September 21, 2004

Chest pain

At about a quarter past four yesterday I felt pain in my chest. Not all that sharp, almost like indigestion: but prolonged and painful. I sat down, but the pain stayed with me, as it did when I got back up. Eventually I went next door to the staff room and had a cup of tea, which could, for all I know, have been entirely the wrong thing to do. But after several minutes, the pain eased up and suddenly disappeared.

This happens intermittently, every few months. I don't know if it's age, or stress, or lack of exercise or lousy diet or any combination of the above. I probably ought to go and ask a doctor - or look it up in a medical library, seeing as I work in one, though I remember what happened when Jerome K Jerome tried the same thing:
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch--hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into--some fearful, devastating scourge, I know--and, before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms," it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever--read the symptoms--discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it--wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus's Dance--found, as I expected, that I had that too,--began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically--read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright's disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee.

More likely though that I will just forget about it for another few months, until it happens again and either passes, as before, within a few minutes, or ripens into a heart attack.


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