Legal Chest Pains


I have been worried about my heart the last few days.

Having PVC & PAC activity is always disturbing but it seems a little different lately. More episodes, stronger extra beats or like this morning, two quick episodes of sharp pain with them.

I am sure I have had pain in the past. A faint memory is lying there but I can’t wrap my full attention around it.

When you have sharp chest pains and you are someone with “health anxiety” (the polite term for hypochondriac) then it sets off all sorts of warning alarms that I have mentioned in past posts.

For those not familiar, it goes a little something like this:

Minding my own business

Pain or dizziness – something out of the norm – could be a twitch or twinge

All systems stop in their tracks while the mind and body “listen” for anything else to happen. If it does, that occurrence is analyzed fully and completely.

Analyzing an occurrence goes like this:

What was THAT?

It was a…..<insert symptom here>

I wonder if that is a problem!

<Insert symptom here>

There it is again!

Okay, it was a sharp pain. It was in the center of my chest.

OH MY GOD ITS A HEART ATTACK

~ Launch all systems GO evaluation~

Blood pressure cuff – on and inflating (please be normal, please be normal….)

PulseOx meter attached (DON’T look at it for 10 seconds because it is always off while it calculates. DON’T LOOK YET)

Blood pressure results – within normal ranges (Thank goodness….)

PulseOx within normal limits (Thank goodness)

Pause……

“I wonder if I did them right.”

Relaunch check of symptoms

Within normal ranges

“Oh thank God! But…what is that pain? I’ll just look it up on the Internet….”

FAIL

As someone with health anxiety (don’t be rude, that is what we are calling it. YOU can be a hypochondriac…I am NOT!) searching the Internet for what ails you is the kiss of….well…..anxiety or panic…we CAN’T say the other word or it provokes nervousness.

If you are not in a full-blown attack then, you will be within a few minutes of clicking and sifting through the best terrorizing medical information the web has to offer.

The thing is? We KNOW this yet…we do it again and again.

I did it this morning after my bout of chest pain. “I can’t go to the doctor so I almost HAVE to rely on the Internet, don’t I?”

Um, no but that doesn’t stop me.

I sit down on the edge of my bed facing the window. This is where I go when I start having anxiety. That SHOULD be my first clue but it never is.

I bring up the search engine. “Tell me what my death sentence is Dr. Google” I almost say as I begin my sifting.

One thing I have learned is to stay away from WebMD as it will ALWAYS tell me absolute death is impending. Paper cut? Can become infected leading to death. Hang nail? Seek emergency medical attention as you may die.

We stay away from WebMD but Mayo Clinic is my golden child of the “What am I dying of today” world.

Mayo Clinic tells me the facts but almost leans toward not telling me enough. They always throw in when to seek medical attention but it doesn’t seem as ominous as WebMd does.

So far it could be spasms in my digestive track, PVC/PAC activity just causing pain or…brace yourself, it could be anxiety.

So, I launch another round of vital checks and determine that if I am going to die today, I need to accomplish something worthwhile.

Instead, I start writing.

What I have learned over the last year of my life is that I have become a VERY anxious person. I was always a Type A personality before but never full of twists and turns like I have now.

My previous employer shares much of the blame of the creation of the mess we all see before our eyes.

Years of being treated poorly and differently than my peers took its toll but nothing like the last and final month of my employment after returning from FMLA. The torment elevated to amazing new heights as they clearly felt the need to retaliate for my absence and then plotted my departure.

I have YEARS of excellent service to that company and needed time off to put Humpty Dumpty back together again because I was torn down from all of your games and demands and you couldn’t get past the time off I needed so you termed me? Makes total sense.

I am being told that my life will be better without my involvement in that company, in that department and certainly in that toxic environment but while I wait for that “bliss” to hit, I am left worrying about medical insurance, life insurance and of course, the almighty dollar to pay my bills when I did everything you asked me to do.

One of the things about the culture I worked in was that they pushed “We will provide you with all of the tools you need to do your job effectively” yet when I reminded them that I don’t have the tools, I was written up. When I didn’t quit as they thought I would, they fired me.

 

As your employee you promised me that you would lead me with all stops removed, to the type of manager you wanted me to be. I did as asked, when asked and usually much better than I was asked to do it, and then you let me go?

That just doesn’t seem ethical. Considering the source, that isn’t a shock.

So today I am fighting my way through the worry that the after effects of your poor and tortuous treatment of me have caused permanent damage.

I pray. I hope and I know that God will take care of me but I also hope that I don’t “go” before I have something important to leave behind. I am not ready and hope God allows me the chance to do something of value for Him, and me.

