Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I Know Better Than to Worry, But I Can't Seem to Stop

First, a quick update...

- My mom had more tests... but they were inconclusive.  Because of her other health issues and the medication she has to take, she's not a typical patient.  Her records are being sent to a top-level specialist at the university hospital in the city near where I live.  Right now it looks like she won't need surgery, but we still don't know what's causing the episodes, so we can't prevent them from happening.

- My daughter had more tests... but they were inconclusive.  She has now been to her primary doctor, the ER, and an orthopedic spine surgeon.  She is now going to a physical therapist who has a pretty rare certification that specializes in diagnosing and treating this type of injury.  She's been to the therapist twice now but because of her having fibromyalgia and dysautonomia, she's not a typical client (deja vu?) and it's taking longer to figure it out.  Again, right now it looks like she won't need surgery, but it will take a lot longer to figure out definitively why she's hurting and how to fix it (which still could possibly be surgery).

- My dad's foot is no better.  It's not worse, which is good, but one doctor said that it won't get better if his circulation isn't improved.  However, the procedure to fix his circulation is very dangerous.  He went back to the doctor Friday and guess what?  It was, yes... INCONCLUSIVE.  He has another appointment next week to hopefully get to the next step, whatever that is.

- My ears are hurting again, but this week is jam-packed.  I have no idea when or even if I can go to the doctor.  Sigh...

It looks like my big fear that all of these 3 would need surgery around the same time was wasted worry (as 99% is).  However, it also means that we are still waiting for each actual diagnosis and treatment. 

I...

hate...

waiting...

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Life Lessons from Candy Crush

It seems like all I've done lately on this blog is complain.  This wasn't my original intent - it's just that life has been especially hard recently.  But I thought it would be a good idea to post something more positive.  I wrote this a few months ago...

This morning I was playing Candy Crush, avoiding getting up and starting the day, and there was a level I had been on for awhile.  Suddenly I realized that not only am I winning the level but I'm winning it amazingly.  I had the thought, "Wow!  Everything just fell into place!"  I thought about that how sometimes that happens in life (first lesson).

Then... then next level...

I played a few rounds and wasn't doing well at all with it.  I decided to use some of my helps to manipulate and pass the level quicker. I used them all at once and as soon as I did I realized that they weren't going to make any difference.  I still miserably failed that attempt at that level.

Another lesson - Sometimes you can try to manipulate your circumstances and think that you've got it figured out only to find out that you still don't get the results you want.   But going back to that first lesson, if you're patient and you just keep trying, sometimes things will just fall into place.  That's the hope that keeps me going.

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Worry Papers" - A Metaphor for an Anxiety Attack

I really wonder why I come here and do this instead of going to bed when I'm so tired I can hardly see straight.  Maybe because it's meaningful and productive, but also at the same time, it helps me.  I wish I could go to bed.  I need some good sleep.

Mania has hung around because of these dang steroids now for about a week.  Before that, I was manic because of the steroid shot.  And before I became manic due to the steroidal drug intervention, I was extremely depressed and pretty sick.  Add to those things, within the past 6 weeks, both of my parents have been hospitalized with late night ER visits to kick them off and I also went out of state for a fun but hectic vacation.

I guess I wouldn't be a human being if I wasn't exhausted under those circumstances.  Anyone would be. Even neurotypical people can get insomnia or nervousness with steroids - just not quite to the extent as happens to me.

But the extra fun part is the cascade that happens if you have mental illness.  Exhaustion isn't remedied by sleep... exhaustion often causes more symptoms, like anxiety rearing its ugly head with a mighty roar, which causes even less sleep.

Last night I fell asleep much later than my usual but still not extremely late.  So insomnia wasn't a big cause for why I didn't get a lot of sleep.  This time it was anxiety.

I deal with anxiety a lot - day and night.  When I'm doing well, I can even sometimes fight it and keep it from overwhelming me.  Last night was one of the worst episodes of extreme anxiety that I've had in awhile.

