There’s Nothing Wrong With Me? Don’t be so Hasty

I was recently talking with a friend who said she was suffering from “blogger’s block.” I told her that all she had to do was continually embarrass herself in public and she’d have plenty of blog-fodder to spew forth.

It’s yesterday. I start experiencing sporadic tightness and pain on the left side of my chest. I don’t worry too much about it. It’s more annoying than painful and besides, I’m too young to have a heart attack, right?

For a bedtime story, Dan decides to read to me about Richard Feynman and his romance with his terminally ill wife Arline. It’s funny, sweet, poignant and thought-provoking. The thoughts it starts provoking are, “Am I terminally ill? What if I die in the night and they ask DYD if I was having any symptoms and he says ‘no’ so they never find out what was really wrong with me? I must tell him about the chest-pain.”

So, as he kisses me goodnight and rolls over, I say something like, “I’ve been having chest pain off and on all day. It’s on the left side so if I don’t wake up tomorrow, tell them to check for heart disease or something. Goodnight.”

He rolls over with this crazy look on his face, has me describe the pain and asks if I’m okay. I say I’m fine and I feel dumb for bringing it up but I just thought he should know. We go to sleep.

I wake up this morning, still the tightness, only now it’s constant and gets worse when I breathe in deeply. So what do I do? I breathe in deeply as frequently as possible, just to make sure it still hurts. This starts to freak me out. Dan and I decide to call the nurse hotline at MegaCorp and ask their advice.

They calmly ask me several questions and then tell me to hang up and call 9-1-1. I laugh.

“I’m sorry. I can’t do that. They’ll make fun of me. There’s really nothing wrong, I’m sure.”

The nurse then makes me promise to go into the ER. I so swear. So, we pack up the kids and all head off for a day of fun at our favorite house of sickness. I’m humiliated. As soon as we get there, I get the distinct feeling that nothing’s wrong with me and it’s all I can do not to flee the building. But we’ve driven this far and I made a blood oath and all, so I start filling out paperwork.

I beg them not to bring me a wheel chair and they relent. They walk me down a hallway full of people wearing gas masks and moaning. Everyone looks horrid and I’m just bouncin’ along.

So, 4.5 hours, several tests and multiple consults later, they release me with a diagnosis of musculo-skeletal discomfort. I love when they come up with big words to make you feel better about wasting an entire afternoon and an ER visit on a strained pectoral muscle.

I say, “Okay. That’s weird since I don’t even remember doing anything to it.”

Nicest ever ER Doc says, “Oh, sometimes you don’t realize you’re straining something. It could be as simple as that you were standing in a funny position when you sneezed.”

There you have it. I sneezed funny, straining a muscle and I went to the ER because I thought I was dying. If that’s not embarrassing, I’m not sure what is. The worst part is, we were JUST IN THERE.

(An Update – We’ve been back to the pediatrician every couple of days since the burn but as of this weekend Magoo is officially bandage-free and doing well. We check back in with them early next week.)

I am really really not one of those people who wants to go into the ER all the time, hoping something’s wrong with them. What that X-Ray guy diagnosed me with in the Urgent Care may be a real sickness but I got over it in second grade.

Now I have a goal to make it a full year without going in to the Urgent Care or ER. I just don’t want to become the “Norm from Cheers” of the ER, “where everybody knows your name.”

I can see it now, “HEY! It’s Kathryn! What’s wrong this time, Daring One? Did you break your femur while stubbing your toe on a My Little Pony? No, no, let me guess. You have really bad pain in your left pinky finger so you want us to check for cranial failure?”

caprisThere was a highlight, though. This came unexpectedly from the most patient man I have ever known, AKA my husband. After dropping me off at the emergency loading doors (Rush, rush, rush. We’ve got a sneeze-strained-musculo-skeletal incident here!), he drove around for 2 hours with the kids sleeping in the van until Laylee woke up and had an accident in her car seat. He calmly changed her into the outfit I had put in the diaper bag, cleaned up the car and then brought both kids in to see me.

From the second I saw her, I could not stop laughing. I had almost not packed those pants as the spare outfit because they were bordering on way too small for….MAGOO, who is now wearing 12-18 month clothes. Laylee was wearing a very cute pair of capris, AKA 6-9 month boy’s jeans.

We needed some humor to brighten up our day and there it was.

