How I Spent My Afternoon

Spoiler: I’m fine.

For the last few days I’ve been having a bit of a low grade pain in my chest that wasn’t really going away. I mentioned it to Krissy last night, who informed me I’d be calling to schedule a doctor’s appointment this morning, and this morning, when I indeed called to schedule my appointment and ran down my symptoms to them, they said, “You know what, maybe just go ahead and get yourself to the ER.” Which was not precisely encouraging, I have to say.

Nevertheless, off I went to the ER, to get pricked and prodded and EKG’d and x-rayed and so on and so forth. And the good news is: I’m fine, my heart is fine, everything appears to be largely groovy and there’s nothing even remotely life-threatening going on with me. The less good news is they have no idea why I’ve been having chest pains, so I still have to schedule a doctor’s appointment on Monday and get a stress test and possibly other stuff. It’s probably an alien growing in my chest cavity, which means that if you come visit me on tour and sit in the front row, I can’t guarantee you won’t get wet. Bring a tarp.

Bearing in mind that I was in a hospital ER room with needles in my arm and wearing a hospital gown because of a weird pain in my chest, the experience was oddly mellow and, if not precisely enjoyable, not horrible either. I mostly was just plopped on the hospital bed reading Twitter or napping, and every once in a while someone would come in to check that I hadn’t expired while I waited on the doctor. Honestly I’ve had worse afternoons.

In any event, I’m home now and everything is fine. I’m not dead! And on the way home, I picked up some Pepto-Bismol. Seems to be working. Let’s see how it goes.

98 Comments on “How I Spent My Afternoon”

  1. I hope everything is ok and am sending you good thoughts. LOTS of good thoughts. Hopefully it’s just an alien and not something worse.

  2. Urk! My wife had similar problems, and after a lot of tests and stuff, they came up with Pulmonary Hypertension – which is hard to diagnose. This was in Utah, and required her to be on supplemental oxygen 24/7. We moved to Olympic Peninsula/WA for the lower elevation, which resulted in not needing the oxy…for about three years.

    The need for oxy 24/7 is back now. Just got back from a short Utah visit, and symptoms are worse there, so the move was a ‘good thing’ overall.

    The advantage is that I always know where she is … just follow the tubes from the oxy machine. The bad news is that there is not really a good cure for it….

  3. Hope this proves to be utterly trivial! Sending all best wishes. Also sending virtual cats — because cats have arcane powers to change the face of reality as we know it. So they can undoubtedly fix whatever ails you with the indomitable power of their minds.

  4. I’m glad you’re ok, and went in. I ignored what my body was telling me and got to have open heart bypass surgery for my troubles. Have you done a lot of shoveling or something similar that would have stressed your pectoral muscles? If yes, ask them to check your vitamin D levels.

    Best of luck to you

  5. Thank you for making the right judgement call, John. I’ve often advised that it’s smarter to risk being a living hypochondriac than a dead stoic (which accounts for my being still around to say so).

    And think of it this way: After such a thorough cardiovascular work-up, you can be reassured for many years to come that that area of health will probably be the least of your worries, and maybe you can survive in good health to 100 and fall apart all at once like Oliver Wendell Holmes’s Wonderful One-Horse Shay.

  6. Since my 40’s (I’m 65 now), I’ve been to the ER about a half-dozen times for idiopathic chest pains. But with my family’s wretched cardiac history (going by that, I’m about five years past due for being dead), they’re not something I can ignore.

  7. Glad you’re okay! And I hope that this is all totally benign. The Pepto is curious. Wonder if it was reflux. Hmmm. I also hope the doctor has more answers for you soon!

  8. In my case, after severe pain right behind my sternum (and heart tests), they discovered it was my gallbladder. Then when they went to take it out laparoscopically, it turned out it had attached itself to my intestines, so they had to put a 6-inch slice just below my rib cage.

    Not that I’m hoping it’s your problem (perish the thought!), but just something else to check for.

