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Musings from the Laundromat: Relaxing Flu Edition.

I knew I wanted to relax this weekend – didn’t realize how adamant my body was going to be about that happening.

I woke Friday to two lovely surprises.

1) A visibly swollen neck, sore throat, headache and fever

2) I’m not pregnant.  (Not that there was a possibility, but found that the least offensive way to put it for you.)

Went to work and really hung in there, if hanging in there means occasionally putting my head on my desk and mouth breathing.

Somehow got everything done and finally couldn’t ‘hang’ anymore.  I tapped out at 2, came home and hit my bed so hard there may be charges brought against me.

I can’t remember the last time I slept so much!

Well, intermittent sleep anyway.  Had anyone watched me Friday night they may have drawn the conclusion I was kicking heroin.

You know, that lovely ‘fever fidget’ mode?  Hot, cold, legs kicking – moaning.

The flu is no joke!

So I wake up Saturday feeling like I’d biked the Tour de France and realized I still had to adult.

I had no medicine, no more juice.

I called my mom (feeling pathetic) hoping she could shop for me.  I didn’t reach her and sat and debated.

Do I take my virus out into the world?  That would be selfish.  But, I needed provisions and my fairy godmother wasn’t flying in any windows with aid.

So, I went.

My eyes looked like Gilbert Godfried with a shellfish reaction.  My face pale, sans makeup – mouth lolling open like a zombie.

Safe to say no one hindered me during my excursion.

I grabbed meds, soup and lots of juice and headed back home.

Lots of movies watched me this weekend – but two I DID stay awake for were Bridget Jones’s Baby and A Street Cat Named Bob.  The latter was genius.

I don’t want to give anything away, but there is a scene tha mirrors something I described earlier.

Anyway, I highly recommend this movie – if you have Netflix, you can find it there.  It was a book first, based on these two:

So, now I’m at the laundromat.

And it would have been SO easy to not have come.

Especially when I arrived and there were people waiting outside and the door was not open.

But, my sheets and pillowcase needed washing – after two days of soaking up my germs.

And once I saw that the WIFI was actually working, I made myself stay and wait so that I could write to you.

I’ll be crawling back into bed after I make it up with these fresh linens and put my clean clothes away – and finding another movie to watch me.

And, I can say that I have successfully accomplished what I set out to do this weekend no?  Just – maybe next time, it can be by choice.

 

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MY Truth about Anxiety

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“But, I don’t want to be ‘that’ girl.”

“Amanda, anxiety is a medical condition – you have nothing to be ashamed of.”

This was a conversation I’ve had over and over with my doctor.

When did it start?  Approximately 2008 … I had ‘spells’ I couldn’t explain.  Couldn’t lay down – couldn’t breathe – felt out of body, but so very aware of every sensation, as negative as they were.  I was scared, I wanted to sleep – I wanted it over!  But couldn’t and had to wait it out.

To be fair – I was soon diagnosed with Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, (Basically, I have an electrical misfire when it comes to my heart – so that makes a very real, and very scary condition hard to distinguish from an anxiety attack)  but also with COPD after a random chest X-ray after a rapid heart beat sent me to the ER.  They caught my lungs on that shot and shared that with my doctor.

My doctor shared that with me and I cried and cried.

I was that kid that every time I caught a cold, I’d end up with bronchitis.  That, or walking pneumonia.

My lungs were enlarged.

OK.  So, we deal with that.

I was put on Digoxin and Metoprolol.

That seemed to help for a while – but then I started having what I call ‘spells’.

Not just heart palpitations due to my heart condition – but debilitating full on attacks at random times.

Anxiety/panic attacks don’t come for me when I’m stressing out – they come when I least expect them and yes, I know the difference between ‘them’ and a heart episode.

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I tried breathing patterns, I tried cooling my pulse points under running water – usually, just finding someone to sit with who wouldn’t ask me how I was would work.   The spells would pass.

My doctor added Alprazalam to my regime.

THAT helped.  Until it didn’t.

I would wake up in the middle of the night, certain I was having a heart attack.  Chest pain, back pain, rapid heartbeat, out of body sensation, clammy palms, jaw pain, left arm pain – total and complete feeling of helplessness and impending doom.

It got to the point I couldn’t ‘walk it off’ (literally, and that’s something they say you should try.). I was too dizzy.  I also couldn’t be horizontal, it made it worse.  With blurred vision and terrified, I’d hit my knees and lean over either my couch or bed (if I was at home) and this agnostic prayed.  And prayed HARD!