 

 

 

 

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Arms of the Angels


I said goodbye to my adored dog today. He was amazing and wonderful. He helped me through my panic attacks last year and my anxiety issues this year. He was my rock and my heart breaks knowing I wont have him waiting for me when I wake up.

I know things can always get worse but honestly, I don’t recall a time in my life that has been as bad as the last year +.

Being harassed at work has taken on an entirely new aggressiveness since my return from FMLA. Its epic and the loss of a part of me has just made it feel even worse. I dread going to work tomorrow because the pain will be on the surface and those people smell it like a shark smells blood. They will circle and attack. Its what they’ve been doing since my return so this is just going to exaggerate their response.

My dog was a doll. He came to me when I was gripped by panic. He positioned himself next to me and would press up against me to let me know he was there. I would find so much comfort with him….and when fireworks or thunderstorms made him feel the same way…I would bring him close and make sure he knew I was there. I would stay up all night fretting when he didn’t feel well and I would rush home to make sure he was okay.

My other dogs know he is gone and you can see the sadness on their faces. They seemed to sense when he was being taken to the vet because his sister became frantic and kept jumping on me. I didn’t have a choice. I want him here with us but not at the cost to him and his comfort. He couldn’t breathe very well and was in pain. Two terrible things separately. Combined they are cruel to inflict on someone that would lay down his life for you.

I saw him leave and I felt a piece of me go with him. Each time I have to make this decision, that drive and lay on that floor…it steals part of the tiny section of my soul that only they can get to. Its a part that no human will ever see nor experience because animals are true. People are not. No matter how deeply you love or are loved by a person, it is only a micro version of what it is for your animal family.

For those that don’t view pets that way, stop reading. This isn’t something you would find the least bit tasteful.

For those that have pets or have gone through this, you probably get it.

As a child I was a dog fanatic. I ALWAYS adored them. As a kid the dog in my home really didn’t view me as much but she was still my buddy. I was just a lower level dog to her. I wanted her to stay in my room but she wanted to be with the adults. I didn’t care, she was a dog and I loved her but she was forgotten as I grew older and left home. She preferred my mother and I wanted to leave home.

It wasn’t until I grew up that I learned the true value of having a pet. I found my soul mate in the animal kingdom in the form of a stately large breed dog. I adored him heart and soul. For the first year or so of his life I was fortunate enough to have him with me non-stop. He was able to go to work with me and we hung out together. He was my world and I was his.

When I had to make this same decision, take that same drive and lay on that “same” floor watching the life filter away, my soul screamed out and honestly, I don’t think it has ever stopped. If I spend more than a split second thinking about him, I crumble. He left me 9 years ago and it is still incredibly painful to think about.

Today all I could do was hope that my boy joins him, and the others. (2 cats, 1 female dog and my soul pup). I know they will all be waiting for me when it is my time but that doesn’t make it any less painful.

As I smoothed back the soft fur on his temple and whispered my undying love and devotion to him I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing and I hate crying in public, in front of people I don’t know….or do.

I knew when he left me, just like I knew the moment the others did and it is always painful with a mix of relief for them. They are free of this world, the pain and illness they were fighting bravely to be with me….they were whole again and with God.

With my world being as painful as it has been, I wished I could go with him. I am tired of being here. I am tired of dealing with people that think they can do as they please without any type of consequence.

I have to take a stand at work this week and I don’t want to. I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to go through this because you decided that your bonus or life would be more enjoyable with my unemployment.

Karma

I keep waiting and it seems like I am the one that has the bad Karma. I cannot figure out why. I try to help others and I love to see people do well for themselves. Helping is where “it’s” at in life and I try to do it as much as possible yet……my life is just total shit.

I think about the time I spent on FMLA and am grateful I was able to spend it with him. I would have felt cheated had I not. He was next to me the entire time. He was my champion and I loved him. He will sure be missed.

So, I brace for my week that will likely include a termination. My bosses have steam now and they are ready to use the new found power to rid themselves of someone they have disliked for years but that they haven’t had the power to destroy.

I don’t know what lies they are telling people but I have to assume they are in order to get as much clout as they have.

I have a meeting with an attorney tomorrow. I am filing a lawsuit against my employer and bosses as individuals. Never in my life would I have thought I had to do this and it disgusts me to my core that the world has gotten so abusive that an employee has to fight the battle in court to get them to change their ways.

I am suing them personally because they have made the personal decision to engage in workplace bullying, discrimination and harassment. When you as a supervisor make that decision, you need to know that it can have consequences for you in your life.

I will be attaching myself to their homes, cars, savings and wages for the next 10 or 20 years. Perhaps they will reconsider before doing the things they have done to me, to someone else.

