Hulk Mama

I have a new vocabulary word for you:

Costochondritis.

The rough definition is: “oh my god my rib cage is being torn apart holy hell that hurts!”

Basically, the cartilage that connects your ribs to your sternum becomes super inflamed for absolutely no reason at all and at completely inopportune times without any warning. And, yup you guessed it, I have it. Again.

The first time I got it was a week or two after I graduated from nursing school. Literally days after my student medical insurance had expired (and several weeks before I would start my new job with new insurance) and a few days before I was supposed to take my nurse licensing exam. Of course.

I was at work that morning (I worked at a unit secretary in an Intensive Care Unit at the time), had started my shift less than ten minutes earlier and BAM! I was down on the floor with severe chest pain, feeling like I could hardly breathe. Long story short, I ended up with a four hour visit in the emergency room where they ruled me out for a heart attack (as well as overdosing me on narcotics until I almost stopped breathing and all kinds of other crappy care) and then followed up with my own doctor a few days later. Read: a LOT of expensive medical bills with no insurance to pay for it. I ended up with a prescription for steroids that I delayed taking until after I passed the NCLEX exam because I was worried I’d be one of those people who turned totally psycho-hulk-crazy on steroids. (Turned out they made me feel great).

So, this time around, I knew what the pain was the instant it hit me. I went to pick Eleanor up out of her crib in the morning and BAM! Like being shot in the chest. I was able to get a same day appointment with my doc (and my dear, kind father came up and stayed with the girls so I didn’t have to try to lug them along). She gave me a prescription for a steroid with the caution to not take it unless I really needed it. Well, nearly a week later I was still getting hit with stabbing pain at random moments. I finally decided I just can’t live my life like this – I have kids who needed picking up and holding, strollers to push, patients to lift and turn at work, too many things I need to DO every day that I can’t do when I’m in agonizing pain. I’ve been told costochondritis is more painful than broken ribs. So I made the decision to start taking the steroids. It was the right decision.

So far I haven’t gone psycho-hulk crazy on anyone, but I also haven’t felt like I have a ton of extra energy either. One bonus: that bursitis in my knee that’s been hurting for months is finally feeling better! I’ll keep you informed if I suddenly bust out some major muscles and start beating my chest and roaring.

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