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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Just never ends


Let me start by saying that its been 9 months since panic and anxiety started ruling my life. 9 months. The amount of time it takes to produce a human. In that time I have had to endure so much agony, fear, loss of selfconfidence, self-worth and ultimately, the belief I will ever fully get my life back.

I have had to listen and constantly tried to repair the terrible lies the Director has spread about me, and keeps doing it. I’ve gone to her boss. I’ve gone to HR and as far as I am aware, there will be no formal reprimand. Her boss is going to talk to her.

Great. She is disrespecting her boss almost as badly, and they are going to talk. I wonder if that would be the same response if it were me, another manager or someone not related to the President and CEO of the company.

Defamation of character. Apparently that’s okay where we work. Libelous. Why not. It’s a non-profit after all. Why SHOULDN’T the Director be okay behaving in such a way. It’s not like we are talking about corporate America where values define them….

So, after 9 months of torment, here I sit. Anxious. A shell of who I was last year at this time.

What has brought me here? What dropped me into this hole?

I think it was the perfect storm.

A few incidents lit the fuse and life kept adding fuel. The Director, kept adding gas.

I believe having so many bats after a major surgery, caused my nerves to be sharpened. I believe having the Director slip in little comments about how the company as a whole can’t stand me but SHE keeps my job safe, unleashed the hounds.

Hearing, frequently, how you’re viewed as “difficult, arrogant or flat out disliked” by co-workers, supervisors and leadership within the company you have been.with for several years, wears on you.

I was told by the Director that she is the only one that “gets me”. She expressed irritation because she had to constantly defend me for things people took wrong or that I unknowingly insulted.

When pressed for names or details, I was told she took care of it and its fine now.

I’m not that person so, of course it caused me great distress.

My feeling is that those messages time and time again were slowly eroding my foundation. My strength. My, everything.

I think the final blow came when I had gotten so depressed, I went to a clinic to see about medication. I felt utterly worthless and felt I was pretty far down.

After discussing in great detail my sensitivity to medication, the lady prescribed me 20mg of Celexa. I waited until I had a long weekend to take it, just in case I felt ill or tired. Little did I know, it would send me to the emergency room.
It took me 4 days to shake it from my system and I have been in a state of anxiety/panic ever since.

There are times I feel like I’m getting stronger. However, work slaps me back down.

There are moments I feel like “I can get past this”, and then the Director and her actions makes an appearance, and then I feel like I’ll never really live my life again.

“Why don’t you take medicine and see if that helps?” Is the NEVER ENDING question I get from everyone.

Don’t you think I would, if I could?!!

I have to argue with myself just to take an over the counter pain reliever for headache or muscle aches.

After the medication incident, I refuse to take anything. I’ve filled numerous prescriptions. I refuse to take any. At all. I can’t.

When my heart was going wild (Docs feel it is stress induced), I was prescribed all kinds of things that he felt would calm down the skipped and extra beats. It would have given me relief. I could not take any of it. Said I did, said it didn’t work or made me tired because docs get PISSED when you refuse to take medication.

I couldn’t. I can’t.

I explain it this way.

You’re at the edge of a cliff. It’s a straight drop to rocks. A raging fire has circled you.

What do you do?

Jump and you die on the rocks. Go through the fire and you burn to death.

That’s where, to the depths of my SOUL, I am with medication. I cannot, CANNOT make myself take it.

I’ve tried. I’ve belittled and mentally beaten myself up repeatedly about it.

Doesnt ANYONE understand that I sure would not subject myself to this agony if I didn’t have to?!

It is SO painful, so life altering that I would LOVE to take a medication that would remove this searing, never ending, relentless pain from my life.

But, I can’t.

I claw my way through every moment of every day.

Today is my birthday. I don’t care. My spouse wants to celebrate. I don’t care. I pass it off as everyone getting home too late and having to work the next day. I suggested Sunday….it gives me time to try and figure out how to get put of it by then.

I don’t want to celebrate anything. I don’t want to make plans I know I can’t keep. This THING that controls my world doesn’t allow for planning. Doesn’t allow fun.

I keep appointments I have with other people because of their time. Not because of mine.

I go to work every day because my family needs me to. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t subject myself to leaving the house. Leaving my bed.

It’s my 44th birthday and I have more contempt for myself than I did on my 14th birthday. Contempt because I just cannot get out of this hole.

Guilt over how I am stuck like this, guilt over my spouse essentially being alone. Guilt over not being strong any more. Guilt over wasting 8 years with a company that allows someone to do the things that are being done without apology. Without change. Without care. Guilt that my family wants me to be excited about presents they spent their money and time picking out, and I am not. I will fake it later, for them. But honestly, I wish they would get their money back and just let the day wither away like the rest of my life.         

