Life Goes On After Lessons Learned

Sometimes, life bites us in the arse and we turn around, surprised and, perhaps, more than just a little knocked off our not-so-proverbial feet.

I prepared. I tried to do everything right. And yet, so many things went wrong.

While driving up Nawth to attend my nephew’s high school graduation, I had an accident. Traffic was heavy but going at a fast speed. There had been the usual “Why are we suddenly going 50mph??” places so, like a good driver, I kept distance between me and the car in front of me. Near Woodstock, VA at mile marker 285.5 on I-81 at about 6pm, the car in front of me slammed on their brakes. I knew they did because the back of their car was hopping and fish-tailing. I put on my brakes and went to the right, into the right hand lane, so that if I didn’t stop in time, I would go beyond them. I didn’t want to go to the left, into the median, because of gravel and grass not helping me to stop. But my rear-wheel drive truck went into a slide. The back of the truck, an ’03 Chevy S10 Crew cab, slid to the left into the grassy median. When it did, I could not correct the slide. I knew, in that brief moment, that I was going to crash. I knew.

According to witnesses, the truck slid a few feet on the two driver’s side wheels, lay on that side, continued to skid, then rolled onto its top. I do not know if it rolled again or just landed on its top. I hit no one else. No debris hit anyone else.

During the slide, my left elbow hit the highway and I felt it get road rash. Then the next thing I know, the visor is in my face. It takes a few seconds for me to gather my thoughts. I didn’t realize I was upside down until they (the bystanders who stopped) reached in to unbuckle my seat belt.

Before I would let them do that, though, I was saying over and over, “Where’s Quinn? Where’s my dog?” Someone removed Quinn (who never made a sound) and then someone unbuckled me. I assumed my left arm was hamburger or at least broken so I tucked it under me and rolled out of what was left of my truck. Someone comes back and says they need the leash. I say backseat. They reach in and I see someone take the Flexi leash. Someone else is saying don’t move her further (meaning me). My neck is resting on some guy’s foot. He is shaking. Just as the paramedics get there, someone comes up and says “Don’t panic, but your puppy ran off”. Yeah, don’t panic. I try to get up but so many hands held me down. And, really, I don’t think I could have gotten up. I am told later that only my shoulders and head were out of the truck and I was twisted because of the way I rolled out of it.

The paramedics had to get creative. They needed to brace my neck and back yet because of my position, they couldn’t get a collar on me. So, bless their hearts, they used towels. And, really, I couldn’t move once it was all on. Once they got that on, they then concentrated on getting me on a back board and getting me out of the truck. (meanwhile, one of the tires was leaking and screaming that high pitched sound) All the time they are doing this, I am saying “I can’t go, I need to get my dog.” The paramedics assured me that I couldn’t do anything, that the trooper would look, that others were already looking. Against my wishes (but for my own good), I was extracted and taken to the hospital.

My time at the hospital is kind of blurry and not very pleasant. But what I remember is this: my painstakingly accurate spreadsheet of my medications on my phone was worthless. They needed something fast. And trying to resize the spreadsheet constantly wasn’t working. They wanted me to tell them my allergies. I couldn’t remember them all. A print out in my wallet case (which the trooper brought later) did not include my allergies.

I had the ICE app on my phone that listed medications and allergies. Did I think of it? No. Did they ask if I had one? No. I have a MedicAlert bracelet (several actually) and a necklace. Where were they? In my bag. By the time I thought of it, they no longer thought it necessary to know all of my history.

My arm is not broken and was barely bleeding. I was offered no ice pack. At one point, I was on the back board still, waiting for results of something, and I am bawling. My phone is across the room. I have no button to call a nurse. I called out about 4 times before someone heard me. It was not a busy night. She gave me my phone and left. I feel so fucking alone. My Quinn is missing. Lorna is 6 hrs away. Kevin (my brother) and his wife are still several hours away. I punish myself by refusing all medications but ibuprofen. So they don’t take me seriously, thinking I am not in that much pain. I am discharged at midnight with a prescription of ibuprofen. No diagnosis, not warnings or things to look out for. One of the papers talks about nightmares. Another talks about how to care for a bone contusion. At least I knew then was was up with my arm.