I will be suing my employer for allowing it. Perhaps when I have attached myself to your income, name and reputation for the same amount of time, you will think twice before looking the other way because nepotism became to close to the top to control. When you turn a blind eye, you say it is okay. When you ignore an employee who says there is a problem, you endorse it.

My goal is culture change. Maybe if I sue them then they will change their ways for others. My end result will be the same. I will be unemployed regardless but that other person who will face it after I am gone? Maybe this will stop it before it gets started.

In the grand scheme of things, my dog is gone. My heart is broken and my employer is probably going to fire me tomorrow.

I put in my headphones to listen to a podcast. I pressed the button and Sara McLaughlin’s “Arms of the Angel” song rolled through the headphones and into my heart. This album holds significance in my life as it has appeared every time I am undergoing painful transformations that rock my existence.

I feel like it was a hug from God telling me that my boy is up there with the others running and playing and sure, life sucks but God is there while I walk this awful path.

I know He says he will take care of me but the human side fears the uncertainty that I am facing. I know that He has promised everything will work out for the better but the scared side likes to “what if” and worry about failing.
God wont let me fail and as much as I want to follow that with a “but…” statement, I wont.

God          Wont          Let          Me           Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A guide


Today my Doc said I was made well. He wants me to believe it.

I would like to. I hope to. Someday I know I will.

We talked for a long while about the paths we take in life. He urged me to get on my natural path. Take a leap of faith. Strike out on my adventure and serve others.

He hopes I will. I do too.

You see, I’ve had highs and lows this year. Panic grabbed me like a Lion killing its prey. I fought back and thought I was on the mend when it brought its pack to help finish me off.

I’m somewhat home bound now. I’ve slid down that slippery slope. Once you start sinking into the mud, gravity pulls you further down the hill. You fight to get up but can’t. It’s too steep, to slippery….too far. So you sit down. You give up. You wait.

While sitting and waiting, you wonder how you got here.

You were strong. Invincible. Smart and adaptable.

Then your doctor creeps into your head.

“Take that leap of faith!” He insists.

You want to but fear…it has you tight.

The world isn’t the same place it was a few years ago. It’s changed. You’ve changed.

You spend time trying to prove your value in a company that doesn’t care. You lose a piece of your soul.

You spend your time trying to help others. They use you. Turn on you. You lose a piece of your soul.

You spend your time being firm. Being direct. Being rigid. You lose a piece of your soul.

Well, now you’re sitting on that slippery slope. Sitting, watching, waiting for those pieces of your soul to return.

“You can’t wait forever!” Your doctor scolds. “Get up and get moving. Life doesn’t care if you’re upset today!”

Life will also keep moving without you.

Today may be a setback but you still have to keep trying.

The clock


I lie awake in the early morning hours. It’s dark. The sun is not ready to get up yet. It’s cold. For a rare moment I think about the heater keeping my family comfortable and warm as I’m half in and half out of my blanket.

The orange glow of the clock pushes through the white glow of my phone. Almost 6:25 and my heart sinks. Ill have to get up in a few minutes so I can be on time for a job that I hate….that hates me.

As I lie here I hear the soft breaths of spouse whispering in my hear. Sleeping contently. Safely.

My dogs are curled up and sound asleep but ready to wake with any sound or movement.

It’s these hours that both give me a sense of home and a sense of fear.

What will I do if and when I lose one of these precious souls? What would they do if they lost me?

Death has been on my mind lately. I fear it for myself but I am terrorized by it for another. My thoughts leave that terror because its so consuming. I settle in on my job. My life.

I think about how short and fragile life is. I wonder, if I knew today was my last day, would I spend it laying here watching the clock so I’m not late for a job I don’t like? For bosses that don’t like me?

No. No I wouldn’t. I’d call in sick and do the things that would leave a lasting impression.

But, who gets to know when their last day on this planet is? We don’t have expiration dates stamped on the back of our hands like an entry pass to heaven. I wish we did.

My thoughts visit people and pets that left. I miss them. I pray they are at peace and next to God.

I pray for me.

My prayers are sad. I am sad.

As a kid I always tried to imagine what I would be doing with my life.

I thought I would be a writer or business owner. I never imagined wealthy but I did think I would have enough.

I thought I would have two kids and a handful of friends. A nice normal house and be content.

None are accurate.

My mind ponders the question “What happens to that innocence where anything is possible and most things are amazing?”

Do people we cross paths with in our lives beat it out of us? Do we beat it out of ourselves or is it a combination of circumstances and life in general?

In my youth I was strong. Easy going. Almost carefree.

