Most of the time my daughter – who is now 16 – communicate very well. Every now and then, however, some kind of polarized force goes up and all she seems to hear is, “Mwah mwah mwah.”
Last night was one of those nights. My daughter – I call her Teen Girl – came home from work at about 8:30 and told me she was having pains in her chest and difficulty breathing. In her defense, her breathing was labored and she looked a bit pale.
“When did this start?” Iasked.
“Tuesday, on my way to babysit.” (Tuesday? And I’m finding out on Thursday night?)
She described her pain: a sharp pain around her breastbone, going around under her ribs and up her back. The pain was really at its worst when she’d take a deep breath.
“It sounds like you’ve got a pulled muscle or something around your diaphragm. Take a couple ibuprofen and go rest, then we’ll see how you feel in an hour.” To be safe I took her pulse: 78 bpm, perfectly within the normal range.
That was around 8:30. She came back a little before 10.
“It still hurts,” she said.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad?”
“It’s a 7 or 8.” (OK, I love my daughter and hate that she was miserable, but at 7 or 8 I’d be in a heap on the floor.)
“Did you take the ibuprofen?”
“No, I didn’t want to.”
I’m not one to mess around with heart and lung issues, so I called the 24-hour nurse and gave her Teen Girl’s symptoms. “You’d better bring her in.”
So, at a little after 10 p.m. Teen Girl and I were headed to the ER.
Doctors and nurses were wonderful, they made sure she had a blanket and was comfortable, gave her the remote so she could watch TV. Over the course of three hours (yes, THREE hours) she had an EKG, a blood draw and gave a urine sample. The doctor in charge came in and explained that there might be a clot and if so, Teen Girl would need an IV for some reason or another (hey, I was tired – I paid attention when I needed to).
There were no clots, no heart issues, nothing that could be determined by the tests.
At about 1:30 the doctor came in and sat down next to Teen Girl. All the tests came back negative.
“It looks like you probably strained a muscle around your rib cage, near your diaphragm,” she told her. (Have we heard this before?)
Teen Girl just looked at me, then looked at the doctor.
“What should I do?”
(You already know what she told her …)
“Take some ibuprofen and get some rest.”
Mwah, mwah, mwaaaaah …