Thursday, June 13, 2013

I thought I had a heart attack

Picture this:  I'm in the middle of my eight hour long surgical boards.  All of a sudden I can't move my neck and I have extreme pain shooting down my left arm making my hand go numb and pain radiating into the left side of my face and jaw.  And picture me wanting to freak out...but not letting myself freak out until after my exam.

I was fairly convinced I was having symptoms resulting from a pinched nerve - but I called my sis (an internal medical resident) and told her I it was having some symptoms consistent with a heart attack. Of course, Tommy wanted me to go to the ER and get checked out.  I didn't want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. But she and Tommy convinced me to go get worked up...and it was probably nothing...but I should get checked out anyway.

So, I walk over to the ER and check in.  I'm alone because Tommy had to take care of our sleeping kiddos.  Well, I sortof lost of my bravery and shed a few tears during the initial check in process.  I felt like an IDIOT.  These are the nurses/PAs/doctors/aides that I work with all the they were sweet to me.  They kept referring to me as Dr.  And I was fighting back tears the whole time.  I kept thinking about my two sleeping babies at home...and if something happened to me, or if something was really wrong with me...what would we do...yada yada...worst case scenarios kept creeping into my brain.  Not to mention my boards!?  Geez - such stress!

Long story short, I had an EKG...and it was beautiful.  No heart attack.  A CT wasn't warranted.  It was a muscle spasm in my neck that pinched a nerve causing pain to shoot down my arm and up into my face.  A soft collar neck brace and a slew of muscled relaxants, anti inflammatories, a steroid and a handful of pain meds later I am OK (I couldn't take any of the meds anyway...I'm still nursing Jack).  My numb fingers have resolved, but I still can't move my neck normally.  Ugh.

So that's my story of how my boards exam [almost] gave me a heart attack.

What an overwhelming day. 


  1. How scary, Jes! You could go see a physical therapist. I see patients with stories like yours often! Good luck.

    Chelsea Lynch, PT, DPT

  2. I also had to get an EKG last year because of stress. I didn't have a heart attack either.

    Glad you are healthy!



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