Usually these spells happen when they really shouldn’t.  Watching a movie – sleeping – or just working and feeling happy.

Bonkers timing.

No stress I was aware of.

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Fast forward again.

For eight years I’ve been taking 2 Metoprolol, 1 Digoxin and two 1/2’s of Alprazalam per day.

I’ve learned to ‘deal’ with the bad times.

Past month, I’ve been getting goosebumps only on one area of my body.  My left thigh.  That concerned me.  (Mostly because my house is in the 80’s and no, I hadn’t been watching a horror movie at the time.)

Also, my anxiety has upped, big time.

Yes, mostly it’s random.  But, I do have triggers.  Raised voices,  my dog barking,  a car too close behind me …

Then, a new symptom.  I can feel completely fine at work or at home, but trying to run an errand?  I suddenly feel complete and utter intestinal distress.   An urgency that shouldn’t be there.  Because my tummy was fine when I left.

I also can only be in ‘public’ for a short amount of time.  I’ve left a cart at a grocery store quite a few times – unable to find my footing and having to abandon it.

Crowds?  Oh goodness no.  I can’t do crowds.

Add to that driving.  Now, this is something note worthy because, NOW, I’m putting OTHERS in danger.  I accidentally tried to change lanes one day and someone was in my blind spot – they honked.  Since then, I’m terrified to change lanes.  I also feel a LOT of pressure when I’m doing the speed limit and someone is behind me wanting to go faster.

Worst experience was trying to take my fiancé at the time to Vegas – the closer we got to ‘big’ traffic, the more symptoms.  I literally couldn’t feel my hands, couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t see – I had absolutely NO control over my body or what it was doing!!  The first exit we found with a phone, we called a taxi for him to finish the trip for an absurd amount of cash.

Today – I shared all of this with my doctor.

Today – I received an additional prescription for buspirone (BuSpar) for generalized anxiety, OCD and panic.

It doesn’t work for everyone.  I’m REALLY hoping I’m a good candidate!   Mostly because it’s non-narcotic.  I want OFF of Alprazalam.

I see my doctor again in a month and if it DOES work for me, I can be weaned off of Alprazalam – and I’m SO grateful!

Bottom line – Anxiety and panic attacks are no joke.

My son has spent hours with me telling me “You’re not in danger”  and telling me to focus on things that ground me when I can’t even move.

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Anxiety is crafty and unpredictable and terrifying.

But – If you’re going through this for the first time?  You WILL be ok!

It feels like you’re going to die.  It does.  I don’t think people who don’t have it understand that.

I also don’t think people understand how legitimate the experience is.

Things to NOT tell a person going through it (from my experience, not a medical book.)

“You know it’s all in your head, you’re fine!”

“Just breathe.”  (Although, there ARE some great breathing techniques that DO help.)

“You’re making this happen.”

No.

No.

No!

If you wake up with a pounding heart and can’t feel your phalanges and can’t believe how helpless you feel – YOU try telling yourself to ‘just breathe’ – lol.

And, if you can’t relate.  I’m SO glad.  I AM SO GLAD.  Because it’s fucking awful.

I’ll give you an example that maybe you CAN relate to.

Ever have to be at work and you have an excruciating  toothache or earache that renders you unable to sleep?   Yeah.

It’s sort of like that.  ALL you want to do is have relief and relax, but your body DOES NOT cooperate!!!!!!!

You have NO control.

So – I’ll try this new medicine and let you know, let’s see how my  experience goes.  I already made the mistake of ‘googling’ and reading user reviews.

No wonder I’m a bundle of nerves. LOL!

BUT! But.

Because, I’m tired.  And I’m tired of going through this … I’m willing to try anything.  I’ll be a Guinea Pig.

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Hot Friday night with Groin pulls and Burpees

Day 4:

I shed my ‘noob’ status tonight during Cardio.  Broke a decent sweat AND … wait for it … had my first work-out injury!

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I blame the side lunge – which, didn’t hurt so much at first (because I was doing it wrong – I’ve decided I know when I’m not doing a move right when it doesn’t hurt) but then “Don’t quit on yourself” trainer showed me how to do it right and – ping! OR!  It could have been the skater jump?  It’s all a blur.

Anyway, I’m a pro now – I’ve been working out for four whole days now you know – so of course, I worked through the pain.

I was also introduced to ‘Burpees’.  I wouldn’t have minded NOT being introduced to ‘Burpees’ instead, perhaps just waving politely to them from across the room.  I quit on myself a few times during those.

