Monday, November 23, 2015

11/24/15—Getting What I Asked For

Last Sunday I wrote that I needed some new inspiration to make some of the changes I need to make in my life. On Monday, I got my fresh inspiration. It was a "be careful what you ask for" moment, as I had a severe attack of being unable to breathe. I tried to "just get better" until Thursday, when it became clear I had to see a doctor. I then ended up in an ER and spent the next three nights in the hospital.

This all goes back to my year and a half issue with breathlessness, weakness and exhaustion. I've written about all that before, when I ended up having to get a new doctor because my one at the time seemed insufficently concerned about my situation. I never got an answer to that problem, but it abated and, pretty much all of 2015, I've been healthy. Or healthier in that regard. 

But last Monday I had my most severe attack yet. And it came with body aches and a fever. I thought of it simply as a reprisal of the situation my doctor wasn't concerned about, so I didn't run to the doctor. And, sure enough, it started getting better. Then, on a whim, I googled "breathlessness and fever" and saw, over and over again, "get to a doctor." So on Thursday I did. And I was admitted into the hospital through Sunday, taking tests, getting poked and the like. 

My diagnosis is asthma, Not the heart attack, clogged arteries, lung cancer and other deadly diseases I'd feared. Asthma may not be the end diagnosis, but I'm going to live with it and an inhaler for a few months and, if it's cured, it's cured. But the important thing is that I finally got doctors who listened and so I finally found proof through a CAT scan that there really is something wrong. And so now I can find answers. 

A side blessing is that I also know for sure that the problem is not my heart, nor is it anything else more serious in the cardio and pulmonary worlds. I have a couple of smaller problems with my heart, but nothing that needs treatment...just yearly tests to make sure they're not getting worse. So all of that is a relief and a gift for someone who has spent the last few years fearing heart attack on a daily basis because of my "mystery disease" with symptoms that could indicate anything from depression to heart failure. 

But going back to the point of the post, I will say that the care of my body and home have been slowly going downhill for many years. A recent "theme" for me has been the realization that I've beccome comfortably numb, like the Pink Floyd song. I'm numb to how far the problem has gone and now I have a big hole to climb out of. Which is why I need inspiration to change. And this is the blessing of landing in the hospital. 

As I laid in my bed Monday night, getting out of breath every time I tried to turn over as if I had just run a mile, I was terrified I was going to die. Today I feel better than I have in maybe a decade. And not just physically, either. For at least ten years, I've thought the fog in my head was menopause, depression...whatever. 

Turns out, that's what happens when you can't get oxygen into brain cells, just like the physical weakness is what happens when muscles and organs are getting oxygen in the 85% range, vs. the 100% range most humans get. It's very emotional to realize really how MUCH I've been suffering for so long and I was just accepting it as age or menopause or obesity or whatever because the people I relied upon to know that part of my life, my doctors, weren't too terribly concerned. To be fair, most people with asthma wheeze and cough from time to time and I never have, so that's why it eluded diagnosis before. 

So anyway, what this is all leading up to is that, in the hospital, I went "code gray"—a patient who has disappeared and can't be found. I was gone for 2.5 hours and everyone was looking for me. I, of course, knew I was being irresponsible. I was on a wireless heart monitor and I figured I had gone out of range. I knew I was missing my regular pokes and blood checks and whatnot. But the universe was infusing me with the inspiration I had asked for, and I had to drink it in. 

See, I have had a long love affair with walking. I lost 100lbs back when I was 30 through that love affair and kept that weight off for nearly a decade through that same affair. I would find long hikes in guide books and do them all. I would challenge myself on difficult mountain trails. I loved pushing myself to walk faster and farther. I powerwalked five miles a day in less than an hour...every day for 8 or 9 years. That's walking an 11-minute mile, which is pretty impressive. I was THAT girl. 

But, and this is all on me, my life changed and I wasn't so regular with my walks. I gained weight. And that was reflected in the clutter of my house. And then I started having trouble walking, which I now know is probably the asthma. Then it got worse. On a walk, one house length would look and feel like a mile. I'd only go out with my dogs on occasion and then rest each time they wanted to sniff. It was the only way I could get through a walk...resting every half block or  every few house lengths. I dreaded, hated, avoided walking. And that was emotionally painful for me. It was also physically painful as it would take all my energy for the day. My love was becoming a chore to avoid. My head was fogged. And all this affected my mental state and the state of my home. This was the situation I said I needed to change last week. 

So, pumped up on steroids, I was feeling physically better than I had in years—better than even before I started noticing an issue. And I wanted to go out for a walk. And I did. I walked around the entire hospital without needing to stop to rest. I went out of range of my heart monitor and I knew I probably had. But I didn't care. My precious love had returned to me and nothing could tear me away from being with it and being outdoors. I wandered back and forth on the hospital property, meditating, enjoying the fall foliage and wandering about, something I had been robbed of for so many years. And I finally rested in the parking lot that held the best view of the sunset. I drank it all in. I knew I needed to return, but I couldn't tear myself away. And then I was found by security and carted back to my room...haha. 

But what I found as a "Code Gray" patient was hope. A lost love. And, most importantly, inspiration. My heart had already been declared "healthy-ish". I felt like I had tons of energy. I knew I wasn't in danger, but of course my team didn't. They didn't know where I was or what I was doing. Also, it was cold outside and they were worried about that. But what I was finding in that walk was something far more important to my health than being upstairs, warm (I wasn't cold anyway) and getting poked and prodded. 

Of course being poked and prodded was what got me to this day. It's important. But in that moment I needed to drink in the inspiration that could carry me forward to the rest of my life. The inspiration I had asked for. The inspiration that could keep the small issues found in my heart from getting larger. The inspiration that could propel me to weight loss, both in my body and home. And it needed its due. It was too important to rush away from so that people wouldn't be mad at me or worried about me. It was the answer to a prayer I'd been having for years. It was my spiritual charge. It was a prescription given to me by a higher healer. 

Normally I'm all about following rules, being the "good girl" and doing what I'm told. I always end up feeling too guilty to go rogue in "official" situations like this. But a larger authority was moving through my life. In those couple of hours, I gave my will over to something greater. It was an out-of-body experience during which time I was no longer tethered to this form that had been broken for so long.

I've been home a day now and I can tell the air in my house is not healthy. I have three dogs, an XL order of dust and a lot of clutter that is spiritually choking me. I've known that for a while. But up until today, I didn't have the mental clarity or readiness to address it. I've been "comfortably numb" for years now. And I'm hoping this doesn't wear off before I get around to addressing it. When you've been sick as long as I have, it's hard to trust that you're actually well. I've had so many "false starts" on this journey where my health cleared for a day or two and then I was right back where I started. But now I have healthcare professionals who can't pass it off on my weight or age or female status anymore. If I were good enough to be my own doctor, I'd be a doctor. But I'm not. So I need that support. 

It's interesting. Knowing myself, I would have normally been restless, worried about my dogs, annoyed at losing my freedoms—a whole list of embittered responses to ending up in the hospital and losing so many days. But that never happened once. Because I saw it for what it was. It was the best thing that had happened to me in years. It was blessing directly from God and in quick response to a prayer. I've written here before that the answers don't always look like you'd expect them to. I asked for inspiration and ended up in an ER. But by staying open to the way grace is moving through my life, I'm seeing the breadth of beauty and eloquence of the reply. The universe's answer to your prayers could be moving through your life right now, similarly disguised. How will you turn to greet it?











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