Midlife Chronicles

Navigating midlife with wine, laughter and a twist of wry. And wine. Did I mention wine?!?


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Caring for Your Introvert

Here is a wonderful article on introverts written in 2003 by Johnathan Rouch and posted in The Atlantic magazine. This explains it so well.

The article can be found here.

Extroverts, take note! Introverts are not weird, anti-social or need to be “fixed.” Just leave us alone and we’ll be fine. :)

Ta ta for now!

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A Peek into the life of an introvert

IntrovertshyPeople don’t often understand when I tell them I am an introvert. I think this misconception happens because people often think of introverts as some sort of anti-social misanthrope. Nothing could be further from the truth. What happens with introverts is that we feel stressed and anxious from too much time around others. We need our down time, away from people, just by ourselves. There are varying degrees to which introverts need this time, and different levels of tolerance for exposure to others.

I have a job that keeps me completely around others for a good 8-plus hours a day, five days a week. One of the things I most delight in every day since my last marriage crumbled, is to come home and shut the door and just BE. Alone. Sometimes I go out and chat with my roommate, but more often than not I just hunker down and enjoy the peace and quiet each day. Weekends, I rarely see or speak to anyone, except online in my virtual world of Second Life. But even then I am enough removed that being in Second Life doesn’t create as much anxiety for me as being around a bunch of real life people, if that makes any sense. Even in SL I tend to be somewhat of a loner. Even though I now have a job in SL, as Events Manager for Bonaire Estates, I often prefer to go shopping, or do things on my own.

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, and I made a trip to see my parents. My parents are 84 and 83, and certainly not getting any younger. I may have them for several more years, I may have them for only a few days, no one knows. I try to get up to see them as often as I can, but once again even this exposure to people for an entire weekend after an entire week of work is almost more than I can bear. Also, after I’d already told my parents that I was coming up this weekend, they told me my brother was going to be there, too. My brother has Asberger’s and while I know he can’t help the way he behaves, it makes me crazy.

Plus the fact that my parents only have one spare room, and a hide a bed in the living room. It was my turn to have the living room couch, since last time we were all up together, I got the spare room.

Now, this is important because I need you to understand how, as an introvert, this lack of a space for me to go makes me extremely anxious.

I left work at 4pm on Friday, and drove straight up to my parents house. After a long day of my stressful, people oriented job, my parents want to sit and chat for hours after I get there. Normally I am in shut down phase by now, but I know my parents want to chat with me, and I know that I want and should spend time with them, too. I know that I will be sorry I didn’t spend every spare moment with them after they’re gone. But by the time 10pm comes, I’m ready for bed. I’m exhausted. I’m beyond exhausted. Keep in mind that I am normally a night owl, and staying up until 1am or 2am on weekends is not at all unusual. But after all full day of work, a 3-1/2 hour drive, and a couple of hours “on” chatting with my parents, I’m done.

hurryuphomeMy parents usual bedtime is 10pm, so that is fine with them. However, my brother is coming from 3 hours further away than I am, and doesn’t expect to arrive until after midnight. My dad decides to head for bed, and my mother decides to wait up for him in the den. Sleeping on the hide-a-bed is no picnic, and I know that I am going to wake sometime in the middle of the night with a severe backache, so I take an advil PM and hope that will carry me thru most of the night. Neither my parents spare room bed, nor the hide-a-bed are very comfortable, and by the end of the 2nd night I’m usually more than ready for my own bed.

I make my bed on the living room hide-a-bed and fall immediately into a deep sleep. About 12:30 am my brother knocks on the door. My mother is in the den with the door closed so the light from the room doesn’t spill out into the living room. I figure she’s fallen asleep, but we’ve left the front door unlocked, figuring that my brother will just come on into the house. He knocks. I wake up, then just wait, figuring he will let himself in. My parent’s bedroom is right next to the front door, where my father is asleep. I didn’ t want to yell for my brother to come in, so I just wait. He knocks again. I wait, thinking…surely he will come in. No, he knocks again. By now I’m beyond irritated. Cursing under my breath, I clamber out of the hide-a-bed, trying not to rip my calves to shreds on the metal frame, and stomp over to the front door, wrenching it open and growling at him that the door was unlocked.

“Oh.” says my brother, nonplussed. “Mom said she was waiting up for me.”

