Chest Pains in the Night

Que experiencia! A few weeks ago I went paddleboarding in the lagoon late in the day. The water was like ice and as I came back toward the town dock, some people were watching me. My (racing) paddleboard is really fast, it seems to skim across the water and people are invariably surprised to see its speed. And so what do I do, being the mature person I am, but showboat it, sprinting, paddling as hard as I can. I should add that I hadn’t paddled for some time. Things were OK until I got into bed that night. I felt chest pains and had trouble breathing. Never happened before. 911-time and the full rescue experience. A roomful of local firefighters, an IV in my arm, the EMTs, and then a ride to the hospital. There was also a helicopter, which I declined: “No way!”

I ended up spending the night in the ER of Marin General Hospital, where they ran test after test. I saw 4 doctors, got spritzes of nitro-glycerine, the whole catastrophe. The ERs are geared for serious stuff; a dumbass condition like mine isn’t on their radar. Too simple. One doctor was pissed at me because I wouldn’t get a chest X-ray (by that time I knew I was OK). The next morning a cardiologist put me on a treadmill, and said, “I didn’t know you were a runner.” Everything was fine. Sheesh!

Home never looked so good. Got into my own bed with a hot water bottle and bowl of homemade chicken soup. Paradise!

Conclusion, later talking to my own doc: chest contractions from overexertion, muscles constricting lungs, brought on by showing off. I know, I know…

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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