The Post Christmas Plague

Happy 2017 everyone! I hope that everyone’s year has gotten off to a wonderful start. The end of 2016 and the beginning of my 2017 was definitely interesting, but so far things are going great! In my last post I promised that I would tell you all about my lovely post Christmas ER visit. So without further adieu, here you go:

First I should mention that I do not like urgent care, I am not a fan of the doctor, and really really hate the emergency room. I will go to the doctor for yearly check ups, but unless my head is falling off you will have to drag me to any other medical visit kicking and screaming.

A little over a week before Christmas I was sick (shocking I know). I had the nasty cough, body aches, chills, hot flashes; the whole nine yards. However, after a couple of days of being flat out on my back I was feeling a lot better. The cough had other plans though and decided to stick around. On Christmas Eve and Christmas it decided to rear its ugly head causing me to throw up because I was coughing so hard. My husband insisted I go to urgent care, but since I didn’t feel sick and it was just a cough I refused. (I’m super stubborn or just a real pain in the ass. My husband is so lucky).

Anyway, the day after Christmas I got up to go to an early chiropractic appointment and my husband got up to take me. I should have known something was up, because there was no reason for him to drive me 15 min to a 5 min appointment. After my back and neck were once again semi functioning properly (I think all the coughing pulled some muscles) the sneak drove me straight to urgent care. I was not pleased, but he insisted he was worried so in we went where we sat for over an hour to see a doctor. To top off the long wait time I had to wear one of those super sexy masks because I was coughing. It was really hot and fogged up my glasses when I would breath.

When we finally got into see the doctor all hell broke loose because my blood pressure was really high and apparently that’s a BIG deal. Three different nurses and the doctor ended up taking my bloods pressure. They also switched machines and did it manually about 4 times. The doctor determined that I had bronchitis, but because my blood pressure was so high he said he would let me leave (at this point I was seething at Tom. I was starving and now super anxious). The doctor then asked why my blood pressure was high and what I was so anxious about. (Well thanks genius, ask a super anxious women why she is freaking out after you scare the crap out of her and tell her she can’t leave. That always works with someone who has anxiety)

After all that nonsense he gives me a breathing treatment, which unbeknownst to me had epinephrine in it and cause me to shake uncontrollably and freak out anymore. Finally, hours later, they gave me some blood pressure medication, a pain pill for my chest, an Ativan to calm me the fuck down and sent me home with instruction to go to the ER if my blood pressure didn’t go down. (Yeah fucking right. After that hell I just went through you think I am going to be all willing to hit up the ER). Once we got home my husband put me to bed, where I immediately passed out, and then the plotting began.

Knowing full well that I wasn’t going to willing go to the ER, while I was sleeping, my husband packed me a bag and arranged for someone to pick up the dogs. Once he was ready he woke me up and said that if I didn’t get in the car my brother in-law was going to call the ambulance. That would have been humiliating, not to mention expensive, so I got in the car.

I do have to say that the hospital was much faster, but the whole being stuck with needles multiple times was not my idea of fun. I am not ashamed to say that I cried every time they had to draw blood or insert an IV. Oh, I also accidentally spilled a whole water bottle on the intake desk while checking in. After x-rays, EKG’s, and multiple blood tests I was diagnosed with pneumonia, bronchitis, and once again high blood pressure. Everything else came back normal. They gave me a nice cocktail of meds and I got to watch TV while they waited for them to kick in. Once my blood pressure started going down I was released with strict instructions to stay on bed rest and follow up with my primary care to get this whole blood pressure shit straightened out.

Let me tell you, if you think the idea of bed rest sounds fun, you are wrong. After a couple of days you are so bored. I watched a lot of random TV and I couldn’t read because with the narco they had me on I couldn’t remember the sentence I just read. I would end up reading the same sentence over and over. In fact, I couldn’t remember shit. Other fun side effects, included:

  • I had to write down when I took my meds because I had no idea if I had taken them
  • When I tried to do laundry I ended up shrinking a few of my sweaters because I had no clue what was going on
  • I wasn’t able to drive because god knows where I would have ended up
  • Sometimes the sentences that came out of my mouth made no sense
  • Pretty sure I watched some movies, but no idea which ones

Doesn’t it sound like a fun two weeks! Thankfully I am much better now and slowly getting back into my normal routine. Although, it did take like a week to get the Christmas decor put away because I would get so worn out doing any little task that I would have to go lay down.

With the new year I am making changes to make sure I am healthier and happier. I don’t really want to stroke out because my blood pressure is too high. (Not really funny, but you have to stay in good spirits, right?)

Until Later!

L

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Sunday Guilt

Most Sundays you can find me curled up on the couch, watching mindless television shows, drifting in and out of sleep. I may get up long enough to order a pizza or walk my dog to the back courtyard, but then I head straight back to the couch.

I don’t do my laundry that has slowly piled up throughout the week. I don’t wash the small pile of dishes. I definitely don’t work out. I don’t socialize with anyone. And I usually have to eat out for lunch on Monday because I don’t make my lunch the night before.

