About three weeks ago I noticed a sore spot in my chest just below my breastbone. I thought maybe it was a cyst, probably hormonal in nature or, God forbid, exacerbated by caffeine. I vowed to keep an eye on it because I certainly wasn't going to stop drinking coffee. The discomfort steadily increased, so I determined it was either the world's most slowly developing heart attack or a tumor. I always like to assume the worst so I can be pleasantly surprised when it ends up being something mundane. It's how I roll.
By the end of the week the pain was worse and making me short of breath. This made me tired, and--to The Captain's horror--decidedly unfrisky. As you know, or perhaps assumed, romance writers are required to maintain a certain level of sexiness in their lives at all times. Otherwise, our stories lack verisimilitude. Because I choose, as a courtesy to the other moms in the neighborhood, to keep my sexy under wraps during the day, concealing it under my uniform of velour pants and black t-shirts, I have to make up my recommended daily allowance at the end of the day.
That's where The Captain comes in.
He's always willing to sacrifice some of his personal time for the good of the romance-writing team because he's anxious to cash in on the big bucks I'm going to make writing the smut. He's pretty heavily invested at this point, so he was understandably concerned when I kept passing out on the couch at ten o'clock. He insisted I go see a doctor, you know, for my own good and the sake of the children.
I was already scheduled to see my very nice nurse practitioner to follow-up on the persistent sinus infection that's been plaguing me since December. Jesus, things really start to fall apart when you hit 40 (+8). I hopped up on the stubby exam table and told her about my pain. She listened to my heart, although by then I'd ruled out the creeping cardiac event, and then she felt me up. This was a bonus for me because I haven't seen my OB/GYN in two years. Then she made her diagnosis.
I immediately thought about how The Captain was going to pounce on the fact that excessive warehouse shopping had broken our bank account and my chest. I mean, those carts are pretty big and when you fill them every week with seven gallons of milk, cereal, waffles (always, for Five) two dozen eggs, meat, cheese, apples, grapes, vegetables, the now-essential Madeleines, toilet paper, and the occasional peripheral item (car phone speaker because the Buetooth hurts my ear and I've really got to stop breaking the law) they get heavy.
I asked her to repeat the diagnosis.
"Costochondritis, otherwise known as chest wall inflammation."
Costochondritis is sneaky. No one really knows how it starts, but some contributing factors might be:
1. Heavy lifting (say, moving your mother in her sick bed, or rearranging entire floors of furniture after everyone moves out of your house)
2. Excessive coughing (perhaps from a persistent post-nasal drip that turns into a nagging sinus infection)
3. Exercise (if you suddenly decide, after twenty years of neglect, that you're going to move every day for the sake of your boy)
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
The nice N.P. gave me an anti-inflammatory that promptly made me sick, so I substituted ibuprofen and a vacation in Arizona. I still have pain (I blame the boys), but I feel the sexy coming back, which we all know is the most important thing.
The Captain says I owe it to my readers to be my best, and he's never wrong.