Almost Passed Out Six Times… On Purpose

Song: “Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight” by Tiny Tim

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I think I slept better last night than I have in months. I only remember waking up twice (garage door), and I was able to get back to sleep once by just doing some breathing, and once by taking a quick look at my phone. No nightmares, no cold sweats, no waking J up.

I didn’t even feel half bad when I finally heaved myself out of bed in the morning. I think I may have cried a little and had to breathe in little sippy breaths through grit teeth, but all in all it wasn’t too bad. I had breakfast and was sending out my daily round of texts when J got up and made an appearance. This week has been wonderful with her having the week off work.

We hung out and talked when I wasn’t zoned out. J had a book, so she was happy even if I was sitting on the couch with my head tilted back and eyes closed.

The doorbell rang, startling the heck out of both of us. I stumbled to the door and greeted our friendly neighbourhood Spider mailman, who passed two packages to me. More of my cheap crap had arrived!

I went through the packages while J warily watched. Lots of neat stuff, including a couple more of those cheapo Arduino boards, some breadboard jumper wires, and a heart rate monitor module!

After opening the parcels, I surrendered to the haze and zoned out some more. After a little while, my head cleared enough so that I took some of the stuff downstairs and soldered it together.

I had an appointment this afternoon, so once I finished soldering, I got myself all prettied up, and J drove me to the clinic. She dropped me off and headed out to find some paint colour samples for the area above the fireplace. I went inside and signed in; surprisingly, even though I was a little early, the person at the desk took me right in, getting my height (okay) and weight (ugh) before showing me to the room.

Despite wearing my hat and being quite under dressed for the weather, I had a nasty flop sweat going. I pulled out my phone and put on some music, scrunched myself as far as I could into the corner, and closed my eyes, trying to focus on the music.

Not long after, the nurse entered the room with an armful of stuff. She introduced herself and was so incredibly friendly and pleasant and encouraging and full of information that I immediately started to feel a little better. Still twitchy and sweating like crazy, but I can actually remember a lot of what she said.

First up was my immunizations. Turns out I don’t need an MMR booster, but I was overdue for my DT shot. Apparently, they bundle a pertussis vaccine with the diptheria/tetanus show now, so I was getting an even better deal. Things have changed since the last time I got a vaccination (aside from a flu shot), because back in junior high or whenever it was I got my last shots, the needle hurt, and it hurt when they pressed the plunger. Today, however, I barely felt anything. Mosquito bites have more of a feeling than that needle did. And here I am, hours later, and even if I poke at my shoulder I can’t find a tender spot. Nice.

After the needle came the fun part – spirometry. The nurse made sure I was okay (she did this a lot, which was good), and then she went over how the machine worked and she did a demo. She said they needed three good samples, so if I messed up it wouldn’t be a problem but I’d have to do another run until there were three good ones. I put the nose clip on, grabbed the handheld part of the machine, put the cardboard breath part in my mouth, and took a couple of normal breaths before she said, “okay… BREATHE IN!!” Deep breath in, and then came the next part: “BREATHE OUT!! PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! ALMOST THERE! PUSH! YOU’RE DOING GREAT! ALMOST THERE!”

Whilst I was wheezing pathetically as I was trying to force every last cubic millimeter of air out of my lungs, my tongue started to feel weird and prickly. Then the inside of my cheeks. The colour drained from the room, and the nurse’s voice sounded muffled and far away. The world was starting to narrow down to a tiny, distant point. I wasn’t sure what was going on but it was fascinating.

Suddenly, my tongue felt really prickly again, and I noticed I was staring at the nurse’s face. The clip on my nose had been removed (I don’t remember how or when), and she was holding my wrist of the arm that was holding the test thing. Sound came back and I could hear her talking to me in slow, encouraging phrases. So yeah, it seems that if I take as big a breath as I can and then force it out as hard as I can over six seconds, I start to head toward passing out. Fortunately, after I start breathing again, I come back very quickly.

There were two more rounds of breathing and watching the room fade out. Turns out I did them well, so she gave me four shots from a puffer and then let me sit for ten minutes. I texted with J a bit and then put music on again.

The nurse was back right on time and we did three more trials with the breathing and the “whoaahhhh”. She made sure that I was okay after every run and kept asking how I was feeling, both physically and mentally/emotionally. She’d also braced herself in case she needed to intervene to keep me from falling forward and kissing the floor. She was so incredibly pleasant to deal with and dealing with her was a positive experience, despite the appointment being all about needles and repeatedly impending syncope.

J was there to pick me up when I was done. I was feeling a little strange, but I think it was more an effect of the puffer I took than anything else. We went home (THANK YOU!!!) and then hung out and did more talking; J was curious about how the spirometry went.

We had supper a while later and then J went back out to pick up paint and other supplies, and I toyed around with some of the stuff that came today. I don’t really know where the evening went – aside from watching some episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I don’t think anything fancy happened. Oh! Except for this:

Heartbeat Output of Arduino moduleYep, that cheap little EKG actually works! I tried it on myself first and then later on, J gave it a shot. I only have two complaints – the cables are too short, and the sticky pads that are supposed to stick to your skin don’t stick very well. No problem – I can extend the cables and buy different sticky pads.

After that, J went to bed and I started working on this post. Seeing as how it’s now after 2AM, I should probably get going. Tomorrow afternoon is a Dr C appointment. I don’t really want to go but working with her does help.

Stay safe.

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