Another laugh came when Karli sent me this:


I was gonna go to the website and have it changed to say “Daring Young Mom is a Hypochondriac” but that still hits a little too close to home.

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36 Responses to There’s Nothing Wrong With Me? Don’t be so Hasty

  1. blackbird says:

    I’ve done the ER run with a child with nothing wrong with them…
    but, on the other hand, I’ve also ignored stuff only to find out that there WAS something really wrong
    (Middle’s broken hand) –
    so, my theory?
    It’s always better to be safe.

  2. Jeana says:

    I’ve got you beat on this one…Allow me to quote myself from a comment I left to another blogger who is pregnant for the first time.

    “Wait until the baby gets a foot caught under your ribcage and it hurts so much that for a few minutes you forget you are pregnant and call the doctor, sure you are having a heart attack, then you feel REALLY dumb when they point out that it’s probably your baby’s foot.

    What, that doesn’t happen to everyone?”

    No ER trip, but I felt dumb for sure!

  3. Nancy says:

    Ugh, how frustrating. I hope you all are able to avoid the ER again for the near future…

    I always do the better-safe-than-sorry approach also — one time I went to the ER thinking I had kidney stones, but it turned out to be a muscle pull (sound familiar?) Unfortunately, the doctor at the ER had a horrible bedside manner and treated me like an idiot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This post makes me feel so much better because I did EXACTLY the same thing about a month ago. I had your exact same sypmtoms. I only went to the ER because everything I read online said that if you have ANY chest discomfort at ALL you need to call 911 without delay! (I just couldn’t call 911 I felt so stupid, but my DH convinced me to go to the ER) I was also diagnosed as having strained a muscle or some such non-emergency thing. I even was sent for a follow up ECHO just to be sure my ticker was in working order. (It was!) I do have one theory about myself: I seem to notice my discomfort increase on days when the previous night I have nursed my baby in bed a lot. She doesn’t sleep with me, but I do nurse lying down in bed at night. And then I also lift my other two 35 pound children several times a day without thinking about it, many times while attempting to do something else at the same time (talk on the phone, type, etc.) This mom stuff is tough! I Love your blog! Thank you for sharing your life, it truly means a lot to other moms going through the same time in life.


  5. owlhaven says:

    My husband had this happen this week–glad you’re ok!!

  6. LeighAnn says:

    OMG! You are hysterical! That was so funny!

  7. Kim C. says:

    Sneezing is dangerous. I’ve been walking like my grandfather after he drove from Oregon to Texas sitting on his big fat wallet (Grandma said the doctor warned him not to do that) since Wednesday morning becuase of a pregnant sneeze. It was just TV: I heard a big crackly crunch in my spine as soon as I did it.
    I was too cheap to go to a chiropracter, so I’ve waited 4 days to be able to walk in a fully upright position.
    From now on, I’ll be assuming the proper safety sneeze position:
    bend knees slightly
    lean forward at the waist
    rest butt against the fridge
    support belly with both hands

    No more living dangerously for this gal!

  8. Heather says:

    Always better to know you’re safe. Even if it’s a contusion. Also, I about died over the Einstein thing! 🙂

  9. It sounds like you could even have a rib head out, DYM- nothing to get worried over. Happens to me and hubby all the time. Sometimes those upper ribs will get out of place and it can hurt exactly as you said! Especially upon taking a deep breath… a good massage would do wonders for you, DYM. But… if you’re a mom it is better to be safe…
    I also thought the Einstein thingy was great!

  10. Lena says:

    At least it wasn’t gas! LOL

    Sneeze gently and be well…

  11. Liz says:

    hey – I put my back out sneezing, and almost puked from the pain.

    Your pain is nothing to sneeze at….ummm….pun not really intended, but I guess it works…

  12. Suzi says:

    I agree with Blackbird that it is always better to be safe. At least for other people.

    I too hate to go to the ER, or the doctor, because I feel something is wrong. I am sure they are going to say I’m a hypochondriac. (This could be because that is what they said when I had pneumonia and what they said when I had adhesions cutting off my large intestine.)

    Once I had a really bad pain. It was so bad I couldn’t get up into bed after going to the bathroom. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. Thankfully my hubby insisted. Turns out my ovary had ruptured and there was a bunch of internal bleeding.

    And, because of that, they finally figured out about the adhesions and fixed my large intestine about, the doctor said, one month before I would have died of it.

