I seriously thought I was a goner.
For a brief, horrific moment on Monday night, I saw my life flash before my eyes and the Great White Light was not only beckoning, it was rolling out the red carpet with a giant "WELCOME, DRAMA QUEEN!" sign flashing in neon.
It happened a few minutes after the conclusion of "Dancing With the Stars."
The episode had certainly been enjoyable, but I wouldn't say it was particularly heart-stopping, adrenaline-pumping exciting.
So, imagine my surprise when my own heart literally stopped.
Incredible squeezing pain in my chest - sucking my breath right out of my body - and I clawed out for Hubby, who was sitting next to me on the sofa.
I grabbed his arm and held on for dear life, refusing to head to that bright, white light.
The paralyzing & blinding pain lasted only about 10 seconds...and then, all seemed back to normal.
I looked at Hubby; he looked at me.
I said, rather shakily, "Whew. That was weird. But I'm okay," at the same time he was urgently saying, "We're going to the emergency room. Now."
I protested. He won. Off we went.
I learned something that night.
If you present yourself at the E.R. with a chief complaint of "Chest Pain" - you will be whisked, faster than you can dig for your insurance card, back to the examination room - where a team of doctors, nurses and other unidentifiable medical people will swarm around you, poking, prodding, and sticking.
After three long hours, the good news is that I did NOT have a heart attack.
Dr. Doogie Howser (who was yummy, by the way) said his best guess is that I have a lack of fluid in my pericardium - or, a possible "bump"...every so often (and yes, I've actually had this pain off and on for the last few years, but have managed to ignore it until now), he thinks my heart "bumps" or "catches" against the wall of the pericardium - causing the heart to miss a beat or two.
Incredibly painful. Incredibly scary.
But nothing to worry about.
No heart damage, thank goodness.
I was relieved to know that - as well as to finally have an answer as to why this periodically happens.
I could have joked and said that it was Ralph "Karate Kid" Macchio's dancing working it's way into my heart...
...but heart pain should never be joked with.
Don't ignore it, if you have it.