Monthly Archives: December 2014

Halter top treasure

Today was my day to see the cardiologist. Fun times!

Hub went with me. The nurse was very nice. No comments about my weight–which went up since I was there two years prior–and had a really nice, fun, attitude. She took my blood pressure with an automated unit, which of course came back high. I explained why (white coat syndrome and automated unit), and she said they would take it again. She did an EKG, which she seemed to have trouble with, then did the BP again with the same automated unit. The reading was even higher. She left us and the doctor came in about five minutes later.

He was the same nice man I remembered. Even-keeled, to the point, but listened when I spoke. He asked what I was there for and what had changed recently (like stress). He listened to me breathe, listened to my chest, neck, and legs. Then he said he wanted me to wear a halter monitor to make sure it was just PVCs happening. He also said they wanted to run another EKG because the first one seemed to have some “artifacting” on it. (“Static” said Hub.) He also said if the halter monitor said it was just PVCs, he didn’t see a reason to do another stress test and/or echocardiogram that had already been done two years ago. He also took my BP manually, and it came back closer to what I normally have at the end of an appointment (not quite as good as at home, but not as bad as when I initially arrive to a doctor’s office).

So a different nurse came in and said she was going to re-do the EKG and also do a rhythm strip (I almost asked if the rhythm was going to get me, but she didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor and Hub later said he thought she was too young to get it). I asked what a rhythm strip was, which she said checked the rhythm of my heart via the same EKG machine. So I thought she was going to do the two tests at one time, but she ripped off the EKG paper and said, “Let me go show this to the doctor!” and disappeared. I gave Hub the stink-eye and said, “She’s freaking me out, you realize that?” He told me not to worry yet, that he didn’t think she sounded concerned as she left the room. In the hallway I heard her mumbling and overheard the doctor say, “looks normal”. So when the nurse came back in she said the doctor said the EKG looked normal and he didn’t want to go ahead with the rhythm strip. But still yes to the halter monitor.

So I told the nurse, “You really freaked me out.” She told me I should have been more freaked out over the first test, which came out pretty squirrelly. FAB-U-LOUS. But apparently there was some issue and the machine reporting those artifacts. She said that sometimes happens when you move or something. Which I did not do, but whatever. She outfitted me with the halter monitor, told me to put my bra and shirt back on, then said I had to wear the same bra for the entire 24 hours. Even to bed. I nearly gagged, because I hate this bra, but I worked it because I knew they want me to take my bra off for the EKG and this was the easiest one to take off. So now I’m stuck in this piece of crap, which is uncomfortable and rubs me. Plus, the pads for the EKG leads are in TERRIBLE places. They hit my underwire area every time I move or breathe, and the one in between my breasts is kind of up on one breast and it itches every time I move.

WTF people, this thing is so uncomfortable, how are you supposed to be normal wearing this thing? Plus, I have to press a button and record information on a piece of paper every time I feel “anything related to my heart”. For the first six hours of sitting around doing not-a-damn-thing, I got nothing to write down. In the last 2 hours, I’ve had to record seven times. I find it somewhat stressful to not pay attention to the potential PVCs, and yet be prepared to grab the little unit and press the damn button when I DO feel the PVCs (or anything). I have to find the stupid little button, press it, then check the time on the unit to record on my paper. UGH.

I have no idea how I’m going to sleep. A) stupid bra and B) stupid lead wires and C) stupid sticky EKG pads. I get to wear this until 10:30 tomorrow morning, then I get to rip it off. And then I can’t return it until Friday because their office is closed tomorrow and Thursday. Sheesh. And if I don’t return it on Friday, they charge me $2000. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Yeah, so our plan of going to the doctor this morning and going to the movies this afternoon (Hub took the whole day off) was a bust. No way I was paying $10 for a (matinee) movie ticket while being all kinds of distracted by this damn machine and it’s stupid wires and sticky pads. Ech. We watched a movie at home just to try to help me pass the time, which I guess it did. But the thing is, wearing this thing makes me feel sick. Not literally as in ill, but as in there is something wrong with me. Like the power of suggestion? I didn’t want to move around or do anything, and I started feeling not so good. My stupid brain.

Did I also mention there’s a timer on the halter monitor thing? So yay, I only have 15 1/2 hours left. Woo.
(Also, I’m hella tired from not sleeping well last night, and I’ve had a headache all damn afternoon.)


