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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.)

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

~ Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon”

In terms of being a nice person, Steve Jobs may have been the worst Buddhist in the history of the world, but he captures the Zen/Buddhist essence in this quote:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Photo from forbes.com, words from Steve Jobs.

If we think we want to get joy for ourselves ...

“If we think we want to get joy for ourselves, we realize that it’s very shortsighted, short-lived. Joy is the reward, really, of seeking to give joy to others. When you show compassion, when you show caring, when you show love to others, do things for others, in a wonderful way you have a deep joy that you can get in no other way.”

“You can’t buy it with money. You can be the richest person on Earth, but if you care only about yourself, I can bet my bottom dollar you will not be happy and joyful. But when you are caring, compassionate, more concerned about the welfare of others than about your own, wonderfully, wonderfully, you suddenly feel a warm glow in your heart, because you have, in fact, wiped the tears from the eyes of another.”

~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in The Book of Joy

A favorite quote from a favorite tv show

“Oh, my goodness. You know sometimes I think that God gave you such a big heart that he just left no room for plain sense.”

~ a favorite quote from a favorite tv show