As an adult I am the exact opposite.

The clock calls me back to the reality of my life.

I reluctantly start to stir. If I had more strength, I would follow my heart. I would quit this job. I would take a year off and heal, go to school, learn to play the piano and try to find that young person that thought everything was interesting and amazing.

Life is…


As I sit, surrounded by warmth and a dim light, I think about this life. I think about God, faith, Angels and the good people in this world.

I wonder how we got to where we are at. Destiny? Fate? Choice?

If you look over your life and think about chance encounters. Has there ever been a person that you had an interaction with, a stranger or even a friend that seemed to have something different about them? Their eyes are what catch me.

I seem to freeze moments with people, usually strangers that give me a pause. It’s the type of pause where you’re minding your own business and your eyes cross paths with the other person.

There is something more there than a stranger. They have a look in their eyes that is hard to describe.

It’s not a sadness but rather a look of something greater. Knowing maybe? They are usually “smiling eyes” despite what the person may be showing.

I guess for me, it causes pause because it feels like Im SUPPOSED to pause that moment. It feels like Im SUPPOSED to wonder how I know them, when I swear I don’t.

It happened yesterday. It was a service worker that talked to me like she knew me. Her eyes had that look and I felt pleased to talk to her. I had never met her in my life but her eyes….they seemed to tell me we had.

I’m still haunted by it because it was SO intense. I went to that location later and spotted her clear across the room on my way out. I see her look vividly now and part of me wonders if that’s just a little God reminder that we are all on this planet together.

We never know for how long or what our path is, but we do know we should do the very best we can while we are here.

Through life I’ve wondered if anyone other than those in my immediate circle would care if I departed. I assumed I would be a blip.

As I push through this new life I’ve been given, I realized that I have WANTED to be a blip because it was me being a victim.

“No one really loves me. No one has ever really loved me.”

Except, I haven’t put myself out there much.

I’m terrified of being left. I didn’t know it until today. Sure, I know I can be codependent but I had no idea just how much someone leaving or dying scares me.

Just saying the word “dying” causes my anxiety to well. It’s something that takes a person or pet away indefinitely. If I want to mend a cross fence or call and act like nothing ever happened, I can’t. They’re gone. You can’t undo that. You can’t repair it or work on it together. They’re…….gone.

My first heart-wrenching experience with death was when my best friend, my only best friend, died when we were 14. She was killed while riding on the back of a motorcycle in the rain.

I write it and my world swoons. I feel weak and I feel disconnected.

Her funeral is sketchy but staring in that hole, looking at that casket….it’s been years and I know what it looked like.

I went up to pay my respects. It was the first funeral I had ever been to.

As I peered into the hole, noticing her casket. The dark shiny wood surrounded by the fake grass, deep in the ground, I saw the gold Star of David in the middle. I had forgotten she came from a Jewish upbringing.

I stared at the top of the casket and thought a few words. I was confused and not sure what I should say or do.
I tossed the rose in and it made a terrible loud, hallow “THUNK” as it hit the casket that ricocheted to my core. I felt nauseous.

Neither of my parents were there with me. A friend that was able to drive took me. She dropped me off at school and I went on with my day. I had occasional outbursts or disruptions but they were for attention. I believe I had never experienced true grief before, had never seen it and was raised in a cold environment so, I think I acted the way I thought I was supposed to.

When it hit me, I was upset for sure. I remember having a dream. She called me. I couldn’t see her, she was truly on the phone.

Where are you?

You know where I’m at.

Are you coming back?

You know I’m not but you’ll see me again. Not for a long time, but Ill see you.

Can I call you?

No.

Why?

You know why. I have to go. Good bye!

Bye

After that dream I felt I truly spoke to her. It was SO real! I was better.

So this last year I’ve really thought about what I want in life.

I want to serve God in any way He sees fit. I want to leave my current job because it is killing me. (For a second this afternoon I thought “fine, Ill stay a while” as I was getting things for home repair. Then a tragedy happened and Im back to thinking otherwise)

I want to finish my degree and learn the piano. I want to learn to crochet and finish a book worthy of someone’s precious time.

I want to be an even better person that others can learn from, others that I can help.

I want to enjoy my time on this earth and not fear every second, hating every minute.

I want to honor my departed family, friends and pets by living a life that they would pick for me.

It’s not that I want people to be in pain because of my departure. I would NEVER want someone to be in pain. Ever.

It’s that I want to leave something tangible. Something that gives peace and comfort in my absence.

Lord, please guide me. I want to be “one of the good ones”.

Blessings all around!

Meltdown


Epic. Catastrophic. Over the top.

Those can describe yesterday.

