A mystery has been solved. On Thursday, I went to the allergist. I've had ongoing sinus issues since the summer, and I wanted to get my allergies tested. It seems like a mucus ball has been squatting in my head for the last four months. My goal was to find treatment to evict the unwanted tenants from my sinus cavity. The allergist listened to my chest and said that it was clear. "Yeah," I said, "but my chest feels tight anyway. I think it is because I have acid reflux."
"You have acid reflux?" he asked. "How often?"
"Well, lately I seem to have a lot of heartburn," I replied.
"Well, that makes sense." (Here I picture him stroking his beard wisely, although I know that did not happen.) "Acid reflux is a trigger for sinus issues. One of the best things you can do is get the acid reflux under control. Are you under a lot of stress?"
Cue my hysterical laughter. He gave me a prescription for Prevacid (which he warned me that my insurance may not cover, and he was correct) and also for Singulair (which my insurance "covers" although my payment was $128 - seeing that certainly brought on a wave of nausea). When I got home, I read more about acid reflux and discovered that many of the things that have been bothering me lately are symptoms of acid reflux, like how I often feel like there's food caught in my chest or like food is getting stuck on the way down.
The next night, I went out for dinner with two friends. We split an order or grilled veggies with pesto and eggplant Parmesan. About an hour after eating, the bad feeling of food stuck in my chest plagued me. About an hour after that, my friend mentioned that her boyfriend has acid reflux and can't eat tomato sauce. Right.
It's a learning process, that's for sure.