First thought was to minimize the possibilities. It was just a little chest pain, nothing to be concerned about. It will go away. Still, I couldn’t fall asleep, either because of the chest pain or the angst about the chest pain. I crept down stairs to scan the book shelf for one of those health books with all the answers. If nothing else, it might tell me how long to wait before calling 911.
Self-analytics are not the best way to analyze a situation like this, there is too much room for rationalization. If the pain is this, then that means that. I followed all arrows to all conclusions that seemed related and none of them ended with a red box saying, “Call 911.” Comforted, I went back to bed. Morning came, the pain remained. I called my doctor’s office. Going over my symptoms on the phone they thought I should come in for a look. Thankfully they didn’t think I needed the emergency room—yet.
They measured my height, blood pressure, pulse and temperature. All was normal. Then they suggested an EKG. My shirt came off and the nurse began attaching electrodes to my chest. As I laid on my back, helpless, exposed, talking but not really saying what was on my mind, I began planning my memorial service. Electrodes on my chest is way out of normal. I am not supposed to be that vulnerable.
Am I Superman? No. Do I see myself as Invincible? Absolutely!
Electrodes, stress tests, chest pains, those are for other people. I’m going to burn bright and healthy forever. There simply was no other option under consideration. How do you drive thoughts confidently into tomorrow while lying half naked on your back with electrodes firmly attached to your chest that will measure the prospects for your future? You don’t. You just lie there and wait and hope and pray and stare at the silent ceiling until it is all over. This part of getting older I have completely refused to accept.
Recently I had to renew my driver’s license. There was a box about hair color–I put in brown/grey. But the person at the desk handed it back to me, “You have to choose one.” She said. What if I always wear a hat? Reality can hurt. “Used to be,” doesn’t count for hair color identification.
The doctor came in with the EKG results and simply said, “Your heart is fine.” As we talked, he affirmed the theory I had considered. I had been working just a little too much in awkward positions that can stretch muscles in unexpected ways. Especially as you get older.
Healthy? Yes. Younger? Especially as you get older. It may say gray on my driver’s license, but I know a fuller story.
John Gfroerer owns a video production company in Concord, New Hampshire www.accompanyvideo.com