How Costochondritis Affects Me
I have only been officially diagnosed with costochondritis since January 2022, with major symptoms starting around Thanksgiving 2021, but looking back, I realize that I have had it a long time, just didn’t know what I was feeling.
Around Thanksgiving 2021, I started to really have pain in the lower right side of my rib cage. It really started to bother me and I did all the wonderful steps to get it diagnosed. I recall standing in the ER after some 5-6 hours with my head in the corner, in tears from the pain, at that time my anxiety was an 8-9 due to the long ass wait in the ER, no one doing anything to help and dealing with the pain. That day the pain was a good 6-7, maybe even an 8 on the scale. And they just kept telling me that they would give me something for the pain, and then send me back to my chair. It was not a fun time and that really bugged me that the staff had no empathy for any of the patients. I saw this elderly lady in a wheelchair, piss herself, and again, they didn’t care, they just let her sit there and let the urine stay on the floor. It really felt like I was in an ER in a major city like Chicago, instead of little ol’ Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Alright, back to how it affects me. The ER, of course, was clueless as to what it could be and they actually sent me home with the same thing I came in with “Undetermined Abdominal Pain”. I get it, I didn’t meet the requirements to be admitted, but you seriously sent home a patient the same way they came in, except 8 hours lost of their lives. Would you send home a patient who has a 6″ gash in their arm, that is open and bleeding and you can see the bone? Nope, you would at least treat it, but this ER has gotten in the habit of just doing the bare minimum and they keep getting reaccredited. The accreditation board should spend a day in the ER and they will yank their accreditation in a heartbeat. Hell, the board of directors should visit their own damn hospital. Damn it, I got side-tracked again.
Once again, back to how it affects me. The pain is sharp and about 4-5 inches in diameter with the center focused on the cartilage on that side of the rib cage. Then on my back in the exact same spot (it is like I got shot straight through), there is again, about a 4-5 inches diameter spot that hurts, usually not as sharp as the front. The tramadol does help some, but that is my choice as I asked to not be put on a narcotic. My stupid job won’t allow me to take anything like CBD, but I can take a narcotic, but I don’t like how I feel about them. Hell, the damn tramadol is bad enough.
When I went on vacation in early 2021, I noticed that my back hurt in this one spot (the same spot that hurts now), but just thought it was the seats in the new car. Now that I know what it is, I know that I had felt costochondritis clear back then. Looking further back, I would have pain when I was done hiking in the evening, in the front, in the same spot that hurts now.
The tramadol is helping to keep much of the pain at bay, however, it is affecting my work, mostly the brain fog and fatigue. By the time Wednesday rolls around at the end of the work week, I’m so tired that when I get home, I crash. Thursday morning is rough, but I get to telework on Thursdays and Fridays, so that helps me, but it is still rough. Right now the quality of life to work ratio totally sucks. I wish there was something I could do about it.