I woke up maybe around 2am (after going to sleep about 11 or midnight).  The thoughts started... and got scarier... and more worrisome... and I spiraled and spiraled.  I almost called my boyfriend because I just couldn't stop thinking about the worst outcome for every situation I am dealing with right now (and there are several - with many possibilities for some pretty bad worst case scenarios).

Think of it this way:  You have a thought about a bad thing that could happen to you written on an individual small piece of paper.  The edges of the papers are all razor sharp, think extreme paper cuts.  This is multiplied by all of the horrible possibilities available and written on thousands upon thousands of papers.  These papers are then folded in such a way that makes them easily carried by the wind.

On a "good" day, there might be a breeze, but it's only picking up and blowing 1 or 2 "worry papers" at you every few minutes.  They flit and float and when they do hit you, you hear what they say but you can brush them off before they even really make contact.  Some miss you entirely and the others come in so softly that even the ones that do connect don't cut you.

An average day, there's a constant wind.  Sometimes it's stronger and sometimes it's lighter, but those worry papers are coming at you with a much higher frequency.  Some of them are tossed at you by the strong wind and not only does the worry paper hit you, it cuts you as it does.  But even then, they are small cuts that heal pretty quickly, not ever becoming a gaping wound.  You are able to keep going with only small band-aids to stop the bleeding.

On a night like last night, it was gale force winds - a hurricane of worry papers that headed my way and finally hit land around 2am.  Every single one cut so deep it created a wound... and they just kept coming.  There were so many that eventually some cut me in the same places I was already wounded.  It happened so fast that even the biggest band-aids I had didn't stick due to the amount of blood already there.  I wasn't able to keep going; heck, I wasn't even able to stand.  I just lay there being pelted... and pelted... and pelted....

Thankfully even the worst hurricanes eventually die out.  It wasn't me getting stronger as I was still a prone, bleeding mess when it slowed down and then stopped.  But hurricanes move farther inland and lose strength as they do, and so does this type of extreme anxiety.  I was able to get a little grounded and the winds got lighter, the band-aids were finally able to stick, and though it was still compounded by nightmares, eventually I was able to keep going and get back to sleep.

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Church? Support Groups!

It's Sunday morning.  Many, if not most, of the people in my southern state are just getting out of church right now.  I'm at home.  Ironically, I took someone to church this morning as part of doing rideshare as a side job.  But I didn't stay.  I also didn't go to another church after dropping him off.  I was dressed and out of the house.  Most would think it would be so easy to just go to a church if you've already gotten that far.  So why won't I go to church?

I actually sat down at my desk only to again write about how difficult it is to be in my place right now.  At the moment I'm crashing, coming down off a mostly manic cycle.  I say mostly because I also had some very deep depression right along with the mania.  I often have a lot of anxiety with mania (I had that too), but rarely the kind of low lows while still experiencing all of the manic stuff.  (It's called Bipolar Disorder Type 2 with mixed features, for you technical peeps.)

Anyway, as it usually is, it's been a particularly rough week/month/season.  I'm not going into it all now, as you can read earlier blogs to get an idea where I am.  However, do note that I added another ER visit, this time with my daughter, to the list of things I'm dealing with right now - an ER visit which really didn't help any but cost me a good bit monetarily.  It was one of those times I had no idea what to do and finally decided to just do it.  I'm trying to think of the good things that could come from it - like that it might help get her appointment with the orthopedist moved up - but honestly it probably was just a loss.

But after sitting down I realized I haven't written much at all about the whole reason I started this blog: stigma.

Last night I went to a 12-step meeting for one of my addictions, a special event we had with potluck and open speaker meeting afterwards.

It took a lot to get there.  I had a shoot that ran over the allotted time yesterday.  I already felt bad about leaving my daughter home alone for the shoot (though we have gotten her pain under control).  I kept debating about whether I should have gone home right after the shoot or if I could put in some much needed "me time" by going to the meeting.  After checking with her to make sure she was okay and reassuring her that I could leave the meeting early if needed, I decided to go.

It was well worth it.  I got to catch up with my sponsor, who I haven't gotten to meet with much lately due to scheduling conflicts for both of us.  I got a wonderful meal (southerners can really put on a good pot-luck).  Plus I got a very inspiring message from the speaker.

