Last Monday, I found myself feeling strange. A mixture of chest pains, heart twinges and a bit of numbness in my arm. I put it down to feeling tired, so finished work early and took it easy before going to bed.

The following morning, I woke up, feeling strange again, and so when the surgery opened, rang up for an appointment.

The last time I tried to get an appointment at my doctor’s, it took five weeks. This time, someone rang back within the hour. They asked me to come in to see them, so an hour later, there I was in the surgery.

The doctor took my blood pressure, did various other tests and referred me on to the hospital. By lunchtime, I was lying on a bed and signed in to the acute medical unit.

Over the next couple of hours, I had every test under the sun: several ECGs, various blood tests, a chest X-ray, even a coronavirus test thrown in for good measure.

Then, there was nothing to do but wait for the results.

Waiting for results is never a great experience, but particularly so on a hospital ward when you’re feeling lousy.

As I sat there, my mind began to race with what might be wrong with me, and how the next few hours might unfold. It was a pretty salutary, sobering experience.

Eventually, after the best part of four hours, the consultant appeared. What’s your story? he asked, getting me to repeat my symptoms and examining me again.

I’m sure he’d heard it all before, but as a layman describing pain, it always sounds a bit amateurish – squeezy, surgey, twingey, I offered, like a medical troop of Snow White dwarves.

You’re ok, the consultant finally said, to my relief.

There’s nothing wrong with your heart, but you’ve got musculoskeletal chest pain and high blood pressure, he explained. Are you stressed? Yes, I said. Don’t get stressed, he said helpfully, without offering any particular advice how to do so.

Back home, I felt a mixture of relief and concern. I’m the sort of person who does bury themselves in work, for sure. And with the lockdown and homeschooling, I’ve certainly found the last few months stressful in an ongoing way. I suspect, too, I’m not alone in putting on the pounds and drinking too much to deal with it.

Last week’s episode I’m taking as a shot across the bows to sort myself out. It’s no alcohol for me for a while. Or crisps. Or cheese. Or caffeine. Sob. But I’m lucky it’s in my hands to sort: if any of this sounds familiar, please, don’t leave it too late to do something about it.