A couple of weeks ago I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with my right hand asleep. Hmm. And my face was feeling a little snoozy, too. This couldn't be good. Of course, I've had migraines on and off for years and the numb hands and numb face could be that. But what was this warmth in my chest? Maybe I should go to the hospital.
I sure didn't want to go to the hospital. I'm the world's biggest hypochondriac. I was sure the doctor would say, "You're fine. Take your tingly hand home and go back to bed." Still ... okay, I should go. So, because who wants to arrive at the hospital all stinky, I took a shower. Then I didn't feel so bad so I decided to just go back to bad. And here came the numbness and the chest warmth again. Okay, off we go.
No way was I going to wake up my husband for what would probably turn out to be a false alarm, so I did another intelligent thing. I drove myself. Children, don't try this at home. Happily, there was hardly a car on the road and I stayed conscious but looking back I ask myself, "What were you thinking?" Actually, I was thinking I didn't want to turn my husband's life upside down.
As it turned out I did. I about gave the poor man a nervous breakdown with my little "Not to worry. I'm just at the hospital getting something checked" note. As for me, I wound up having a little spa weekend at my local hospital while the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me. (Edited my work in progress - what a workaholic cliche! - and caught up on all my favorite episodes of "House Hunters.") The doctors found no blockage so I came away stent free. Yay! Their conclusion... I have dysfunctional capillaries. Whatever that means. Oh, yeah. For the time being it means medicine.
So, what did I learn in all this? First of all, I learned never to brush it off when my body is misbehaving. Women, we have totally different symptoms of heart failure than the guys. I'm assuming you all know that! But just in case you don't... Don't expect crushing chest pain. You might not get it. Watch for sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, a feeling of anxiety and yes, that warmth in the chest. Anything that isn't normal for you is something you need to see a doctor about. Secondly... no one at the hospital will care if you don't come in fresh as a daisy. They see mangled bloody bodies all the time. A little body odor or imperfect hair and no makeup won't phase these people. And, of course, don't drive yourself!
Now, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am counting my blessings, thankful to still be here with my loved ones, thankful that in good times and bad (and we've had our share of those these last three years!) God watches over me.
How about you? For what are you thankful?