  9. Might just be a bit of gas- can hurt like all get out but not too threatening. I’m sicty and fit but have had it rarely but for decades. Glad you are ok

  10. Glad you are doing ok, and getting this checked out! Costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage in the chest) can also cause chest pain that mimics a heart attack and can be pretty scary. Usually goes away after a week or so of ibuprofen.
    Not saying it’s this, just throwing another possibility out there.

  11. I’ve been in that same situation. You’ve nailed it. The chill thing, I mean. It’s like you’re just there and they’re looking out for you and you just trust. I hope you are well.

  12. As others have made suggestions, I’ll add mine. I had pleurisy several times as a teen. It’s sometimes pretty painful but there’s not much you can do about it. In fact, besides taking pain medication, the Mayo Clinic website says “Get plenty of rest. Find the position that causes you the least discomfort and try to stay in it.” I suspect this isn’t what you’ve got, but as it does involve chest pain, I thought it couldn’t hurt saying so. I hope you feel better.

  13. I had the exact same experience at roughly the same age. With the same results. I know take Omeprizole (generic Prilosec) once a day.

    As other have suggested it might well BE burrito-itis.

  14. I’m sure you had your fair share of internet medical advice today, but I worked as a dietitian for a while. (Don’t substitute this for your doctor’s medical advice) While I practiced slapping forks out of people’s hands I saw quite a few cases like this . While it can be hypertension, or a blocked artery I’m sure they wouldn’t have sent you home with Pepto. Anyways, turns out that carbonated beverage’s tend to cause the sensation of heart pain like you briefly described(heart burn, acid reflux, etc). The short version is stop with the carboned drinks.

  15. Well, I had one of those awful chest pain things–so much so that the people around me said Call 911, heart attack! The medics arrived gave me tons of nitroglycirin tabs all the way to hospital in an ambulance. The headache from all the nitro lasted a week. Even in the hospital they thought heart attack. But, low and behold it ended up: acid reflux. Prilosec prescribed and no problems since. They said reflux can mimic a heart attack. So, that was just my experience. But yes, best to be safe than sorry when it comes to chest pain.

  16. I had a similar situation happen to me and wrote about it here:

    In my case, it turned out I was suffering from premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). Treatable with a low dosage of medication, but requires occasional monitoring to make sure the condition isn’t getting worse.

    Glad you are okay. Kind of unnerving when you first face the realization that you are now in that age range where this sort of thing could be a problem. Not a pleasant wakeup call, but there are some people who get a much worse message!

  17. Yep, see that doctor again Monday. You are now officially added to my prayer list seeking an “all is well” report from the coming week’s investigations.

  18. I was gonna say something about pollen allergies, but remembered that you home is snowed in. Maybe it has something to do with cabin fever, or a missing spring fever. Get it figured out, please. I want you to finish the Collapsing Empire trilogy.

  19. Huh, reading Twitter is what usually *gives* me chest pain and anxiety.

    For reals though, hope you solve the health mystery soon.

  20. I’m glad you went to the ER. I know several folks who went to the ER for suspicious chest pains. (Only one had actually had a heart attack, which she survived, dying many years later of cancer.)

    I did know two men whose SOs thought they should go to the ER on a Friday, and then on Saturday, who both said they would see their regular docs during the week. One died Sunday night, the other Monday morning, which is part of the reason my SO and I have a deal that if one of us says “you should go to the ER,” we go to the ER.

  21. Oh, needless to say, but I will say it anyway, I am glad that you are okay and I hope the follow-up dx is indigestion or other not serious issue.

  22. Glad everything checked out ok. If taking pepto-abysmal helps and this goes on longer, you might want to see a gastroenterologist. Also, my son has atypical asthma symptoms which manifest as chest pain. He also has an unusual trigger – major changes in air pressure, such as when fronts come through. Given the crazy weather we’ve been having in my part of the country, the barometer readings have looked like a roller coaster. Hope they figure things out quickly!

  23. That’s slightly better than a friend of mine who was on the phone with a cardiologist’s assistant doing the intake interview for his upcoming appointment when she said, “Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to hang up with me and call an ambulance.” Two days later he was out of surgery and he’s fine now, but . . . yeah, it’s always a bit alarming when they break off in the middle of scheduling your appointment to send you to the ER.