I sigh. My brother has Asberger’s Syndrome, a type of autism in which the individual is highly intelligent, highly functional, but with no social skills whatsoever. Flat affect when talking and very very very black and white. No gray in my brother’s world.  Me? I’m just a cranky bear when woken up in the middle of the night.

Of course, now I have to go pee, so I pad over to the bathroom, then back to bed, I am beyond irritated, but manage to calm myself enough to fall asleep.

Then, at 7:00 a.m. the phone rings, waking me up once again. “Really???” I think to myself. “7:00 a.m.??? Are you kidding me???”

silentpeopleBy now I’m fully awake and really annoyed. I give up, and make the bed back into a couch, put everything away and sit in the recliner, and read my book, fuming. My dad talks to whomever is on the phone, then calls my mother in, and she speaks with whomever it is. I can tell from tones of voices it isn’t someone they’re real warm with, but being naturally polite people, they have a polite conversation with the person on the phone.

After awhile, they hang up and my mom comes out to the living room.

“Who was that?” I inquire, trying hard not to sound belligerert.

“That was G.” my mother replied, stating the name of my brother’s ex-wife and my nemesis, who moved to England after she and my brother split up. I had crowed and done the happy dance when she left. No more G. ruining family holidays, I had thought! Woohoo!

My jaw dropped. “G.??? Seriously?? Are you kidding me?” I say to my mother, incredulously, like she would joke about something like that.

My mother shook her head and said, “No, not kidding. She wanted to call and say hello.”

“At 7:00 in the morning???” I croaked. “Is she kidding me? She moves 8,000 miles away and STILL manages to ruin family holidays?” I swear she did it on purpose.

My mother says, “She knows we get up early.”

I think to myself, “She knows I was coming, and called early on purpose.” No, I am not paranoid. This is how this woman thinks.

So that’s how Saturday started. Then we went out to breakfast, then back for more chatting, then out to dinner, then back to my parents’ house for dessert. My aunt and uncle and cousin came over, and we all had a nice time chatting. Mind, you I enjoy these times and do not begrudge a moment. I know that these times will be precious memories in a few years, and I soak up all the time with my parents and my aunt and uncle that I can.

My parents live in a mountain community, a very small one. It rarely gets hot there, but naturally, Saturday was hotter than normal. My parents don’t have air conditioning in their home, as it is rarely needed. By 9pm that evening, my nerves were on their last nerve. It was hot, nearly 80 degrees in the house, and humid. We couldn’t have the windows open, because a deer had died not too far away and the carcass was stinking. We couldn’t move it, because it was across the property lines on the neighbor’s land. Besides, it wasn’t that much cooler outside. Even with ceiling fans on, and stand fans, it was HOT and muggy and miserable.

By the time that 9pm came around, I was nearly jumping out of my skin. My introvert anxiety level was at an all-time high. I’d not had any alone time since Thursday night, and sleeping on Friday. By 9pm on Saturday, I had to exert a massive amount of self control not to just scream out loud and run somewhere I could be alone.

Not only had I been working all week, I’d been engaged in conversation and the focus of my parents’ attention and in conversation with someone or the other for the past day and a half. It was hot and muggy, I had no room I could go to to be by myself for awhile. My parents have a bedroom and bathroom, my brother has the spare room, my dad spends a lot of time in the den, and the hall bathroom was tiny and not much help. Sometimes I would go in the hall bathroom, lower the lid and just sit for awhile. But it’s not relaxing, the room is small and it did little to relieve my anxiety.

I retreated to the recliner in the corner of the living room and tried to stay out of the focus of attention. But still my aunt and mother tried to draw me into conversation, as they think that it is their job to make sure everyone feels comfortable, and to them feeling comfortable is feeling included in the conversation. If I tried to tell them that I needed some down time and could I just sit for awhile would have offended these lovely ladies and hurt their feelings. In my family, you did whatever you could to make others happy. I bit down on my lip and tried to stay as much out of the conversation as I could, but was only marginally successful.

