It is no secret that I have been dealing with some pain in the ass health issues in these past few years. It is also not news that I have a history of anxiety – especially when it pertains to health and death. I am terrified of death. It angers me and stresses me the fuck out. Honestly, as natural and absolute as it is – the concept of death has been my most agonizing hurdle. And with the different and odd health issues I have dealt with – nothing has antagonized this fear as much or as often as my heart blips. Without a proper heartbeat…you’re a goner. This is just a real thorn in my psyche. But I think…maybe…possibly…I am making strides. Kinda.
These past months have been full of pain and frustration and constant fatigue. The struggle has been a true crapfest and it is ongoing. But through it all, my heart has been behaving fairly well under the circumstances. And I haven’t let that fact go unappreciated.
Aside from the very occasional (like once a week TOPS) muscle relaxer, I do not take medication for my pain. I have been offered several referrals to a pain clinic, steroids and other drugs. But I have decided to try to beat this weird shit without medications and their side effects. Because as sensitive and annoying as my body is – if there is a possible side effect – I will probably have it. Fuck that, I have enough to worry about.
I do, however, take a medication for my heart and for anxiety. I have gotten down to the lowest possible doses of each. I need them and I have accepted that. As I weaned down to this lowest dose of my beta blocker, my heart was a trooper. I started years ago at 100mg daily. Today, I am taking 12.5mg daily (with the occasional extra on a bad day). This, makes me happy.
However, yesterday, my heart decided to be an asshole. I was just sitting here looking shit up on Pinterest when I felt a few flops. “Ugh…I guess it’s going to be one of those days,” I thought. Oh you funny bitch. I had no clue it was going to be one of my worst heart days in many years. My heartbeat kept getting stuck in what’s called a trigeminy pattern. It basically feels like this – BEAT BEAT PAUSE BEAT BEAT PAUSE BEAT BEAT PAUSE. I am used to getting the “pauses” for the most part – but not in this pattern or in the amount I was getting them yesterday. When not in trigeminy, I was having 7-12 PVCs (“pauses”) per MINUTE. It feels like a fish constantly flopping around beneath your ribs. All. Day. Long. It even lasted until this morning. The most PVCs I have had recorded in a 24 hour period has been a few hundred. Yesterday was probably more like 10-15k.
Now, if this had happened a couple of years ago, I would have freaked the fuck out. I would have panicked and probably gone to the ER. But I didn’t. I did call my cardiologist’s office as I have been told to do whenever something changes or seems off. And I took my extra beta blocker. And I laid in bed most of the day (Dr’s orders). And I took my pulse a lot. But I didn’t panic. And I think I know why.
I might just be coming to an acceptance stage of this whole stupid mortality thing that I hate ever so much. I know I am going to die. I read stories about children dying for Pete’s sake. I have known many people whom have died – some younger than me. I watched my father die at 46. Life is moving faster than a Republican from an original thought (sorry). Seriously, though, I am getting motion sickness from the speed of this crazy ride. If I do not accept this soon…I am going to have a really rude ass awakening.
I was driving earlier today and my heart was skipping away – being its jerky self. But I still couldn’t help but to notice the blue sky and the greenish grass. These are the kinds of things that remind me to be in the now. No matter how I am feeling at any given point, I am still here. And I absolutely must make the most of it. Because, hell, I am getting old and fat and saggy and tired and achy and I may not have many more of those big firework life experriences that easily snap me into those Ode to Joy moments. I have to recognize the good and the pretty and the strange and the tasty that are right in front of me each and every day. Whether it is watching a funny show with my adult wannabe tween daughter or a juicy burger staining my shirt – these are the snapshots I need to relish and try to hang onto every second that I can.
I read a story today about an 18-year-old girl who is fighting stage 4 brain cancer. When asked why is she fighting she replied, “I don’t know what else to do.” Well fuck. Who the hell am I to worry about when and how my time will come to an end when this kid is hanging on by a thread? None of us have a guaranteed amount of time.
And ya know why I don’t want to die? Yea, maybe it can be said it is because I don’t “know Jesus” or have a faith or can look forward to some promised afterlife. But really it is because I really fucking like it here. I really enjoy eating yummy food and laughing at funny jokes and feeling love and dreaming at night and smelling summer grass. There is so much here to savor and appreciate. Even the shitty things have something to offer. Crappy people restore my gratitude for those less crappy. Illness makes me feel so much better once it is gone. I still haven’t figured out the benefit of bad peaches or war…but perhaps my enlightenment will eventually expand.
I have made mistakes. I have wasted wayyyy too much of the time I have been given. I have been a dickhead and have allowed others to be dickheads to me. And chances are, these things will happen again. But I am going to try really goddamn hard to stay on a path towards acceptance, appreciation and mindful presence simply because…I don’t know what else to do.
Okay, okay. I am done with the hippy, Oprah-esque sermon now. I have to go find a way to enjoy cleaning a toilet…hmmmm…this may be more challenging than I expected…