    Glad you’re okay; hope it turns out to be heartburn or something else relatively mild.

  24. I hope it’s nothing serious. Take care of yourself. Advice from the good folks here might prove valuable too, at least the ones to stay away from burritos and carbonated drinks. All the best.

  25. I’m sure you don’t need telling, but be nice to Krissy: I bet today was stressful for her too…and her pushing you to go get checked out was a very good thing. (Glad you’re doing ok.)

  26. Take good care of yourself. Ended up in the same place (ER) last summer and that was a little scary (my initial symptom was not low grade though, felt like strange chest compressions). Ended up being a mix of stress (was pushing myself too much) and muscular, I had just switched chair (literally the night before) and I could feel that I didn’t like sitting in it, but never expected to ride an ambulance because of it. I also noticed some chest discomfort (needles sensation around the left shoulder) when drinking too much diet soda this past month. I’ve switched to mostly water and those symptoms went away. All the best, John.

  27. Goodness! I’m glad you are okay, and I do hope the cause of the chest pain can be identified and dealt with.

  28. My wife had chest pains, ended up being her gall bladder, if pepto is working, might want to get that checked. and for the record, were the carnitas before or after?

  29. So many people here with chest pain! I have to say it was scary when the ER instantly whisked my husband away in a wheelchair without even getting all his insurance info. Glad you (and he) are all right.

  30. I’ve lived with odd pains for a while. The vast medical/industrial complex just loved poking around trying to figure out why. Took a stress test, follow up with catherization (Doc said I MUST have cardio disease). Nope, my heart was healthier than his. Then I pointed out my belly button was starting to protrude. Another visit to hospital for a medical procedure and after a hernia patch the pain is mostly gone. A bottle of cheap antacid pills takes care of the rest when the pain flares up.

  31. “Not dead” is the condition that I prefer my favorite authors to be – please continue your ongoing streak of living, and absolutely continue to listen to Krissy :-).

  32. I’m assuming they did a peptide blood test to make sure it wasn’t something transient. And glad the pepto is working. Yep, chest discomfort is not something to ignore and will often get a doctor’s response of “Go to the ER.”. I often have to reassure people it was a good idea to go to the ER. Not everything we see needs the ER, but this does. I’ve seen too many, “they said they had chest pains but we thought it was nothing” patients.

    Also, in general, women have different symptoms for heart attacks and it’s good to know those as well (most often neck or back pain).

  33. My brother had the same symptoms, turned out to be some sort of virus that settled under some membrane surrounding his heart. Painfull, but not deadly.

  34. Well, that’s the pits. Glad you are a-ok.
    Sorta same situation hit me last week, but with blood pressure. Went in for appointment with shoulder pain and ended up in the ER.
    Surreal and definitely an odd experience, but sorta scared the bejeebers out of the family so next time I will think twice about what that ache is really about.

  35. Ah, chest pains, the deluxe “go right to the front of the line” ER package.

    I woke up one night from a nightmare involving being stabbed in the chest and the pain didn’t completely go away, so I got into a taxi and went to the ER.

    My spouse was PISSED that I hadn’t woken him up, but I didn’t see the point. From my perspective I was just doing the responsible adult thing. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t in a lot of pain, and there was nothing he could do except worry if I woke him up. I called in the morning before the alarm went off to tell him where I was and wake him up so he could take our kiddo to school.

    (I was fine; they kept me for a stress test because I had been short of breath, but as I suspected that was the shortness of breath that came with the beginning of a cold)

    I have now been informed by about a dozen friends and family that I am required to wake people up if anything like that happens again.

  36. Same thing happened to me a year ago. After a long series of tests–stress tests and wearing a heart monitor for three days–we discovered that there was nothing wrong. Hopefully you will be the same. And I too found the ER thing oddly relaxing–good to know I am not the only weird one.

  37. I had something similar happen 2 years ago. A weird pain in my chest, called the dr. They sent me to emergency. After spending the day there, I was admitted for blood clots in my lungs. I was there 3 days, and on warfarin until September (this happened at the end of Feb), but now I’m fine. Hoping you will be too.

