second event they had during the first event (if there is a second event: one out of three heart attacks are fatal).
The problem is— I can’t really remember the actual pains I had the last time. I don’t know if it’s because I blocked it out or because I had been dismissing them for months. I wasn’t paying attention to them so I couldn’t tell you what they were if I had them again. Everything happened so quickly 3½ years ago when they finally told me how close to death I was and my mind was kind of on other things, like being so close to death.
Now I run this constant paranoid checklist in my head:
Ow! Hang on… Is that a pain? A real pain? I think it’s a real pain. I’m not sure. It’s inside my chest, I think. Or maybe it’s just my ribcage. It hurts when I inhale. I think. Is that still post-op, suture pain? I’m supposed to have that forever, they told me, right? Or is it pain “upon exertion” like that last time? I kind of feel pain when I’m walking outside, exerting myself, like before. Could be asthma, induced by the cold weather. But I’ve never had asthma. Maybe I caught asthma somehow. What does it say on the Internet? Ow, there’s another twinge. Is it? Maybe it’s…?
This is no way to live…