On Saturday evening, I started experiencing symptoms that a normal healthy person would likely immediately call for help, but being that I am not a normal healthy person, I decided to wait them out. I’m sure that this will eventually be what kills me, but with chronic illness, it’s so hard to tell what’s an actual emergency and what isn’t.

I wasn’t feeling the greatest on Saturday morning. I had gone to see my doctor on Friday about the psoriasis on my legs because it wasn’t clearing up with moisturiser and time like it usually does and I figured I needed some steroidal cream. I usually feel a little worn out the next day when I’ve done something “extra” the day before, so I wasn’t surprised at all.

After lunch, I started feeling much, much worse. I went back to bed for a few hours before thinking I was feeling well enough to get up and play a video game before I needed to make dinner. I felt fine enough during the gaming session, but as soon as I got up to make dinner, my heart rate shot up and I started to feel extremely unwell.

Since my COVID infection in March 2023, I often experience periods of hot flashes whenever I am doing mild activity (like making dinner or emptying the dishwasher). I will sometimes test for a fever when this happens, but I’m never running hot. I only feel hot. I assume this is a dysautonomia issue and I can usually just continue whatever I’m doing then sit down and all is fine again.

I thought I would do the same once I finished cooking dinner, but the symptoms got progressively worse. I got really hot and started to feel nauseous. “Normally”, my heart rate will spike when I get up and then go back down within a few minutes, but this time, it stayed in “fat burn” (according to my Fitbit) for the full 45 minutes it took to cook dinner. As soon as I was done, I served my husband his dinner and then went to bed.

Although my heart rate did calm down once I got into bed, I felt so terrible that I started getting concerned about the pain that was developing in my chest and shoulders. This is another problem I have. I experience nerve pain in my arms fairly frequently. This has lessened since I started tricyclics, but it can still break through and cause a lot of pain. And that’s what was happening.

I had pain shooting down both of my arms, but it was worse in my left arm, so of course, that started making me worry. I had all the symptoms of a heart attack, PLUS evidence that my heart rate was higher than it should have been about half an hour before. But what if it ISN’T a heart attack? Just a collection of “normal” symptoms for me combining to make me think it’s a heart attack.

This is a problem a lot of chronically ill people will have. And a lot of us will avoid calling for help because we want to avoid being seen as hypochondriacs. Even right in the middle of me contemplating if I really needed help, my husband was having a go at me about it. “This always happens. Every six months!” If someone who knows me and my illnesses can think this, I can’t imagine what the healthcare system would think.

So, I just tried to get some sleep and figure out what the hell the problem was later. But I still don’t entirely know!

I rested on Sunday and half of Monday. I still have the pain in my arms and my fatigue is lingering, but I’ve not had another unexplained heart rate spike, hot flash or bout of nausea. My ear leaked a little fluid at some point on Sunday, but I don’t have any (noticeable) ear pain. It was almost as if my body just didn’t want me making dinner so it decided to throw a tantrum.

It’s things like these that make me wonder if I have POTS, but I don’t want to try and pursue a diagnosis. I don’t have the fight in me for that right now, and I already know all I can do for that is eat salt and rest when I need to. But I’m also worried that there may be something wrong with my heart that cannot be tested with a 72-hour Holter monitor.

It’s all just so frustrating. I could die from what is actually a fear of being seen as someone with Munchausen’s syndrome or just assuming it has to be my chronic illnesses and not an actual medical emergency.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Any information or advice provided in this entry is for general purposes. Please read the disclaimer for more information, if you haven't already done so.