  38. Mrs. Scalzi, if you ever read your spouse’s website, THANK YOU for getting his butt into the ER yesterday.

    Mr. Scalzi, please do what Mrs. Scalzi tells you to do. She is wiser than you are. You are a better writer (probably, though I haven’t read anything Mrs. Scalzi has written so I can’t say for certain) but she is definitely the wiser one in your partnership.

    Sending wishes for continued good results and excellent health.

  39. Okay – worth noting from my own experience…

    A few years ago I had something very similar happen. Chest pains began low grade in May (dancing at an SF con no less) and continued on again and off again to get worse. I did all the same things you’ve done. Tests, EKGs, etc. etc. even a cardiac stress test. Everything came back clear and they were sure it was not a cardiac problem. So on Sept 30 I’m in the back yard doing stuff with a garden hose (washing down the gazebo I believe) and chest starts to hurt again. I get inside and the pain drops me to my knees. Not enjoyable, although nowhere near as bad as a kidney stone. While I wasn’t concerned about it being cardiac from all the tests, I was definitely convinced that this was not sustainable so, when it eased up after awhile, we hopped in the car and went to the ER.

    So – more EKG etc. That was funny as my chest was still shaved from the cardiac stress test two days before. All tests came back clear, initially. Except, after a bit, the troponin test which showed ‘Ta-Daaa!’ you just had a heart attack. Congratulations.

    Now – several year (and three stents) later things are great. I’ve lost weight, BP and cholesterol are all fantastic etc. I exercise a lot more and eat better and my heart, according to my cardiac doc, is back at its baseline from five years before the attack. I was fortunate.

    The key here though is that many of these tests, depending on the individual, may not pick up a cardiac problem. Not the fault of the docs, our bodies just aren’t Fords. Sometimes things happen in such a way that tests don’t find them.

    If all the ‘usual’ tests don’t work though – and you’re not feeling better – the lesson from my experience is consider asking for a ‘Nuclear Stress Test’. This involves adding a radioactive isotope to your blood which is opaque to X rays and then doing the treadmill thing. The idea is to see if the blood is getting to all the areas of your heart. They use an advanced 3d X ray for this and, if there are parts of your heart after exercise that are not opaque to the X ray then they know that there are areas of blockage where blood flow is not properly reaching sections of the heart muscle – a myocardial infarction waiting to happen.

    In my case, before the heart attack, despite feeling generally not too bad, my heart was only getting roughly 16% of its proper blood flow. Of the three main blood supply arteries one was completely blocked, one was 90% blocked and one was 50% blocked. Amazing that things weren’t worse.

    These days, after improved lifestyle changes and medication (plus the stents which fixed things short term very well) my heart blood flow is as close to 100% as makes no difference. Yay Canadian medical system.

    But the takeaway here is – the tests may not pick something up. If the issue continues, ask about the nuclear stress test as it’s very definitive. It’s no big deal to do either. Oh, should stents be needed, that’s no big deal either. In fact it was a pretty incredible experience as you’re awake the whole time and in my case it took under an hour and felt for all the world like I was in the Enterprise’s med bay. Fantastic stuff. And stubbing your toe hurts more although the recovery, while not painful will leave you pretty drained for a couple days. I was back at work about a week after the heart attack.

    Good luck and I hope my experience is a bit helpful dealing with yours, sir. No dying please – it will totally keep you from getting more cool stuff done!

  40. Glad you’re feeling better. Hope the doctor can find the issue right away, and it’s easy to fix.

  41. Glad to see the costachondritis (however its spelled) was mentioned early on. I got mine from shoveling snow while recovering from having pneumonia five times in seven months. Since you also live in snow country, you’re also at risk for this. And regardless of what people say, it is crazy easy to re-antagonize this condition and make it basically permanent.

    Also remember that one of the most common causes of heart attack in men in the winter is shoveling snow. We like to be macho when clearing paths and porches when we don’t have to be, so take it easy, continue writing, and keep the helicopter in your secret lair on standby in case it’s needed to whisk you off to transfer your brain to a freshly-decanted clone body.

