Friday, February 19, 2010

Doctor, we have found the problem!


I went in to the doctors for my tilt-table test.
Which was reminiscent of medieval torture practices in a friendly way And for an echogram of my heart. The Echo was done by a dickensonian male and took 45 minutes in a dim room. needless to say I fell asleep, only to be woken periodically by the sound of my heart squishing out of the monitor. I think it came up fine, as no warnings were marked on my paper. After the that the cardio center lost me for a while and I was beginning to fret about making it into the city on time, so I reminded the nurse I was still there, and she sent me to the tilt table specialist, who was, in one word, fantabumarvelicious! She had passed me earlier I think looking for me, but I was still in the open fronted gown, from the echo. She performed the immeasurable kindness of adjusting my gown so that I wasn't flashing the department. (I'd already morphed into a sort of swedish modesty, where I no longer cared who saw what as long as I was being seen to)
She sat me down and told me about the test and then we proceeded to talk about literature, the spanish inquisition, travel, adventure, babies and india, all the while she's strapping me into this Iron Maiden contraption, I have an IV in one arm and a blood pressure measurer on the other that was boa constrictor-ing my arm every minute. (mom, you know how I faint with just one of those on/in me) The tilt table test is where they strap you down, hook you up to measurements and give you a pill to increase blood flow to your legs. Since an attack like mine can be so different each time it happens and can take up to 4 hours to manifest, they try to provoke a severe episode within 40 minutes. Mine took about 15. It was the strangest, scariest thing, to feel myself go under. It's not a fainting fit, as my breathing and voice were regular throughout. The rest of my body stopped responding and my stomach started getting very qweesy, and I sagged onto the velcro straps holding me to the table. She leveled the table and propped me up, and talked me down from it. Amazingly, my first thought was not of pain or worry, but something more akin to the hallelujah chorus by Handel.
LAdies and Gentlemen, we have the solution. Vasal-vascular it is indeed. I will be going in to see my practitioner when she gets the results, and she'll talk me through what I need to do, but basically, I need to fidget more, move my toes and hands, get up, sit down and such. I also need to constantly be drinking water, something I find akin to chineese water torture, but will try to get better at, and eat more salt with my meals.
I also have extremely low blood pressure, causing her to think the machine was broken.
but, I am so very happy to have a name for my little condition, and a check positive on the test. I'm also very happy to have a practitioner who is as interested in this case as I am, she even called to schedule a follow up BEFORE the tests were even done.
I'm very excited about looking at how this will affect future attacks. Knowing what I do now, and watching how the doctor responded, I think that if in the future I do suffer another public attack, I will be able to talk myself out of it, or at least be recovered within an hour from it.
With any luck, no more ambulance rides!
And now I'm sitting in a classroom off of broadway, proctoring a class I just tried to teach poetry to. I think it was the worst presentation I have given this year. It was boring and over thought, and I didn't get through all the information. And I didn't have examples. Yet despite this, I was happy to do it, the experience helps.
I still want to teach, more than anything.
thanks for your patience in waiting throught this with me! I could not have done this without my community around me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Asides from this being about sports, I couldn't agree more with Mark. except that his final sarcastic statement here loses pith, since this type of news dissemination already is taking place. I remember watching the news for 2 hours ( there was about 30 minutes of real news, the rest was commercials, shock tactics, hypothesis's et al) to find out about a baby eaten by an alligator, a news item that was not only frequently touted, but had it's own scroll on the bottom of the screen throughout the news program. At the end of the news segment, they rolled the same thirty second clip they'd been previewing all night, and announced that a toddler had been in danger of being eaten by an alligator, due to the proximity of the alligator to the kids perambulator. Thank you, good night. Relieved as I was to hear the child was safe, and that alligators were not as yet rampaging around the suburbs of Florida, I was appalled by the lack of integrity, and the blatant pandering to viewers shown on a news show!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

an update

These last two weeks have been crazy for me. I know that is a term I (and the world around me) throws around allot, but please believe me when I say, these last two weeks have been crazy. I've not spoken to many of you during them, sometimes ignoring phonecalls, or texts, and sometimes just glad you didn't contact me. I didn't have the energy for anything more than what I had on my plate already this week.
Thanks for understanding:-)

two fridays ago, I was finally going to head to the doctor to have them look at this cronic stuffiness I've been exhibiting. I had called a friend to drive me to the doctor, because although I wasn't feeling too bad, I wasn't sure if I trusted myself to drive. Good thing I called her, because by the time she got here, I was on the floor with another of my usual attacks. Between R. and E.'s ministrations, however (including turning an arizona tea jug into a hotwater bottle) I felt somewhat at ease, through the same old fustration and worry.
R. and I share the same doctor now, so she called her for me (what a wonderful new discovery, you can call your doctor when you're sick)
We called the doctor because previously I had already set up different appointments through her to see if we could make headway with this. At the doctors suggestion, we called 911. This was hard for me, because as most of you know, I've been through this before. It's humiliating and frustrating to have to parade through a host of paramedics and doctors who are looking for a quick fix and who are seeing from my charts that I'm alright now. However, both E. and R. were aware of this frustration and they talked me through it. R. even went to the emergency room with me and ran interference with doctors for me, at times even politily suggesting the doctors do their job and not lecture me based on a supposed hypothesis. They took blood and gave me a drip for dehydration and sent me on my merry way. It was a very frustrating day. monday was also bad, since I had to make the rounds with the faculty and explain why there was an ambulance outside. I've received more medical advise than I can handle, and more pitying looks as well. I had gotten the doctors to look at my congestion, which saved me an aditional trip to the doctors, and they had given me antibiotics. The antibiotics aggravated the symtoms so I actually look like I have a cold now, and need to go in again to get another dose of medication. Poor students wandering into my office, I seem to always be some sort of sick. I also had a doctors visit, cardiologist this time, and it was very nice, took all afternoon for them to tell me nothing but come back for another appointment. What it's narrowing down to is lifestyle changes, so no more alcohol, smoking or caffeine :-( as well as very healthy food and excercise :-)
During all this, I've also been thinking about the future and where I should end up, what my goals should be... These last two weeks have changed allot there as well. I can't explain the ramifications of this completely yet, but I've felt these last two weeks like a"patient, etherised on the table" I've realized that although the combination of events are not anything that breaks a woman, because of my own habits and frame of mind, they came close to crushing me. Maybe they did, in a good way.
Anyways. I didn't want to share allot of that with you, because I was tired of always being tired and broken and whiney, but I then realized how selfish that was of me, to keep from you all something that was forfront in my thoughts anyways. So, don't feel like you have to mention anything concerning this, but I just wanted you to know what was really going on these last few days.

I think these last two weeks have been contrasted by the poem and psalm below:

41. ‘No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief’

NO worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief 5
Woe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing—
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief’.

O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap 10
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.