Happy Birthday to those that can enjoy it!                                                                                                                                                     

Dont poke a stick at it


So I begin today. I wake slowly a few times through the morning. Today is a day I am able to sleep in and I absolutely do not want to wake up at my regular time. I drift in and out enjoying the quiet and sighing to the fact that I am actually able to stay in bed.

Reality starts to fade in and I wish it would stay asleep too. Flashes of the day before start to intrude on my bliss and before you know it, the last 45 minutes of what could be quiet, calming sleep, are assaulted by blips of discussions, incidents, fears and fretting. Now, I, am, awake.

My spouse was upset yesterday because the new job is difficult. The supervisors pulled my spouse in to the office and had a 30 day review. As a manager myself I think, ut oh, as soon as I hear the news. My spouse starts to, with great stress, relay the meeting.

Not so good news. They like you…but. There it is. The lurching but.

Now, the fact that I am in the midst of a back slide in my own deal-eo, does not make listening to this any easier. I am trying to focus on what is being said as numbness drifts to my left arm and face. I start to panic a little but try very hard to hide it and remain neutral. My spouse is now crying stating that they feel like a failure as I fight to remain in the here and now, and not concentrate on my impending sudden death.

I try to comfort my spouse because after all, there are real issues there too. My spouse has suffered from anxiety and depression for years. Disability was the only source of support until my spouse didn’t send the paperwork for the review back and was dropped off. I was furious when I found out.

My spouse doesn’t do well at work. Never has and we have been together 14 years. I hear about all of this success pre-melt down and am amazed its possible. People skills, great unless you are someone my spouse does not care for and then its all over. Forever.

So as my spouse is talking about having trouble seeing the forms and completing the work, I flash to a month from now and realize, my spouse is going to be fired.

I am angry yet understanding. It is a weird mix. You want to be compassionate but by the same token, you want to freak out. Computers have never been a strong skill for my spouse and this job requires some basic computer skills. Eyesight is an issue and macular degeneration runs on the paternal side of the family so, I worry this is something coming along as well.

Now, before I continue, let me just make this statement. I am truly a kind hearted person who loves my family. I am giving and believe in a world with Good and God. There are things in this world and life that sometimes people just cannot help.

Having said that….

I am frustrated. I see a near future where I am the only income. Again. Now we are worrying about the limited vision so that means no driving for my spouse. So, I am now the only income and the only form of transportation that my spouse will have. What about doctor appointments, the grocery store, outings and other things? It is a lot to fret about.

For better or for worse. I embrace that. I do. But it doesn’t keep me from being fearful that I am not in a position at this time in my life to handle the for worse part, because right now, I am in the midst of my for worse and I want to get away from ME!

Lets also ponder for a moment, other posts where I have relayed conversations where my spouse has been just short of a jackass with my for worse part. I am sure it is unintentional but jackass is jackass, even if it is by mistake.

Dont get me wrong, I am not divorcing my spouse because of a job loss or loss of vision. That is crazy talk. I am ranting that in the midst of the worst now 7 months of my life, I don’t know if I can cope with big drama on the other side right now. I am fearful that a job loss or devastating news about my spouse will seal my fate and I will be forever loony.

The same can be said for my prison of a job.

I had a phone interview yesterday with another company. I will have a face to face interview at the end of the month for a job that pays almost 16k less a year but has a rep for a great place to work, great benefits and would actually have me OFF on the weekends. I would also not work later than 6p. However, 16k less a year when the spouse is likely going to be unemployed before the first snowfall…..I may be chained to my current hell for a longer period. Of course, that’s unless they get rid of me first. I am sure with every review and every increase they think they could get someone cheaper and that hasn’t lost heart. Because frankly, they have stabbed me in mine so often, I really have nothing left.

I wonder, if I left, will they care? Will they know I am leaving because of how I have been treated all of these years? Will it matter? Likely not.

The Director has been normal lately. Pleasant really. My boss has been absent for several weeks. Not from work, just from my work. It has been nice as I was ready to pop with a weekly or bi-weekly visit to drop in and say the same things. Now if visits happen, I am sure it is when I am gone.

I think about losing that job and wonder if I will care. I wonder if it will actually send me over the edge. It may or it may actually bring me back from the brink. It is such a hostile environment that it amazes me that the people in the ivory offices are really SO out of touch that they don’t see it.

Then I wonder, should I just leave a sue them? Should I sue them for $1 just because I need to make a statement about how terrible they treat people? How they have turned me in to this absolute shell of who I used to be or could have been?

I am irritated that they treat people the way they do and think it is okay.

They fire some people for ethical lapses that yes, should have been fired, no mistake about it. Then I wonder if they are evaluating WHY these people, after SO many years are making these terrible decisions?