  42. As a paramedic, I can’t count the number of times I’ve arrived at a scene where one person (usually the wife) says “I told him to call, but he said it was nothing” while their partner lies on the floor turning blue.

    Take away number one: Always listen to your partner.
    Take away number two: If the liitle internal voice is saying something is wrong, there’s something wrong.

    John, glad to see that you listened to Krissie. Stay well!

  43. Geez… if I’d of known, I would have brought you In N Out. It’s hard to get the food you really want in hospitals.

    (Actually, no I would not have done that…at least, not without being asked first.)

    Glad you’re okay. That kind of stuff is scary. Listen to Mrs. S. Be a patient patient. Best wishes.

  44. Peter from Toronto or anyone else medical – how long are you supposed to wait before seeking medical treatment for some mild chest pain? I thought it was really only a few hours.

    Scalzi – glad you’re on the mend! Your blogging from the hospital bed puts you in an elite group with free software guru Richard Stallman, who slipped and badly (really badly) fractured his arm walking on ice, then delivered the speech he was going to give via a video link from his hospital bed.

  45. Real men go to the ER when their wives tell them to. So glad you’re OK but *especially* glad you had it checked out AND you’re an example for men everywhere on how to take care of themselves. (Except those burritos. Ye gods, those burritos.)

  46. My mother had chest related pains, after countless tests, it was found there were indigestion issues, which isn’t too bad. Wishing Good luck, for you, too

  47. Very glad you are largely groovy, and I hope the appt. next week goes fine. Being careful, preventive medicine, is way better than the alternative. Being not dead is generally way better than the alternative, no matter what all those zombies and vampires tell you.

    Please hug Krissy for giving a damn, and for any fussing and insistence that you get your butt to the ER and to the doctor.

    Maybe chill a little on the spicy burrito stuff. Maybe be careful about the sodas. — Good luck on this. I like a good burrito also, and I like Cherry Coke and Dr. Pepper. However, I’ve discovered the “Zero” still tastes just as bad as Diet Coke or Tab. Yes, I remember “Tab.” (And really, who names a drink that?)

    My dad was one of those folks who would not listen to his buddies at work or to me when he came home, after severe symptoms of a heart attack (including throwing up and numbness). “Oh, I’m just going to rest a while, and I’ll be fine.” Only he never got up again, and it was a week before Christmas, now over 17 years ago. I loved my dad. We had a mostly good relationship, aside from one or two areas of my life; and about those, I wish he’d been better, but at least I had a good and loving dad otherwise. However, I would have liked to have had him around longer, and I reserve the right to be irritated at him for it, and for making Christmas not so great any year after that.

    Therefore, to any big ol’ macho guys out there who think it’s just minor: Go to the freakin’ doctor. That’s what he or she is there for. Plus, your kids, whether still kids or full-grown adults, will be happier with you for it. And you might even get to be happier too. Which is a good thing.

    John, about that alien? I tend to think the doctors would have found it if there was one. I’m sorta presuming they checked everything that was checkable when you were in the ER. Heads or tails, chest, etc. Those pesky symbioses or alien nanite chips should’ve shown up. Well, probably. I am sort of presuming you haven’t had strange cravings for galactic conquest or…oh. OK, never mind. :D We’ll discount literary or cinematic galactic conquest, as those can be rather fun in moderate doses. (It must be a lot more stressful actually running a galactic conquest, though. I mean, a galaxy full of citizens to keep pliant, and how does one find good help, what with the appalling shortage of evil henchmen and henchwomen who can be properly…henchy?

    Please take care of yourself. One prefers one’s authors to be all in one piece, as much as possible, or at least, for all the pieces to be properly functional, as much as is practicable.

    At least make sure that clone body is up to speed, ready for the brain transplant.

    Note 1: Another favorite author recently had extreme dental work and is therefore on a soft diet for many weeks. So far, she has not channeled her anger at lack of solid food into the galactic domination thing, but before the end of it, I expect either she or her significant other will be in dire need of kicking some alien or medieval butts.

    Note 2: I just recently did a binge-watch of Stranger Things seasons 1 and 2. If you haven’t already seen them, they would be highly entertaining when you can rest.

