The Grinch's Small Heart Grew Three Sizes That Day

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Around this time last year, John and I were doing...watching TV when all of a sudden his chest started hurting.

He was having trouble breathing and his grimace told me that his "little bit of pain" was more painful than not. I panicked a bit and told him to lay down (which we would learn later was actually the wrong advice to give). I told him to take it easy but it didn't seem to ease any of the pain. At first we thought that maybe he was just like...really out of shape. But when his breathing didn't even out and the pain didn't diminish we thought that maybe this was something a bit more than just a lack of cardio.

I took him to one of those ERs that aren't really ERs, an urgent care facility. He filled out the paperwork and eventually he got to go the back. They did the whole blood pressure, temperature thing and when everything came back normal he waited to speak with a doctor. The doctor asked him what was wrong and when John told him, they decided to do an EKG.

Some nice nurse came in and hooked him up with the electrodes, started the machine, and when it was done took the machine out and told us that the doctor would be back to explain the results.

He sat there, leaning forward, and breathing better but still with chest pain. The doctor was taking a while which we took to be a good thing. If he was having a heart attack they would have rushed right in, right?

Eventually the doctor came in and told us that John had pericarditis. An inflammation of the lining of the heart - the pericardium.

A viral or bacterial infection could cause the initial symptoms. Shortness of breath, chest pain that lessened when you bent or leaned forward, and fatigue. The doctor asked if John had been sick recently and when he said yes, we all figured that was what the problem was. The doctor gave him some super-ibuprofen and some antibiotics to ensure that all of the infection would clear.

John was supposed to check in with a cardiologist a few weeks after but since he didn't have any insurance and any more symptoms, he never went.

The only time I thought about his heart was when I dusted his abnormal EKG that we framed and put on a table.

Until yesterday that is.

Once again, about a year to the day, John woke up with chest pain. He didn't go to work and swallowed some aspirin but the pain wasn't letting up.

We ended up going to the ER, where they gave him an EKG, and a chest x-ray. Turns out, pericarditis can become recurring, sometimes for years.

They said that it wasn't life-threatening but that he really should see a cardiologist.  They gave him some super-ibuprofen and a painkiller. And he's not supposed to go back to work until the day after tomorrow. He's been sleeping a lot (fatigue at its finest) and hopefully with rest, an anti-inflammatory and some painkillers he'll be good as new in a few days.

So basically, John's heart just couldn't contain all his love and affection and decided it needed some more space. Just like the Grinch, his small heart grew three sizes (not really) that day and he realized that Christmas doesn't come from a store.

He's doing better now and we'll probably make a collage of his EKGs and Xray to hang on our wall.

You Might Also Like


  1. Glad to hear he's dong better.

  2. Scary! And from another cardiac patient, stay strong, man!!


  3. Thanks Danita, he's definitely doing a lot better.

  4. Thanks Rosemond! I shall say that the same to you: stay strong!

  5. Wow! That would be so terrifying. I'm glad that you are keeping such a positive attitude. Good luck figuring things out.

  6. Holy moly that must have been a scary eye opener. Glad he`s doing better. I like that you have a picture of his xray framed. :)

  7. That sounds really scary! I am glad it sounds like he is doing okay though.

  8. It was pretty scary the first time. He's doing a lot better though.

  9. Haha yeah, we needed things on our walls and it does look pretty cool.

  10. Thanks Bobbie! He's always been good at making jokes at the most inappropriate times so at least this time it makes everyone feel better.

  11. Wow, what a terrifying experience! Sounds scary! Glad he's doing so much better now!

  12. Very scary indeed! I've had 2 similar situation where I've either gone to the ER or to my doctor (when it wasn't that bad, but I knew I needed it checked) and the bad time was inflammation around my heart and the 2nd time was, what my doctor thinks, an allergic reaction to my ex-husband's cats (we were married at the time) - inflammation but not quite the same or bad as the first time it happened. But, yeah, EKG's, check Xrays, the whole bit and then super duper ibuprofen!! I haven't had any other recurrences in a number of years, but it is very very scary (the first time, I even had my left arm going number in addition to the chest pain and shortness of breath!!). Hope he feels better very soon!!

  13. Oh geez. I'm glad you're better. That sounds scary! I would totally freak out if any of this stuff happened to me. Hopefully a doctor will be able to tell him what triggers it or give some advice about it. He's feeling better though. Thanks!

  14. Thanks! The first time was pretty scary. He's doing better now.