"Can you go to Pasadena?” asked a dispatcher from Expressdoc, a housecall service. I could.
“Bloating and nausea,” was the reply when I asked for the patient’s symptoms. Once I arrived at the Pasadena Hilton, I learned that, besides bloating and nausea, the guest was suffering hot and cold flashes, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and blurred vision.
My diagnosis was an anxiety attack. She agreed that this was reasonable. She remembered similar episodes.
“I don’t have more stress than most people, but obviously I’m not handling it well. Why is this happening?”
“Because no one is perfect.”
She laughed, but I believe this. I explained that an anxiety attack is a tiresome body malfunction like a backache or allergy. You suffer, deal with it, and feel better, but it’s likely to recur. Almost everyone believes that stress causes anxiety. When it becomes chronic, victims undergo psychotherapy which sometimes works. I treat it as a simple malfunction; this also works pretty well.