The pain I mentioned yesterday got steadily worse between about 4pm-6pm. At 6pm I took Ibuprofen, and basically had to sit completely still otherwise it was agony. By 7pm it was quite simply the worst pain I've ever felt, and despite having to move I got up and took some Paracetamol as well. Anything to stop the pain. Then I just sat there, trying to immobilise my left arm and shoulder as best I could, sweating like crazy.
I had an increasing worry that it was a heart attack. The pain extended from the left-hand side of my neck all the way across my shoulder and down my arm into my fingers. It was also at the top of my chest. I didn't feel any pressure or shortness of breath (that I could tell), just incredible pain. Simply moving my left side caused my head to swim.
It got to around 10:30pm, and I was managing to tweet on and off with my right-hand. stegzy strongly suggested I get it checked out, in case it was a heart attack. The pain had eased slightly, which I assumed was the painkillers. I spoke to Lu, who was already in bed, and she rang NHS Direct. They went through a few questions and then said they were going to call an ambulance, in case it was a heart attack. Ironically after calling NHS Direct the pain had started to ease off dramatically, and all I really felt was residual pain and pins and needles.
A few minutes later a Community Response person arrived at the house. He was really good and checked me over, but said that based on my condition it didn't seem likely that I was having a heart attack*. Even so, he said heart attacks can present in a variety of ways, and an ambulance was already on its way. I guess the ambulance took about 25 minutes to arrive, and I was then taken into that to have an ECG. The ECG also showed absolutely no problem, but at this point I thought it better to be safe than sorry so went to Casualty (Lu stayed home with Amélie). Again, the ambulance staff were excellent, and reassuring, and agreed that I should go (probably so I wasn't wasting their time!).
*Apparently more classic symptoms would include a feeling of incredible pressure on the chest, and I would have looked ashen and just generally very ill.
Casualty is an odd place, at least at Frimley Park, and at least the bit you get taken into on a stretcher. It's like an office blended with a hospital ward, where you seem to get unceremoniously dumped in one of the corridors (albeit on a bed with wheels). This was made further embarrassing by me being in shorts, a Dangermouse T-shirt (Good Grief!), and flip flops. But equally I was there for something potentially important, so just weathered it.
After being assessed by the Triage Nurse it must have been decided that due to complete lack of serious heart attack symptoms I had to go and sit in the waiting area. I was worried about wasting everyone's time, but by the same token I thought "in for a penny, in for a pound", and that I was there and ought to finish the process.
(While in the waiting room there was a repeat of Panorama's Finished at Fifty. It was utterly depressing stuff about the employment situation for some of the over-50s, and I could obviously sympathise. I hope I'm not Finished at 38...)
By this time it must have been around 12:30am, and I waited a couple of hours before I was seen by a consultant. She gave me a general check over, with a bunch of movements to check how far I could move my neck and arms. There was still some muscular pain. Her assessment was that I'd had some sort of muscle spasm, which had affected all the muscles in my arm, shoulder, and neck. Why? She had no idea. Apparently I shouldn't have taken Ibuprofen due to my stomach problems, but Paracetamol was fine, which I should take if it happened again.
And that was that. So I took a (£25!) taxi home, and got back around 3am.
I was glad I went though, because I would have still been worried this morning if I hadn't done anything (thanks again to stegzy for the strong recommendation), which would have meant trying to get a GP visit, and then getting it all done slow time. Casualty wasn't busy, so I don't feel *really* awful about having wasted their resources (mostly the ambulance) too much. Also the pain I had felt... I've never felt anything like it, and that in itself was frightening.
Curiously Casualty was mostly drunks, people limping, and two mums with babies.
Amélie was up at 6am, so suffice to say the Taylor parents are a bit tired this morning.
And a curiously coincidental xkcd this morning...