Song: “Country Gardens” by Percy Grainger
I think I slept reasonably well last night. I definitely remember worrying about the gate but I don’t think I was up for very long about it. No nightmares, either.
I ended up going to the church down the street to volunteer for a little while today but I was late because as I was getting ready I was thinking about the ultrasound I had scheduled for the afternoon. That made me think of all the other tests and all the other things going on, and before I knew what was happening I had a panic attack. As far as panic attacks go, this one wasn’t too long, and about half an hour later I’d stopped gasping and the screaming going on in every cell in my body had quieted down. I hate panic attacks. I hate, hate, HATE them.
I usually have a “gaaah, what’s next?” approach to getting tested and prodded and probed, so I was surprised that things bothered me today. Maybe there’s a limit to the number of x-rays and blood draws I can tolerate. Maybe there’s a part of me that’s really upset that I still don’t have any superpowers despite all the scans and medications. I don’t know, but I now know it’s something I need to be more mindful about in the future.
Panic attacks take a lot out of me, both mentally and physically. I walked to the church today, and at the end of the six-minute walk I was winded. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not in the best shape, but little walks like that have never been a problem for me. When I’m panicking I tend to breathe in little sips instead of regular breaths, so maybe I was still doing that? I don’t know, but it was weird and later in the afternoon when J and I were wandering around the hospital looking for the ultrasound place, I was fine.
Volunteering at the church went pretty well but I was only there for about 45 minutes before J arrived to pick me up and take me to my appointment. The appointment went pretty well, too, although the staff at the desk all looked very tired and more than a bit cranky. I took it as a good sign that the imaging specialist doing the test asked me to flip over to scan my other side instead of looking at the screen and saying, “Hoo-boy… no point wasting time” and then sending me away. After she left the room and I was wiping the goop off me with one of those astonishingly thin yet abrasive cotton towels that the hospitals around here have (brought back some memories of my stay), I stole a glance at the screen of the ultrasound machine.
Now, I’m no doctor, but I’ve watched a lot of shows and done no small amount of reading about medicine and various conditions. If I’m watching one of those true medicine shows where they talk about symptoms, I usually have the disease (and sometimes the treatment) figured out before the big reveal at the end. I also pay attention to the little organ models or charts that the doctors use to indicate what’s going on and where. Now, I’m well aware that patients are not supposed to diagnose themselves, but I am comfortable saying the following things about what I saw on that ultrasound machine screen:
- It’s not lupus, and
- My kidneys kind of look kind of like chubby fetuses.
Anyway, when J and I were on our way out of the hospital, we took a quick detour to check out what’s happened with the psych ward since I was last there. It’s pretty sad, actually – it was closed a while ago and seeing it unused with a single light on and no nurses or patients walking around and no sound made me a little… I don’t know if sad is the right word. It didn’t feel right. Even seeing it under construction would’ve been better. It shouldn’t be left sitting and collecting dust. All of the decorations and a bunch of the signs were gone aside from the usual hospital boilerplate stuff and a single hand-made sign with a pink background that had the word “Enjoy” in a swirly script. I remember that sign.
Since I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink up to that point, we also stopped at the pharmacy and I got a drink and some peanuts. I still don’t get hungry but I start to feel all shaky and weird when I need food.
After we got home, J and I talked a lot about our days and how things were going. There’s still some of the evening left but I’m not sure what I’m going to do.
FA is coming over tomorrow, which will be a hoot. We may be able to knock one or two projects off of our lists – we’ll see what happens!