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  • Pericarditis? Panic Attacks? What is WRONG with me?

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    Old 10-10-2005, 09:57 PM   #1
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    Unhappy Pericarditis? Panic Attacks? What is WRONG with me?


    I'm new here and so glad to have found this forum. {REMOVED}{Please post on one board only, follow your post here. Thanks, Ms_Mod}

    I'm only 33 and I'm female. I'm so worried. I do have that "impending feeling of doom" I've always been perfectly healthy, no heart history, and no prior experience of anxiety.

    About a week ago, I began to have chest pain. It is a constant, squeezing sensation. Since I'm a busy mom of 4, I tried to ignore it and go on with life--taking care of everyone else. I really noticed the pain more in the evening (when I wasn't so busy) and when I was lying down watching TV. Acutally I couldn't exactly lay down, reclining made the pain worse. I'd also experienced some episodes of shortness of breath.

    Then Tuesday night, I experienced a full-blown panic attack or something. I couldn't even recline, my chest was squeezing, couldn't breathe, my pulse felt weak, I got dizzy/light-headed, and my arms and hands went numb. I had to stand up. I guess I felt like I was going to die if I sat down or layed down. I paced and paced. {REMOVED}{Please don't discuss your use of prescription medication that was not prescribed for you. Thanks, Ms_Mod} It did help my breathing problems, but did not relieve my chest pain. Stupid me, I thought of calling 911, but I didn't.

    I got through the night and promptly called my doctor's office in the morning. Telling them my symptoms, they told me to go straight to the ER.

    At the ER, they did 4 EKG's. Apparently the first one was whacky because it said the leads were hooked up wrong. The tech did another one and changed the leads, but the result was the same. The cardiologist insisted on watching the next one. He said it was better, but that SOMETHING was "low". He never clarified that.

    My chest X-ray was normal as was my lab work.

    While in the ER, I had several more panicking episodes or something again. I couldn't recline at all, felt nauseous/dizzy, chest squeezing, couldn't breathe, and I was setting off the O2 Saturation alarm. I know the O2 went below 90. My heart rate was usually in the 70's, it did race into the 100's, but never really high. Mostly I was too afraid to even look at the monitor.

    The symptoms got even worse when I realized the cardiologist and the ER doctor were right outside my room discussing me. They were quite puzzled with me, that much I got. It didn't help my symptoms when I next heard the cardiologist on the phone consulting with I'm assuming another colleague about me. The only thing that kept running through my head was in Desperate Housewives when Rex tells Bree that his cardiologist has the biggest ego of any doctor he knows and that since he wanted to consult about meant he was screwed.

    I stood up and tried shifting my weight from foot to foot. I couldn't even sit in the bed. Of course the alarm goes off and the nurse comes in. The alarm continues and she's really eyeing me asking me if I'm okay. I knew I was going to pass out, but I assured her I was okay. (I just hate drawing attention to myself. Why did I lie???) The cardiologist rushed in and asked if I felt dizzy.

    Just then my husband had finally returned from visiting his friend on another floor who had gotten bit by a rattlesnake the day before. I'm not sure I would have panicked if he'd been there the whole time.

    They decided to get an echocardiogram on me. I had to sit back in the bed for transport. I felt like I was going to throw up. It unnerved me that the cardiologist was there at the room waiting for me. The echo tech commented that she'd better hurry up and prep me since he was so anxious. I've usually known specialists to not be present at the exam, but to read the results later. He pulled up a chair as soon as she had me prepped.

    I couldn't watch the echo. I even asked her to turn down the sound so I wouldn't have to listen to the beat of my heart.

    {REMOVED} Discovery Health is my favorite TV station. I've had 4 kids by c-section. I'm simply not in the slightest bit squeamish.

    So apparently the echo went perfectly. He said my heart looked "fantastic" He said he thought I had pericarditis. I had a few symptoms that didn't coincide and lacked a few (like breathing in deep doesn't make my chest hurt more) He felt confident I wasn't having a heart attack since the pain is constant and lasts days.

    When I got back from the echo, they gave me a shot of Toradol. I did feel relief finally from my chest pain.

    So he prescribed Naproxen (anti-inflammatory) and Lorazepam (for the panic symptoms). He said I should feel much better in 3 days, but to still take the whole course of Naproxen. I was prescribed one 500 MG tablet twice daily. I quickly discovered 2 isn't enough per day. The label says just not to exceed more than every 6 hours. So I've been taking 3 per day. I've only taken the Lorazepam as needed. So far, I've taken 5.

    Last night, I felt early on the panic attack was coming while we were watching TV. I thought I would preempt it and took Lorazepam. It came anyway and through the Lorazepam an hour later. It was the worst one I've experienced so far.

    Thank God my husband was able to help me through it. I made it without calling 911.

    I'm terrified. I thought I was supposed to be getting better? I'm still experiencing never-ending chest pain, the shortness of breath and these attacks. I am supposed to follow up with the cardiologist by next Tuesday. It just seems so far away.

    I guess I keep hoping I will miracleously recover. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

    Last edited by msmod; 10-10-2005 at 10:46 PM. Reason: Please re-read and follow the posting rules. Thanks, Ms_Mod

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    Old 10-13-2005, 07:36 AM   #2
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    Re: Pericarditis? Panic Attacks? What is WRONG with me?

    Glad you went to be checked. I use to get panic attacks that severe, I could not breathe right and my chest hurt so badly, took me a long road to get over them. You have to do a lot of self talking as, well I have been checked out and it is not my heart so I am just going to let this panic run though me and away. They will get better.


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    Old 10-13-2005, 08:02 AM   #3
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    Re: Pericarditis? Panic Attacks? What is WRONG with me?

    Wow. What a scary experience. Drs acting anxious or overly concerned does make ya wonder, because they rarely react that way.

    I hope you get relief soon and let us know how the next appointment goes.

    I had an ER episode 2 years ago. I had a long history of panic. My heart rate was 150 for over 4 hours and they too seemed baffled. But there was no cardiologist there. I ended up being diagnosed with SVT and take medication now. Obiously my symptoms are alot different than yours, but I just wanted to share that I know that fear. And the fear that comes after dreading a reoccurance. And the What Ifs. Is there anyway you can be seen sooner just so you can set your mind at ease?

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