Well, this has been the weirdest few days that I've experienced in a very, very long time.
Do I tell the story or just hit the high points? Do I sing the entire opera or just the aria? Do I serve the entire meal or just an amuse bouche?
And is there even a a story?
Well, you all know that last week I was having some pretty serious stomach pain and gastric issues and by Monday I knew I had to go to see someone. In this case, it was the NP whose name is Carly and why I do not know her last name is a mystery to me. Carly, despite being approximately nine years old has recently graduated from the NP program at FSU and I can't say enough good about her. Of course Dr. Zorn would only hire the best. She listened to my symptoms, the timeline, she haded me Kleenex when I cried, she appeared to take me seriously but was not an alarmist in the least. I explained my psychotic fear of going to the doctor and she was very kind about that. She gave me a few suggestions, wanted me to get some bloodwork done, did a review of my current meds and decided that two of them probably needed to go, and sent me on my way.
I felt relieved.
And still not terrifically well.
When I got home I discovered something that sent a chill through me and I am not going to relate it here because there is no need. But I immediately got back on the phone and called and got the answering machine and went into what was an even deeper state of panic (this had gone far beyond anxiety) and was able to sleep but I will admit, I was medicated.
Got up this morning, called back in and the medical assistant heard me out and then had Carly call me. She wanted me to go get the lab work as soon as I could, still not being alarmist but I knew a few of the things she was concerned about, especially having had nursing training, even though that was when people were still riding burros everywhere because neither cars nor decent roads had yet been invented.
So. I just went on to the lab place. I had not eaten, which was good because they wanted fasting bloodwork. I have not been eating much at all in the last few days. Panic does not allow for much of an appetite.
I checked into the lab and sat in a waiting room with perhaps fifteen other people. There were more people waiting in another room. Needless to say, it was a very long wait but it was comforting somehow. I was in that little bubble and we were all in the same boat, really, and the woman who checked everyone in was so patient and so professional and yet kind and then a man came in with little pinecone animals he'd made to give to some of the employees (I think he's a regular) and then a guy sat next to me who sort of looked like Jack Black, at least in size and general scruffiness, but he turned out to be funny and pretty soon, we were riffing off each other a little bit, trying to make everyone laugh, I think, and some people did and I read my New Yorker and I looked at my phone and I just sat there knowing I was doing all I could for that very moment.
When they finally called me back I announced to the room, "I will miss you all!" and they did laugh, really, laugh then.
"Good luck!" called out Jack Black.
There was a student learning to do blood draws in the little cubicle where I was sent and the first thing she did was to tell me how much she liked my purse ("Is it real leather?") and so that charmed me and then I told her that I was going to be an easy patient for her because I have a vein that's a phlebotomist's dream. The "real" phlebotomist observed and made suggestions when necessary and the student did a wonderful job and I told her several times, "You are doing so well!" And she really was. I barely felt the stick.
When it was all over I went to Jessie's house. She had invited me to come get some Easter leftovers and that was so sweet. She made me a ham biscuit with some of that good ham and a biscuit that Rachel had made and it tasted better than anything I'd eaten in forever. We talked and I tried to be a normal person, a normal mommy, but she knows me so well and I knew she'd love me no matter what.
I had to stop at the place that does my hormones to pick up my prescription and then before I got very far down the road Carly called me. I pulled into the parking lot of a little strip mall to hear what she had to say and it was good. All of my numbers were very fine except- oh well, cholesterol- and yes. Okay. But my functions were good from kidney to liver (A to Izzard?) and she wants to see me in two months if I don't mind, and by then I was babbling and thanking her for her persistence and determination and she went back over a few things concerning medications and I really, really like her.
The strip mall I was parked in is where the Goodwill bookstore is so I walked over there to see if there were any jigsaw puzzles that might interest me (y'all- I am not sure this is a healthy activity for me) and I was so spaced out that I not only could not remember where in hell I'd parked my car but when I did find it, I realized I had left the puzzles on the counter.
I really should not have been driving.
