Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 38
I had a health scare this week. I was at work when my chest felt tight like I couldn’t breathe in a deep breath. I have been experiencing ringing in my ears and realized it is affecting my sleep. I had a lot of indigestion. I was worried. I have read that the symptoms for women that have heart attacks are not as easy to tell as they are with men. I have some of the risk factors, including my weight, and diabetes. So when I was trying to ascertain what was happening in my body, I thought maybe I should go get checked out.
When I got to the hospital, I spent a fair bit of time talking to the triage nurse. She asked a lot of questions, and someone else took my temperature and blood pressure. I had no fever, and although my blood pressure was high, I was quite admittedly, freaking out.
I am not the most active person in the world, but I enjoy Zumba, and sometimes, when I want to, I can run short distances. If I’ve gotta go bad enough, I will run to the washroom, for example. I can walk fast when crossing the street if there is a car waiting for me to cross it. I can push my speed limits, and I have the capability to do more than I actually do sometimes.
I do go to Zumba, as often as I can. Last night I missed class. I was at the hospital. I hated missing class, but by the time I left work early, I needed to follow through and make sure that I was going to be OK.
I didn’t have pain, but my chest was feeling really tight. It was hard to take in a deep breath. I had a lot of gas, and that was making it worse. I decided to take a walk outside to see if I could make myself feel better.
It didn’t help, and at that point, I was really starting to panic. I was upset. My supervisor and another supervisor talked to me for a few minutes, and I called Roy to come and get me. He was home, it happened to be his day off. I made him take me to the hospital. He waited with me, even though it drove him a little crazy to lose all of that time there.
Six hours later, they had run an ECG and taken bloodwork and cleared me from having any issues with my heart. I can still have faith that my heart is strong, and it wasn’t the issue yesterday. I didn’t get an official diagnosis, but I am fairly certain that it was an anxiety attack, also known as a panic attack. As it came with a new symptom this time, I didn’t want to take any chances.
After the doctor ran the bloodwork, he came back and asked me about another incident in 2013. I was confused and said I didn’t remember that, and he was confused because they had run a 24 hour test on me at that time. When we questioned him, he looked again. He explained a few minutes later that another paper was mixed in my papers, and everything was normal. Talk about a mix-up. Doctors are human too, and there had been two traumas arrive while I was waiting to be seen. As long as he corrected the mistake, and apologized, that was fine by me. It also meant I was not losing my mind.
Living my life as someone that is classified as morbidly obese does come with its own challenges. I can’t do everything I want to do sometimes. I have to pace myself and fight to catch my breath when I do push too hard. I have to learn to say no a little more often, and I don’t like that word, no. I need to take more time to rest so that I don’t have panic attacks. I need to work on me a little harder. I am trying, really hard on that one.
The doctor said that it was good for me to get checked out. I had actually seen him when I had the knee infection two years ago. I don’t think he remembered me, but I remembered his name. He did tell me that they don’t want people to be there for every little concern, of course, but that if I had a genuine concern about my heart, they would rather see me go get it checked then have me found after something bad happened, and it is too late. I felt a little silly waiting there all that time but relieved that all the tests came back normal.
Having panic attacks are becoming more common in my life, and I plan to talk to my new doctor about it next month. It may be why my ears are ringing so much. I really need that to calm down. Knowing that what I felt may just be another symptom of a panic attack, will help me do what I have done to deal with them so far. I usually calm myself down, but I have to know what is going on before I can do that. Yesterday had a curveball.
I was trying to figure out how to explain panic attacks to people that don’t get them. I am not an expert, nor do I know if what works for me would work for other people. I was thinking before I started writing, that for me it is like treading water. I love swimming, and treading water is a good skill to have. I can tread water for a good amount of time and I don’t mind doing that. However, it is harder to do if you are only using your legs. For me, if I am only using my legs, and then I lift my arms up over my head, I go under the water. So I metaphorically had my arms up over my head yesterday, and I had to stop and reassess.
I stayed home today to rest and recover from yesterday’s ordeal. I needed the downtime, and I hope it will help me cope better with work tomorrow, and next week. I postponed an event I am hosting here for a week later, to give me more time to be ready. I have been told in the past that I am too hard on myself. Maybe I am. But I don’t know any other way to be. So I am going to keep treading water and keep working on me. I am glad I did go to the hospital, if for no other reason than to know what was ruled out after the testing was done. Now I have to figure out a better way to deal with my stress and anxiety so I can carry on and do what I was meant to do with my time here. I don’t have any plans of giving up anytime soon.