Meanwhile, Lorna had figured out Facebook and had posted about what had happened and that Quinn was missing. And Quinn pert near went viral by morning. I started getting calls from people asking where should they start looking. And I’m like, “Mile marker 285.5 but who are you?” Two women met us at one of the “cross overs” (those roads that connect the two sides of the highway) and we discussed options. We gave them Quinn’s blanket, food bowl, and some food. They would set up a place for her to return to. The DOT Driver Assist guy stopped at one point to ask what we were looking for. He took notes. The county Animal Control guy met with us and sent us to a road under the highway that had a creek running nearby, thinking she wanted to get out of the heat and went to water. The Shenandoah County dispatch person was patient through all of my calls to her. My GP Nicole Ogg was friends with a GP in Woodstock. That friend happened to have another friend and patient who was the head of the County Shelter. People who knew people who knew other people.

We all kept looking but Kevin (my brother) and his wife Colleen had to get home. And I was really messed up. My arm was huge, my back was screaming, my head was pounding, so many parts of me hurt. We made the decision to head to NJ (it was only 4hrs away). We stopped at the accident site and called for Quinn over and over, just like we had been all morning. All of us frustrated we had to leave. It started pouring rain. Absolutely pouring. We saw the two ladies setting up the tarp over Quinn’s blanket and food at 285.4. We saw a DOT truck stopped just up the road but they were doing shoulder work and we thought nothing of it.

Just up the highway from Woodstock is Winchester. As we neared the exit, Kevin was trying to figure out how we could stay longer and keep looking yet still get Colleen and him their medications (they left home with nothing). Just as we passed it, my phone rang. It was the DOT Driver Assist guy. He had Quinn. He was at mile marker 285.8. He had seen us across the road but lost us in the heavy rain. He didn’t want to leave to go get us, afraid we’d lose her again. He thought she was a bear cub until he got closer.

We turned around and raced back but the heavy rain kept us from driving too crazy. I got another call. The State Trooper was there and they were trying to at least keep her in place until I got there. She was scared and fear biting. I got another call. She was in the Trooper’s car. I cannot tell you how I felt. I just can’t. I mean, I didn’t think we would find her that day. No one did. She was a puppy. Frightened, lost on a four lane highway when she had grown up on a one-lane road. She was lost in the median but at some point that morning, had crossed to the northbound side. We stopped to get her blanket, hoping it would calm her. It was soaked. Kevin wrung it out, grabbed her bowl, and we hurried.

And there she was. On a leash held by the state trooper. My girl. She was soaking wet, covered in green balls and other seed heads. I pulled off five ticks on our way to NJ. Kevin thanked both men many times since all I was seeing was my girl.

So what could I have done differently?

The wreck itself. Rear-wheel drive trucks are stupid. All that power on an empty box when it should be up front. Once the rear wheels hit the grass median, it was over. So not much I could have done there. I had too many loose things in the truck. My laptop bag was open. The case of water bottles was on the front seat, open. Quinn’s toys. Her bag. All of that loose in a sliding, rolling vehicle equals a mess. Where was my wallet? The one with the information they needed? Not in my pocket. Not in my bag. But in the toss bin thing in the console of the truck. Next time I travel, more things will be tied down and better contained.

