Three weeks ago today, I had a major health scare.
Because it was Monday, I was at the family box factory. I had just finished running payroll and had taken paychecks out to the shop. I exited the building and *bam* my chest just sort of seized up.
“Ouch,” I thought. But, being a Roth, my thought process didn't go much farther than that. (We Roths don't like doctors and we tend to deal with injuries for weeks or months or years before having them looked at.)
On the way back to the office, I stopped to talk to my cousin Duane. He was digging in the dirt, prepping a spot for his summer garden. We chatted about blueberries, tomatoes, and greenhouses. We admired the warm spring day. After a few minutes, I realized that my chest still hurt.
“I don't want to alarm you,” I said, “but I'm having chest pains. It's probably nothing. But just in case it is something, I thought you should know.”
I walked back to the office and sat down at my computer. Instead of going back to work, however, I googled heart attacks. I read the list of symptoms. I wasn't experiencing anything except chest pain but still…Every site said the same thing: Don't mess around. If you're having chest pain, have somebody drive you to a doctor.
Duane came in. “Are you feeling okay?” he asked.
“I'm still having chest pains,” I said.
“Do you want me to drive you to the doctor?” he asked.
I debated things in my mind. “It's probably nothing,” I thought. “Or maybe it's a panic attack like twenty years ago.” In 1998, I experienced two similar episodes that turned out to be panic attacks. I was under a lot of stress then. I'm not under a lot of stress now.
“Plus, if I go to the doctor, it could end up costing a fortune. My health insurance sucks,” I thought. “But if it is a heart attack and I don't go in, I could end up dead.”
“Well?” Duane said.
“Tell you what,” I said. “I know I'm not supposed to but I'm going to drive myself to urgent care. If you don't hear from me in fifteen minutes, come find me.” (There's only one logical route from the box factory to the nearest clinic.)
I gathered my stuff, hopped in my pickup, and drove slowly to the clinic. [Read more…]