By 9:30, I was nearly twitchy. I got up a couple of times, walked out onto the porch and tried to cool off. The stink of the dead deer drove me inside. There were people, and hot and …. AHHHHHHH I just wanted to scream!! I headed for the hall bathroom. Occupied. I headed for the den. Dad was in there. I couldn’t go into the spare room, my parent’s bathroom was occupied. I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. I had to forcibly tamp down my anxiety so as not to alarm anyone. Very few people know or understand what it’s like to be an introvert, and what several days of being “on” and around other people does to me. I was sucking fumes and out of patience and tolerance. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice my agitation, or if they did were too polite to mention it. I’m sure I’ll be the subject of conversation over the next couple of days. “What’s wrong with Karen?” “I dunno, you know how she can get.” Whatever. I can’t explain to someone who doesn’t understand, so I just quit trying.

introvertcartoonFortunately, about this time my aunt and uncle and cousin left for home. My mother got ready for bed and I had gotten a cool washcloth and was bathing my wrists, face and neck. I had a fan blowing on me and the cool air against my damp skin felt wonderful. I turned out all the lights in the main living area except for a reading lamp over the recliner. Mom came out and chatted for awhile. I’d managed to calm myself down a little by then, but was still extremely anxious for everyone to go to their respective rooms so I could be ALONE. Finally, about 10:15, everyone was in bed. I finally felt myself begin to relax. My heart rate slowed, I got out my book and read until I was sleepy, savoring the quiet.

This morning, more conversation more contact but at least I’ve recharged my batteries somewhat. I have tomorrow off work but already told Mom and Dad that I need a day to get ready for work. I’m leaving this afternoon. My brother is leaving tomorrow. I need to have a day of alone time or I will lose my ever loving mind. My parents are at church now, which I begged off and fortunately my mother didn’t argue. I need to finish this up before they get home.

I posted on my FB page about my frustrations with the middle of the night arrival by my brother, the early morning phone call from my ex-sister in law, who is still haunting me, and that I couldn’t wait to get home. My cousin in another state, who has lot both her parents, chastised me about wishing away time with my parents. She opined that she wished she could have many many more days with her parents, lack of sleep or not.

But she’s not an introvert. She doesn’t get it. She thinks I’m a terrible human being for wishing this time away. But I don’t wish time away from my parents. I wish time away from the hustle and bustle, from my brother who drives me mad, and the ex-sister in law who is reaching across the ocean to bother me. I wish my parents lived closer to me, so I could see them more often, in smaller spurts, so that it doesn’t create such a serious amount of introverted anxiety on my part. Maybe some day, I can convince them to move closer.

Meanwhile I try to suck it up and come visit as often as I can. It is just hard, very hard, for an introvert like me not to have anyplace to go, to hide, to get away from everyone for a bit. Even my parents whom I love dearly. I just need that time.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Ta ta for now!

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Running at the speed of life

55 signToday is my birthday. It’s not a “big” birthday by the category of birthdays that end in “0″, but instead a mid-birthday. I am at that teetering point between two “big” birthdays that end in “0″. Today I turn the speed limit. Double nickels. Old enough to order from the senior menu, but young enough to be too embarrassed to do so.

Throughout my work day, people would jokingly ask me “Which speed limit?!?” because indeed, in California, there are different speed limits on different roads — interstates are generally 70; and highways are 55 to 65 depending. Me? I’m the lower speed limit. Fifty-five. Halfway to 60. Gulp.

After this year, I can no longer say I’m “just over” 50. I will be “on the way” to 60. Age is just a number. Right? But I’ve never been this age before. It feels weird to be 55. I don’t know why.

Remember when you were a kid? Remember how much you longed to be older? To look older? I remember how excited I was to turn 10. Ten… I had two numbers in my age! Yes!!

Then it was 16. I couldn’t WAIT to be 16 and get my driver’s license. I remember clearly coming home from the DMV with my newly minted driver’s license in my hand, and my parents being understanding enough to let me jump back into the car and take my first solo drive! What a thrill that was, what an incredible feeling of freedom, of grown-upness, of taking that first shaky step toward independence from one’s parents. It was exhilarating!

Then it was 18. I yearned to turn 18. I thought everyone would respect me once I was 18. I am adult now! I’d brag, as I prepared that August day to leave for college. Yet another giant step towards independence.

Next, it was 21. I thought I would NEVER turn 21. It felt like the years between 18 and 21 took eons to go by. I would occasionally check my calendar to see if time was going backwards.  Having a late summer birthday, all my friends turned 21 MONTHS before I did, and they would dash off to the bars and clubs, carelessly leaving me behind to wallow in my self-pity.

