Chest Pain

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Settling into the hotel room, I anticipated traveling to Indianapolis the next day with my son through snow and ice. So maybe it was anxiety.  By 4:45, the pain in my chest was intense enough for me to check the time. It felt heavier and tighter than my usual acid reflux. My right arm didn’t feel right, but then I’d just driven five hours.

I kept thinking about the articles I’d read lately, about how heart attacks can feel like indigestion, especially in women. And that women often overlook the signs and shouldn’t.

I waited an hour and tried to relax. I stopped watching the Weather Channel. I tried to check the weather on my computer, but that didn’t help, so I put on a relaxing you tube video and used my breathing techniques. I prayed for clarification.

After an hour, the tight heaviness still sat in my chest. My face felt tingly. But it was the mild tingling in the hinges of my jaw that worried me most. Hadn’t I read about jaw pain being a sign. But that could be low blood sugar. Or that herbal supplement I took without enough food on my stomach.

I was 5 hours from home. If I called my husband he would tell me to call 911. That’s what you’re supposed to do. But I still wasn’t sure. The pain wasn’t that bad.

My son was just getting off work. I called him and asked how far the hospital was.  He said it wasn’t far, about a mile. I told him what I was feeling and that I wanted him to drive me to the hospital.

In the ER, they did a 30 second EKG, checked my BP and hooked me up to a heart monitor. They gave me a chest X ray, put in an IV in case they needed to give me something quick, and drew blood. After about twenty minutes my symptoms started to ease off. I felt guilty and embarrassed for taking ER time. I made sure to thank them for each task and service they did on my behalf. Since I hadn’t eaten dinner, I ordered a pizza at around 9PM and got my doctor and nurses to share it with me to ease my embarrassment.

My doctor was the nicest doctor I’ve ever met. His voice and demeanor were gentle and caring. He spent a lot of time explaining why we needed to do two blood tests three hours apart and about how blood tests can detect a heart attack happened even when a person had mild symptoms. He said his wife had a heart attack recently with mild symptoms and it was the second blood test that revealed the markers. He said that for women, physical weakness alone could be the only symptom.

The good doctor came back a little before midnight. The EKG was normal. Both blood tests were normal. He showed me the X Ray because he likes showing people their X rays and explaining stuff. The X Ray was normal. I could be discharged.

Now, the whole thing seems surreal, liked I dreamed it. I know I’m going to get a whopper of  bill, even with a little help from my insurance. I’m trying to forgive myself for incurring these expenses and inconveniencing people. I know I’m not supposed to think that way, but it’s been my default for so long. Here are the better thoughts I’m cultivating to help me know this was NOT a waste of anybody’s time.

  1. It’s not like I do this all the time. I’ve probably gone to the ER maybe three times in my 62 years. One time I had a miscarriage. Another time, I got 8 stitches. It’s been years since I’ve been to the ER. (Why do I feel the need to justify this, anyway?)
  2. Compassion. After an hour of chest pain plus my jaw tingling, I was afraid. Truly afraid. So I have compassion for that fear.
  3. Gratitude that I’m okay and safe, that the test results were normal and my lungs were clear,  and that I can be here writing about it.
  4. My life is valuable. I am valuable to family and friends. I am valuable to me. I have more to create, more to do. More to learn. More to love.
  5.  I’m worth it. No matter how big the bill is, a trip to the ER is not extravagant if I have unusual chest pain. The same goes for you. We are all worth it.

 

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1430. I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world. ~Mary Oliver

“…what it feels like to be the me of me, not the one who has always tried to live up to the expectations of others, but the one who has always wondered what it would have been like to strike out on her own and follow her own dreams.” Natalie Scarberry

Sacred Touches

The universe is full of radiant
suggestion…over and over in the butterfly
we see the idea of transcendence.
In the forest we see not the inert
but the aspiring. In water that departs forever
and forever returns, we experience eternity.
~Mary Oliver

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Is there some “voice” you turn to when your heart and soul needs a spark, something to satiate a vague longing, or to get your creative juices flowing, or something to make you feel acutely alive, or when you need some wise rumination or conjecture that transcends the routine and the mundane commentaries. I know that Scripture and the teachings of Jesus can do that, but as a mortal human being, I also need the take on such things from other mortal humans. I need wise musings by kindred spirits who voice things that comfort me and help me feel less alone and isolated. I know, I know…

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Releasing Fear and Opening to Miracles

Anything is Possible!

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From Marianne Williamson:

Think of what you’d like to have happen in your life… then surrender to God every aspect of your personality that keeps it from happening. Infinite opportunity is built into the nature of the universe; it’s not lack of opportunity, but the way we chronically deflect these opportunities, that obstructs the otherwise constant flow of …miracles into our lives. We’ve all been wounded; the issue is whether we act from the wound. Ask God to take away all your personality characteristics that arose from the wound, and to replace them with the characteristics of your immortal Self…..

This quote by Marianne Williamson has been waiting among my drafts for a  long time. It drew my attention last night because Christmas is the traditional time for miracles. There was the virgin birth of the savior, the brilliant star seen by wise men and shepherds… Miracles.

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Reading the…

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Your identity is…

I’m finding this place of tranquility and confidence. Tonight and last night, I stayed home to take care of myself and my sore throat instead of going to scheduled events. Not feeling guilty. Feeling cozy and authentic, with no need to please anyone else. Thanks to Natalie at Sacred Touches for reinforcing this decision to take care of me.

Sacred Touches

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**Image found on Pixabay; text added by Natalie

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Aspire to live…

For most of my life, I’ve felt I was supposed to save the world, or at least to serve others. I served full time for over 30 years in my career. Now, I’m mostly doing what this scripture instructs. So maybe it’s okay. Maybe I don’t need to feel like I’m not doing enough. Maybe it’s okay to love a quiet life, minding my own affairs, working with my hands. Thanks, Natalie.

Sacred Touches

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**Image found on Pinterest

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Boundaries for A People Pleasing Introvert

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve written here. Being “retired” from the old job and creating my own schedule opens doors to an abundance of opportunities. Home improvements, family needs, requests from friends and acquaintances, volunteering, and life tend to push”Loving Me, Too” to the back burner where my painting muse is hollering for attention. But all the while, I’ve been thinking about writing here and learning more about loving me, too and what I need to take care of myself better. Here are some boundaries I need to clarify:

  1.  I will not commit to or attend regularly any new groups where the primary activity includes sitting on my butt for an hour. This is especially true of committee type meetings. I’ve already spent too much of my life sitting on my butt. Which reminds me….
  2. I will go to a yoga class, swim, or walk to the park at least once per week starting  Friday.
  3.  I need to limit my involvement in politics.  I care about what’s happening in my country, and I might become involved in politics again in the future, but I have to be careful. Politics can suck time and energy away from things that sustain me, like art, writing, taking care of my home, and volunteering with first graders which I’m doing today – yay!
  4. If I go out of town, I will limit my time away to 4 days, unless my dog and husband are with me. I was just in the mountains for 7 days with a friend, and while it was beautiful there, I realized how much things can pile up and how much I like being in my own home, be it ever so humble.
  5. Thursday is art day. I’m painting tomorrow! It’s scheduled on my calendar. My art muse will be pleased and so will I.
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There’s no place like home.