Losing Quinn. I had them take her out first. She had on a collar and a harness and was attached to a tether hooking her to the seat belt. She slammed into the back of my seat, I do remember that. The harness is not for seat belt use, but more for walking and anti-driver distraction. Meaning keeping the dog out of the driver’s way. Quinn was kept within the vehicle. All she had (besides ticks) was an eye injury that our vet believes happened during the accident and not later. A seat belt harness would have kept her from hitting my seat and perhaps kept her from injuring her eye. Although there were a lot of things being tossed around and any of them could have hit her. As for her getting lost, that was beyond my control. We thought she was dragging the flexi leash but we found it in the truck later. When she was found, she was not wearing her harness but my guess is she chewed it off. I don’t hold any grudge toward the person who had hold of her. She’s stronger than she looks.

My medical information. Oy, I cannot believe all my planning and it doesn’t work. For now I will be wearing the MedicAlert necklace or bracelet at all times. And I will ensure their information is up-to-date. And I will remember I have the ICE app. Duh.

Lessons learned. Life goes on. Bumps and bruises heal. The truck can be replaced. Quinn and I cannot. Life goes on.

Writing the Disabled Character, Part 1

Here I am using the term “disabled” loosely. This can mean anything from quadriplegia to asthma. If an illness/condition is as much a part of their character sketch as their humor, then consider them a “disabled character”.

There’s lots of things to keep in mind but right now I want to focus on medication. Some of us Real Disabled Folks take a lot of them. Currently I have eight full-time prescribed medications and two supplements, resulting in me taking seventeen pills and four puffs on an inhaler. Remembering to take them, and taking them at the right time, is a pain in the ass. Add in the Filling of the Pill Organizer Thingies? And I am so done with taking meds. But wait, we’re not done. I also have five as needed medications so I need to keep track of when I last took one and if one of them is going to interfere with something else.

Many conditions you can saddle your character with are going to require a medication. You don’t have to name it, but you can mention them taking it. The frustration of it. The “crap, did I take it this morning?” or the “is it Friday already?” (because we know what day due to the pill organizer lids). This doesn’t have to hamper your character. It can add a certain depth to her. It can display a part of her personality in unique, distinct ways. Is she OCD? There ya go! Bottles lined up, tray filled regularly, alarms on her phone, etcetera. Is she the complete opposite? Does she have alarms set up not because she is OCD but because she otherwise would never remember? And yeah, there’s apps for that. Sense of humor? She can give them all names. Or mess up the generic names.

And yet this can be done in simple little passing scenes that not only set up the character, but set up her life while a the same time carving out the shape of your character. You can have that character be mature and take her medication like a good girl. Or be a rebel and purposely miss doses. Or have them accept the things as just part of life and handle it with as little thought as what side of her toast to butter.

If you do give them a disability, even a mild one like hypothyroidism, Google is your friend. So is your own physician. Read through some forums. Understand what the condition is like with just as much expertise as you would any other part of your novel. Don’t mess it up. Because disabled readers will notice. We’re so excited to see “us” in books but don’t think we don’t ignore mistakes. If the character takes a pill one morning and bitches about how she has to take it every morning, she damn well better take it ever morning. She stay over with her new love, where’s that medication? Even if she decides it is okay to skip a day, mention it. Or don’t mention the medication at all. You can say she has a condition and just not mention medication which would be perfectly fine. We read books all the time where the characters can go six months and never go pee so we can handle a disabled character not mentioning her medication.

Riding the Waves

Because my muscles are always tense, when I hurt myself, it is always a bucket of fun. The spasms and pain wash over me like waves. Sometimes they go fast like small ripples. Other times they hit like white capped breakers, eroding me away as they slowly pound their way over me.

Today my guardian angel earned its wings.

Today I had picked up Whisper from the vet and we were on our way home. We were coming down Monticello, a curvy road connecting Weaverville to the river. Another road, New Stock, intersects it not too far down. It was a busy time of day and there were several cars lined up to make a right from New Stock onto Monticello (which would put them coming toward me). And there was one car that wanted to make a left. I saw him. He should have waited until he could see around the other cars but I knew he would not. I knew, I knew! I knew he was going to pull out so I slowed down. I thought he was going to prove me wrong but, alas, he did pull out in front of me but he waited until the last second to do so.