You cannot just shut off panic like a faucet. It takes time and tools. I know that my body is flooded with fear hormones and adrenaline and so much nasty stuff that I literally ache with them, still. I am wasted, literally wasted in a panic hangover.
Now. Is this normal? No. This is not a normal response to a slight medical situation. Could there have been a serious problem? Of course. There still might be more to it than the bloodwork shows BUT, my organs all seem to be functioning as they should.
And yet, my response was way overblown. This is how my anxiety/panic is triggered. Sometimes a bout of anxiety will convince me that I have some lethal condition that is entirely in my head and sometimes something medically mysterious will trigger the anxiety/panic.
I know I sound very overdramatic but all I can say is, is that all of this is absolutely the way it is for me and there seems to be very little I can do about it. If I ever do develop a serious problem (and life being what it is, that seems inevitable) I really don't know how I'll survive the fear part. The funny thing is, I don't believe I am afraid of death. The main worry I have about dying is that my children will grieve painfully. When my mother died, I really did not go through that, so I don't exactly know what it feels like. I have lost good friends and that was terrible enough but when I read things about how people grieve their parents' deaths for years, it disturbs me greatly. I do not want to cause my children pain. I just don't. And perhaps I am overestimating their possible grief. God, I hope so.
So anyway, that's the story for now. And when I look back on those months so many years ago when I was in a state of anxiety/panic like the one I've just gone through, I do not know how I survived. I still cry when I think about that. It was beyond brutal. And if you've never experienced it, I am so very happy for you. If you have- you know what I'm talking about.
I am hoping to come back to earth soon. I wish I could describe how this feels but I can't.
Please forgive my self-indulgence, my seemingly unceasing need to overshare. But you know- if anyone reading this can recognize themselves in it, and it makes them feel the tiniest bit less insane for not being alone, then it's worth it in my opinion.
One last thing- I have started putting out food for the black cat. I just could not stand it anymore. I still do not know if it's a male or a female but the poor thing was spending entire days just sleeping in my back yard, sometimes with its head on the water bowl I'd put out.
A few nights ago I even cooked some giblets that had come in a little roasting chicken and set those out for it. My cats don't like them but I figured this one would. And it seems they were appreciated.
Why not? Not feeding it has not deterred it from hanging about. It is so welcome to a bowl of dry cat food a day and whatever scraps I think it might like.
As if I had conjured the cat up, it appeared just as I was writing about it. I hate calling it "it". But- I really don't know.
I just really want to give you a hug. I was worried about you. I'm so glad you fed Scrappy; yes I just dubbed him Scrappy.ReplyDelete
Or her hahaDelete
I honestly have no idea what gender this cat is.Delete
I would definitely appreciate a hug.
I'm so relieved that there doesn't seem to be much up. I'm not disregarding the emotional storm you've been through. But no disease, it seems. That's a huge relief. I was so worried about all the possibilities, but it's okay after all! YayReplyDelete
Me too, Liz. Although my mind keeps telling me that the story is not over. Of course the gut/brain connection is so strong. It's confusing.Delete
I would LOVE to hug you right now. So relieved to *see* you. NO, you were not being dramatic and YES, your response is normal and totally worthy of panic. YOU are normal! I hope you mend......whatever *it* is........ and a halo to you for feeding black cat, that obviously is wanting to be there......and has not been massacred by Jack or Maurice yet. Wishes of love and healing and some calmness sent your wayReplyDelete
PS I think I would call this cat *Smudge*. Not sure why.....but seems fitting to meDelete
I like "Smudge"! Makes me think of Charlie Chaplin's moustache!Delete
maybe you might consider a *name this cat* contest? Just a thought LOLDelete
Susan- I would love to hug you too. Thank you.Delete
I don't think I deserve a halo for feeding the black kitty. In fact, I feel so guilty that it took me so long to start doing it. The poor thing knows it can't even pretend to try to come inside because of Jack and Maurice. I mean- there's just no way that they'd allow that.
