What a Way to Grieve or How I Spent Memorial Day

May 29, 2012

 

What a way to grieve. My Uncle and I have been getting closer and closer through the years. I’ve always adored my Aunt. Now, neither one is a blood relative and actually Aunt Marie was my Great Aunt on my adopted Mom’s side. Yeah, was. She died this past week. Memorial day night was to be the night of her viewing so my Mom had a view out of town visitors and even my Uncle Carl over for light “Memorial Day” food before the viewing that night. Now My Uncle Carl never married my Aunt so they are Common Law husband and wife and had a great 18 years together. She was the “apple” of his eye as a distant relative put it.

 

The past 3 -5 months have been hard on Marie and Carl once Carl started to have medical problems. She was a much older woman and he’s barely 70.  He started having medical problems after taking care of Aunt Marie for years. She pulled through her various ailments. This time she got sicker as he got sick. Family and friends all kicked in to help out. Uncle Carl meanwhile finds out they won’t do one seemingly simple surgery until his apparent heart problems were taken care of. He put it off to make sure Aunt Marie was taken care of. She was up until the day she died. May 24th in her sleep at a ripe age so to speak. She lived a pretty long life and happy one with Carl for the last 18 years or so.

 

Uncle Carl felt he had to at least wait a few months to grieve before he took care of the heart surgery. His heart told him different. After my Mom’s lunch dinner Uncle Carl started to feel sick. He went in the other room to sit down. His “brother in law” and I followed to make surer he was all right. He was white, had the cold sweats and a rapid heartbeat that he claimed he has had for months. His breathing was becoming difficult. We called the ambulance.

 

My Mom’s brother, my Uncle Tom drove me to watch over Carl at the hospital. We were dispensable and I’m Uncle Carl’s friend in addition to his nephew. The bottom line is he was admitted to the hospital so they could keep an eye on his high heartbeat and try to stabilize it despite his protests so he could attend his dead wife’s viewing and funeral. It was fated if you believe in such things that he stays and finally confronts his heart problem.

 

I hope he makes it through and gets a real chance to grieve.


The Deadly Secret

November 4, 2011

 

The Deadly Secret

 

I’ve heard that term so many times.  never thought it would apply to me. It did.

 

I had trouble breathing 4 -6 months ago.

 

Months went by and my left arm went back and forth from slight pain to numbness sometimes. My chest was occasionally tight. My breath was short and became shorter every few days. My little secret. My deadly secret.

 

Deadly secret.

 

I mentioned it briefly to a couple people but I wrote it off as a panic attack or being out of shape and they agreed. No big deal. I took extra anxiety medications. It sort of went away. I tried to convince myself it went away. I’m too young to have a heart condition, right? So I kept my deadly little secret.

 

I went back to my cigarette smoking, too much coffee drinking and over eating bad foods. Ate, drank and smoked as much as I wanted for a few months ignoring the arm pain and shortness of breath.

 

My deadly secret was about to surface. It started off like most days. I woke up in the morning and had my usual several cups of coffee, an energy drink and as many cigarettes as I could smoke. No breakfast for this guy.

 

After a long urination, my breathing became difficult. I assumed it was anxiety or another panic attack so I took my anxiety meds and was stupid enough to light a cigarette. I’m always stupid enough to light a cigarette.

 

I had to put the cigarette out before it was finished. This went against one of the rules of my smoking rulebook. Rule 3: Never put out a cigarette before it is finished. You can see how serious this was getting that I broke a smoking rule.

 

I decided to go the hospital. My roommate was home and asleep because it was Labor Day.  I didn’t want to bother him. I packed a bag and wandered to my car. It got worse. I tried to get in my car and couldn’t make it. I stumbled back in the house.

 

I tried to wake up my roommate but didn’t have the energy to do much more than knock and slightly shout his name. No answer.

 

I called 911. I couldn’t breathe and figured an ambulance can get me oxygen faster than driving to the hospital. I searched for a small paper bag to use to breathe in and out of. All I could find was a paper grocery bag. I used it until the medics arrived.

 

The medics arrived within 5 minutes or so. Luckily the hospital was close by. I was put on oxygen right away and wheeled away into the ambulance by 3 or 4 medics. It was so nice to breathe.

 

I spent 6 hours or so in the emergency room and was diagnosed with bronchitis and discharged. There was a huge note on the release forms that said “DO NOT SMOKE” so of course I smoked while I called my roommate for a ride home.

 

It was hot and humid when I got home and I had trouble breathing. Our air conditioner was broken so I called my mom and asked if I could sleep there. I packed my over night bag etc and settled in at my mom’s.