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Google me this…

Or not. Really, not. Despite the urge, I’ve resisted googling about my PVCs. I know it would end in increased anxiety and stress, which would so not be helpful to me right now. I mean, I’m already anxious and stressed, why would I purposefully add to that? I used to really think that Googling things about my health made me feel better, but I know that isn’t true. So I’m resisting, but I feel somewhat like a junkie, just thinking about doing it over and over again.

I have an appointment to see a family physician this afternoon to get a check on these PVCs. I’m pretty sure I’ve had an EKG done there before, so I assume that’s what they’ll do again. I’m seeing a doctor I haven’t seen before because my doctor is booked through the end of the month. I think this particular physician is new to their staff (and I suspicion has not been practicing for too long) and is a DO. Doctor of Osteopathy. I had a DO one time and really liked her. I hope this woman is nice. I’m anxious about the appointment, but that’s not really news. I really don’t like doctors and doctor’s offices. I totally get white coat syndrome, and I hate having to deal with conversations about my weight. There are lots of stories out there about doctors treating fat patients poorly, and I know that to be the case due to previous experiences. One time I went to a cardiologist who said to me (before doing anything or talking about my history) that I needed to get weight loss surgery. Dude, really? I’ve never met you before, you don’t know my history, and that’s how you open a conversation? Needless to say, that was a short relationship. I understand that weight affects health, but I do have other health issues, thankyouverymuch.

So anyway, I’m sitting around, nervous. I keep trying to distract myself, but I keep lapsing into periods of just SITTING and staring. Hey, at least it’s not crying again!

I also made an appointment to see the NP at that new gyno’s office, but it isn’t until the end of January. If I’d wanted to see the gyno herself, it would have been the end of FEBRUARY. Just as well, T told me that the NP there has a better bedside manner than the doctor (tho she recommended both), so I made the appointment with the NP.

How hard is it to find a good doctor? I mean, I’ve been through many doctors through the years, and in the end I’ve found very few that I felt comfortable with. It’s disappointing to walk into an appointment, hopeful that they’ll at least LISTEN to you and then walk out feeling like you’ve been blown off. I’ve dealt with that kind of scenario more often than not. I want someone who is going to support me in my health, not blow me off or talk down to me. I’m an adult, I’m not an idiot, and I have the right to be treated as respected human being.

So I guess we’ll see how it goes this afternoon. I know my BP will be up because of the WCS, but hopefully it’s not TOO high.

Also, why does everything hurt more now that I’m headed to the doctor? All these aches and pains that feed right into my heart health anxiety? Ugh.

But I’m really thankful that my mother is up to going with me to the doctor, since Hub is still working two hours from home…

eta – Doctor was fine. I’d see her again. She said my EKG was fine, my BP was fine. She’s getting CBC and thyroid test, which they always do for me but nothing ever comes of it. She saw no evidence of PVCs on the EKG but they are inconsistent and EKG’s are really short snapshots (obviously). She said the cardiologist might want to put me on a halter monitor if the PVCs are still there in two weeks. She suggested I hydrate more, reduce my stress (HA HA HA), and follow up with the cardiologist if things don’t get better.


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This has been…

…the strangest couple of days I’ve had in forever. I’ve had PVCs on and off since lunchtime, but none before. I’ve felt off and just BLAH all day. Near the later part of the afternoon, I was thinking of how stuck I feel, and how I’m wondering what happened to all the progress I’ve made over the last (almost) two years. I thought about making some doctor’s appointments, which is usually where I head when my anxiety is elevated. Especially the cardiologist…oftentimes the gynecologist. And I cried…twice. I’ve also felt on the verge of tears several more times in the past hours.

I’m not a crier. I don’t like to cry, and it doesn’t usually make me feel better. If this isn’t my hormones being all weird, I’m going to have to really question my mental state. It used to be I could time my menstrual cycle by my emotions…once a month I would burst into tears for absolutely no reason whatsoever. And like clockwork, I’d start my period a couple of days later. But in these later years of my life, my cycle has been so messed up that I rarely ever have a real menstrual cycle anymore. I’m not sure if it’s peri-menopause or what. Previous gyns have been uninterested in talking about peri-menopause and more interested in talking about my weight, or having major surgery to remove fibroids that are not causing me any symptoms. Needless to say I’m not fond of that gyno or their entire practice of doctors, of whom I’ve seen several over the years I went there (because of the doctor turn-over, sadly). T gave me information on a new gyno, but I haven’t attempted to make an appointment. She is a one-woman practice (with a NP) and is apparently very difficult to get an appointment with. I’m going to do it, because I feel like I need to be on the ball because of my mother’s issue with cancer, but I have not done it yet.