It's good to see you coming back. Hooray for your NP, and for all NP's who have worked so hard for that degree. Carley seems to be among the best, she worked toward the bottom of your symptoms.ReplyDelete
The image of Black Jack sleeping with his head on the water bowl made my heart sad. He was hoping food might appear, too, and then it did. You have made a friend.
Yes. That degree is probably one of the hardest to get. And every bit of the information received in the education required for it is of great importance. That's all there is to it. You can't just sleep through pharmacology.Delete
Black kitty is still so very skittish. If it sees me, it scoots. Poor thing. Seeing it sleep with its head on the water bowl broke my heart too.
I deeply deeply appreciate you writing about panic attacks so plainly and cogently. I love you Mary and share your dread as you know. Thinking of you today as I sweat it out awaiting my turn. XORReplyDelete
Oh, my darling! I will be so glad when your upcoming panic-inducer is over. SO glad. You know I'll be thinking of you every moment.Delete
The black cat looks like my favorite cat of all time, His name was Striker when I found him but I changed it to Inky. I wooed him with salmon and he was the best boy ever. I love your black kitty! You trip to the doctor/lab sounds just about right! My heart races just reading about it, Mary- I totally understand the panic of it all. I am so pleased you found a good one with listening skills and genuine concern! RARE! AND thank you for feeding the cat. he is lovely.ReplyDelete
I have had several black cats and they were all fine cats. A few had quirks but what cat doesn't?Delete
I feel so grateful to have found Dr. Zorn and his office. Everyone there is so very, very respectful and kind. The woman who schedules appointments calls me, "My love." And I do not find that offensive in the least.
Oh boy I understand this panic. And I do not think for a second you were being overly dramatic or that it was overblown. We react the way we are capable of reacting and I have realized that after many years of abuse and PTSD and terror that no matter how much I try to rationalize my way out of things, my body does what it does. I'm glad you are able to recognize it and take care of yourself. And I love that cat (and yes, I have five cat so probably am not the best to give advice here, but they have clearly chosen you.)ReplyDelete
Yes. We cannot use logic to get out of anxiety. It's useless. You're right. And I know that but I still feel sometimes that if I were strong enough I could. And what does that even mean?Delete
The two cats we have that live in the house definitely did choose us. And I suppose that this one is trying. Bless it.
A medical professional with good listening skills is a wonderful thing. I wonder how Maurice is gonna like that black kitty.......:)ReplyDelete
Maurice and Jack are both vehemently opposed to letting that cat in the house. Not that it's tried! But they keep careful watch over it from the back porch to make sure that no sly moves are made.Delete
Smudge...that's what she/he seems to be. Thank you for taking care of that lost soul who seems to have found a friend in you. Yes, I do understand the anxiety and panic. Far too well I'm afraid. But aging and, I don't know what, maybe the passing years, has seemed to ease it back a notch or so. I wish the same for you with all my heart. XReplyDelete
I seem to be more vulnerable to the anxiety and panic the older I get. I just hate that. I really do not want to spend the last part of my life under their shadow. But I am so glad for you, Camille, that their power has diminished in your life.Delete
I totally understand the panic and have been where you were! It is truly torturous, isn’t it? I think the obsessive worried thoughts are probably worse than actually coping with what we are worrying about, I’m glad you are feeling better and had a compassionate provider to help you. Take good care.ReplyDelete
It is so good to have a compassionate provider. You are exactly right.Delete
And you're probably also right about the obsessive worries being worse than the actual coping. It's so messed up.
I'm glad things are not worse and I get the panic. Sending hugs!ReplyDelete
Thank you, e. I appreciate that.Delete
Give the black cat a gender neutral name so he or she will no longer be "it". I have never experienced panic and fear the way you do, so I'm no help there, but I am happy to hear your organs are all behaving as they should.ReplyDelete
Giving the cat a name seems to me to represent more than I think it wants at this point. But as I said in my post tonight, I can't help but sort of do that anyway.Delete
I'm glad you're feeling reassured now and yes, the Carlys of this world truly are angels aren't they!ReplyDelete
I hope that everything will turn out OK for you healthwise....wish I could give you a hug. So pleased that you are able to talk about how you feel to us, your friends, and that it helps you " talking".ReplyDelete
That cat looks like an " Ebony" to me. I had 5 cats in all over many years, but never a black one. All various types of tabby ( never a ginger either).