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I’ve decided that it’s quality, not quantity – and while I didn’t put that method into practice tonight – I will tomorrow should I encounter an exercise that I find difficult. (And let’s face it, the odds of that happening are pretty good.)

Oh!  Incase you scanned over that second to last sentence, I did say ‘tomorrow’.  Yes, Saturday.  I did not know this.

I had decided, that in my son’s absence (he’s on a trip with his girlfriend) that I was going to take tomorrow off.  Do nothing but relax, watch movies … then do all my chores and the night job with him when he returned on Sunday.

Nope.

Facebook message from the trainer that I work with (Don’t quit on yourself’s pretty partner) said tomorrow at 8 a.m. we’re working out!

I’ll make a day of it.  Workout, laundromat, grocery store, house cleaning and then do the offices by myself tomorrow night.

That should be enough activity to make up for the few times I phoned it in during some of the tougher cardio.

I shall now limp off to my room and lean on Butters while I try to peel out of my sweaty clothes.

‘The 21 day Fix’ – Or, ‘What the hell? Is that Amanda Exercising?!?’

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So, in the interest of bonding with my co-workers – and having decided it was time to tone up, I joined ‘the 21 day fix’

It takes place after work in our aptly named ‘training room’.

It was a lot easier standing up and speaking in front of the agents earlier today during the meeting, than it was planking on a mat later in the same room.

Not needing to lose weight, I’m skipping the diet part.  But I shall share my foray into exercise with you by journaling a couple of days at a time.

Day 1:  I didn’t have a mat.  Was advised they’d get me one because I wouldn’t want rug burn.  (Since it was just us girls in the room at the time, I confessed that it’s been a long time since I’ve had rug burn and wasn’t sure if I minded.)  But, okay, guess I needed a mat.

I thought there was a warm up?  Why are we running in place and doing jumping jacks without stretching?  Oh – this is the warm up??  Ok.  I can do this.

Push ups … um … for someone who doesn’t weigh much, it’s sure as hell hard to push that small weight up with my little arms!

Sit ups – I had to be doing them wrong, because they didn’t hurt.

The trainer next to me, with muscles where I didn’t know muscles could be born, was ‘feeling’ it.  WTH?

I was not feeling it.  At all.  Wait!  No!  I did feel it in my neck.  That’s when I laid down on the mat, thinking I was being responsible.  After all, if I’m doing it wrong – this … circular sit up – then I should probably not do it right?  “Don’t quit on yourself!”  Oh god.

There were weights and scissor sit ups and then – the planking.

I’ve tried this before, and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Easy!!!  Um, not so much when you’ve already awoken your muscles and done dozens of push ups!  Okay, four … FOUR push ups.

I am pathetic.

I assumed since I could carry 12 grocery bags in the house after opening and closing the gate with 1 finger, I was in shape.

I assumed since I can lift desks, couches and filing cabinets without complaint – I was in shape.

I assumed that since I could carry a wriggling, 70 pound hairy manatee into the bath tub, after chasing her around the house – I was in shape.

I am not in shape.

My arms and ‘pectorals’ (I was calling them boob muscles) are quivering.  I’m actually tired – and I did the “I worked out!  I think I’ll eat something healthy for dinner!” thing.

This week should be good. Good for post fodder anyway.

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Day 2: Lower fix.

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I almost bowed out tonight.  My cold had come stomping back into my head like it owned the place this morning. But I took the determined and stubborn route, had my son bring medicine and decided I was NOT going to bow out.

I’m in this now – and I don’t quit!

My first thought, as I waited patiently in my work out clothes was, okay, no problem!  I’m flexible!  My legs are “strong like ox.”  Only, I’m home now, and they feel about as strong as “newborn calf” (No pun intended.)

A work friend who always gives me a hard time (it’s our thing we do – he’s not being cruel) was behind me tonight – and not in the supportive sense of the word.  He kept making me laugh, which made holding poses that already had me quivering even more difficult.

In front of me – “Don’t quit on yourself” trainer.  I was sandwiched.

You know how avid joggers and exercisers talk about breaking that pain barrier and getting that exercise high?  I haven’t experienced that yet.  But I did ‘feel it’ in my thighs and arse tonight, AND, I broke a sweat!  So, that’s one small step lunge for womankind.

My favorite part is still the warm down.  And any exercise that has us on the ground.

I’m hungry.

Considering my pre-work out snack was 4 boxes of conversation hearts and cold medicine, this is not surprising.