    Note 3: The term deadline is intended to kill the book or article or paper, and not the author or editor thereof. Because the publisher and readership would be rather alarmed if there were a permanent hiatus. A temporary hiatus is OK, as long as the author is OK.

    Any dorky jokes aside, best wishes and please be well. — And hug Krissy again.

    Note 4: And if you don’t behave, Krissy might decide to take that clone body for a spin to see if the newer model is really as good or better than the clone body in the previous episode. And, y’know, it’s technically still you, so she could be excused for doing so, if you’re not behaving. Just saying.

  48. I hope they’re able to diagnose it soon, as this considerably increases the chances of solving it. I also hope it’s nothing serious!

  49. Men who listen to their wives live longer.
    I am certain this is a fact.
    Thanks Krissy!
    Get well John!

  50. I hope no one gets around to recommending less Coke Zero. I am waiting for that to happen personally, and it’s one of the few vices I have. I hope nothing else crops up for you, hope to say hi at WorldCon this year.

  51. I had a similar experience back when I was 53 — chest pain that spread to my neck and chin. I was out running errands and was already halfway to the local hospital, so I hied myself to their ER. I was admitted and lay around in a hospital room for the rest of the day. No further symptoms, so they sent me home with an appointment for a stress test the following week. The stress test was uneventful. Dx was a cramp in the chest wall. Frankly, I was not impressed with my local rural hospital, and it doesn’t get great ratings, but it is now 15 years later and I’m still shuffling this mortal coil. So maybe they were right.

    Best advice I have read in this thread: listen to your wife. She knows better than you what to do.

  52. Don’t worry about it.

    Low grade Black Wizard deployed because of Twitter Drama. It’s not like we had to eat him or anything. Their Wizards are terrible anyhow.

    Narrator: Tasty! (She totally ate him. WetWork they called it back in the Cold War)



    The Universe is telling you to stop the abuse of one of the minor Godlets. There’s an entire sub-domain (of a sub-sub-domain) cursing you for abuse of their relics. Listen: All we’re saying in the Deity Community is, y’know, try to at least have a traditional one once in a while.

    You would not believe the drama between the Candy-Land and Savory sub-sections of Minor Godlets at this point.

    So, please: just put some damn lettuce or greenery in there once in a while, please.

  53. I just almost had a heart attack when I saw that picture. So glad it’s nothing serious!

    Just remember, Krissy is always right. Always.

  54. Several years ago I had a similar experience, involving EKG’s and treadmills during the followup exam. The result was that while my heart was declared to be in fantastic shape, I was diagnosed with GERD (acid reflux) and Barrett’s esophagus. A change in diet, no more soda, and other lifestyle changes seems to have kept that under control for several years now. As a side benefit, those diet changes left me 40 pounds lighter!

  55. I went to the Dr. for my regular annual check-up. Felt great except for the usual things that come with looking over my shoulder at 65. Doc listened to my chest a bit. Looked a little puzzled, and listened some more. Asked me if I’d had any chest pain. “Nope, not a smidge” She ordered an EKG, and after checking it over sent me to a cardiologist. Did the usual stress test and echo-cardiogram. Turns out that, at some point, I had an itty-bitty heart attack. Must have slept through it, because I remember zero symptoms. I go in this week for a consult with the cardiologist’s NP to find out what’s next.

  56. Yup, been there, done that, got the beta blockers and blood thinners to prove it. Atrial fibrillation in my case.

    Good to get it checked out.

  57. I sure hope that it’s pure coincidence that before I read your piece about unexplained twinges, I read this piece about unexplained twinges. And you do have three cats…

  58. Yes, indigestion can feel like heart attacks. And heart attacks (especially at the beginning, when you’re still able to get yourself to the hospital) can feel like indigestion. You did the right thing.

    I’ve had occasional chest pains, usually lung-related or indigestion, usually in the daytime (so just the clinic, not the ER.) My wife once had chest pains while she was at the non-cardio doctor for non-cardio things, and was really grumpy when the doc made her go to the ER just in case (“Told her it was indigestion”, which it was, but the doc didn’t like the risk of having patients die on her just from being stubborn.)

