I’m not sure anyone has informed the ER doctor in my community that obesity is an epidemic that can kill you. At least he wasn’t concerned about it when I visited the ER thinking I was having a heart attack.
Here’s the quick overview: one month ago I was in the process of moving to a new apartment. It had been a while since I’d exerted myself that hard and I was worn out – especially because my new apt. has stairs when my old one didn’t. Also, a week prior to the move my doctor raised the dosage of my blood pressure medicine and I started to get lightheaded and dizzy because of it.
The night before the final relocation effort I woke up with a horrible pain in my chest. It was burning and tingly and my right side and arm felt warm and numb. I also started having diarrhea and was light-headed and dizzy and I started shaking and shivering.
I had no idea what was going on but I remembered my dad describing similar symptoms that led to him going to the ER and eventually discovering he had an artery that was 98% blocked. This was the first thing that popped in my head, heart trouble. And with the chest pain I started to worry I could be having a heart attack. After all, I’ve got a history of heart disease in my family (though not among women), I’m morbidly obese, I’m on blood pressure meds, I’d been exerting myself more than usual the past week, and I was hearing more stories about men and women dying of heart complications in their 30’s.
Stupidly, at this point I contemplated calling my folks but I didn’t want to disturb them for a silly little thing like a heart attack. Ha! I almost didn’t call anyone but then I stood up to walk to my bedroom from the bathroom and the pain got worse. I got this image of my folks finding me dead on the bathroom floor and decided 911 was a good idea.
Called them, ambulence came and carted me to the ER. I got nitro and aspirin and IV’s hooked up to me. At the ER an EKG was done and xrays and they later declared it to be heartburn and gave me some antacid for it. Then they gave me morphine when the antacid didn’t work (morphine is kinda awesome). My parents were called, they showed up, my dad took a photo of me in my pjs and promptly texted it to the rest of the family (thanks dad) and I was released about an hour later.
I swilled antacid the rest of the weekend, avoided my blood pressure meds, and slowly got my old apartment emptied and cleaned. Monday I called my doctor to see what the deal was with my meds and to get a stress test to make sure I didn’t have any blocked arteries. He started me on a new med and didn’t think I needed a stress test.
So I’ve been to the ER and was told by the doctor there that it would be really unusual for me to have a heart attack given that I’m a 30 yr old white female (even though I’m easily 150 lbs overweight). Additionally my physician thinks a stress test is unnecessary, even given my family history of heart disease.
Seriously, what is the deal?
All I hear is “obesity will kill you” but the doctor’s I’m encountering aren’t all that concerned with it. Which leads me to believe that they are either being lazy/negligent or this whole “obesity will kill” message is grossly overblown.
Now, given attitudes in the local medical environment here, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some laziness involved, but I’m going to nag until I get my stress test – peace of mind needed. But the nonchalant attitude both doctors displayed about the symptoms and my weight are firming up the idea that the obesity “epidemic” message is being greatly exaggerated.
So I’m going to say once again, the world needs to chill on the whole obesity epidemic thing. Take a breath, calm down, and please exercise a little restraint with the fear tactics and propaganda.