50 Reasons to Laugh (or Cry) About Living With POTS
My journey with being diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) started back when I was 7 or 8 years old. Little things I thought were normal would bother me, such as blacking out for a few seconds when I stood up too fast or the sun hurting my eyes and always getting a headache after a long day at the beach. I thought it was normal to have a faster beating heart and get dizzy after doing my cheerleading routine. I was finally diagnosed with POTS exactly one year ago when these “quirks” I had experienced throughout my life were recognized as real symptoms of a real condition.
A few weeks ago I came to the realization that most of the things I do throughout my day are because of either POTS or one of my other chronic illnesses. Normal 20-year-olds do not wear compression stockings and don’t always have to have emergency medication on hand, but I do. That is just part of the nature of this disorder, and it has become part of my life. I wrote this piece to hopefully make a few other POTSies out there laugh and know they are not alone in this fight.
Here are 50 aspects of POTS that might make you laugh (or cry):
1. Getting “normal” people sick is 100000x worse when living with POTS.
2. But seriously, a sinus infection that lasts six weeks?! Ridiculous.
3. On that note, having a terrible immune system.
4. Being a germ-a-phobe because of your crappy immune system.
5. The eternal sadness of leaving the house without your Gatorade and salty snack.
6. People thinking your thigh high compression stockings are lingerie.
7. Sweating from wearing compression stockings under jeans in 75-degree weather.
8. Having severe body temperature control issues.
9. Dressing in layers in all seasons because of your faulty internal thermostat.
10. Having to take a break after one flight of stairs.
11. Don’t make me do two flights.
12. You did the two flights didn’t you…
13. Feeling like you just ran 10 miles after the two flights of stairs.
14. The excitement you get when you find a new flavor of Propel/Gatorade/Powerade that you love!
15. Having piles of electrolyte solutions stockpiled because you like to have a nice variety.
16. Four words: Standing Up Too Fast
17. Four words: Falling Right Back Down
18. The small satisfaction you get from filling your pill box.
19. Being a young person trapped in a 80-year-old’s body. (Hello…this body is defective. Can I get a new one?)
20. Having to explain what POTS is to everyone who asks.
21. Explaining that “POTS” has nothing to do with weed.
22. Checking the menu thoroughly before you even dare to go to a restaurant to make sure they can accommodate your dietary restrictions.
23. Being thankful for potatoes and their many forms you can eat them in.
24. Putting an ungodly amount of salt on your foods.
25. People questioning you on this one.
26. Having to sit down in stores because you’re tired.
27. Laying on the floor of Target just isn’t socially acceptable I guess.
28. Your love for caffeine.
29. You consider going to the doctor a hobby.
30. It probably took you at least five or six tries to find the right doctor.
31. Telling the doctor your long list of symptoms.
32. The doctor saying, “Wow, I’ve never heard of that symptom before.”
33. Getting a prescription for some new medication to try.
34. Research the new med for hours because who knows what the side effects might do to your body?
35. Owning 10 pairs of sunglasses because the sun is too damn bright.
36. Oh, you forgot your sunglasses today? Have fun squinting and trying to drive. That’s fun.
37. Knowing the best time to visit our good friend the ER for some fluids.
38. Trying to explain POTS to your friends and family.
39. And eventually you don’t even know what you’re talking about because it’s so complicated.
40. In fact, your whole medical situation is just “complicated.”
41. That moment when brain fog takes over.
42. And you walk into the grocery store and forget why you came.
43. Ah yes, you came for some Pedialyte, that makes sense…as you almost pass out in the parking lot.
44. Going to the ER and having to explain your condition to the doctors because they have never heard of POTS.
45. Your friends and roommates coming to you for medical advice because you’ve spent so much time with doctors.
46. You have a migraine? Lay in a cool dark room with an ice pack. Also, here are two different essential oils to rub on your body and three ibuprofen. If that doesn’t work, come back and see me in a few hours.
47. That feeling of elevating your feet in bed after a long day.
48. With an ice pack.
49. And with as little clothing as possible because body temperature problems are rough.
50. And going to bed to do it all over again.
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Thinkstock photo via Dirima.