The problem with chronic health issues and anxiety is you never know what the next 24 hours holds in store.
On Sunday night, I woke at about 3.30am. My feet (left leg), lips and fingers were tingly. Not always a good sign. My pulse felt like it was fluttering. Nausea swept over me. I panicked. (It didn’t help that I’d had a bad dream – with my leg going gangrenous and falling off!)
Next were the intermittent shakes. I felt cold. (I usually overheat and am the one in a tshirt in the middle of winter).
Cue more panic.
I checked my pulse oximeter. (That little finger thing that does oxygen levels and measures your pulse. I have one due to my breathing issues… chronic lung issues suck. I also use it as biofeedback to slow my pulse when having a panic attack – but that point was moot at the time.) My oxygen levels had apparently plummeted to 75%, no 65%, no 55%! What the!? If they were that low then I’d be passed out (well, it had been dropped recently).
By 4.30am I was in the local Emergency Department, with a migraine on top of everything else.
I end up in hospital with panic attacks mimicking heart attacks once or two times a year. The last time in early 2020. All was fine. My blood work always came back clear. (They look for a hormone that indicates if you’ve had a heart episode. ) I’ve seen a heart specialist twice because of the symptoms. (Just needed to get fitter – which I’m currently working on.)
The tests were clear for heart episodes this time as well, but…
I was now being force-fed saline; the nurse mentioned something about my kidneys and that the doctor would be with me soon.
CUE MORE PANIC.
As I wasn’t having symptoms of renal failure, and my previous bloods in 2020 hadn’t indicated any issues, the doctor ordered another test to make sure.
A few hours – and no sleep – later, the doctor returned. The second tests were negative for kidney issues, so they checked out the original blood tests. It turned out the lab had switched them around (not good) and mine were indeed all clear for any kidney issues. (Good for me, but not good for the other patient.) I couldn’t blame the doctor. Not their fault. And I felt a twinge of sympathy for the lab tech (they are off their feet with Covid testing at the moment) and winced at the bollocking they would get.
But, for me, all was well. Their verdict: heart was okay. It was likely panic attack, leading to/ or associated with a migraine. And I needed to replace my pulse oximeter.
So, with more holes in my body than I started the day with and about one hour of sleep, I arrived home – just in time for my regular Zoom steampunk book club meeting. (Virtual steampunk bookclub)
Cue lot of cups of tea, chocolate, and good bye to my exercises for the day.
Fortunately, I’d completed the third rewrite to the end of A Fey Tale’s chapter 7. Yesterday I finished your Behind the Scenes Patreon video reward. Today, I’m transcribing chapter 8 from my handwritten first draft to the computer. Getting there slowly.
Thus is the life of a writer with chronic health (and anxiety/PTSD) issues. I scratch away, page by page. I need to get these stories out of my head, while many more pour in to fill the spaces.
I’m coming to terms with the fact can’t do six impossible things before breakfast anymore. I’m just doing the best I can.
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A minor hiccup… back to reality. was originally published on karen j carlisle