    So, yeah, always go. And I, for one, am thrilled you are embarrassed rather than having had a heart attack when you didn’t go in.

    (Don’t you love friends who are glad you feel humiliated? Okay, that wasn’t exactly what I meant. I meant of the two choices I’d rather it wasn’t a heart attack, or a series of them.)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh yes I know I have been there. Convinced I was having a kidney something or nother and all that and the longer we sat there the more anxious I got and the more the anxious I got….the bowels start to move and the pain left. Gross eay?


  14. Amy says:

    Daring Young Mom,
    Please, please, please write a book. You are sooooo funny. You could put Laylee and Magoo through college on your big, fat advances.

  15. Grammy says:

    Well, I bet that was scary. Remember last year when I was having the chest pains? Had to have massive amounts of tests at the cariologist. He said it was stress. That’s the nicest way to say hypochondriac I’ve ever heard. Of course I was going semi-crazy with a bunch of stuff at the time, so maybe there’s something to the whole “Stress” thing. Glad you’re ok, Hon.

  16. HangerMom says:

    Glad to know you’re mostly well (sneeze with care for the next couple weeks, though). The part of your post that cracked me up, though, was the picture of your daughter. I’ve had my husband dress my 2 year old in my 6 month old’s clothes, but yours is even better! At least mine are both girls. I love the frequent cluelessness of men when it comes to baby’s clothing.

  17. HLH says:

    Too bad for your eventful and probably expensive trip to the ER. The picture and explanation of Laylee’s outfit was the best!

  18. Virenda says:

    I am happy to say that I haven’t been in years but I seem to frequently go when it comes to my kids.

    I have the same thought each time I go into the E.R., that my children will in fact be okay but just in case I wait the 5 hours to be told they will be okay.

    I know LOADS of the people there now. (I blame it on hubby) I try to make myself feel better by the fact that I have 3 kids so that means 3 X’s the average visits.

    Oh and on a side note, I had horrible horrible pain in my back (I was pregnant) and my hubby rushed home from work and we went to the E.R., I cried and screamed the whole time (NOT joking) to be told I pulled a muscle. Yeah. Whatevah…

    It hurt. I swear.

  19. Amber says:

    I had that same exact pain. I was struggling to breathe deeply though. I went and they said I must have pulled something. I went to the Chiropractor and he popped a couple ribs back in and i was as good as new. So if it still hurts fork $40 over to the Chiro and get checked out.

    Lovely capris though.

  20. I just knew you would tell us the diagnosis was GAS!!! Ya know, the scientific kind, TRAPPED gas. Isn’t all gas inside our bodies, in a sense, “trapped” and just waiting for the most inopportune time to be loudly and forcefully expelled?

    I, too, have had to use too-small clothing from a younger child to cover an older child in a pinch. You wait and see if now those “capris” aren’t Laylee’s favorite clothes!!

  21. Chris says:

    Oh my goodness, I am so glad to hear that you are okay.

    If it makes you feel any better I injured myself this weekend falling off of my shoe. Now I am limping.

  22. Great post! I liked Laylee’s look. Her “capris” gave us all a good view of her darling pink shoes. Everyone needs pink shoes! Glad you’re feeling better. You made my morning.

  23. Bobita says:

    Very funny post. I had an ER scare with my oldest boy, once. He had fallen and was screaming in agony while holding his arm! Clearly, he was in pain! He was 3 at the time and my girl-child (she likes everyone to KNOW that she’s a girl! She announces it to perfect strangers that she passes in the store, on the street…) was just 5 months old. My husband was nowhere to be found, so I trekked off to the ER, screaming boy, screaming baby girl. My son screamed for a good two hours, all the while clutching his arm. He was examined (between blood-curdling screams), given codein for the pain, a sling for his arm…and a little stuffed crab for his “bravery.” But they found nothing wrong. Well, he slept for a few hours and then…woke up howling in pain, again. Naturally, concerned and attentive mother that I am, I believed that the Docs must have missed something…hairline fracture, tumor, something! I rushed him back to the ER. As the Doc enters to examine “screaming boy” once again, Bumblebee immediately stops crying and says, “can I have another crab, please?” Yep, that’s right! We went to the ER because my son wanted another stuffed toy!

  24. Stephanie says:

    Oh boy. I have gone to the doctor with the chest pain, and yes, it was what you had. From coughing a lot, apparently.

    You’re not alone!

