My shallow breath

I’m well on the road to a solid recovery. Mostly off my meds and picking up my life again piece by piece, I think things are looking good despite the circumstances I’m in. That’s probably why I freaked out a lot last night.

Browsing sites on my computer, I was minding my own business in the sickeningly humid aftermath of 36 degrees Celsius weather. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my chest as I breathed in and jolted. I wrote it off as a muscle cramp, but then it hurt to breathe in. Every breath was painful, so I breathed more shallow. And then I got dizzy and felt like I suffocated. I did my best to stay calm but it was hard.

An hour passed and there was no improvement. At this point I couldn’t stay calm anymore and called nightcare (a doctors office that deals with issues outside of clinic hours that can’t wait until the next day or after the weekend, but it’s not an ER). After talking to the lady on the phone, she wanted me to come in.

At 2 am I drove down the deserted highway to the office. I was the only one there. The doctor, a nice older lady, examined me. My bloodpressure was a little high (likely the stress), but my heart, lungs and oxygen levels were alright. The area above and on my left breast was tender, in the very place where the sharp pains shot through with breathing in.

The doctor explained to me that nothing was wrong with me other than Tietze syndrome, a benign inflammation of the costal cartilages. It has symptoms similar to a heart attack but it’s nothing as serious as that. I told her of the medication I still have at home from my hernia, and she adviced me to take my diclofenac with a stomach protector. It would pass on its own, but I had to call back in if it got worse.

I spent several more hours at the computer until the painkillers worked. Knowing now that I would be okay and my medication hadn’t triggered this event, I was able to sleep after all.


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