The morning after Valentine’s Day

On February 19, 2002 by Eden M. Kennedy

The morning after Valentine’s Day I was changing Jackson’s diaper and I started having chest pains. I got into bed to nurse him and the pain didn’t go away, it just felt like the muscles around my heart were squeezing hard and wouldn’t stop.

Once I reminded myself that more women die of heart disease than of breast cancer, I started making a mental inventory — I hadn’t made a will yet; there were some things on my computer that I would have wanted to delete before I died; I’d given Jackson a healthy start; Jack would just have to find some daycare, and after he’d grieved for me he’d find someone new who would love Jackson, too.

You know, fun positive things to think about while having chest pains.

Then Jack walked in, home for a quick espresso and an English muffin before going back out to the job site, and found me sitting in bed with The Nut with tears running down my face.

Me: I’m having chest pains.

Jack: Do you want to go to the doctor?

Me: I don’t have any insurance.

Jack: Who cares? Go to the walk-in clinic.

Me: I’m scared.

Never one to panic, Jack took the baby and played with him until I stopped crying, made sure I wasn’t having shooting pains down my arm or shortness of breath, kissed me, and went back to work.

About thirty minutes later the pain subsided, and for those of you who have never had heartburn the morning after a luscious meal of sushi, sake, and Veuve Cliquot, let me tell you, it isn’t just an annoying burning sensation in the esophagus that is easily beaten back with a couple of Tums. This is why all those harried executives go to the emergency room thinking they’re having a heart attack, and then the doctor quietly sends them home an hour later with a sample pack of Tagamet and everybody else thinks, Sheesh, what a worrywart.

Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed.

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