During the question and answer session, he said something that I have felt ever since I admitted I am an addict and need 12-step support groups.  When this idea dawned on me over a year ago, it was an amazing realization.  As he said it last night, I felt so very validated.

This statement was that for him, this support group was church.  He does go to a "regular" church in addition, whereas right now I don't.  I have no idea why he still attends a regular church.  But I am almost positive we share the same feelings on why we consider this support group more of a church than a regular one.

Why I don't go to a regular church:

- I get overwhelmed at how everyone else is so put together when I'm very much falling apart.
Though I'm sure there are exceptions, the vast majority of churches still believe that you have to be cleaned up before you can attend.  They may say differently but their actions prove otherwise.  This cleaning up is both metaphorically and on the outside.  I'll concentrate on the outside right now.

Because I'm very overweight, it's very difficult and expensive to buy nice clothes.  I don't have the money or the time to find good "church clothes".  Even though many churches have become more casual with dress over the years, look around your "casual church" one Sunday and check for this: how many women are wearing blue jeans?  The guys often do.  But the women usually don't, at least not where I live.

Take that one step further and look on the stages or in the choirs.  Even if there's a smattering of women wearing jeans in the congregation, they aren't involved in ministry.  In the past I have led worship, played on worship teams, and been in choirs.  I have run sound and done other technical jobs.  If I start attending a church again, I want the option of being able to do those things, but my clothes won't usually allow it.  I emailed a worship leader once, asking if I could wear jeans in the choir. He responded to my other questions but just avoided that one.  I'm sure the answer was no.

I have one pair of khaki pants and 2 pairs of black, very ill-fitting pants that I wear for shoots.  I can't take the risk that I will stain or tear them by wearing them unless necessary.  They are too hard to find and be able to afford right now.

- I can't share who I really am and my struggles.
Inside a church building, who really shares what's going on in their lives?  When it's time to ask for prayer requests, physical sickness is mentioned a LOT.  "Unspoken" prayer is requested for anything you can't admit (often due to its stigma).

Take, for example, the single adult Sunday School class in the last church I tried.  These women are real.  They have dealt with divorce, single parenting, financial hardships, etc (other stigmas I'll touch on eventually).  The church has now started talking about those issues. Nowadays usually these are okay to mention about why you are having a hard week...e.g. "I'm having a custody battle right now and need prayer to deal with my ex."

But I just can't even imagine the looks of shock on these same women's faces - these wonderful, caring, loving women - if I said that I was having an especially hard week because my bipolar mania was causing me to have a hard time to maintain my sobriety in my sex addiction.

- Most of the people there can't understand me and I can't understand them.
This one really needs explaining, but this was the biggest light-bulb, ah-ha moment I had after starting to attend support groups.  An addict's brain is literally different than someone who doesn't have an addiction.  For someone without an addiction, will-power is enough.  It might take a lot of will-power to overcome a bad habit, but it's possible to do.

Part of the definition of being an addict is that you have NO power over the addiction.  You can try every strategy in the book, every treatment out there, the full laundry list of things that have worked for others.  These things might work for a time.  But the root of the problem can't be addressed this way.  It takes a 12-step program or something very similar for a true addict to become truly sober.

I really do think that people who aren't addicts literally can't understand why we just can't fix our issues.  It doesn't matter what consequence has happened or what horrible thing we know could happen, we can't just stop doing the things we are addicted to.  This not being able to understand leads to both conscious and unconscious judgement.  If it's obvious you could lose your marriage due to a sex addiction, then stop doing the bad behavior... duh!  (If it were just that simple...)

I feel that this is the issue.  It's like a cultural divide that no-one even realizes is there.  If people don't realize that there's this basic difference in people, how will it ever be addressed?

I'll admit I'm guilty of avoiding the "typical people" because I can't understand them.  I just don't get how you decide you are going to stop a horrible habit and do it successfully.  I don't get how you can find the motivation to choose nice clothes and do your make-up before going out.  I don't get how you can spend hours with other people and just do small talk.

There just isn't enough energy to fight addiction, mental illness, other life crap and still do those things.