I slammed on my brakes, my tires screaming, and stopped with the hood of my truck right at his passenger door. Did he stop? Nope. Did he wave an “oops, sorry” wave? Nope. Did I shit my pants? Nope, but I think Whisper did! I was furious. Absolutely furious. Had I not been able to stop, I would have hit him hard. I was doing the speed limit, but that doesn’t matter, not at that angle. I checked on Whisper (she had flown forward to hit me in the shoulder) and we continued on. Just a short bit down the road (as in almost within sight of the intersection) he makes a left and I laid into the horn again, just for spite. Yeah, I’m a meanie.

That’s when I realized I had trouble raising my arm to hit the horn. The arm that Whisper had hit. When I saw him coming out, I had both hands on the wheel and was turning to the right to avoid him if I could. But when I heard Whisper skidding forward, I had put my arm out to catch her. Her body had impacted my shoulder and upper arm fairly hard. And now that arm was not happy. Neither was my neck.

I felt the waves start now that the initial anger and shock were over.

Luckily my phone was within sight on the floor. I couldn’t reach it but I could see it was face up. I was able to get Dragon (a voice activation app) to text Lorna and tell her I was in trouble. She was already on her way home. I heart Dragon!

By the time I was home, my right arm was useless. My right foot, the one that had slammed on the brake, was feeling sprained. My back was burning, my hip was in spasm. And Whisper was happy to be home! Lorna let her run around a bit, watching to make sure she was fine (she is, other than a cold belly from being shaved).

It’s been almost 6hrs now and the spasms have stopped. Just my neck and the right side of my upper back are still pissy. Vicodin and Baclofen are my friends.

Don’t Ever Break Your Neck

This turned out to be longer than I thought it would be so I just made it another blog post.

“Don’t ever break your neck.” That line was said many, many times by Russell Reno, my maternal grandfather. When he was in the military (Army-Air Force), another Private pulled a practical joke. He jerked down and back on Papaw’s helmet, breaking his neck. He wasn’t paralyzed or anything, just broken bones. It limited his career in the military, though. He was stuck in the states and grounded. When he got older, he would rub his neck and say “Don’t every break your neck”. He said it so often, it became a family slogan.

And no, I’ve not broken my neck. I’ve had “issues” with it for eons and it has finally degraded to the point that surgery is the next step. I am partly relieved because FINALLY something is getting done. And I am partly freaked out because ew, gross, surgery!

But let’s back up a bit. A bunch of fine, beautiful, wonderful, giving folks donated toward my goal of getting another dog to train as a Service Dog. But nothing has come from it yet. Getting that puppy has been a rocky ass road and I thought I had reached the destination at last. But, nope. Rebekah James (Redyre Rottweilers) has a beautiful female Rottie named Giggles. Giggles was to do the deed and produce her first litter. Except she came into season sooner than expected (before all her exams were done) so it was put off. Meanwhile, a litter Redyre had by another female (KK) was born and was thriving. Then they got parvo from a neighborhood dog. Rebekah lost one of the pups and went deeply into debt. She swore she was not going to produce any more litters. She’d had her heart broken enough. So I went looking elsewhere while waiting to see if she was serious. I found Cathy Ruben at Silverhill. Another excellent breeder who has quite a few of her pet quality dogs out there being therapy dogs and service dogs.

Which brings me to about four or 5 weeks ago. Silverhill was about to have a litter born. I was about to send her a money order. And then my arm got heavy. And my hand went numb. And my forearm. I couldn’t type very well with my left hand. I had yet another MRI done. Now there were bone spurs along with the everything else wrong with my cervical spine. I went to see the orthopedist again. He recommended I have an epidural injection done. That’s when we realized that this time was serious. This was not a “go to the PT again” fix like all the other times. There was no way I could handle an 8 week old pup. I called Cathy Ruben and cancelled my request for one of her pups. That’s when she told me they had been born just a few hours before.