Do they understand that beating people down day after day, having as many changes as our company has had over the last few years, demanding more more more with no understanding of the burn out it causes, do they think just MAYBE some of this may be why people with 8 or 10 years of tenor are taking a path they have never taken before?

I have been there 8 and I have been beaten to DEATH by them but no, I would never steal. I wouldn’t do the things that others have done but I also couldn’t care less about them. I care about my employees and their well-being but as far as the oppressors go, it wouldn’t phase me if they left and never came back. It wouldn’t upset me if I made a job transition to another company for the same income. I would fill by box and book it out the door yelling “SEE YA!” on the way out.

So with all of this going on, it is no wonder my anxiety and panic are back to manifesting themselves in worry over my health. That is how I express my fret. Health anxiety. I highly recommend staying away from it because it will drain you fast!

So today, I get up, go about my duties that I have to meet and then return home. I gave myself a haircut. (Do not assume that I went Brittany Spears, I have cut my hair for years and never chose to go bald but thank you for your concern)

I showered and came in my room. My goal for the day has been to NOT lay down but stay seated or moving. I decided I was having anxiety so I am writing instead of obsessively checking my blood pressure and pulse ox. It is like an addiction. If I want to get out of the habit, I have to stop doing it.

Besides, I am functioning. I am tired and want to nap but should go in to work. I don’t want to and am considering just starting my new-found resolve to stay busy, tomorrow.

When you are functioning okay, limited dizziness, some “unreal” feelings but over all, functioning, it is silly to take a blood pressure and risk undoing what is functioning. I WANT to take my bp, but then I think about last week when I did and how I took an okay week and turned my life back into constant panic and worry.

If you are functioning, don’t poke a stick at it. Continue to function until you can’t. Then, poke the stick because you’re already down, whats more going to do?!

So, as I finish my ramble, I have glimpses of hope that I can be productive and get my homework done today. Of course it would involve actually DOING the homework for which at this second, I am too tired to do. I think I will see if I can take a nap. If not, homework and maybe work it is.

For the rest of you who have the affliction that I do, I pray that you find peace and calm. Even if it’s just for a few hours. I am praying that your hours lead to days, to weeks, to months and to years.

This world is in shambles and life is not easy. With prayer and luck, maybe, just maybe we can get back to normal. We can feel good. We can experience true joy and happiness.

Those are my prayers for you. And me.

Daily struggle


My life is a daily struggle. I suffer through out each day and night, fretting I won’t see the next.

I start to do better and then have a chest pain or dizzy spell…and backslide I go.

I had been trying to climb out of my latest hole. I had chest pains a few weeks back and called the cardiologist. He brought me in, did another echocardiogram, with a stress test. Nothing. Brought me back a few days later for a CT scan with dye. Awful. Results inconclusive. As soon as the dye hit my heart, it went wild. They couldn’t get what they needed. Wasted test and time.

On to now, one week ago, I was doing pretty well. I was having some good days. I came home, plopped down and watched.some movies. I had an event with my heart, as I always do, and ran a bp as a way to show myself everything is fine. Later, another except this time my bp was 98/56 and I freaked. Since then, my new panic is a low heart rate (low 50s) and fear of low blood pressure.

I’ve read a lot. It’s likely I’ve induced symptoms of bed rest as I sit on my ass day after day refusing to move much. Fear you know….

So a form of hypotension is possible. It takes up to 2 months to resolve. If that’s what I have, Shameful.

So, again a goal of exercise daily. I need to even just walk. Something…

It’s ironic that the very thing you fear, heart disease or death, is exactly what you’ll cause by being too afraid to move….yet, you have no ability to control or conquer it. Anxiety has rendered you nearly disabled.

I “white knuckle” my way through each day hoping I will find ME again. So far, I have seen fleeting glimpses but nothing real reassuring that ME will return full-time, any time soon.

I’ve lost myself and I think that is the core problem with anyone that is afflicted with this terrible ailment.

I visually look okay. Unless you know me. You may ask if I am alright or feeling poorly because something just isn’t right. But, unless you take the time to get to know me, I seem ordinary. I seem fine.

I’m far from fine.

In my mind, I am sobbing and begging God to please remove this burden and pain of anxiety, depression and panic from my life. In my head, I am constantly checking and re-checking how my body feels. I am in tune with each and every ache, creek or abnormal event my body experiences every minute of every single plagued day.

It is draining. It is painful. It is CONSUMING.

I have read and reread every single thing I can about my heart, vessels, rhythms, electrical impulses, PVC, PAC, A fib, svt, orthostatic hypotension, stress tests, echocardiogram, stress tests and echos together, CT scans, angiograms, MRI’s, GERDS and arythmias….the list is…..endless.

