Three weeks ago, I was happily sitting in a classroom, watching a powerpoint about Ghost Hunting. Perhaps this will make the following scene spookier for you.
I sit back and look at the slide, when suddenly I feel as if an unseen hand reaches through my chest, grabs hold of my sternum, and squeezes. It takes my breath away. It doesn’t stop. I sit up, and my vision starts to tunnel, and I feel lightheaded. My hands tingle, and my throat feels hot and cold, and that horrible, horrible pressure just won’t stop.
Something Very Bad is happening.
“Oh God, what’s happening?! Oh no, oh no….” This is all I can think, in a loop that feels like forever, but must have been only several seconds long.
I have to get out of here. I have to go to the hospital. NOW.
SPOILER: I didn’t die. Just in case you were worried. I don’t want you to be scared.
I terrified my husband by giving him worst case scenario instructions all the way to the er. What to do if I pass out, what to do if I stop breathing, who to call, what to say… he made record time to the door.
The words “chest pain” are like a magic incantation at the emergency room counter. People give you very serious looks, work quickly and deliberately around you, as if they are waiting for a Very Bad Thing to happen. This was how my 23 hour hospital stay began.
Let me skip the horrible waiting, and anxiety, and endless sea of helpful faces over two shift changes.
I DIDN’T have a heart attack. They DID find a congenital heart defect. It is NOT a problem. I am still having issues, and a whole new host of symptoms that popped up in the days that followed. I am still undergoing some tests to work it out. It is not life-threatening, just frustrating and sucky. I’m sure it will all be fine (but would not turn down prayers and good thoughts).
It derailed me. For those weeks, while we waited to clear the heart defect, I was restricted to walking only. I threw an epic pajama themed pity party nightly.
A year ago, a stubbed toe would have earned me months of reward candy and no workouts while I healed from the physical and emotional trauma. This time, I feel anxious with each workout I miss. Things are changing.
I still feel crummy. But them’s the breaks, right? There’s always going to be something, some reason not to try, some excuse to celebrate with treats or to hide from the gym, and there’s always going to be something throwing a wrench into all the best plans we make. I’m starting to understand that it’s about figuring out how to best make this work despite the inevitable obstacles that pop up.
So tonight I’m kicking off my return to workouts with some Zumba. I’ll do my best. I might finish. I might not. I might throw up. I might cry because it feels like starting over. But I’m going.
Cue those flashing room lights. Intermission’s over.