Thursday, February 05, 2009


On Tuesday morning I came in to work, had a meeting, did some work, then around 11:30 I was hungry, and ate some crackers that I had brought with me. Almost immediately, I started feeling HORRIBLE. The same thing had happened to me a few months ago, just a sudden awful feeling, stomach pain that seemed to involve my whole torso. A feeling that my clothes were too tight, and that I couldn't straighten up.

I went into someone's office who has a couch and laid down, but it didn't really help. I could feel the color draining from my face; I didn't think I was going to faint, but I definitely didn't feel right.

Anna was there, and asked me if she should call 911, and I said no, no, I was okay, I just needed to lie down for a little while. But it was like I couldn't even relax, and it didn't really feel any better lying down. I just wanted to get home where I could take my clothes off and huddle in bed until I felt better. So I got up, went into my office and IMed Anna that I was leaving, and that I'd call her later, and I gathered up my stuff and drove home.

She was angry with me, and told me that I should never have driven myself home, that she would have, or someone else would have, and I know she was right, but I was so focused on getting home that I just did it. She called me to tell me she was mad at me, and made me promise to either go to the emergency room or call my doctor. I'm glad she did; I probably wouldn't have otherwise, but a promise is a promise. I called my doctor and described my symptoms, and he said it sounded like a hiatal hernia.

I told him I'd felt like this before and it went away, and I assumed it would this time, too, but man, it was awful. This was around noon, I guess; I slept a little, but by 5:00 it wasn't any better, so I called him again, and he called out a prescription for a muscle relaxer that you dissolve under your tongue. When Bob got home from work he went back out to pick up the prescription and an over-the-counter box of Prilosec -- which I just realized I forgot to take this morning.

It took about another four hours before everything took effect, but by 10:00 I was feeling a lot better. I was a little worried about eating after that, but I seem to be fine now. Maybe if it only happens every six months or so I can just deal with it. I'm keeping the pills in my purse in case it happens again. Matt has a hiatal hernia, too, and he keeps bottles of Pepcid on his desk; he said if I ever need one, just come over.

I know what Anna was worried about, and it crossed my mind, too -- heart attack symptoms in women often mimic heartburn or indigestion, but my doctor said it's different. He said mine could also be gallbladder, but from my description he was pretty sure it was a hernia. A little scary, but mostly inconvenient.

A friend of mine was in a bad car accident while we were in Mexico, and has been in a coma since then. I don't want to compromise the family's privacy, so no links, but if you're the praying kind, and you're so inclined, please send one up for my friend Brant.

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Anonymous said...

Your own health scare sounds frightening. I'm glad that the Prilosec is helping. I wouldn't think it would help if it were heart problems, but then I don't know for sure. Let's assume it's hiatal hernia. I think I've felt that, and it's miserable, even going back between your shoulder blades.

As for your friend, I'm very sorry to hear about the accident. I'll certainly keep him in my prayers. I'm a candle-lighter because of reading about your practice. I will light a candle for Brant.

Carole said...

Your experience sounds very scary. I am so glad it wasn't a heart attack and that it is something that doesn't occur often. Take care.

Sabrina said...

Willa, I've had gallbladder issues since I was 19, every few years. The pain is intense, I can hardly breathe, and it's very scary. It usually passes in a few hours, but it's always the same pain, so I recognize it. It sounds a lot like what you experienced. Take care! I'm so sorry about your friend in the coma.

Cinder said... soon as I finished reading your first paragraph I thought "gallbladder". This sounds exactly like what I experienced. At first it happened every few months, then after a while it became more frequent. I had to have my gallbladder removed due to gallstones. Hope that's not it, but it sure sounds like it.

Sharon said...

Willa, I'm so glad you are feeling better and that you have something to take for it.

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend in a coma. I will send up a prayer for him.

Jennifer Stumpf said...

Willa! I'd be mad at you too.
I still think accupuncture would help alot of your symptoms, help you relax. But I'm glad you are feeling better. You need another vacation in Mexico!
And I'll be praying for your friend. I'm so sorry.