One might ask why it all doesn’t reassure me, it does, for a bit. Then I am right back to it.

A different or recycled worry, a panic, a constant check and recheck of my body, vitals and understanding of a particular worrisome ailment.

I wasn’t always this person. I used to be secure. I used to be productive. I used to be….ME.

CT Scan with Die


Yes, die.

I had a CT Scan with contrast dye today. I had a moment where I couldn’t breathe and my heart was going to explode. I hated it. Panic attack you ask?

Well, let me hook a tow truck up to your heart and see if you have some panic.

Apparently I had a “mild” reaction. Intense symptoms for a few minutes apparently constitutes mild.

Well, me and my MILD symptoms will never do that again. My heart rate went from 66 to 120, my heart was flipping around like it was trying to leave my body. Quickly, but was hung up on some ribs.

The tech called the doc down. I was trying to tell her my hear was all over but she left the room. Nice. I was weekly saying “Hello? Hello?” nothin.

As I recover, she mentions she pushed a bigger dose through because my heart rate was heading toward the 80’s. I’m medication sensitive. Thanks for trying to kill me for a minute.

My body is pissed off. I’ve been in a funk all day. Pushing fluids but it doesn’t seem like enough so now I worry I’m not getting the dye out like I should.

I hear I’ll feel better tomorrow. That’s good because this adventure has set me back in my anxiety and panic.

Dizzy spells, wanting to run home and be in my safe spot. Only 1 bath today though.

I’m hoping for good news from the doc tomorrow. If I’m not at risk for anything, meaning no sign of heart disease or other nasty things that appear with a CT Scan, I’m paying off my bills and quitting my job.

No job, no paycheck is worth what I went through today.

My employers culture is one of suspicion, fear, politics and nepotism. It’s toxic an I know it will be the death of me if I don’t get out.

I hate to have to start over. I don’t think I should but what else am I going to do? Unless you’re related, favored or got dirt, you’re at risk. That’s no way to live.

I’ll say it again, that company will be the death of me if I don’t leave.

I feel victimized every time I pull into the parking lot.

The sr. Director is worthwhile but the people below her? Wouldn’t last a second at another company in those positions. They cheat lie and try to intimidate whomever they can. It’s disgusting. Not for profit clearly doesn’t also have to mean moral compass.

I’ve had SO many signs from God that it’s time to save myself. God is watching over me, I know.

I wish they could be what they preach they are. Shameful.

Panic & Pain


For someone with panic like mine, pain can send you in a tailspin. I’m semi-in one now.

I have PVC, PAC heart beats. Irregular beats that are extra or skipped. Apparently they are very common but not felt. That’s the catch. You, reading this right now, may likely have them and be blissfully unaware.

My last doc said it like this. “If I pulled 60 people off the street, 40 have them. Of that 40, 15 feel them. We don’t know why but you’re in that 15. Of all 60, less than 1 has a true issue. You’re fine.”

I don’t feel fine, I feel fearful. When I have Sharp pains in my chest on the left side, and I do mean Sharp….I am afraid.

I don’t want to die. I feel like I’ve served no true purpose to God yet. If I die now, its a waste.

My prayers are spent wondering what it is that I can do, praying for the people in the world and praying for myself too.

God, my prayer is that each person finds every other, worthy. Agreeable and with an abundance of patience.

Amen

What is NORMAL anyway?


Sitting in my swiveling, rocking deck chair on the porch, enjoying an early morning that is beautiful as well as quiet…my heart starts to pound. I’m not startled, I’m not rocking or swiveling like a crazy person, I’m sitting.

This is the life of someone with palpitations. We are attacked at any time, during any events for no reason.

Needless to say, solitude moment, done.

Those without anxiety or palpitations shrug and wonder why we can’t just move on. You’re normal, what do you know.

We struggle with finding a comfortable spot to live our lives in. We long for the ever absent peace and tranquility.

Comfort within the walls of our bodies and mind is always just out of reach. We get just close enough to see it, to just about touch it but not close enough to breathe it or embrace it.

We dream of the days (and nights) when we will finally be still. Our thoughts calm and soothing while our bodies are relaxed and we finally, at last, feel  comfortable in our own skin.

My vision of normal is being easy going. Taking good days and bad days at face value. Having a healthy spirit, mind and body. Taking disruptions with a grain of salt while remaining strong in your beliefs, your values and your ethics. Being proud of your accomplishments as well as your failures. Being humble but assertive. Serving the greater good while enhancing your own life. Honoring your faith while respecting the faith of others.  Being normal is living your life to the best of your ability while enjoying the process and enriching the lives of those around you.

My goal is to be my version of normal.