A day in the life of a stressed out caregiver

Well folks, I thought I was checking out yesterday and as I lay in an ambulance, having to have my heart stopped and re-started, TWICE, to stop the arrythmia and 250 BPM heart rate I had, I thought,
“how are my blog buddies going to find out that I “popped my clogs?” Noone knows about my blog to sign on and tell them.
Anyhoo, two stellar men saved my arse and I’m here to tell you about it, myself. To start at the beginning, well, not really, but I don’t want to bore you any more than necessary,  I sit at this computer too much. I sit on my legs too much. Sometimes, I cut off the blood flow too much and make myself woozy. I run to the couch, lie down and put my feet up, my heart beats hard and fast to get the blood to my brain, and after a few deep breaths, I’m fine. I have a history of irregular heart rates and fainting spells. While it’s always scary,
I’ve had to find a way to live with it. Yesterday, I ran to the couch feeling faint and my heart went insanely fast and would not slow down. I freaked my poor kid out, and called an ambulance, while she called Tim from her cell phone. Tim knows so many cops, from doing their wood floors and becoming so well known in his business,(a fact that has gotten 2 employees and one employee’s girlfriend out of a traffic ticket) that in a minute, every cop in our town had raced to our house and our favorite one was the first one here putting oxygen on my face while I lay on my porch trying to stay conscious. The ambulance came, then the mobile, intensive care unit, which thankfully, parks right up the road from my house when not on another call. They would not even drive to the ER. They hooked up leads, said, “she’s in SVT”, and I thought, “OH SHIT.” There were plenty of times in the next few hours that I wished I did NOT know about medical stuff. I knew this was something “ventricular tachycardia” and that I was in an arrythmia. NOT good. They gave me a medication that stopped my heart and restarted it. They told me to cough if they told me to. I also knew that that is something they tell people to do when they are having a heart attack. Just freekin’ great. Not a pleasant experience having your heart stopped and kick started again and if you have the choice between that and a colonoscopy, choose the latter. It feels like you’re having a heart attack, and you kinda are having an induced cardiac arrest. They had to do it again with 2x the dose to stop my heart longer, it hurt even worse, and it finally snapped my heart back into the correct pattern. Then they drove to the hospital. I had to keep myself from “back gurney” driving because I drive to this hospital all the time and don’t know why they took the route through my town that they did. I guess it would not be a great idea to complain about the person driving you to the hospital. I sat for hours in an overcrowded ER. They would not let Tim in for a few hours. My blood pressure was way too high but my heart was stable and they gave me some meds for the BP(a beta blocker and a valium, after I refused 1mg of IV ativan because I wanted to be awake by the weekend) and sent my traumatized ass on home telling me to go to my cardiologist. I thought for sure I was going to die. I told the medics in the ambulance, “ya see that guy looking in the back window?, he has cancer and we have a 13 year old kid, please get me through this.” And they did a bang up job of doing just that. The one guy had lost his wife to pancreatic cancer and when he left me at the ER, he said, “I’m gonna stop by your house and check up on you when you get home.” How freekin’ sweet is that? It was a scary event, to be sure. He asked if I was nervous because my BP which was low with the arrythmia, then went high, which is more my norm, especially when anxious. I said, “Am I nervous?!!! Does a bear shit in the woods.” They laughed and said, “I guess you’re fine now, you got your sense of humor back.” Meanwhile I’m thinking, I’m just trying not to cry here ’cause I am REALLY PISSED that this has happened to me and my family. And, here is a brief description of our support system. My parents just left on a 12 day cruise. My older sister, who lives close by to me, is in Baltimore on a business trip.
My younger sister, who is an ER nurse, estranged herself from our family after her divorce. My youngest sister, lives an hour away and has 2 small kids. Tim’s parents, live just a few minutes away, in the next town, and we are not on speaking terms and Tim said, “NO” when I suggested we may have to have them watch Olivia. Luckily, we made it work with friends and terrific neighbors and as much as I bitch about living in NJ, where people can be cold and selfish, I must admit, there are so many people who were willing to jump into action for us, including my Pastor and church lady friends, and the medical help was at my front door in minutes. The first cop on the scene knows us personally,(Tim did his floors) and he knows Tim’s medical situation and was so sweet to me when he got here. I was laying on the porch with an oxygen mask on and closing my eyes to relax and block the sun and the poor guy thought he was losing me. He said, “Open your eyes and talk to me Denise, don’t go to sleep.” I guess we are pretty blessed to be living in our little town. AND I guess I have to get more serious about taking care of me and getting stress out of my life. Stress and lack of sleep are major causes of this and I’ve had both of them, in spades, lately. I have to make an appt. with my cardiologist and go on blood pressure meds and see if there is anything else I have to do to avoid another “cardioversion” procedure. I also have to try to make sure this does not snap me back into the avoidance behaviors that caused my agoraphobia when I had all those blackouts and fainting spells.
It’s a real shock to my psyche, because the way I have always coped with the irregular heart rates and
pre-faints, is to say, “OK just take a few breaths, this will pass in seconds.” Well, this one did not and put me into a pretty hairy situation that is gonna cause some significant fear in the future. Heck, I was just in the boonies in VT a week ago. If this had happened up there, so far from medical care, could I have “bought the farm?” I dunno. And I don’t want to find out. It’s a new day and I HAVE to get serious about self help. I AM NOT doing enough to control my stress. So all of you out there who are living under stress, get help, take care of yourself, make yourself a priority. You may get away with not taking care of yourself for awhile, but it will catch up with you eventually. I wish I had been spared this very scary situation and what it did to my kid. Peace of mind is worth more than anything in the world. Without it, it doesn’t matter what else you’ve got, it won’t make you happy.