That was the last birthday I actually remember greeting with great anticipation.  However, I did yearn to turn 30, because I felt that people dismissed me based on my youth. “Pffffft!” they would exclaim. “You’re only 20-something. What do you know?!?”

Then the day came when I actually turned 30. I could finally say I was in my 30s. Indeed, I found others treated me with greater respect as I matured through my 30s.  Looking back, I imagine that it was more  the fact that I developed a more mature attitude, and life experience. I loved my 30s.  That was my favorite decade. I felt grown up, I was raising a family, I weathered a divorce when I was 33, single parenthood, and a subsequent 2nd marriage and 2nd divorce by the time I was 41.

It feels like someone snapped their fingers and I was 30. Then they snapped them again and I am 55. My parents are in their 80s and beginning to slow down, beginning to show signs of aging that I haven’t seen before. It’s all the cycle of life. But for some reason, I feel it more strongly at this half-decade age. I feel that I am at my strongest ever. I’ve weathered yet another marriage and divorce, and have come to be comfortable in my own skin. I have become comfortable with who and what I am. I am not rich but I have a good job that pays the bills. I make mistakes. I continue to learn.  I love to live alone, I enjoy having a roommate for company when I want it, and the ability to shut off when I don’t. I don’t apologize for my solitary life. I rather enjoy it.

Today is my birthday. Today i am 55. I am overweight, out of shape, but happy. I am happy in my life most of the time. I’ve learned to come to terms with my faults and to revel in my choices. I’ve learned to disengage my emotions from others behavior. Am I perfect at it? No. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. But I like me. And if you like me, that’s great. If you don’t like me, that’s just fine.

As Popeye says, “I yam what I yam.” Thank you, to anyone out there who still reads my ramblings. I do this for me, and I hope you enjoy it. I’ve barely had time for blogging lately and I may have lost many of my readers. But I do enjoy the opportunity to stretch my literary muscle.

Ta ta for now!

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Coming up for air . . .

I’m still here, alive and kicking but not blogging. I’ve been really busy at work and thus coming home at collapsing at the end of the day. Also, I’ve gotten more involved in the virtual world Second Life (SL). I have landed a job at a place called Bonaire Estates, where I am now their virtual event manager!

Bonaire Estates is a very large business in SL, boasting over 172 sims. They’re one of the largest landlords in SL. I feel very honored to have been chosen as part of the team at Bonaire, and excited to work with them.

Why, you ask, would you want a JOB in a virtual world?!? Well, I am a consumer in both worlds, and I do enjoy pretty things, such as clothing, furniture, various baubles. I also enjoy having land and a home in Second Life, and that means paying “tier” which is the same as rent.

Between my shopping habit and my rent, I was forking out over $100 RL dollars every month. I also have a wedding business in SL, but that was only keeping me in spending money. I still do the occasional wedding, but my focus now is the Events Manager job.

My job with Bonaire Estates keeps me in enough lindens that I have not had to purchase lindens with real life dollars since I started. I am given a free piece of land, plus a salary and whatever tips I collect at each of the events I hostess. This is a really good thing for me. It keeps me very busy though, so I am going to have to be careful to balance that job with some relaxation, because sometimes I get into SL as soon as I get home from work and am online until I go to bed. But I’m sure that has more to do with the fact that I’m just learning my new job and need to spend a lot of time with the owner.

It has made SL fun again, as I’d begun to lose interest. It allows me to enjoy SL “in the style to which I’ve become accustomed” and not spend any RL dollars. That’s a good thing!

The business even has a website, and it can be found here.

I’ll post some pictures later, but meanwhile, here’s a pretty photo of my avatar.

Image

Hope your Monday is going great!

Ta ta for now!

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Hospital, Part 3 . . .

This is an actual pic of the hospital ER I was in.

This is an actual pic of the hospital ER I was in.