Dammit to heck.

I was this close to getting a puppy finally. This close!

Back to the neck. I had the injection and it didn’t work. It actually made things worse and brought back older symptoms that I’d not experienced in years. Like, my face went numb. Now that’s a lot of fun! Try it some time! And today (12/17), I saw the orthopedist again. I don’t like him very much but he’s supposed to be a good surgeon. His people skills stink. Anyway, it is time for surgery. Some time in January I will have an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). I could wait, let more symptoms appear or these get worse then do the surgery. The worsening or increase would definitely show the source. Or I could see if they go away on their own. I’ll hold my breath if you hold yours. Didn’t think so. As for the surgery, there is a high success rate that the symptoms will be alleviated. Not so high a success rate the neck pain and headaches will. By going through the front, there is little cutting and a lot of moving stuff out of the way. Gross but there it is.

As for the puppy, Silverhill hopes to have another litter in the spring and…Rebekah and Redyre has decided to breed Giggles after all. As soon as I heard it, I sent her an email immediately, demanding (yes, demanding) to be put on the list. I even said I would take a nasty male dog if there were no females. I was disappointed (such a mild word for what I felt) I had to put off getting a pup again. Finding a good breeder is extremely difficult. I was even looking at one in Canada and one in Berkeley California. But there is no way I could have a puppy right now, not with the surgery coming up. I should be recovered about the time Giggles’ litter is born (that is if she even gets pregnant).

So we will start getting the house ready for my recuperation. Maybe even get a 2nd opinion on a few questions I have about the surgery itself. It feels good to be FINALLY moving toward getting this neck fixed. We’ve been going to Carolina Spine for over 15yrs now, just for that.

Bend, Not Break

I used to have a wooden sign that said in German: Biegen nicht brechen. Bend, not break. Like a tree in the wind, I bend but don’t break. Or that is my intention. I need to find that sign because I need to be reminded of that again.

When I was 14, few days shy of 15, I learned a big word. Over time, I mangled my memory of it and it isn’t the right word anymore. But it meant giant cell bone tumor. I learned other big words: ilium and encapsulated. I bent a lot that year. And the one that followed. I grew up a lot, too. I tried briefly to be a brat but didn’t like it that much. It just wasn’t my style.

When I was 25, I learned another set of big words: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. With it came hypermobility, sublux, and hyperelasticity. And I learned about morbidity and autosomal genetics.

I’ve learned about other things, other big words over the years. Some have been just breezes that ruffled a few leaves. Some have broken a few branches. One or two have been winds so strong, I was almost toppled.

I am 48 and have learned yet another big word. I lost some branches. I bent so low, some roots were exposed. The new words are epidural lipomatosis. Also known as a mass in the spinal column. In my case, it is at L4 (the 4th lumbar vertebrae) Theses fatty masses are very rare. Even more rare in females. They are usually caused by steroid use, obesity, or Cushing’s disease (which I do not have, thank God). I was told to live with the pain. That I had to lose 100lbs before the pain would go away. That until the spinal cord is compressed more and the symptoms much worse, there is no course of action other then treat the symptoms (which he was leaving up to my GP to handle). Of course, I was depressed as hell. A hundred fucking pounds? Was he nuts? That would put me at a weight less than what I was in college! The summer where all I could afford was bloney and bread. It wasn’t going to happen which meant I was stuck with yet another set of pain for the rest of my life.

I don’t think many people can understand the level of pain I have on a regular basis. And I hope no one ever does. But the idea of yet more added to it and I didn’t know if I had the strength any more. My back alone is like a Bingo card. C4-7 (compression, stenosis, impingement) , T2-4 (compression), L4-5. Bingo!

A family crisis pulled me out of my own funk this weekend and made me think outside my own head for a few days. Which gave me a chance to see the entire picture better. I broke the problem into chunks and will deal with it that way. It’s the only way I can, really. Else I’ll break.

