Column: You don’t always get a second warning

I had not been in an emergency room since I was in middle school and thought jumping on the bed was a good idea. I suppose jumping on the bed is not a terrible idea, unless there is a sharp point at the end of the bed and one of your toes happens to land directly on said sharp point. Then it is a terrible idea.

On Friday, I found myself in the emergency room once again more than a decade later after feeling faint and nauseous and all sorts of bad.

Two weeks before, on Jan. 1, I had felt a sharp pain near my chest and the same faintness, nausea and all sorts of badness. In a moment of incredible stupidity, I waited for it to pass, discovered that I wasn’t dead and proceeded with my day.

The third time is the charm, so they say, and in this case, I was a little worried that charm was another word for death.

So I drove myself to Delnor’s emergency room after the second warning.

(Note to readers: Do not drive yourself to the hospital under these conditions. I have been chastised by just about everyone I know for driving myself – and rightfully so. It was reckless, and I was a danger to myself and others on the road. There are wonderful things called ambulances that will come and pick you up when you feel the need to go to the emergency room immediately.)

I arrived at the emergency room where I told the person at the desk that even though I wasn’t feeling any chest pains, I think I might have just had a minor heart attack.

The response was immediate, calm and organized. I was brought in; my vitals were checked; and I was eventually hooked up to all sorts of machines and given a chest X-ray. It was a delightful Friday evening.

The good news – they didn’t find anything wrong with my heart. The bad news – my blood pressure was soaring, and it stayed high even after I calmed down and was given something to relax me.

And that’s how I found out I was hypertensive.

I’m 29 years old, in fair shape, and I’m not overweight. For a newspaper editor, I consider myself calm and unstressed.

I don’t get worked up about things. My temper’s fuse is longer than a line to get a free sub sandwich, and I rarely get angry. About the best I can manage most times is highly peeved.

I don’t smoke. I drink rarely and never in large amounts. I don’t use narcotics.

I never would have guessed that I was suffering from high blood pressure.

But I am.

I’m aware that it’s not usually a good idea to write about your medical woes. People have their own woes; they don’t need to read about yours.

But I thought this one would be a good lesson to others, especially to those around my age. It’s never too early to be concerned with your health.

I’ve already started my low-sodium diet – currently trying to keep it under 1,200 milligrams unless the doctor tells me otherwise. Me and many of my favorite foods no longer are simpatico. And, of course, I have scheduled more appointments to delve into why my blood pressure is high.

I enjoy life. I would like to continue being an active participant.

When you are given a chance to turn your health around, take it. If you feel something is wrong, don’t put it off. You are not invincible. You are terribly, terribly vincible.

Life is short. There’s no reason to make it shorter by not taking care of yourself.

And if you feel something in your chest, call your doctor. Sometimes you don’t get that second warning.


One comment on “Column: You don’t always get a second warning

  1. […] recently celebrated the second anniversary of the ER trip that ultimately led to me being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease with another trip to the […]

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