During my time as a stay at home mom, I have had challenges with being fit and my weight going up and down. I was on my way to slimming down again for several months when I started a part-time job at a horse barn. My job included helping young riders with their lessons and cleaning stalls. Never did I think two-day per week job give me such a health scare.
During summer break I was taking my kids to visit my parents, and we were to stop at an old friend’s house along the way for lunch and to visit. It was perfect timing on my drive, because the kids could stretch their legs and have a bite to eat while we visited our dear friend before traveling to my parent’s house.
Our visit was great, and then the kids and I piled into the car. As I was driving, I noticed my chest was hurting. I thought perhaps it was something I ate and kept on driving. It was another two hours until we reached my parent’s house, and during that time the pain escalated a bit. I mentioned something to my mom, and she said to let her know if it felt worse. I was mentally going down a medical checklist of symptoms of a heart attack, and nothing fit the bill.
During the next few hours my chest pain did escalate to a point that when I lay down, the pain was very intense. My parents have a blood pressure monitor in their home, and my mom thought we should check it. The result was my blood pressure was low. It was then 9:00 at night, and my parents thought it would be best to take me to the emergency room instead of waiting it out.
While checking in to the E.R. with my mom, the nurse asked for my symptoms. I told her I had chest pains. She asked when they started, and when I told her around 3:00 pm, she put her pen down, looked up in extreme disappointment and said, “You mean you’ve had chest pains for six hours and you are just now coming in to be checked?” I asked her if she really wanted to know I had traveled for two hours with two small children in the car with me during that time. She shook her head no.
Through a battery of chest x-rays, an MRI, blood tests, and a few other things, it was determined I was not having a heart attack or anything other heart related health problem. What was going on?
I had strained my chest muscles. I wish I had a more beautiful and awesome reason, but I had strained my chest muscles while lifting too much horse poop in a large container and then repeated the motion many times. That simple task turned into something that impacted my body terribly and turned into something scary.
So a few things I took away from this experience:
Get it checked out sooner than later.
Don’t wait a prolonged amount of time if experiencing chest pains. Even if it turns out to be nothing urgent, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Refrain from upsetting or disappointing a nurse with frivolous information.
The nurse probably didn’t need to know about me traveling with my kids in the car. And looking back on it, that probably wasn’t a good idea. DO tell the nurse the relevant information!
Use proper form when lifting heavy items – even poop
I had used my arms and chest muscles to lift those excessive amounts of poop, instead of using my legs more to support my back. Use good form for lifting anything heavy, anytime and every time.
Let go of a job or something that isn’t worth injury or consequences.
I kept working at the horse barn for a few more weeks, but then quit. I had a bad shoulder anyway that I had recently had physical therapy on to recover full motion with (that injury I got from lifting my daughter out of her crib the wrong way!), and had noticed twinges here and there. After having the severe chest pains, I realized the part-time job was not worth the risk to my body and health in my situation. I let it go.