So, let’s see… I left off where they had given me some meds in the ER. The nurse said that they’d do a second EKG and then the doctor would be in to tell me what was going on. The first EKG they did, the doctor had told me showed that I was “throwing some PVCs.” My mental image was some plastic pipe flying through the air, but I also knew the term, as my mother has that as well. PVC is premature ventricular contraction. Somehow that sounds like something a thirteen-year-old boy might do… but I digress! :)

The second EKG came back and the hospital’s internist came to see me. This was a different doctor than the ER doc. The internist was a gentle East Indian man, with a calm demeanor and a lilting accent. He told me that I was still throwing PVCs and that they wanted to admit me to the hospital for observation, and to run some more tests. My blood pressure had come way down but was still occasionally spiking. I pleaded with him to go home, and he said no, not unless I had a couple doctors down the hall at home!

I was glad that I’d gone ahead and packed a few things, and tried to be positive. I knew it was best for me, but I have a high deductible health plan, and I could see the dollars flying out the door! The nurse said they would be coming to admit me and take me to my room. I got out my iPad and started writing emails to cancel appointments I had at work, notifying my boss and my two staff that I would not be in, and giving some instructions to my staff. I was really glad I’d brought my iPad with me.

After that was done, I texted my roommate, my friend Linda and my boss.

I checked email on my iPad. Checked Facebook, but decided not to post about my hospitalization because I didn’t want to worry anyone until I knew what was going on. I didn’t want my parents or my kids finding out about it on Facebook.

I played a few games on my iPad.

Got out my book and read.

Started to get restless. Twiddled my thumbs. Sighed. Looked around. Got up to use the bathroom. Came back. Sat down. Sighed again. Picked up my iPad and played some more games.

Two hours later… yes TWO HOURS later….the nurse came in and said that the floating nurse would be right in to take me to my room. Finally! I thought to myself. The admitting clerk came into my room and took some information. About 10 or 15 minutes later (that’s “right away???”) the floating nurse came to push the gurney down to my room.

Naturally, the floating nurse was my roommate’s girlfriend, whom I don’t particularly care for. It’s a long story, but she’s a very loud talker, and the more she drinks the louder she gets. I find her to be rude, bossy and obnoxious, but let me tell you how I really feel! :)

There is no love lost between us and I thought great…now she’s going to exact her revenge! I was just glad she wasn’t my floor nurse.

My bedside table.

My bedside table.

I got into my room, transferred to the bed. There was another patient already in the other bed next to the window. By then it was 11:00 p.m. Fortunately, I’d already had dinner before I came in and wasn’t hungry, although they offered me a sandwich. They settled me into the bed, and between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. there was a constant flow of nurses and aids in an out of my room. First they hooked up an IV. Then they hooked me up to a wireless heart monitor. Then they rolled in their portable computer workstation and asked me a billion questions about my health history and my family health history back 17 generations. Okay, well I exaggerate. A little.

Every time they came into my room they asked my name and birth date. They put a hospital bracelet on me that had a bar code, and they bar coded me every time. Their attention to security is amazing. They went over my current meds in excruciating detail. I told them I brought my own meds, and they wouldn’t let me take them. They took my list of current meds and got them from the hospital pharmacy and gave them to me. After asking me my name and birth date and scanning my bracelet. I thought to myself, “I wonder how much those meds are going to cost me, when I have my own perfectly good ones right in my purse?!?”

I have over the counter eye drops I use for my extreme dry eyes. They wouldn’t even let me use those! I told them I needed preservative-free eye drops, and they said they’d get some for me. (Don’t tell anyone, but I sneaked the ones that were in my purse and put some drops in my eyes while they were out of the room. My eyes were gritty by then, and I couldn’t take it anymore. It took them an HOUR to bring me the ones I’d asked for!)

My feet. It was 1am. I was bored. What else do you want?!? LOL

My feet. It was 1am. I was bored. What else do you want?!? LOL

They have to measure everything that goes into and comes out of my body. When I heard that, I prayed that I would be out of there before I had to poop! That meant every time I had to pee, they had to come and unplug my IV stand from the wall, and put a “hat” on the toilet that would catch my urine. You have no idea how difficult it is to pee with one of those on the toilet! Fortunately, they didn’t have to stand and watch me. I have such a shy bladder, I’d never be able to do that! You’re not allowed to flush the toilet, so I washed my hands and exited the bathroom. Then they have to come and plug the IV back into the wall and measure the pee and note it in the chart. Like I said, no dignity in a hospital!

