If the computer said the battery wasn't charging, then it was probably right. Unless the LED on the MagSafe connector turns orange and the battery indicator in the menu bar shows that the battery is charging, it isn't charging. At that point, you're just waiting for the battery to run out. My guess is that you busted the charger, which is pretty easy to do. MagSafe power adapters (also known as chargers) seem pretty fragile; I look around my office right now, and I can see three where the cable from the charger to the computer has failed.
The most trustworthy fix is to replace the charger. You can get replacements directly from Apple (at an Apple Store or from their web store), from iFixit, or from a variety of online retailers. The specific model type you need is a 60W MagSafe power adapter - not the skinnier MagSafe 2, which only works with the skinnier Macbook Airs and Retina Macbook Pros.
Here's a link to an eBay search for 60W adapters. The lowest Buy It Now price I see for a new OEM charger (made by Apple's manufacturer, but without Apple's logo) is from a seller in Hong Kong for $32.98 with free shipping.
In the meantime, if you have a friend/coworker/family member nearby who has a power adapter you can mooch for a few hours, you can recharge your battery and get out of crisis mode. Alternately, if there's an Apple Store in your area, they always have spare charger connections you can use.