  25. Tigersue says:

    At first I thought you were going to say you had pneumonia, because when I came down with it I had a hard time breathing and it really hurt my chest.
    There are all kinds of things that can cause chest pain, luckily yours is okay, but it easily could have been something more serious. Glad you got it looked at to be sure.

  26. Grammy says:

    WOW! Laylee looks all grown up. When did that happen? Why, oh why do we live so far away? I know I’ve asked that question before and the answer is still, “Oh, yeah. gainful employment.” But I have to ask myself if it’s worth it!

  27. emlouisa says:

    DYM, I think we are living parallel lives. I too have that chest pain and have wondered if I should go to the ER or not. Thank you for confirming my suspicions. I will not go. 🙂

    I usually take the “Better Safe Than Sorry” approach, but not with a $125 ER “copay”.

    And I’m LOVING the pants. Greg puts all of M’s clothing on A. Do they not check sizes? Do they not notice that they are hard to get on? Aye aye aye.

  28. Margaret says:

    My brother-in-law checked himself into the hospital a little more than a week ago for chest pain, and it turned out that it was inflammation of the heart. It was related to some coldy-thing that he had had right before that. So he was in ICU for a couple of days and then went home and now is doing well. He says that if anyone talks about a “swelling of their heart” he’s gonna kick ’em. His did, and it wasn’t fun.

    So it was a little scary for his wife, pregnant with their fourth, so three little kids at home to care for herself while freaking out about her husband being in ICU…

    So the stress of the worry isn’t fun, but still, better safe than sorry!

    Plus, Einstein is one smart man! 😉

  29. Em says:

    Were you perchance reading “What do you care what other People think?” – ?

    I quite liked that book, and made my husband read it when I finished just to see if it would make him cry….

    And personally I would much rather you be a hypochondriac than one of those people who will not go to the doctor no matter what. I’m convinced my mother will die soon because she hasn’t been looked at by a medical professional since my youngest sister was born, and now she’s got all kinds of highly unusual pains and inabilities to function properly…. If anyone knows of a good bribe I could use to get her in to see a doctor, that’d be great!

  30. Addie says:

    I’m so glad you’re ok! That would not have made for a very funny post if not! 😉

    I love the idea of publicly humilating yourself in public to help with blogger block. Maybe that could be a Tip Tuesday topic?

    I love the Laylee pic too. I’ve done that. I gave my then 4 year old some shorts to put on. When she got them on, they were skin tight and she was having a little trouble buttoning them. They were size 12mo.

  31. Lei says:

    Would you beleive me if I told I had the very same experience in college? Yep – I was having muscle spasms in my back and I totally thought I was in the middle of a freaking heart attack. I so wish I could take away the image of that ambulance backing into my tiny apartment complex parking lot!

  32. Your post was VERY funny, the in-the-moment circumstances were probably, at best embarrassing, uncomfortable and at least, totally relatable by me for one and it seems some others.

    I did the precise thing you did. Right down to not calling 911 and promising the ER visit. I did not have a nice doc. He basically ridiculed me. I DO have Lots of family history to back me up! He was unfazed.

    I was highly embarrassed even in front of my husband. He was relieved, but dreading the bill.

    One thing I did not have was the laughter of your darling wearing baby pants for capris…I laughed myself silly with that one. She did some justice to those too small pants!

    THANK YOU for sharing those moments we at times would like to forget.

  33. Lauren says:

    Daring One, these things happen to you so that you can tell us your story in such a delightful manner. I, on the other hand could never do it justice.

  34. Caryn says:

    Thanks for the laugh! I worry that I’m a hypochondriac, too, but then I hear about these weird freak sicknesses in which someone who’s my age gets a brain tumor/terminal diabetes/gangrene, and then I wonder what would have happened if they’d noticed the symptoms earlier. I was born with a congenital heart defect, though, and despite surgery at 18 months old, I still worry. Glad you’re okay.

  35. Jenn says:

    Aaahhhhhh! That is the weirdest coincidence! What is up with us??? Hope you’re feeling so much better…

  36. DYM wrote: So, as he kisses me goodnight and rolls over, I say something like, “I’ve been having chest pain off and on all day. It’s on the left side so if I don’t wake up tomorrow, tell them to check for heart disease or something. Goodnight.”

    OH MY! So I’m NOT the only one who does that!! Drives my DH nuts!!

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