Everyone at the hospital was really nice. But truly the hospital is not somewhere you can get some rest. I asked for a sleeping pill, and the nurse said she would contact the doctor and ask him. Meanwhile, I tried to get comfortable. The bed has one of those air mattresses that inflates and deflates, which is supposed to be good for preventing bedsores. Every time that thing would start up, it sounded like an engine revving, then going down. My roommate’s bed did the same thing, so between my bed and hers, it was not a quiet room! The door to our room was open to the hallway. I was in a cardiac observation unit, and while I was hooked up to a cardiac monitor (which transmits wirelessly, which is awesome — one less thing to be tethered to) the door had to be open in case of emergency. The nurse’s station was outside our room, so there was lots of activity, lights from the hallway spilled into the room. I tried to keep myself entertained with my iPad and my book, but I was getting tired. The nurse came in with my sleeping pill, and (after asking my name and birth date and scanning my bracelet) gave it to me to take. Then she asked me hinty-billion more questions. Finally, at last, I was free to sleep. It was nearly 1:30 am by then.

I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. I laid there for awhile, listening to the hustle and bustle, but finally the sleeping pill must have done it’s magic. I slept hard and woke up suddenly. I glanced at the clock and saw it was only 4:30 a.m. I’d only slept three hours! Someone came in about then and drew some blood. That woke me up more, and I never really did get back to sleep. I dozed on and off, but finally about 7:00 I could no longer sleep. A few minutes after I woke up, a technician came in to do another EKG. Then another technician came in to do an echocardiogram of my heart. This is what would tell them if there is any problem with my heart and the way it’s pumping blood.

Then breakfast came. Cardiac diet. Oh joy. Egg whites, wheat toast, some disgusting oatmeal that tasted like wet cardboard (how do people eat that stuff anyway??) and some fruit.

I kept emphasizing to the staff that I hoped to go home today. They said that the doctor would be in with the results of my tests, and that we would know more then. I waited impatiently and nervously, hoping there was nothing organically wrong with my heart. I felt fine, no pressure in my chest anymore, and no pain in my arm.

Meanwhile my roommate had awakened. She was a nice lady, probably in her late 70s, and quite the chatty cathy. Apparently she was recovering from cardiac surgery. She was still weak, and did her business in a potty chair by the side of her bed, which was fine until she had to do a #2. This was a much celebrated poo, because apparently she’d been constipated. Oh, the things you get to know about people in a hospital! Fortunately, breakfast was done by the time she did her poo in the chair because it was quite fragrant. I think we must have waited 15 minutes before a nurse came in to take care of it. Good Lord.

Feather River Hospital ExterniorFinally, just about Noon, the on-call cardiologist came to see me with the results of my tests. I don’t remember his name, but I will call him Dr. McDreamy!! He was young (probably mid-30s), had a rather heavy accent of some kind, I couldn’t quite place it. He was very tall, trim and athletic looking. He had gorgeous brown eyes and was handsome enough to make you swoon! He told me that the results of my echo showed no signs of heart disease, that everything looked to be fine. One side of my heart was slightly enlarged, but that could be due, he said, to my sleep apnea. He said he didn’t see anything at all to be concerned about, my EKG was fine and I could go home!! He called it “non-cardiac chest pain” that might be due to anxiety, or possibly acid reflux. I always thought acid reflux was a burning sensation, but I really don’t know. I know that indigestion can sometimes mimic a heart attack. He prescribed an acid reflux med and wants me to take baby aspirin every day, and follow up with my primary care doctor.

I was so relieved! Obviously I need to eat better and get more exercise. Two very difficult things for me to do, and something my primary care doc has been hounding me to do. I know she’s going to say “I told you so!”

After another hour or so, I finally was discharged from the hospital. Nothing is done quickly in a hospital! I was home by 2pm and I was so relieved to be here. I took a shower, ate some lunch and took a two hour nap. I feel just fine and can go back to work tomorrow. I am just so very happy there is nothing organically wrong with my heart. But it certainly was a wake up call that I really need to take better care of myself.

Now, it is nearly dinner time and I have nothing healthy in the house to eat, so I am going to have to make do with what I have for now. My roommate is going to be gone until Saturday or Sunday, and I have Thursday and Friday off work. I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet, with the house all to myself.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July holiday!

Ta ta for now!

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Hospital, Part two …

Where was I . . . Oh yes. Being evaluated the the triage nurse. By the way, I’m typing this on my iPad and I didn’t bring my case with the keyboard, so sorry for typos. Autocorrect is either your best friend or worst enemy, depending on the context!