Why I feel this support group is more of a church than any other I've attended (the short version):

- I can be real.  
It's partially due to the anonymity that we have in group sessions.  We know that no-one there will tell what we've shared outside of the group.  While shares in our sessions are focused on the solution to addiction and not our problems, sometimes we do share those issues that we are facing.  That leads to the biggest reason...

- I know I won't be judged.
During those shares, we share hurts, problems, sometimes even complaints.  We talk about how we've overcome this obstacle, but we just can't overcome that one.  We talk about how the 12-steps are really hard, but incredibly important.  We talk about how our purpose and the main way we stay sober is by serving others.  But no matter what anyone says, he/she can be assured that no-one is judging.

After all, we are all messed up and broken.

The main difference between a "typical" person and those who attend an addiction or mental health support group is that they realize it.

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD

Thursday, August 15, 2019

You Are Invited...

I'm inviting you my pity party today.  I don't have a cake but I can provide some yummy grapes I just bought yesterday - or, even better, cookie dough.  I don't plan to decorate with streamers and balloons but since I've been manic lately and did a huge decluttering session, my place is fairly neat.  Sorry for the lack of formal, mailed invitations.  It's kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing.

Here are the reasons for my party:

1 - I just took my mom to the doctor.  Because she has another appointment this afternoon with her primary doc, we got a copy of the labs they did at this specialist.  I don't know anything about what the results really mean, but I can read a lab report well enough to know that it's not good.  What is probably the issue is a benign tumor on her adrenal gland.  Most likely she will need surgery.

2 - My dad's foot isn't getting better.   He's a Type 2 Diabetic and has an ulcer on his foot.  He was hospitalized for it - to get IV antibiotics and to control his usually mostly uncontrolled blood glucose for awhile.  During the hospitalization they realized that his circulation in that leg is blocked - 100% blockage in 2 major veins/arteries (I can't remember which).  This basically means that his foot won't heal because there's very little circulation to the bad area.  Normally this isn't a big deal because they just do a stint in the veins/arteries that have the blockage and open them up (like heart surgery).  But in his case, he has an aneurysm above the area.  They go in through the groin to do this so there is a huge danger of blowing the aneurysm with this procedure for him, which is extremely dangerous.  However, the home-health nurse came by yesterday and confirmed what we've been thinking - it's not getting better.  Most likely he will need surgery.

3 - This past Sunday my daughter had to help move some furniture at her job.  Right after that her back was really hurting, but we just thought she strained something.  Her ex-step-mom is a physical therapist and put her through a bunch of positions, etc, to see what she thinks it is.  Though she couldn't tell for sure, she said that it's probably a big deal and to see not only an orthopedist, but one who specializes in spines.  One of the possibilities is that she broke a vertebra.  If so, most likely she will need surgery.

4 - My boyfriend didn't get the job that he interviewed for a couple of weeks ago.  He and I are both very disappointed.  I hurt for him because I know how much he wanted it and I feel he deserved it.  (It was with the same company he works for now but a more challenging position, with a raise).  But there's nothing I can do to make it better.  At least with his issue, he won't need surgery.

5 - It's been a week since I was diagnosed with a major double ear infection.  My ears aren't really better but my stomach has been torn up due to the strong antibiotics.  Best of both worlds, huh?  I've also been in a low cycle, incredibly depressed and over-the top anxious this past week.  It's super hot outside, with the heat index values running over 100 I think every day.  I can't deal with doing ride-share in those temps... even working in my study is almost unbearable because the air doesn't work correctly and it's usually about 80 during the day in here.  Remember that I'm heat-intolerant and I break a sweat even at what most people consider mild temps.  So I've been miserable in more ways than one, along with feeling so guilty because I haven't been "productive" this week.  I also shouldn't need surgery, but there is the possibility that all of the other people I live with will all need it very soon, possibly all in the same short span of time, like a week or a month.

I'm very sorry, but I've used the little energy I had to write all this down (or most of it, there's more but stuff I don't want to go into right now)... so I'm too tired to have company.   I guess I'll have the pity party by myself.

(Now where is that cookie dough?)