I was doing….”Okay”. I have been fairly okayish many days. Not fine, not free, just….okay.

Christmas started out rough. I had disequalibrium which just scares the Crap out of me. However, I’ve learned taking ibuprofen helps a great deal which leads me to believe it is indeed swelling in my neck causing the floating, pre-fainting feeling. I get it badly when I look down a lot or am turning my head side to side like walking in a store looking for something. I also get it when I tense, which is what I do. I often feel like my shoulders are stuffed inside the base of my skull.

So, Christmas with the family went well. I was proud. I was good at work yesterday morning. Half day. Was headed to see my friend who is in her final stages of cancer after but had a chiropractor appointment first. I figured my neck is my problem, I would start being proactive.

We meet. He takes xrays, we do a minor quick adjustment and I’m out the door. I feel better….then, tingling creeps into my cheek. I joke about getting ready to have a stroke….then it creeps down my neck into my left deltoid, forearm and wrist.

I go see my friend. When I arrive, her dog runs to me and I pet her. I stand there figuring out who and where everyone is at, as I always do. Her son comes around the corner and….something is different. He comes over to me. He looks distant. Dazed. He says “Didn’t anyone tell you?” No, tell me what? Did something happen? “You don’t know?”

I feel sick. I sure know now.

Is she gone? “I can’t believe no one told you”.

Me either.

I’m so sorry. Are you okay? “Not really.” I know. I’m sorry.

He walks away. Dazed. Her other son comes around the corner. Same look. Shit. It’s true. She’s gone.

Indeed her sister. Same conversaton. “I’m sorry, I thought you’d see it on Facebook.”

I don’t get on her Facebook. I was at work. I don’t get on anyone’s Facebook.

“I thought you knew”

I keep hearing that, but clearly, I did not. I saw her the night before. As we were alone, I talked to her.softly. She can hear. She knows what you’re saying. She can only respond with restlessness.

“You made it to Christmas. You’re amazing. I know you did that for your kids. You’re amazing. Now, its up to you. You’re free to go tomorrow, the next day or never. You get to decide. I promise I’ll take care of your sister and watch over your boys. I’ll do it even if she fights me. So, if you’re tired and want to go….go. Its okay. We sure don’t want you to but we know this is miserable for you. We want what is best for you. Always.”

She died the next morning and no, no one told me.

So, I head home. Dazed. Numbness in my face and left arm. I start to fret its really a stroke.

I get home, have lunch and order the food I was to bring back at 6.

I feel worse and now I’m starting to panic. I recall the doc doing the wrist strength test. He repeated my left one three times, clearly concerned. It stuck in my thoughts. I wonder what that means.

I Google. Epic mistake.

I run into a blur about chiropractic adjustments on the neck causing stroke. That’s it. All alarms start sounding. Stroke. A MAJOR trigger.
The alarms become louder.

Vertibral aortic dissection is what I diagnosed myself with. It’s something that can happen after a neck adjustment. I read a case study on a 38 year old male. Went in after a month of headaches. Had an adjustment and then immediately had balance and speaking issues. Waited an hour in the waiting room before driving home. Had to be driven home from work the next day and by day 3, was headed to the ER for major issues and a long not totally unresolved recovery. Smoked 20 packs a day. No other notes.

That was it. I’m going to have a stroke. I call the doc. Leave a message.

By now I’m checking pulse ox and bp like crazy debating driving to the ER.

I Google like mad. 5th common reason for stroke. More common in young and middle age. Sneezing, picking up something too heavy….blah blah.

The doc calls back. Questions about both arms, one arm, which, oh left. Dizziness? Room spinning? Vision issues? He sounds relieved. Thinks the nerves are irritated. He will take a loom during my appointment tomorrow.

We hang up.

Um, not going. Thanks.

So, I had to cancel the food and call my friends sister. There is no way I can drive clear across town in rush hour while having a stroke.

I let them all down. I promised to take care of them, and right out of the gate….I failed.

Distraught. Pleading, praying, bartering and begging…..

I spent the next 4 hours in a state of chaos and agony. Utter despair. Bawling. Hating myself. Hating who I’ve become. I should be morning my friend. Praying for her and her family, not wollowing in my Crap!

My spouse is helpless. Probably sick of it. More guilt.

I woke up this morning. Still guilt filled. Still forlorn. Still sad.

Still here.

Good intentions don’t cure you either


I had a meltdown.

Loads of sugar today, not much water, poor eating habits today, work stress off the charts, overwhelmed….

This all equals a random meltdown while helping care for my dying friend.

Shameful this crap wants to take center stage during a time like this.

Pathetic!