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.

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.

New hope old behaviors

Monday I felt like I had a new lease on life. Tuesday I felt like I had a renewed lease on life. Wednesday I felt like I had an extension on life and today, I miss having my life.

I haven’t reverted back to complete toiling but I did resort to taking my blood pressure and pulse ox several times last night.

Yesterday was very stressful for me. I had my interview with another department. I had to work in the heat. I had to be where the Director works and I had to juggle priorities like crazy.

Because of the chaos, my PVC, PAC activity was very pronounced. Not as much as it could have been, or has been previously, but still very alive and well.

It hit me more when I got home which is typical of palpitations, ectopics, PVC, pac….what ever you want to call them. They typically go wild for people after the day is over and its time to lay back and rest.

It’s a creepy feeling having your heart leap and quiver. Flop and roll or thunk and flip. It’s unsettling. You should never, ever feel your heart. Ever.

For those that suffer with these (by the way, the majority of the population has or has had skipped and extra beats, you just don’t feel it) the sensations can be so alarming that it disables a normally fully functioning and active person.

Once you’ve been thoroughly evaluated by a cardiovascular specialist and deemed healthy with “harmless” skips or extra beats, you are supposed to ignore them.

That’s hard to do.

Stress brings then on, anxiety, panic, heart burn, not enough rest, too much rest, exercise (for some), sugar, salt, bending, gas, bring startled….the list is endless. Really, anything causes it.

If you haven’t felt it, its like going down a really big hill, like a roller coaster. That moment when your stomach drops? It’s like that but with your heart. Terrible thought right?

It’s not just the once usually. We typically feel it constantly during peak times, or intermittently and without the clear cue of an amusement ride provoking it. We ARE the amusement ride.

So the millions that suffer psychologically with this “harmless” intrusion into our psyche, really have no outlet or cure. We can try beta blockers or abulation (intentionally scarring the heart where docs believe the short circuit occurs) but from my research, the palpitations return eventually anyway.

Beta blockers are not an option for me. I have an athletic heart rate (47-55 bpm) and blood pressure (105ish/60 ish). A beta blocker would likely cause me to pass out. I’m not sure why I would risk that.

So with palpitations being at the crux of my panic, ill need to learn to live with them which is silly since I’ve been aware of them off and on for 23 years….but its only been the last 9 months that I’ve been worried about them.

The last 9 months have been very trying. I have concern my marriage won’t be in tact by next year because of the tremendous amount of stress we have faced individually and as a couple. We both have had major upsets in our individual lives that also have an impact on our lives together.

Extended unemployment is rough when things are good. New anxiety/panic disorder is rough when things are good. Combine them at the exact same time, mix in your child’s drama, its recipe for total chaos. Months of chaos is hard on a relationship.

I’ve noticed I don’t feel as warm. I don’t feel as loving. I feel distant and almost on guard.

Intimacy? No thank you. It’s not you, its me. I think this panic has been so hard on my system that I can’t share intimate moments. Get your mind out if the gutter. I’m talking about basic, soft, touchy, gooey type emotions or actions, let alone the other.

I think panic just saps it all away. It steals your joy, your security, sense of safety, self-worth…everything.

It’s a two fold uphill battle. You have to battle the fear and the effects of fear. A double threat.

So I think about my day and hope I can push forward. I’ve been deemed very healthy. So let’s tackle the day as a healthy person.

You should too!

Second opinion and new hope?

So I saw another Cardiovascular Doc yesterday. He instantly outshined my first one.

He was present for each test. He reviewed my information right away, WITH me.

The end result is, he concurred with Dr. 1. I have harmless PVC and PAC heart activity.

My tests all looked great said I was very healthy. Lose some pounds, become even more healthy.

I could have leaped off of the table and hugged him, had I not been wearing a gown, open in the front and taped shut…

He did prescribe a beta blocker but said I would have to take my bp several times s day because my heart rate and bp are say an athletic level so passing out is a possibility.

Upon much reflection I have chosen not to take it. If I’m healthy, then I can put up with the tunks.

So off I went, a new lease on life. Chest pain and all.

So I’m in this awkward place. I still have anxiety and had a wave of panic. After all, I’m still under the rule of the Director and her Egor. (I really need a new reference. This one seems so mean…suggestions welcome)

I went to HR yesterday to go.d out about another issue and wound up spilling everything. I’m glad someone outside of my department knows but also said I don’t expect anyone to do anything about it because after all, the Director has high ranking relations in the company. We are all screwed.

So here I sit. New dawn of a new day or new dawn of a “typical” day?

Health panic aside, I still have to enter the tomb of defeat (work) but I’m trying to be positive….until they find out and beat it out of me…..again.

Peeking at medical records and a new therapist

This Morning I woke up ready to go. Already feeling nervous and wanting to crawl under my bed.

I had an appointment with a new therapist this morning. I was anxious and hopeful. Will she be the key to the jet that takes me out of this hell hole?

So I did get dressed and headed out.

When I arrived I was a little worried about the quality woodwork and off the waiting room library. Is my insurance going to pay for this?

She came out and I was relieved she didn’t give me the stink eye upon seeing me. I was also relieved that I didn’t have to give her one either. She seemed nice so I ventured back to her office with her.

We discussed some background. I explained that I was worn out from panic and felt myself tear up.

Sweet goodness, the first 5 minutes and I’m primed for crying. Distasteful to say the least but i didn’t let loose. I got it back in order and continued on.

She seemed to urge me to reconsider my stance on medication. I’ll go a bit longer and see what I can do without it. I would like to plow through this on my own.

We lightly discussed the triggers in my life and will meet again next week.

I left feeling the same but hoped eventually I’ll walk out feeling stronger and more like myself.

I had to rush to pick up my medical records from the cardiologist and my GP.

Of course I had to review my charts, being a newly minted Internet doctor and all…

PVC, PAC, sinus tachycardia….One instance of A-fib….

All things I should not know.

I wish I would have left them sealed. It had copies of my heart rhythms along with the reports….things none of us should be allowed to see without editing and supervision.

I know in 2 reports it says I have a slightly enlarged aorta chamber and 2 including the most recent, it doesn’t.

I’ll be writing down my findings and quizzing the poor 2nd opinion doc on Monday.

In the end I pray I’ll get a pat on the head and told to go play…and I’ll actually do it….