An emotional low point…and could I have asthma?

This weekend, I had a lesson in slowing down. And I didn’t even do much! On Sunday, I wanted to do to two things: 1. Watch Emma at soccer practice and 2. Get a Christmas tree. I hadn’t realized at the time that I might’ve well run a marathon.

We were running late to soccer because of the nap schedule. When we got there, I was frantically helped Emma take off her windpants and put on her shinguards. She was sad that she had missed the team warmup. She’d been working on her flamengo stretch all week!

Two of Emma’s friends’ moms were there.  Part of the upside to soccer is getting to see and catch up with them every week. I quickly learned that communication via whiteboard is neither efficient or satisfying. They started gushing about the scrapbook that I/Patrick put together for the teacher who was leaving. In my mind, I had all these questions I wanted to ask: what did the back pages that Patrick did look like? did the teacher cry? did the other parents think there was too many pictures of my kids? too few of theirs?

But, all I could do was smile and nod…

Then, they started asking me details about the surgery, how I was feeling, whether I was working, etc. They were not yes/no questions! I tried to keep up via whiteboard, but it was exhausting for both of us.

I thought we’d get a tree on the way home, and I was glad that the day out was almost done because I was fading fast. It turned out that we had to go home first for an unspecified period of time. That’s when the breakdown hit me. We DID have to go home, but all I wanted to do was to take my meds and go to sleep. I knew that if I did nap, it could easily be three hours. By that time it would be 7:30 p.m., and there is no way that we would go out to get a tree. Plus, with three babies, it takes us FOREVER to leave the house, and even just going out to get a tree is a huge effort. Patrick’s attitude was, what’s the big deal? There are tons of trees? We can just go tomorrow night. But given our hectic weeknight schedule, I knew that wouldn’t happen. It all kind of hit me at once, the exhaustion, this weird chest pain I was having, the sadness at the thought of not getting a tree, the frustration of not being able to communicate, the anxiety of not being able to breathe, the anger of having to be in this position through the holidays…I can still smell, and I knew that the Christmas tree smell in my house would cheer me up.

To make a long story short, I cut my nap significantly short (to one hour), and Patrick was true to his word by taking us back out. The chest pain I was feeling was starting to get more severe and persistent. I knew I’d have to call the doctor, but I was determined to get my tree.

The tree experience was everything I hoped for – Emma, in particular, was into the selection process although she didn’t understand why we weren’t looking at the tallest trees on the lot. The smell, the cold air, it was great. Emma ultimately picked our tree, and she picked a really good one. Emma and Bree ate their first ever candy canes: Bree said “Open now, Mommy?” and both of them got the candy stuck to their mittens. I convinced Patrick to drive downtown so we could check out the city lights. It was wonderful.

When we came home, the pain was getting worse and I knew it was time to call the doctor. As I expected, I needed to be seen in the ER so they could rule out the serious stuff.

Long story short, I’m fine. I was diagnosed with something called costochondritis, which basically means that the cartilidge that connects my ribs to my breastbone is inflamed, causing excruciating pain, even when I breathe. Apparently, it’s not uncommon in women, although causes are usually unknown (unless you have a chest injury, which I have not). All I know is that it hurts like hell. The only treatment is ibuprofen and rest. The weirdest thing is that the doctor kept asking me if I had asthma (I don’t). She heard some wheezing that she was concerned about, so I got the full workup – a chest xray and time on the nebulizer. She actually gave me a prescription for an inhaler, which obviously I will not be able to use…

So I am now on bed rest. That is, I must stay in bed or on the couch and can only get up to get food/drink/etc. The other good news is that we totally scored a ton of eating syringes in a handy 3/4 oz. size. Much easier to use though it takes me 30 minutes to eat a cup of soup!

I still don’t know about the asthma thing, but who the hell gets asthma in their mid-30s?


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