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ah... Family (trigger warning - suicide reference)

I wrote this last Thanksgiving.  I really debated even putting it on here because I don't want in any way to make light of suicide.  I, my mother, and my daughter have all had times of being extremely suicidal.

But this continues to make me laugh when I think about it.  It's about how my family affects me.  I love them... but have a hard time spending time with them.  So, please stop now if you might be triggered or offended by something that could be seen as making light of a very serious topic.  I promise I'm not.  But I will say there are many times I really have felt like I was this cake plate...

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This morning a very heavy glass pedestal cake plate fell from the top of the refrigerator onto the granite counter top and then onto the hardwood floor. My theory is that it knew that it was Thanksgiving and that it thought it was going to have to come and endure the family gathering...


So it committed suicide.


#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #OCD

Monday, August 12, 2019

I Feel So Stupid

I have been feeling incredibly bad lately, much worse than usual.  I've felt the numbness of depression plus all of the physical aches and pains that can go with that (one of those things people who aren't dealing with this don't usually realize).  I've been nauseated a lot - I attributed that to meds or sinus drainage from being out of state with different allergens.  I've been dizzy and lightheaded more than normal, but since I have dysautonomia, I just thought it was worse for some reason - maybe the heat?  I've been itchy, which goes back to the possible allergies.  I've been saying, "Huh?" or "What?" a lot more lately, but I have mild hearing loss so it's not that unusual for me to do.   Maybe ear wax?  Overall, I've felt really, really BLAH.

But I had reasons for everything.  I'm in a low cycle with the bipolar, which accounts for a lot of it.  Because mental health can affect physical health, as well as causing brain fog, I just didn't see the obvious.

I went to the doc for a checkup about 2 weeks ago.  When I go to the doctor, it's not ever for one thing.  I always have a laundry list of things that need to be checked. I usually write them down in a note app I have in my phone so I don't forget them all.  But what happens when you are cocky and forget to check your app?  You do something that later makes you feel stupid.

I knew my ears were bothering me more than usual, but like I said, I explained it away.  I did tell the nurse who did my intake about my ears but apparently she didn't write it down.  It was part of the laundry list so I didn't notice.

The doctor and I talked about all of the other things I remembered (I forgot something else by the way), and I never looked at my app.  Usually a doctor will look at your ears as part of a check-up but there were so many other issues, either she forgot or figured it didn't matter.  

2 days later...

I had a slight pain in my ear and I realized I had forgotten to mention the ear issue to my doc.  At this point I still thought it was ear wax build-up.  So bright one that I am, I decided to wait and see if it got better.  I still felt awful, but still thought it was mostly from the depression.

Another week later... 

BAM!  I woke up with a headache and very nauseated again.  One ear was slightly hurting.  And out of the blue it hit me.  I had a dang ear infection!

The fact that I never put this together may not surprise you, but you need to know, I have had multitudes of ear infections during my lifetime.  I'm 51 - I'd say my guess is that I've had 100 ear infections during my life.  It was so bad that as an adult they recommended the tubes that they usually do for kids.  (Those helped, by the way, but didn't stop them from coming).

To my credit, probably because I have had so many ear infections, I don't usually feel pain when I get one.  Either I'm used to it or because the nerves are literally not working right anymore, but I might get a slight ache some of the times.  I may have shooting pains occasionally, but I have those when I don't have ear infections, so that's not a strong indicator.

However, I know the symptoms of ear infections.  I was showing almost all of them in full force.  Ear ache (even though it was mild and occasional), nausea, yucky feeling, dizziness, ear pressure, itchy ears, etc.  The only thing I didn't have was a fever, which I rarely ever run with ear infections.

That day I decided not to wait any more.  I called my doctor as soon as they opened and got an early appointment.  I rushed to get there but made it okay.  As soon as I saw the doctor, I told her I was stupid.  I mentioned all of my symptoms and said I thought I had an ear infection.  She laughed and told me that I did all of her work for her.  

She looked in my ears and said they both looked horrible (which is usually what they say when they look in my ears).  I had a major infection in both ears.  She recommended something to bring down the inflammation and an antibiotic - and getting started with both in a shot because it was so bad.