And What a Life It Can Be

One of the very few good things about Facebook is the ability to notify or update a whole bunch of people at once about something. Like a book release. Or the progress of someone who is sick.

I am currently keeping track of three kids on Facebook. Tripp, Tyler, and Olivia. Olivia and her brother Tyler were in a car accident four weeks ago. She suffered a brain injury but bounced back rather quickly. She’s doing great and will probably recover completely. Tyler’s injuries are more spinal. Essentially, his skull was separated from his spine and his spinal cord was stretched. C1 and C2 were knocked completely out of place. He just had surgery to put them back and they ended up reattaching C3 and C4 as well. Tripp was injured just over a year ago. He was just 2 and was playing at his day care when a limb fell and hit him in the head. Tripp recognizes everyone around him but cannot move much, nor speak or swallow. He is making progress, slowly but surely. The brain is a marvelous thing at re-routing itself.

But this post is about Tyler. Or, rather, the life Tyler may be facing. And that’s the life in a chair. Some say that’s not a life. Some say “He’ll walk again!” as if that is the only thing there is. For some people, that may be true. I wrote a post on his FB page, trying to gently say “no, it’s not the only thing there is”.

We were watching television the other day and it was about how those older science fiction writers (Asimov, Clarke, etc) managed to get some of it right. They had this guy talking about an exoskeleton. It’s a long way from being done but he can strap it on and basically “walk” with it. He’s basically a quadriplegic due to a bomb while in the military. But what he said struck me hard: “This will get me my life back”. I wanted to reach through the screen and slap the shit out of him. He owned a successful research company that, even though they had not yet reached their goal, their work had spawned patents that were now going in other directions and doing great things. He must have a brain because a lot of the planning he did himself. He tries all the prototypes himself first. He looked really muscular so he must work out. Yet, he says he had no life because he couldn’t walk. And that’s sad.

But he’s not the only one. I hear comments like that all the time. One’s life does not end when one’s butt is placed in a wheelchair. One’s view changes. One’s life changes. But one’s life does not end. Alterations have to be made, yes. But alterations have to be made for most any life change. Get married? You’ll need everything for 2 now. Have kids? Wow, now that’s a life alteration!

So Tyler, like I said before, having the goal in rehab of doing all you can to perhaps someday walk again is a good goal. But putting all of your mental eggs into that single basket is not a good thing. Have a life where you are. If your life means you will go from a power chair to a manual and then to crutches then to cane, GREAT!! If it means you go as far as the manual, that’s great too. Live life to the fullest wherever you are. And you are surrounded by folks who believe in the power of praying to God for healing. Sometimes, God’s healing isn’t exactly what you asked for. And sometimes God’s answer is No. God loves you even if you are walking, limping, or rolling. And if God thinks you can do what you need to do rolling, then, well, that’s what might happen. Trust me, I’ve gone rounds in the boxing ring with God on this healing and the lack thereof business for many years! He and I ain’t done yet but we’ve agreed to disagree and I’m allowed to stomp his right foot when I get there.

You’ll be fine, wherever you are, however you get there.

Matters of the Heart

For the past few weeks, I’ve felt like crap. My heart has been skipping along, enjoying itself, while the rest of me was dizzy, stuttering, and tired. Tests take a while to schedule then take a while to be read so we’ve been in “hurry up and wait” mode.

I’m used to hearing “we don’t know what it is but you seem fine” and “we know but it’s nothing to worry about” and “learn to live with it”. My mother was once told she needed “the elixir of life”. Seriously.

First we did the simplest. We lowered my blood pressure medication. Beta blockers do a great job of treating hypertension but they also tend to slow the heart down. In my case, that was good since mine tends to run fast ’cause I don’t. Run that is.

No change, though so next I had an ultrasound of my carotid arteries. They are fine. That’s good.

