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What pericarditis feels like: Chest pain, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Table of Contents1 - Initial signs and symptoms of my pericarditis2 - At the hospital emergency department3 - In the cardiac wing4 - Pericarditis diagnosis5 - Pericarditis treatment6 - Pericarditis hospital discharge information7 - Pericarditis recovery8 - More on the pericarditis symptoms9 - More on the pericarditis treatment

WARNING: Chest pain is a serious life or death matter. If you’re experiencing chest pain right now, don’t waste any time reading this article — get yourself to a hospital.

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Initial signs and symptoms of my pericarditis

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, I had just finished lunch, looked at the clock, and saw that I could fit in about an hour of work before the Denver Broncos game started. Despite Denver’s 2-6 record, I was looking forward to see how Broncos’ quarterback Brandon Allen would do in his first career start following Joe Flacco’s neck injury.

A minute later I had severe chest pain. It wasn’t in the middle of my chest, but it was on the left side of the left chest/breast area. To the best of my memory, I went from feeling perfectly fine to having severe pain in a matter of moments.

The Pericarditis incident

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, I had just finished lunch, looked at the clock, and saw that I could fit in about an hour of work before the Broncos game started. I was looking forward to see how Broncos’ quarterback Brandon Allen would do in his first career start.

A minute later I had severe chest pain. At first I thought I was having an allergic reaction to lunch — Wolfgang Puck’s potato soup, which I’ll never eat again — but I quickly realized it was something heart-related.

So I eventually got myself to the hospital. Because of the way the pain instantly came on I was guessing blood clot, but the doctors think it’s something called Pericarditis, as explained in this image.

(The last song I heard before going into the hospital was Someone Saved My Life Tonight, and while the lyrics don’t fit the event, I was hoping the title would be a good match.)

Chest waxing at the hospital (40 Year Old Virgin)

June 2, 2016: I don’t think my chest is as hairy as Steve Carell’s, but I got three chest-waxings at the hospital last week, and it is really, really painful. (They put the heart monitor leads on, take them off, put them back on, etc.) Someone told me Mr. Carell did this for real for the movie. If so, wow, that’s dedication.

Talking to nurses about pain

While laying in the hospital bed after my recent surgery, a young nurse came into my room and asked what my pain level was, on a range from zero to ten.

I replied that it wasn’t bad at all, maybe a one or two at most, and I didn’t need any pain medicine.

She said that was great. She said that a lot of people immediately say they’re at a nine or ten.

I replied that I’d never say anything that high, I always thought a nine or ten should be saved for something really bad, like if you were just stabbed or shot.

She said, “I know, right. Or maybe broken bones ... or a heart attack.” She paused and then said, “Lately I’ve been wondering if giving birth is a 9 or 10.”

Consuming edible marijuana products can lead to repeated and severe bouts of vomiting

Several times when I’ve told people in Colorado that I have mast cell disease, they’ve replied, “Have you tried marijuana for that?”

In what might be a related story, one time I went to the ER and a young man there was vomiting extremely loudly and repeatedly into a large bucket. I initially didn’t know what was going on and sat down near him, but once he started vomiting I got up and moved away from him, as everyone else had already done. I recall hearing someone say that he had been there before for the same problem.

I say that it might be related because a few days ago I read that consuming edible marijuana products can lead to “repeated and severe bouts of vomiting,” a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis. From what I know, people consume edible products, don’t feel anything immediately, so then they consume some more, etc. Apparently it takes time for consumables to kick in, so when they do, people find out the hard way that they’ve consumed too much. I was just reminded of all that when reading this UCHealth story.

If I had a bat, I’d rage on this wall

Being an older person, I find young people interesting. One night when I was in the hospital last week I was supposed to be asleep, but couldn’t sleep, and I heard a nurse’s assistant who is still in college say, “If I had a bat, I’d rage on this wall.” That’s definitely not a phrase an older person would use.

Got a flush letter from a local hospital

August 15, 2011, Palmer, Alaska: I just got a flush letter from a local hospital. I guess I shouldn’t have put “You have my gallbladder” and “Your nurses seem really nice” as my top reasons for wanting to work there.

My colectomy (colon resection) experience (recovery, diet)

“I’m going to have to resect the colon.”

~ pretty much every surgeon on M*A*S*H at some point

In late June, 2018, I had to have a colectomy surgery, which is also known as a colon resection. Here’s a diary of my experience.

Back home following surgery (July 3, 2018)

As a brief update, I’m home from the hospital following my surgery last week. I’m not back to writing any software or books, but hopefully I’ll start getting back to work next week.