So the nurse writes everything down, and I am still feeling foolish for being so healthy in the ER. Fortunately the ER waiting room is empty, and she tells me to have a seat and I would be called. I needed to use the loo, and when I came out, my ass barely hit the seat in the waiting room before I was called back.

They put me In a glass fronted cubicle, with a curtain across the glass. A nurse came in and introduced herself and told me to strip from the waist up and put on a gown. She turned to fiddle with a machine of some kind. I hesitated, waiting for her to leave so I could change, but after a beat it was clear she expected me to do so right there. I began to realize there is no dignity or modesty in a hospital. They try, but in these situations they have to have access to you, and people I’ve never met before politely but firmly wanted access to my chest. Men have it so much easier. They can be bare-chested without losing a shred of dignity.

I quickly undressed from the waist up, and pulled on that lovely hospital gown and laid down on the gurney, which was set so I was semi-reclined. The nurse told me that she would be hooking me up to the heart monitor, so she pulled aside my gown and placed electrodes in all the appropriate places. This involved lifting my left boob up and out of the way. Then she took my vitals. After a bit, another technician came in to do an EKG, which meant more electrodes and more boob fondling. I mean, you’d think they’d at least buy me dinner first! *rim shot* Meanwhile, yet another one drew some blood. Apparently the words “chest pressure” makes ER people scurry! There was pleasant but purposeful activity.

After a few minutes, the ER doc came in and did an exam, looked at the EKG and said he was going to get a chest x-ray but the EKG didn’t indicate any signs of a heart attack. Hallelujah! I was still expecting to go home soon. The nurse came back after the chest x-ray and put in an IV, where she game me some beta blockers, after giving me some oral nitroglycerine and four baby aspirin. The nitro lessened my chest pressure but gave me a slight headache, which she had told me to expect.

. . . To be continued. I can only type on this thing so long before I want to throw it against the wall!


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The Hospital is No Place for Sick People!

Monday morning came, dawned bright and clear, temps already in the 70s, promising the very hot day the weatherman on the morning news was predicting. I awoke not feeling too great, after a weekend of feeling sort of marginal, preceded by a Friday of being uncharacteristically out of sorts. I wrote it off as being overworked, stressed out, coming down with a virus, anything but what I fear most at my age and weight — heart problems.

I shook it off, got up, went to work, and continued my day, becoming increasingly concerned about the pressure I was feeling in my chest, accompanied by some pain in my left arm. Just as surely as it’s a river in Egypt, denial was my friend all day long. I very nearly stopped by the urgent care on my way home, but pooh-poohed my symptoms. I igured it was stress and I was thinking how embarrassing it would be (not to mention expensive) to go to the E-R and be told I was fine. I was in no serious distress, and I really didn’t want to be a bother. I went home, ate some dinner, and continued to feel the pressure on my chest and pain in my arm.

Finally, about 7:00 p.m., I called the nurse hotline we can call through our insurance agency. She immediately recommended that I go immediately to the ER. Reluctantly, I agreed. I still felt silly, since I wasn’t in any serious distress, I felt fine, and I desperately dislike being ill or helpless in any way.

Sighing, I get off the phone and pack a few things, “just in case.” I am, as always, prepared. I packed a change of underwear, my iPad, my cell phone and both their chargers, a toothbrush and some toiletries. I think that perhaps by doing all this, I will keep anything from being wrong.

I got in my car and drove myself to the hospital, muttering under my breath that this was going to be an expensive trip for nothing.

Fortunately, the small mountain community I live in has a state of the art hospital, and also a very quiet ER. I sheepishly walked into the emergency department, and present myself at the desk, feeling increasingly foolish.

“Can I help you?” The perky young brunette chirped at me.

“Yes,” I begin. I don’t feel right and it was suggested that I come up in to the ER by the nurse with our health insurance company.” I could we the young lady curl her lip slightly at the idea of a dial-a-nurse. However, this service is perfectly legit.

So we waded through the initial paperwork, and a triage nurse came out to assess what was wrong with me. I explained to her my symptoms, still feeling foolish because I felt relatively fine. I mean, people come into the ER because of serious life threatening conditions, not some dinky little chest pressure! Pffffft.

….to be continued…

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