Basically on Sundays, I do nothing…

While I honestly believe that everyone should have a lazy day to themselves I simply can’t shake the feeling that I should be doing something. I work all week, usually have things scheduled on Friday and Saturday, so why can’t I have one day to myself where I do nothing?

Why do I feel so guilty about not doing anything for a day?  Why I can’t let myself completely relax and just quiet my mind? Just when I am about to let myself go and allow myself to put my daily responsibilities to the back of my mind, the anxiety monster rears its ugly head. I try to ignore it and usually can remain lounging on the couch for the rest of the evening, but then it sets up for a difficult Monday. Since I did nothing the day before I sometimes wake up Monday morning feeling guilty and like I am the laziest person ever. My brain screams at me: Why did I just waste a whole day?

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Why are you so lazy??!!

 

 

On a Serious Note: Too Close to Home

I have had serious anxiety for years..

I over think everything, I worry when there is no reason too, and I like things to be a certain way. There are nights when I can’t sleep because my brain won’t turn off and I have panic attacks that leave me incapable of doing anything until they pass. However, as I have identified appropriate medication that works for me and met with a counselor, I am now able to manage my anxiety better than ever.

This being said I am no stranger to mental health disorders, but I was still not prepared for the news I received a few days ago.

My father is 65 years old and is my best friend. He has been there for me through everything, gave me everything he could, and I know would drop anything to come to my rescue should I need him. Lately he has been having some problems remembering little things, sometimes he would ask questions multiple times, and has been misplacing things more often. While I noticed this new behavior I shrugged it off as older age and daily stress. I know quite a bit about dementia from working in the field and from conducting numerous memory and executive functioning batteries, but I didn’t once think it was anything serious. Just to be safe my mom had him go see a neurologist who conducted many tests and brain scans. He was then sent home and told he would receive results within a few weeks.

Fast forward to a few days ago…

My dad called me early in the evening the day he went back to discuss his results with the neurologist. He paused for a moment and then said “Lauren, I have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. They started me on this medication donepizel and that’s all I have for now.” 

My first reaction was to laugh, he tends to joke about losing his mind and so I thought he was joking, plus there was no way that he could actually have Alzheimer’s.

Unfortunately, he was serious.

I responded with “Ok, send me the information that the doctor gave you. I will talk to you later, love you.”

I hung up the phone and sat on the couch and just stared. I didn’t really react, I don’t know if it didn’t sink in or if I still just didn’t believe it. I know that Alzheimer’s is a slow disease and right now not much is going to be different, but I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that at some point my dad may no longer know who I am. True there are new medications and treatments available today, but this disease is not curable and the reality is he is going to get much worse over time.

The good news (you always have to try to find the good in a bad situation) is that it was caught early and he has started treatment. If you suspect that someone you love potentially has some form of dementia get them tested as soon as possible so that they are able to start a treatment regimen that will help them better manage their symptoms.

Brain Bombs

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From the moment I get out of bed in the morning, aka the point in which I have used up all of my allotted snooze button hits, I’m constantly on the move.

I put in a full day at the office, generally get in a work out, and then rush home to let my little guy out while I make something for dinner. Needless to say when it’s bedtime I am not one to complain. In fact I am usually happy to curl up under the covers and put in some much needed snuggle time with the fur baby, as I slowly drift off into dream land.

Lately though I am not having much luck in the sleep department…

As soon as my head hits the pillow it’s immediately filled with a thousand different thoughts, all demanding my attention at once. Unbeknownst to me, my brain has decided to go on an all night bender. “You think you’re going to get a full nights sleep? ha ha WRONG!

So then I just lay there while my brain and my body have an all out war. My body is so tired that it aches, meanwhile my stupid brain keeps dropping thought bombs on me.

“Did you pay those bills?”

“You haven’t talked to your friend Courtney in awhile. Maybe she is mad at you.”

“What in the hell are you doing with your life?”

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! They just keep bombarding me.

Now here is where it gets interesting. As I lay there willing my mind to hit pause for the night, the more things I think of the worse my anxiety gets. Not only is my mind racing, but now I am having all the classic anxiety symptoms. Shortness of breath, tightness in chest, dizziness, and sweating. So naturally once all this begins I come to the most obvious conclusion- I MUST BE DYING! 

Congratulations brain you have won! Once the anxiety gets started I am wide awake because I now have to pull up WedMD to find out what type of horrible illness I have. Naturally I determine from the online explanations that I am either having a heart attack or have some sort of tumor. (Why is that what always pops up on that website?) Who can sleep now?

This  is where I have been at the last few nights. The thing that gets me is that I have had anxiety and panic attacks for many many years now and even though I know the symptoms are just a result of my anxiety I still can’t stop myself from letting my thoughts spiral out of control. That is the thing about anxiety no matter how much you try there are times in which you are unable to get ahead of it. It is still scary and at times completely overwhelming. Especially when all you want to do is go to sleep, not ruminate about all the worries you’ve ever had.

Hopefully, this passes quickly so that I can get some sleep again.