I don’t like feeling this way. I don’t like feeling stuck and out of sorts. I have considered several times over the past two days of calling T’s office to see if I can move up my appointment, but I’ve resisted. I see her Friday, and this isn’t really an emergency. And dammit, I want to feel like I have some control over what is happening in my life. I feel like if I try to change my appointment, it’s a blemish on me. I don’t know why. I don’t resist seeing her…ever. And I never miss an appointment (although SHE has canceled or changed appointments on me). I always tell her the truth. But trying to move up an appointment by a day or two seems over-the-top. So I didn’t do it.

Is it always going to be like this? This up and down, forward and back progress? I don’t get any consistency. I can’t get a job the way I am and help contribute to my household. I am bored and stuck without some purpose…which leads me to more anxiety and periods of being stressed, depressed, and unhappy.


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Enough already!

These PVCs are ’bout driving me crazy. Like I needed any help. I was fine for most of yesterday, with the flubadubas only coming and going here and there. This afternoon and tonight, they are back full force and I really just don’t want to have to deal with them. I have to go to my massage therapist tomorrow, and I’m not looking forward to going feeling the way I do. It’s too late to cancel (I’d have to pay in full, and it’s not covered by insurance), so I hope these damn things go away. As it is I feel like poop, and having to lay down for an hour while someone works on my trigger points (which is painful) while I’m getting PVCs repeatedly (and coughing, because I can’t seem to help it) is not something I want to do.

I want to WILL them away. I want to WILL my anxiety away. I want to WILL my depressive episodes away.I want to WILL myself to find hope and purpose. I want to WILL away the weight I’ve gained over the last year.

Well, that last one doesn’t count, because I should be able to do that one, I just can’t seem to get a handle on it.

Go away, flubadubas. GO AWAY. Leave me alone. I want to rest, I NEED to rest. I need to not feel that ripple of anxiety every time you do that premature THUMP. I need to not let my health anxiety take over.

I’m tired of this. I’m tired, period.


eta – I decided that it’d be a waste of my time and the massage therapist’s time to go to the appointment. I’d be so anxious that I wouldn’t get any benefit from the session. I’ll just have to eat the fee and deal with it.


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Is this my week?

I’m exhausted. I thought I slept last night, even though I was awake when Hub left this morning at 8am. I usually try to get back to sleep for a while, but it did not work this morning. And right now? I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open. I feel EXHAUSTED. I rushed through eating some lunch because I knew I had to eat, but I pretty much scarfed my food and am back in my recliner with my laptop.

I feel edgy and anxious. So tired that I wish I could sleep, but that I’m worried there’s something wrong with me and that’s why I’m so tired. Why is my head so fucked up like this? I’m forever searching for a REASON for the way I feel, as if the lack of reason really means there is something direly wrong with me. And I made the mistake of telling my husband how I was feeling, while he is working about 2 hours away from home today, and now he’s worried. That doesn’t help me one tiny bit.

WTF is going on with me today? I do so well for so long, then fall into a hole of feeling this way. Maybe it’s my hormones messing with my head? I know I could text or email T to ask for help but I know she’s going to tell me to use my tools, and I’m TRYING. But what to do when the tools don’t feel like they are helping? So hey, maybe sitting here crying will help. Good on me, I’ll just go cry for a while, and maybe that will clear everything out and I can move on.


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Attempting to keep grounded

This past week or so, I’ve been dealing with PVCs. Premature ventricular contractions. I was diagnosed over 15 years ago with this issue and told at the time that they were benign. That a lot of women, particularly, get them. It’s like one part of your complete heartbeat comes in too early and therefore the thump-thump is not an even beat. It makes me cough when it happens, probably because it frightens me and I’m trying to control the beats. Which is ridiculous, because there is no controlling it. But no matter what, I still cough. WTF.