Good thing I’m not doing the diet part.

Tomorrow is Pilates!  I’m going out on a stretchy limb and assuming my assumption that it will be easy is wrong.

But I’m doin’ it anyway!

18 more to go!  (I missed the first one if you’re doing the math.)

Like pulling teeth … (Or, ‘don’t go into the light’).

I had never given the term ‘like pulling teeth’ much thought until yesterday.  I think I equated it with having to do something difficult due to the task not being pleasant.

I no longer think that.

Yesterday I got the tooth that was the root (ha!) of my mouth problems pulled!  YAY!  It only took 2 years of putting off, saving up for and bitching about.  But it’s out now.

Let’s talk about that.

I brought a friend, or rather, a friend brought me.  I was playing it pretty cool all day until it was time to leave for my appointment, at which time I started getting silly and nervous. 

I’ve never had a tooth pulled while I was awake.  And the ‘Queen of Googling’ wasn’t touching that with a 100 ft pole.  Fear of the unknown is pretty bad, but fear of online tooth extractions trumped the unknown.  Hell no was I going to subject myself to such images … add my imagination to a little information and there is no way on this green earth my arse would have gone to the oral surgeon.  Nope.

I got in the truck.

Some small talk, some laughs.  We arrive. 

Crap.

Funnily enough, I knew the receptionist.  We both gave each other a ‘I know you from somewhere’ eyebrow and we figured out from where.  A bank we both used to work for. 

Nice.  I had two friends with me now. 

The doctor (do you call dentists that?) was running late.  We ended up waiting almost an hour in the reception area.  Enough time to render me deer like – ready to gallop off at the crunch of a leaf. 

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My turn.

Okay.  I can DO this.  Besides, my friend has better things to do and has waited with me – it had better not be for nought!

I’m in the chair and I’ll fast forward to the actual procedure, because there was lots of nervous chit-chat in between sitting in said chair, and procedure.

The shots.  I have to admit – this guy was good.  No matter how you stick a needle into someones mouth, it’s going to smart a little.  But, he was quite gentle.  Had a knack.  Guess if you’re going to have ‘Surgeon’ next to your name, you’d better have earned it.  Thumbs up for his hypodermic skills. 

So I’m numb now – and of course, we have to test this out.  Oh, I should mention, I’m not going to be naming any instruments.  I have no idea what he put in my mouth. (hey now!)

I did not want to psych myself out by having a peek at sharp scary objects or grabby looking gripping things. 

So he’s pushing something into my broken tooth.  Nope don’t feel it.

Hey – this is going alright!  I can do this! 

Then he said: Because it’s an upper side/back tooth, it’s actually positioned by your sinuses.  If there’s a hole afterward, I’ll repair it the best I can.

Wait, WHAT?!?!

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I almost threw up.  The idea of a ‘sinus hole’ for Gawd sake! 

Believe me when I say – if my friend wasn’t sitting in that waiting room, I would have left the building.  I would have saved up more money and insisted on being asleep for the procedure.  I did not want to witness the discovery of any ‘sinus hole’.

But I did have a friend sitting in the waiting room.  And I was not going to see her until my mouth was 1 tooth less.

I’m ready.

Back to that term – ‘Like pulling teeth’.  Yeah.  Ummm ….  I was told to expect ‘pressure’.  Pressure.  Press-ure.

To me, that’s like someone poking me in the cheek or arm.  Or pushing down on me. 

Not, in any of the ‘pressure’ examples I was conjuring, was there a version where my entire head was bounced and yanked around by the tooth!

Holy COW!  This pulling teeth deal is a violent thing!  Those puppies are IN there. 

I didn’t realize how hard someone has to pull to remove a tooth!  How do they just come popping out during a fight in the movies?   (I think I would have rather the dentist just used a left hook)

There are noises that accompany the yanking.  Noises that apparently only I can hear.  (He told me this).

Cracking, breaking, crunching sounds. 

And just when I thought  I couldn’t bear anymore, it was over. 

No sinus hole either.

I left with a cheek full of gauze, minus 1 tooth and $200 lighter.  Oh, and also came out with a little bump on my head – from hitting that light thingy above the chair while getting up.  What a nice way to end the session – I wanted to giggle, but couldn’t really open my mouth.  I think that smack on the head was the most painful part of the whole visit.

If you must have a tooth pulled, just go!  Get it over with.  You’ll be okay. Just watch out for the light.

Do NOT go into the light.

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