Well, for temperament, I would suggest a black cat over a ginger. I've had several black cats and they were all very nice cats.Delete
You know, I'm kind of going through the same thing here. With my husband though. Since the stroke, they've gone over him with a fine tooth comb. He needs a biopsy done. It's not panic, really, but this sick feeling inside. He's always been the healthy one.ReplyDelete
Yes- that sick feeling inside. I hate it, Debby. I hate it for me and I hate it for you.Delete
I don't suffer from anxiety or panic attacks so I don't really know what it's like but I hope it fades away soon. I did however live through some pretty miserable years where I was very sad all the time, cried almost every day (not depression though because it was a relationship thing, being the target of a man who was in so much emotional pain the only thing he could do to to relieve it was be angry) and thinking about those days still makes me want to cry and I wonder now how I lived through it, so that I do get. I hope your NP has eased your physical and emotional pain.ReplyDelete
and of course you started feeding the black cat. how could you not. this is how Cat came to live here. she was here every day for weeks in the summer so I put out water for her and then eventually food and then one day she followed me in the house.
I wonder what it is about some people experiencing anxiety and panic to such a degree while others never do? Of course this does not mean that those who do not don't go through terribly hard times.Delete
I just don't see how that black cat could possibly walk into the house with Jack and Maurice here. She runs if she even sees me approach the screen door.
You're talking to a guy who paid for two scans out of his own pocket last fall because I was so sure I had cancer. So believe me, I get the anxiety! I'm sorry you're going through it. Health issues can be scary even when they turn out to be nothing, or something mild. At least you have a good doctor and a good PA.ReplyDelete
I think it's good your PA thinks you can drop two of your medications. That always seems like a plus.
BTW, I had a black cat when I was a kid. Her name was "Midnight" but for some reason we always called her "Black Kitty."Delete
Yes. I know you understand, Steve. And isn't it just the worst? I swear.Delete
"Black Kitty" is a fine name.
It is so good of you to write about this - describing all the feelings really helps all of us deal with our own feelings. Take care, Mary Moon!ReplyDelete
Well, I sure don't have any suggestions as to how to best handle any of this shit because obviously, I have no idea. I sure wish I did.Delete
Darling Mary, I am so sorry you had such an unsettling day. How I wish I could have been there to hold your hand and tell you everything will be okay. That NP sounds compassionate and good, and at least she won't be a stranger to you in the future. There is so much love for you here, and I am glad you feel able to share what you're going through, as it does help people made as we are to process things. I hope today is a better one, and also, you probably need to go ahead and name that black cat, because he or she is yours now. Hugs. Love.ReplyDelete
I can feel your hand in mine when I need it, sweet friend. I really can.Delete
And yes, I now have trust in Carly.
Black Cat does sort of have a name and she/he is certainly welcome to stay here but so far, she is showing no signs of wanting to actually interact with us.
Thanks for giving your loyal readership an open and honest insight into how anxiety, panic and overthinking can stymie an intelligent and grown up grandmother of senior years. If only there was a bar in downtown Lloyd, you could mosey on over there to guzzle a few beers and blot out some of your terror. You might even end up dancing on the tables while singing "Take Me Home Country Roads".ReplyDelete
Yeah. Lloyd needs a bar.Delete
God, I would have to be so drunk to dance on a table and sing that song. I really dislike John Denver.
Thank you for your kind words, Mr. P.
I was so worried about you! I'm glad you're okay. What a relief when you posted this last night. Please take it easy on yourself, okay? Sending you a hug.ReplyDelete
I am not convinced I am truly all okay but at least I know that some things are working fine! Please don't worry. I'll take that hug.Delete
Oh, Mary. You are held up with love.ReplyDelete
Oh, Elizabeth. Thank you.ReplyDelete