Normally, the PVCs are so mild that I don’t notice them anymore. And I know they don’t happen all the time. I think they are more prevalent when I’m already stressed, and I suspect they are also hormone driven. But truthfully, my hormones are pretty messed up…they have been for years. So there are times that I know my hormones are spiking only because of the PVCs. I’ll then notice other hormonal issues, and I’ll be like, “Oh right, hormones.” And I would suspicion that I’m dealing with hormones now because of the outburst of acne on my poor chin. But these PVCs are getting to me. They’re happening A LOT, and they feel very prominent. I remind myself repeatedly that they are BENIGN. The doctor at the time told me that unless the PVCs were consistently running on, they didn’t want to put me on beta-blockers for them. And over the fifteen years, I’ve not had that issue. But over the past couple of days, they’re bugging me. I know it’s because it’s ramping up my anxiety, and I know the anxiety makes the PVCs worse (or at least I notice them more).

I know all that. I KNOW IT. And yet I’m sitting here feeling stressed and anxious because the PVCs are coming more often. I’m trying to crochet and do other things to keep myself busy, but the PVCs still come and I cough and I get anxious. And I desperately want them to go away.

Anyone else have these stupid PVCs? It plays right into my health anxiety, which is almost always centered around heart issues for me. ARG. It’s making me want to lay down and cry. Which won’t help one tiny bit.

(apparently I blogged about this last year… *sigh*)


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I can’t even imagine…

Oh wait, yes I can.

Ever hear someone say (or you say), “I can’t even imagine…”? I’m sure I’ve said it a million times, but in the end, the truth is that I can imagine it. It’s not that I can actually understand what someone else has lived through, but I can certainly imagine it. Because my imagination is fucking fantastic…and for someone who has anxiety issues, this capability SUCKS ROCKS.

See that pot there on the counter? You think it’s a benign old pot, just sitting there. But someone who can imagine “it” will start thinking…
What if that pot is on the stove?
What if that pot on the stove is filled with water?
What if that pot on the stove is filled with water and the burner is on?
What if that pot on the stove that is filled with water and the burner is on, so the water is boiling?
What if that pot’s handle is canted just right, and is hanging over the edge of the counter/stove?
What if that pot’s handle is hanging over the edge of the counter/stove and X (a child, an adult, an animal) brushes the handle and the pot is knocked off the counter/stove and thus the boiling hot water burns X horribly?
What if the hot water that has spilled over X not only burns them, but it disfigures them permanently?
Or kills them?

See, you thought it was just a stupid pot sitting in the middle of the counter, didn’t you?

On a similar note, I live about an hour away from where a small plane fell from the sky into a house (three houses, actually), killing three people on the plane and three people in one of the houses. The house that had the most damage (from the damn WING of the plane) had three people in it. A mother and two very young children. As if this wasn’t horrible enough to hear, the media had to tell us repeatedly how the mother was found huddled in a small, windowless bathroom, her body over top of her children, in an attempt to shield and/or comfort them in their last moments. Can you even imagine? Yes, goddammit, I can. And now, thank you very much, that image is burned into my head, following me around as I attempt to continue with a normal day in my life.

I am a creative person. Sometimes that both sucks and blows.


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On Losing a Dog

I warn you that this is a tear-jerker of a post. But it is one of the most beautiful tributes I’ve ever read about the life of a much beloved dog. I’m very appreciative that Will was able to share so eloquently with all of us. Thank you, Will, for adding your amazing words to our world. And thank you to your brother, James, for sharing Dutch with us, even in this very small way.

Marking Our Territory


In his grief over the loss of a dog, a little boy stands for the first time on tiptoe, peering into the rueful morrow of manhood. After this most inconsolable of sorrows there is nothing life can do to him that he will not be able somehow to bear. – James Thurber

In July of 2004, my brother James held Dutch, his German Shorthaired Pointer, for the first time. On November 20, 2014, James held Dutch for the last time. After ten incredible years Dutch succumbed to the ravaging effects of hemangiosarcoma, a deadly and unfortunately common cancer in dogs.

Ten years, that’s the deal. The lucky get more time, far too many get less. But we all must inevitably face the end. That end – the only end – is heartbreak. When Dutch died I held James and we cried. I wasted no breath on neat and impotent words. James…

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in anxiety, dogs, grief, loss, love


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