 

I had one more cigarette and tried to sleep. The symptoms all came back and my heart hurt this time. My mom drove me back to the hospital and after hours in the emergency room I was admitted with a heart attack and I was to have triple bypass heart surgery asap.  I did.

 

This all could have been avoided if I didn’t keep such deadly secrets.

 

 

 

 


Trigeminal Neuralgia Again

January 14, 2011

“Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), tic douloureux (also known as prosopalgia, the Suicide Disease or Fothergill’s disease) is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. One, two, or all three branches of the nerve may be affected. It is, “one of the most painful conditions known to humans, yet remains an enigma to many health professionals.”

 

This pain may be felt in the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, cheeks, teeth, and/or jaw and side of the face; some patients also experience pain in their left index finger. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is not easily controlled and there is no cure. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. In a majority of cases, TN symptoms begin appearing after the age of 50, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age. It is more common in females than males.”  Wikipedia

 

No. This isn’t a journalistic article about Trigeminal Neuralgia (TM). Not that I’m a journalist either. I just wanted to present you with a decent definition and understanding of yet another condition of which I suffer.

 

Those of you that don’t know me or know me well enough I have suffered TM on and off for almost 10 years. I was officially diagnosed 4 years ago. I used to do telemarketing for a living. Not only did I do the world’s most hated job I loved it and was the best. Then the TM hit me in the ear first. I thought it was massive earaches or an ear infection and of course never went to a doctor to confirm it. I eventually quit telemarketing as a result. I thought it was burn out So the pain went away for years.

 

It started to come back in 2005. Every day it got a little worse. The pain was the worst pain known to Rich. The shooting pain through the side of my face was excruciating. I kept popping any pain reliever I could find. I found this powdered aspirin that you put under your tongue and kept eating it. Nothing was taking the pain away. I couldn’t stand still. One night I went out side for a walk in my pajamas to try and walk it off. The police stopped me because I looked like a crazy man in his pajamas pacing the streets.

 

I couldn’t take it anymore and drove off to the emergency room. They took me in pretty fast but it was 4 or 5 am. The Doctor diagnosed me with TM that morning and gave me a prescription for Percocet and told me to see my family doctor. I sped off to the nearest all night pharmacy and waited. I grabbed the prescription and practically ate the pills. They finally kicked in around 6 am. My girlfriend got up at 7 and I told her. She feared for me taking the pain pills and this was the first of many fights about it. I was over 14 years soer at the time I took the pills as directed.

 

My family Doctor prescribed an anti-seizure medication and more pain killers. I took them as directed and spent the next couple of years taking both as directed. The TM came and went then came and went again. It’s unpredictable. Some people suffer every day and sometimes a person can go 10 -20 years or the rest of their lives without pain. Not me.

 

This went on and off until finally the line was unclear as to whether I had relapsed or not in 2008. I was also on meds for my other conditions and I was a walking zombie for a bit. My thinking was screwed up and I made the relapse official in 2008 by drinking. I lost my 16 years sober and came right back. I withdrew from the meds and haven’t had any TM pain to the extreme since October 2008. That is until today.

 

I was hoping that it would never come back. I ran out of my anti-seizure medication the other day and forgot to refill it. I started feeling it this afternoon and I was freaking. When I grabbed the pill bottle I noticed that I had no refills left. So I called my Doctor and asked the nurse to have him call in prescription. She said he would. The pain started getting worse and I was debating calling him back to get pain pills. I was afraid I might end up going to the hospital if I didn’t. I can’t afford that.  I called a bunch of my recovering friends for advice on it and no one was around. I finally got some one to answer and I explained my situation. He said I should get them from the Doctor and take them as prescribed. I went to call for the pain pills and the office was closed. I called the pharmacy to see if my prescription was ready. The doctor never called it in. The pain kept coming and going all afternoon and night. I took. Alieve then went to the drug store and got Excedrin migraine. It kept coming back.

 

I found a pill I had that is for migraines I got as a sample last year when I was having recurring headaches. I took over the counter back pain pills. I’m so loaded up on over the counter medications I’m dizzy and the pain comes and it goes. Just when I get distracted it comes back. I can’t think about anything but the pain then my anxiety flairs up and it makes it worse. Staying completely still seems to work for a bit.

 

Hopefully, I can wait until tomorrow and call the Doctor. I want to avoid the hospital.

 

The irony of it all is that I am supposed to start a new job this coming Tuesday and it’s phone collections. I can use the other ear but it still could be triggered. I’m going to work anyway you look at it. I’m going to deal with the pain one minute at a time. I know people that have I much worse than I do with TM and I admire their perseverance. They fight and try to live life one day and one moment at a time.


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