  59. Best wishes and be well!

    I imagine you’re thinking, ” Why the *hell* did I bring this up?? I *was* feeling OK but now that hundreds of best wishers are writing ‘Yeah, right before my massive heart attack/alien infection/I turned into Trump I was feeling the EXACT SAME WAY.'”

  60. Fifty (or almost-fifty) is such a magical age. New pain in old bottles.

    The good news/bad news part is right on: “it isn’t what I was scared of, but should I be scared that I don’t know what it is?” For what it’s worth, my experience is that middle-age (if I may be so bold) is when the body starts to do major rewiring of the alarm systems. You end up having to make annoying trips to the doctor to figure out what the new alarms mean. A lot of the time it’s nothing, but there are only two ways to find that out, and I’m glad you chose the one that leaves you walking around even if you’re wrong.

    And the weirdest part is that there’s a really good chance it’ll go away and you’ll never know what it was. That’s a bit disorienting, but it’s usually the problem you want to have. Doesn’t even mean there’s something wrong with you. Just means the middle-aged body is a nasty practical joker. Especially since, as so many have pointed out, you don’t (well, shouldn’t) dare call it on the jokes.

  61. I’m relieved to hear that they don’t think this is anything urgent or serious, and that the Pepto Bismol is working for you. Still, that must have given you some anxious moments… Take care, and be well!

  62. So glad you are okay. Sending best wishes.

    (When your situation happened to me, it was an anxiety attack. Reading all the different causes for chest pain in the comments has been so extremely interesting.)

  63. My mom experienced similar pains and when she went to urgent Care they ended up deciding it was something digestive. She took some meds for a while and then was fine. Hope it’s something similarly benign for John!

  64. Ah, ain’t middle age grand????

    Yep could be indigestion, so the pepto-bismol will help, but follow up with the doc.

    My similar experience was seeing an eye doc who told me to immediately head to the emergency ward. I asked if there was an alternative, he said I would go blind, so I went to the emergency ward. Not a great day.

    My advice, keep the wife…she sounds like a keeper.

  65. I’m glad to hear of the lack of dramatic news. I’ve been experiencing mild chest pain over the past couple of months, and now it seems likely to have been bronchitis, likely mycoplasmic, and exacerbation of underlying-but-usually-dormant asthma.

    (Being the child of [Relatively]Good Times for White [Enough ]Folk, I had heard the phrase ‘rockinʼ pneumonia’ literal decades before I saw the phrase ‘walking pneumonia’.)

  66. If after your appointments this week your Dr. Says something like “Mr. Scalzi, you are a man of a certain age eating the standard American diet which is over rich in salt, sugar, and fat, you are overweight and don’t exercise enough, and several decades of this are beginning to take their toll. You should consider this a wake up call and make some changes,” than I hope you take his words to heart.

    A doctor said those exact words to me in my past, and now I’m much healthier for listening.

    I’m just not sure why he called me Mr. Scalzi.

    Best wishes,

  67. I’m glad you’re all right. Stay on top of it and take care of yourself!

    You’re still a young man: From personal experience, get fit and stay that way as best you can. Eat only good food, eliminate stress wherever possible, find something that involves movement that you enjoy doing and keep at it. Just a little bit of that last every day is essential. It doesn’t take much to do this, and the rewards to your well-being are amazing.

    I learned the hard way. It wasn’t fun coming back from the brink: took five years of hard work and unpleasantness. Now I enjoy the work, every day, and since I retired I get to do it more and more. As as “getting older and older” man, there are few things left in the world that give me as much pleasure as taking care of myself and feeling really good besides helping others to do the same. :-)

  68. Laughtree said: “Costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage in the chest) can also cause chest pain that mimics a heart attack and can be pretty scary.”

    I’ve got that problem too. Scares the crap out of you the first couple of times until the doctor tells you what it is and what to do about it. (Am I dying? Is this the big one?) but you get used to it. For me it usually goes away after a little bit, but it does make it hard to breathe (get a sharp, stabbing pain when I inhale). Now I just take a short break and I’m fine.

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