(Acknowledging the end of Mental Health Awareness Month)
What’s wrong with me tonight?
I’m lying here in my bed, trying to sleep,
And a deep feeling og hopelessness
Is trying to surround me.
What is it?
I can sense them swarming in
slow movements through my being!
They are attempting to attack me, my space,
And my intellect.
What is it?
Lord I don’t want to submit to these vile creatures!
I sense their need to conquer my mind and my soul.
They are trying to absorb all my positive energy,
The very essence of who I have become!
I need you now, Lord!
Protect me, Lord!
They’re coming closer!
I don’t want to go with these
Princes of Darkness!
Lord, help me!
Lord, please help me!
Ask for Help!
Be safe and not sorry
I woke early, around four Friday morning, with right-side chest pains. I got up, took 3 Tylenol, put a pain patch on, and took my Prednisone and Symbicort inhaler.
I was 75% sure I wasn’t having a heart attack, because the Pain was on the right side, but I am no doctor. I didn’t begin to worry until my left arm started acting up. And then my upper back by my shoulders began to burn. Was I okay, or was it something more I thought?
I returned to bed and called my rheumatologist’s office at 9:00 am. Her Physician’s Assistant referred me to my Primary Care for an EKG, and my Primary Care, through her assistant, told me to go to the emergency room.
I was almost sure it was my RA, pinched nerve, or something else, but again I am no doctor, and because women present differently, I couldn’t be 100%.
So I called my cardiologist’s office; and spoke with his physician assistant. Despite my breathing being a little heavy, I still believed it was Costochondritis.
As I waited impatiently for a callback, an hour had passed, and still nothing from my cardiologist.
I wanted to avoid bringing this issue into the weekend, where I might not have a choice about the ER. I decided to go to a walk-in clinic. At the very least, I should get an EKG. I admit I was slightly in my feelings when I didn’t hear back from my cardiologist.
When I reached the Walk-in clinic, seeing a doctor didn’t take long. Luckily, the walk-in clinic is an affiliate of Yale; the doctor could see my medical history. She understood my cardiac concerns. She also understood my thoughts on Costochondritis. I explained what had been going on and what I had done to try and make myself feel better.
She examined me, and then the nurse attempted to give me an EKG.
I say attempted because the nurse had difficulty with the EKG machine; she had to replace the leads repeatedly, and still, nothing. Malfunction!
I might have to go to the ER; that is what I thought as I quietly laid on the examining table. The doctor made several phone calls looking for the cause to the problem, but no one had an answer.
It was a blessing when the nurse walked by me, touching one of the leads on my leg; the EKG machine finally connected to the leads. The doctor and nurse hurried to record and print before they lost connection.
To say I was relieved would be an understatement. I was relieved that the EKG machine was functioning and thankful when the doctor told me the results of the EKG. Thank you!
Of course, the EKG results were good; I knew it the whole time (lol). After she gave me the results, we had to deal with the possibility that I had Costochondritis. After we talked little more the doctor gave me a prescription for steroids and suggested I go to the ER if I felt worse. I guess the point of my story is that it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.
As a child, I wasn’t too fond of getting needles; I remember cringing and pulling back as the doctors gave me my annual vaccines. So as an adult, when I had to inject myself with Enbrel, I wouldn’t say I liked it, and I was not too fond of the methotrexate needles either. I hated sticking myself in my stomach!
My other issue with the injections was that my stomach began to look like a country fighting a war. I had blue, black, and red bruises all over my stomach; I would call my rheumy because I heard that bruising could sometimes be a sign of a methotrexate overdose, which, thank God, was never my issue. However, my rheumy and primary care physician said the bruising was normal.
I don’t take the methotrexate injections anymore. I asked my rheumy to switch me to the methotrexate pills because I was tired of my repulsive-looking stomach. I am a little more nauseated, but it is nothing I can’t handle; I have my prochlorperazine. I am more fatigued, but I can deal with that as well. As far as my stomach is concerned, I am happy to say my stomach is clear of the bruises; I have won the war this time.
I AM LEARNING TO BE QUIET
Putting things off…….
Two thousand and twenty
Several days after I had a talk with myself about my relationship with my father, my sister called to say that our dad was in the hospital. He was having some heart issues. Thank God he had one of those medical alert bracelets because that is what he used to call for help.
When my daughter and I took him home two days later, I was hesitant about leaving him. I was concerned he would become ill again. Nevertheless, I helped him in his apartment, kissed him goodbye, and left.
Worrying about my father was unusual because I’d never felt uncertain about him. He had always been very independent and basically could care for himself. He had some assistance with his everyday chores and activities but was good on his own. However, as I watched him walk through his apartment that day, I realized he was much older than I wanted him to be and less sharp. I recall saying, “Doreen, you got to do better”!
I didn’t see him the following day; I called him, and he said he was feeling better. It was a quick telephone conversation, as most of them were. His home health aide was fixing him breakfast and helping him prepare for his day. So I said goodbye; I told him I’d see him soon and quickly got off the phone.
In my senior year of high school, I spent much time in my guidance counselor’s office. He was an easy person to talk to. A lot of students hung out in his office.
I would sit in his office and talk to him about my kooky life. During one of our conversations, I mentioned how I didn’t know who my birth father was. I ran down the entire story as I knew it. When I revealed my dad’s name, my guidance counselor said he and my father grew up in the same neighborhood.
I was summoned to my guidance counselor’s office a few days after the talk about my dad. I assumed he wanted to give me information on various scholarships and/or grants for college. However, he called me to his office to introduce me to my birth father. Crazy, right?!
I was like, Wow, my guidance counselor located my father for me. I met one of my brothers that day as well. How cool was that?! Not only was that a good day but an excellent one!
As glad as I was to meet my father, I didn’t know how to converse with him. It had been 18 years! I remember standing in my guidance counselor’s office awkwardly, smiling. Did I look like him? I wondered. Where the hell had he been was something else, I wondered. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him, especially about my mother. But, as anxious as I was for those answers, I decided it was best to enjoy those moments with my father and brother.
As my father and I said our goodbyes in the hallway by the guidance department, we promised to see each other soon. I can’t recall when the two of us got together. I remember pursuing him for a relationship that only developed much later.
My relationship with my father didn’t happen like I had hoped because I resented him for not being in my life. I thought things for me would have been different had he been in my life. It was difficult to release my anger, but I eventually did and genuinely grew to love my father. I didn’t think I would lose my father until he was much older. I counted on his longevity since my paternal grandmother lived to 100.
I would call my dad on the Sunday before his death if I could return to that day, but I can’t. I remember him being in my thoughts, but I put it off, thinking I would call him the next day. The next day never came. I put the phone call to my father off like I did with most things.
Even though Doreen “You got to do better” still rings true for me. I still haven’t learned to stop putting things off, and unfortunately, I’ll probably continue to put it off. Hmm…..
Doreen, “You got to do better”!
Do you know the triggers?