I wore a Holter monitor for 24hrs. The results from that were mixed. On the one hand, I had normal sinus rhythm (meaning the heart beats in a rhythm linked to our breathing). But, I also had a lot of PVCs. I know I go to Lowe’s a lot but, really.

Okay, get serious here.

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a flip-flop or skipped beat in your chest. Premature ventricular contractions are very common — they occur in most people at some point.

(…)

Your heart is made up of four chambers — two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). The rhythm of your heart is normally controlled by the sinoatrial node (SA node) — or sinus node — an area of specialized cells located in the right atrium. This natural pacemaker produces the electrical impulses that trigger the normal heartbeat. From the sinus node, electrical impulses travel across the atria to the ventricles, causing them to contract and pump blood out to your lungs and body.

Premature ventricular contractions are abnormal contractions that begin in the ventricles. These extra contractions usually beat sooner than the next expected regular heartbeat. And they often interrupt the normal order of pumping, which is atria first, then ventricles. As a result, the extra, out-of-sync beats are usually less effective in pumping blood throughout the body.

Why do extra beats occur?
The reasons aren’t always clear. Certain triggers, heart diseases or changes in the body can make cells in the ventricles electrically unstable. Underlying heart disease or scarring may also cause electrical impulses to be misrouted. Premature ventricular contractions may be associated with:

Chemical changes or imbalances in the body
Certain medications, including common asthma medications
Alcohol or illegal drugs
Increased levels of adrenaline in the body that may be caused by caffeine, exercise or anxiety
Injury to the heart muscle from coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure or infections (myocarditis)

(source: Mayo Clinic)

So, that’s where we are now. And here’s the plan.

First, I am to go back to my original dosage of beta blockers. My BP has been slowly rising but the worrisome part is the systolic (upper number) has gone up to be way, way high. As in 100 pts or more higher than the diastolic (lower number) which is also rising. 195/70, 193/83, 196/91, etc. Not good.

Second, I am to cut back on caffeine. Not that I am a caffeine junkie, but I do drink Coke during the day at lunch. It is my treat of the day. If I have a headache, it is part of my treatment when one first starts. I’ve been having a lot of headaches since this started (which is why I had the carotid ultrasound) so I’ve been drinking more than one a day which didn’t help the PVCs which gave me more headaches which….you get the circle.

Third, I am to start taking my blood sugar levels more often. First thing in AM, 2 hrs, and 4 hrs after largest meal. It could be the high blood sugar is stressing my system which in turn freaks out the heart. Since my blood sugar is highest in the afternoons and that’s when the skips were the worst, we want to see if the dots connect.

And fourth, the line was drawn in the sand for me in terms of when to go to the ER. The other day, while yelling at the football games, my chest started hurting. Then it would go away. In the afternoon, when the skipping was the worst, my chest hurt after each hard THUMP then would slowly go away. Until the next one. So the doc fussed at me then said “If it happens again, go to ER. If nothing else, we get a picture of what is going on, even if nothing is going on.”

See, I have EDS and my muscles are constantly tight trying to hold me together. So on the one hand, it could be the heart was under a lot of stress and reacted with pain. Or it could be that two weeks of being chest conscious, I was unconsciously tightening those muscles which started having spasms. We’ve had heart concerns before but the pain was from sternum inflammation. Which hurts like the bejeebers, by the way. Don’t try that at home.

And fifth, one I added on my own, I am to continue doing the mini-meditation work I’ve been doing. A good friend said to use emerald green and sometimes pink (shudder) so I’ve been meditating on enveloping myself in emerald green that has a pink line around the edges. Doesn’t look as bad in my head as it does outside of it. If nothing else, it is making me feel like I am doing something to help myself vs sit here on my ass all day, worrying.

So, there’s where I stand. Um, sit. Whatever. Still concerned but relieved my heart is fine, just not feeling well at the moment. If you can, keep me in your prayers. Envelop me in green (but not too much pink) and don’t send me chocolate. Dammit.