Here was the 2nd time I was dumb... I didn't connect what she meant by "something to bring down the inflammation."  That was a steroid.  My psychiatrist told me never to get steroids, that they will throw me instantly into a manic state.  I thought I had put it in my regular doctor's chart, but I guess I hadn't.

It took a full 24 hours (after not sleeping more than about 2 hours that night) to realize what had happened.  It took another 24 for my heart to stop racing and for me to be able to be even slightly calm.  It took another 24 to get back to where I was before I got the shot.

Needless to say, I'm not planning to take the steroids that were prescribed to me. It's been a few days and I'm still feeling horrible.  I might have to take them to get over it.  But I dread the mania if I do.  

It worries me that I walked around with an ear infection for almost a month (yes... looking back, it was that long that I was showing symptoms) before I connected it.  It worries me that I forgot about it during the first checkup.  It worries me that I didn't connect the steroid reference so that we could talk about other options during the office visit.  Usually I'm more on top of stuff than this. 

All I can do is hope that it was because of the ear infection that I did all that - and that I'm not going into a new level of mental issues.  This is always a fear.  I just have to keep hoping - and forgive myself for being so stupid.

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD

Monday, August 5, 2019

One More Rough Day

So... today is yet another really rough day.  This time at least, I have a "reason" for it:  My mom is in the hospital.

I think I've mentioned before that I live with my parents.  This is a mutual thing - I needed help financially while I'm starting a small business and they needed someone to be around - just in case.  My dad has multiple health issues, including mostly uncontrolled diabetes and is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's.  My mom has even more debilitating health issues, including dysautonomia, stage 4 kidney disease, major blood pressure issues (both high and low), asthma, low sodium, and major arthritis.

Last night I had just gotten in bed when I got a call from my dad (yes, same house, but I ask that they respect my privacy and call before just coming in my room).  My mom's blood pressure was really high and could I come in there?  I'll be embarrassingly honest and admit that at first I didn't want to.  I just thought it was a little higher than normal and this happens all the time, so why did I need to get up? 

When I walked in there, I immediately knew why...

She was almost completely unresponsive.  I became quickly terrified.  This kind of thing has happened several times since I moved in, but this one scared me more than most.  I immediately thought she was having a stroke, but she wasn't showing obvious symptoms (like one side of her face drooping) so I didn't want to over-react.  I got more information from my dad about what happened and called my brother, who has been a nurse for over 25 years.

He confirmed what I was thinking - that we should call 911.  So I hung up with him and called.  By the time they got there, my dad had also checked her blood sugar with his kit, just in case.  It was really low, but still didn't support the symptoms she was experiencing.

The paramedics assessed her and also did a blood sugar check.  It was even lower when they did it.  They gave her some glucose solution in a tube and then took her to the hospital.

Like I said, this wasn't my first time to do this, so I knew what I needed to do.  I got dressed, grabbed a few things I would need in case she was there awhile (and when is an ER visit ever quick?), and made a few calls.  Then I headed that way myself (my dad had already left to go there). 

I got there and she was just getting settled in a room in the ER.  So I prepared myself for a lot of waiting.

However, I just thought there would be waiting.  I've been to the ER a lot in the past few years - when my boyfriend was in the beginning stages of an undiagnosed auto-immune disease, with my mom several times, with my dad several times - and I have a habit of watching the heart monitor while I wait. Usually it's fine and just for reassurance that at least something is going right.  With my mom last night, that wasn't the case.

Her oxygen saturation would be okay but then start dropping...  And dropping...  Until it hit a level I know is technically okay but very low.  Then it would start climbing again.  This was combined with her having to pull in oxygen - you could see it in her throat and in her chest.  When your 81-year-old mother with multiple health issues starts to act like that without a prior history of the behavior, it's scary.

When my brother got there, he confirmed it.  It was apnea.  When she would get low, he or I would wake her up and get her to breathe.  But she was struggling and I was so nervous that she would become completely unresponsive. She was finally put on oxygen and it helped bring up all of the levels higher, so that when it went down, it didn't go down as far.

