Health is scary, even when you have lived with specific diagnoses for a long time. When was the last time you experienced a symptom or a situation that caused you concern? What was that experience like for you? How did it make you feel?
For me there are a few: Years ago I was deeply worried I had a heart problem, but after numerous tests I was told I was ok. From my fear I then felt relieved, joyful and thankful. So this was a minor health scare.
Ironically later I did have a situation which led to heart surgery. I remember clearly when I was admitted to the ER that I couldn't breathe, and I was told my heart rate was 190. It took two shots of adenosine with increasing strength but then it rapidly reduced my heart rate! Then after test after test I eventually had surgery which was a success, and now I just take one med a day for it. But before I had the surgery I had a brief scare when a nuclear stress test rapidly caused my heart rate to go back up to 180. I remember that fear clearly because I had to wait a long time until a reluctant doctor treated me in a small room … in a Cardiologist’s office!
But more recently my scare was simple. I got hit by Covid…bad. I was really struggling with many symptoms but refused to go to the hospital due to concerns and fears about getting Covid there (ironic) With the encouragement (insistence) of my doctor, I got a test which came back positive but I was still stubborn and said I’d be fine. But it got much worse and finally I called 911 and an ambulance took me to the ER. By the time I got there I had 12 symptoms and was in really bad shape. They admitted me to a room in a separate part of the hospital for those of us with Covid and I began to really worry. The events leading up to that point were a blur, then I remember suddenly processing what was going on and I realized my life was in real danger. I sat in the bed with too much time to think and started to project to my death. I ended up stuck in a hospital bed for 8 days, totally dependent on nurses, not being able to sleep or even rest at all due to incessant coughing. It was a very lonely time since family and friends couldn’t visit, but despite my fear I stayed positive and fought through it.
To my surprise I got better and I was transferred to a rehab facility for 2 weeks… where I basically learned how to walk again. I pushed myself hard, did everything the PT said, starting with just walking back & forth in the room twice and needing to sit & rest. Slowly I began to gain my strength and balance back. I remember being brought back to my apartment and the joy I felt to be free and alive. Through this period I lost 15 pounds…but only because for the first 8 days I had barely eaten anything.
I continued to do PT at home and in outpatient care. I began walking outside, and up & down the steep steps to my apartment (which were really intimidating at first). I had been scared beyond what I can share in words, it was a really serious health scare
But I’m still here… survived TWO pandemics (I also contracted HIV 37 years ago in the 80’s when AIDS was considered a death sentence.) Both times my fears were vanquished by the support, hope and belief of family and friends!
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