Post-Nightmare Panic Attack In Progress

Headphones on and Undertones playing really loud. It’s 4:15AM. Fan on to cool me down and forthe sensation.

Nightmares suck. Panic attacks REALLY suck. Nighmtares AND panic attacks REALLY REALLY suck.

Grown adult, cowering in th elight of the living room while every cell in my body screams. I want to punch through the wall and go run down the strret and never tstop. I want to curl into a ball that gets smaller and smaller until I feel better.

I am almost unaware of whats’ going on outside my skin but every sound that makes it through the music makes me twitch. I just ne

Fucki t, I’m taking some PRNs. That’s what htey’re for.

Stay safe.

Home Alone

Song: “I’m Running After You” by Major Hoople’s Boarding House

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

J had some furniture to deliver so she headed out yesterday afternoon and is staying with her parents this weekend. So I’ve got the house to myself.

Some great news first – J stopped at my folks’ place to drop off a chair and visit for a bit and she heard that my uncle who has a lump on his liver got the results from a scan and it’s just in that one spot! He’s been through a lot already and he’s a really good guy, so I’m very happy about that!

Other great news – FA and DM got approved to adopt a rescue dog and she arrived yesterday! They’ve been talking about getting a pup for years and I know they’re going to be fantastic puppy parents. I’m so happy for them! From the sound of it, the dog is already doing a good job of training them to get what it wants. 🙂

The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting more unpredictable so I took advantage of the clear, warm air and light breeze and stained most of the deck. I’ve been meaning to do that for years now, and the original treatment is worn and the wood is starting to weather in places. It went really well… aside from the hour plus that it took me to stir the goop at the bottom of the can back into the stain. I don’t think one of those paint stirrers that go on a drill would’ve been much help – it was like hard margarine at the bottom and I had to scrape it up layer by layer. It was fine, though, since it was so nice I just sat on the deck steps and watched the wildlife go about its business in the yard while I slowly scraped and stirred.

Geez, that was a long paragraph. Anyway, the little paint sprayer we just bought seems to do the trick quite nicely and the majority of the wood is protected now. Depending on the weather I want to get back out and finish it up soon.

With J being away, I’m having a little more trouble with ghosts than I have lately. There are lots of folks outside doing things, too, so that often catches my attention (in a bad way). Not a huge problem, though.

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping myself busy with my usual puttering kind of stuff and watching some movies. Nothing too fancy, but that’s how I like things right now. I’ve got water boiling on the stove to make some perogies for supper and I think this evening will be pretty quiet-ish too.

Stay safe.

Lots of Nightmares Last Night

Song: “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 3+

Ghosts: Several

Last night was strange. I didn’t have much trouble falling asleep, but nightmares woke me up three, four, maybe even five times last night. I even woke J up a few times because I was talking and moving around in my sleep so much. The nightmares that I remember were the same ones I’ve been having all along (tent several times, life jacket once), and one of them left me sitting on the couch in the living room having a panic attack.

I know that some days will be better than others, but usually there seems to be something else going on when I have that many nightmares. Trouble sleeping, a lot more anxiety than usual, OCD being particularly bad… usually there’s some kind of correlation. I’m going to keep thinking about it but right now I have no idea. Hopefully it was just a one-off and tonight will be much more calm.

One of the things Dr C and I have been working on is the time I go to bed. I’m a night owl and usually feel much more creative later in the evening than I do during the day. It’s not because of my medication – I’ve always been that way. Since I was in the hospital for that headache, though, I’ve been going to bed at a much more reasonable time. I guess when I got home I was still very tired and was spending most of the day in bed anyway because of my head, so I just started trying to go to sleep when J did.

So far it’s been working out, although I sometimes have trouble with my brain thinking of things and wanting to get up and go work on things, but after I do some of my exercises things calm down and I eventually nod off.

I’m still keeping myself busy with lots of projects. My back is still pretty sore and I’m not supposed to lift things so some of the stuff that I wanted to work on outside isn’t going to get done right now. I will get to it, though! Lots of puttering around with electronics and some old stuff that’s been kicking around. It’s very satisfying to be in a mind place where I am able to use a part in a permanent project, instead of being unable to commit to things like that. I should talk to Dr C about that sometime, hmm…

The big news today, though, was that J’s mom and aunt stopped by to have supper and visit today! There’s a new restaurant in town that they wanted to try and they were nice enough to pick up the food on the way over. I stuck to a pretty simple rice dish but I was pretty amazed with how good it was.

It was very good to chat with J’s mom and aunt, too – always fun to share stories and catch up on all the juicy gossip. Plus, they’re both really great people and I find them comfortable to be around, which makes things fun and not awkward (unless I say something particularly dumb).