But this is the really weird thing, and the reason I'm sharing this here:  Something also happened to me - after my dad left.  This has happened once before - one of the times I was with my boyfriend overnight in the ER. Both times I was doing fine, just really tired and of course, nervous about my loved one, when I started to get overwhelmingly nauseated.  This was accompanied by extreme dizziness, not like vertigo when you can't hold your head up, but just like there was pressure all over my body and a dull ringing in my ears.  Eventually it led into tunnel vision and almost completely blacking out for a short time before starting to reverse. 

The first time my boyfriend asked the ER nurses to check me out and I actually thought I'd have to check myself in to the ER for treatment.  But everything was fine as far as vital signs so I pushed through.  Eventually it went away, though it left me incredibly drained.

This time, however, because I had experienced it before and assumed it was the same thing, with no major issues going on (heart attack, etc), and also because I didn't want my mom to worry, I just tried to push through and wait it out.  When my mom would try to get me to go on home, at first I made the excuse that I wanted to see her to her room in the hospital before I left.  It was a major struggle to even make it to her room when they finally took her up, but I did.  I think everyone just thought I was really tired.

But after she got settled, that excuse no longer worked.  What I didn't tell her is that I assumed there would be one of those reclining chairs in her room and I could take a quick nap, which would hopefully make my symptoms go away.  When we got there and there was just a straight, hard-backed chair, I almost cried. 

I told her I wanted to make sure was settled in well before I left, but that didn't work for long.  Finally, I had to confess what was going on with me.  Of course, this worried her, but I couldn't drive like I was (heck, I could barely walk) so she needed to know what was really going on.  I explained what was happening.  She tried to get me to go back to the ER and get checked out, but I told her that I was 99% sure it was the same thing as before and I would be okay eventually.

She tried to get me to let her call my dad to come pick me up.  However, I knew that the biggest challenge was getting to the car and I hated to wake him up.  So I told her I just needed time to wait it out.

This one was much worse than the other one.  It took me several hours to get over it.  I would start to feel better, only to start back with the nausea, then the dizziness, etc.  Finally, about 3 this morning, I was able to look around without feeling so sick and I thought I'd try it.

The walk to the car was brutal.  I leaned against the wall through parts of it and sat down to take a break once.  But once I got to the parking lot and knew the end was in sight, I got a bit of extra energy.  The drive was fine (I wouldn't have left the parking lot if I didn't feel safe - I was prepared to take a nap there if needed before I left).  Getting out of the car at home was difficult, but it's not far from the driveway to my bedroom so I did okay. 

After trying my best to get in touch with my mom to let her know I was okay (google did not have the info about calling direct in to that hospital), I fell asleep hard.  I slept until about 7:30, which I never do.  However, that's still only around 4 hours of sleep.  I just couldn't get back to sleep after that.  (Thank God I work on my own and I didn't have anything I had to get done today!)

Today I have felt like I've been run over by a truck.  My body is physically aching and I still feel weak and slightly dizzy.  My dad went to the hospital to stay with her and she insisted I didn't go.  Normally I would insist right back but this time I decided to take care of myself first.

It's almost 4pm and I've spent most of the day in bed.  I've done a few things but mostly this day is chalking up to be a very non-productive day.  I really wanted to get this down while it was fresh, but I plan to go lay back down after I finish this.  (Originally I had planned to do some other work while at my desk but after sitting for just the time to write this, that "ain't gonna happen".)

So why did I share all this?  Everyone has times like this - having a loved one in the ER and being nervous about the outcome.  But not everyone has the reaction like I had.  Theories on why it happened have been floating around in my brain all day and I had no real good ideas on why... until I talked to my daughter. 

She mentioned it could be an extreme panic attack.  I've had panic disorder since I was a teenager so I know panic attacks.  Mine include a rapid heartbeat and hyperventilating.  This was the opposite.

But could it have been an anxiety attack that just presented differently?  I was wondering if anyone else has had the same experience.  If so, please comment.  I'd love to hear from your experiences.

Heading back to bed.  The nausea is kind of coming back.  :-(

Hope you are having a much better day than I am.  Until next time...

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