So yeah, that’s been the day. It’s getting close to bedtime again, so I should probably get going – no screens before bed! Fingers crossed that I get a better sleep tonight.

Stay safe.

Tracking Medical Professionals

Everything leaves evidence of its presence. Bears, birds, plants, even dolphins leave some sort of tracks. People who work in medicine are no different. Here’s how you can track them.

1 – Anesthesiologist/Anaesthetist

These are tough critters to find, as they are very good at minimizing the tracks they leave and/or covering up their trail. Often found administering medicine with a very fine gauge needle in exactly the right place, sometimes the only way to prove that an Anesthesiologist has been there is by finding no trail at all:

Hand with site where IV was inserted by anasthesiologist2 – Emergency Room Nurse

An ER nurse will often leave its mark on the largest and/or most accessible vein. Not too difficult to find if located soon enough after they’ve been by, check for a single pink dot or – if you’re lucky – the tiniest bruise.

Site on arm where ER nurse inserted IV3 – Trainee Paramedic

These are rare but fortunately they leave very vivid and long-lasting trails. The Trainee Paramedic can be found using any gauge of needle on any part of the body they think could possibly have a vein running through it:

Site on arm where Trainee Paramedic inserted IVsThe Trainee Paramedic also has a very distinct call that is almost always one or a combination of the following:

  • “Okay, I think that’s a vein.”
  • “It’s in but there’s no blood coming out.”
  • “I’m really sorry if that’s uncomfortable.”
  • “Did I go right through?”
  • “Just hold this gauze here, I’m really sorry about that.”
  • “I think I need to go in a little further.”
  • “I definitely got it this… wait, nope.”

Keep this list handy so the next time you’re in or near a hospital or clinic you can easily identify what kind of medical professional has been starting IVs on the people around you!

Stay safe.

Sweet Jesus I May Pull Through

This will be a very short post. Today is the first day in nearly a week that I can tolerate looking at a screen.

That “headache that’s not like a regular headache” ended up with me passed out on the basement stairs and back in the emergency room where I laid in agony on a bed for close to 24 hours because they couldn’t do anything until they consulted with an anesthesiologist… who then said he couldn’t do anything. Apparently when you’re a quart low on brain fluid there’s not much they can give you that will help the pain/noise/bright flashing/sensitivity/nausea/whole body on fire.

This event will occupy a place on the list that’s worse than appendicitis but not as bad as a stuck kidney stone.

I have done nothing for the last five days aside from move very slowly, avoid light and sound, and do everything J has told me to do, and it looks like I may actually live. I am so, so lucky that my wife is such a patient, amazing angel.

I am also so lucky to have family and friends who care. I hope you know who you are – thank you so much!

Stay safe.

Very Good But Oh My Poor Head

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

Everything went very well yesterday. The day started with the hospital calling and asking if I could come in earlier because they were ahead of schedule. Of course I said yes, and J and I scrambled to get everything ready.

We got to the hospital with time to spare, I went in (current rules don’t allow anyone to accompany you), got asked a bunch of questions and told to sanitize my hands and was then directed to another place that asked me the same questions and told me to sanitize my hands… they sent me to yet another place that went through the same routine, then told me to sit and wait.

I’ll spare you the details of my hospital stay but will say that it was probably one of the best hospital experiences I had – I was in, surgerized, and back home in… eight hours? Something like that. Staff were excellent and there weren’t any hiccups or “oh, and by the way” kind of things. So yeah, I spent last night in my own bed and have been shuffling around.

One thing that kind of sucks, though, is a side-effect of the spinal block thing they gave me. The anesthesiologist warned me that I could have a “headache that’s not like a regular headache”. Vague, but late yesterday evening I began to understand what she was talking about. You know those cartoons of a brain, spine, and eyeballs? Well, those parts of me are aching like crazy right now:

100% authentic MRI image (T2-weighted) of my brain, spine, and eyeballs. Note the pronounced pain waves.

It’s like I got into a fight with one of those Predator monsters and lost, but then he realized he fought the wrong guy and put me back together. I’ve had a lot of headaches in my life, but this is the first time the strings that go between my eyes and by brain hurt. Weird.

If I lay down it mostly goes away but I can’t lay down all day because it’s boring and I get creaky and it’s bad for me to just lay there. Good news is it should clear up in while (a few days to a couple of weeks).

But don’t get me wrong – this isn’t me complaining. I’m very happy with how things went. I’ve been waiting for this particular surgery for a long time now, the surgeon was great, and I can already feel an improvement. Plus… I spent eight hours in an unfamiliar location, with unfamiliar people, without my sweetie, and I got through it without any significant anxiety or panic!

More later. If you’re looking for me, I’m probably laying down somewhere.

Stay safe.