Category Archives: Helpful

The Heart Attack That Wasn’t

Getting ready for the fireworks- and outside of my safety zone – for this awesome kiddo. And.for myself.

Last Wednesday morning, one week ago today, was really nothing special at all.  I got myself and Jr up and ready and out the door, lingered over some time with my parents when I dropped the kiddo off to spend the day with them, and headed into the office since there were some visitors from the main office in town and it is always nice to have some “face time” with long-distance colleagues.

4 hours later I was being carted out on a (extraordinarily tall) stretcher to an ambulance waiting in the parking lot.  (Seriously – I had no idea you were so high up on those things… are they all so freakin’ high!?)   Minutes before that, I was 100% convinced that I was having a heart attack, had waited too long to act, and was going to die in my office waiting for the paramedics only a few minutes away.

Soooo, none of that was true. Thank God.

What did happen?  I can’t be sure yet – my primary care doc and neurologist are still ordering up tests to check things like hormone levels (getting old is sure fun, isn’t it) and look for any changes on MRIs (to rule out any new lesions that might indicate a change in disease course for my M.S.)  We shall see what the results are when the dust settles.

But if I had to guess, hindsight being 20/20?

Anxiety Attack.

Horrible, no-good, very bad, worse and different than I have ever experienced, Anxiety Attack.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Or should I say you dirty unwelcome bitch.

I don’t talk about my long history with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder here very often.  Or at least not seriously.  I joke about having refilled my Ativan script for an upcoming flight, I hint about my extra worry and helicopter parenting.  I poke fun and I minimize and brush by it without really talking much at all.

Talking about it makes me worry that I might panic from talking about it.

That’s the thing.  Once it starts, it is a horrible, vicious, unending loop.  It feeds on fear of itself.

And this time was different.  I can ALWAYS pinpoint a cause, no matter how little or unreasonable.  I always know what caused an attack. Because of that I can head many off at the pass by taking precautions or making extra preparations before a particular activity, (or, worst case, by not doing it at all, which sucks but doesn’t happen often any more.)  But not this time.  There was no warning.  There was no trigger.  It felt SO MUCH WORSE than anything I had ever experienced before.   My whole body tensed;  heart racing, feeling like it was being squeezed by something;  chest pains; dizziness…

Something awful was clearly happening to me.

In my mind I know that statement is no less true because it wasn’t a heart attack.  I remind myself that constantly.  But anxiety is cruel in other ways too – it hides inside of you, it is difficult for others to see and to understand.  It builds on the shame of each “why don’t you just calm down/snap out of it/stop worrying/choose differently” look and comment,  well-meaning or otherwise.  Because in your heart you are asking that too.  “Why can’t I just calm down?” “Why can’t I just enjoy this activity like others do?”  “Why do I have to plan and overthink and worry?” “Why can I not be free of this?”  “WHY?”

My 20s were a blur of panic.  Sometimes as an under-riding current of general anxiety, others as months of crippling waves of panic leaving me trapped by worry and fear, never venturing out of my walkable urban neighborhood.  Shortly after I got married my mom made a last desperate plea for me to get help.  I didn’t want the weight of the anchor that my panic and anxiety was to prevent the journey my new husband and I had just started together in our marriage and so I agreed.

Almost immediately I wished I had reached out long before – and little by little, my world grew again.

This week – in the hours and days since the heart attack that wasn’t, I have gone about making follow up appointments and tracking referrals and insurance claims and all of the business of tying up loose ends that happens after an ER visit.  But I have been watchful, waiting guardedly for a hint that the next one is coming.

This time I will fight, clawing to keep every inch I have gained back, every experience I have won back over from terror to ease…  I know that there are setbacks, and that is fine.  But I refuse to accept a spiral.  I will deny shame a place in the battle this time, and I will be am being proactive.

This time panic, you can’t come for me.  This time I am coming for you.

 

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If you are experiencing Anxiety or Panic Attacks – PLEASE reach out.  Your doctor is a great initial resource, there amazing groups full of supportive people in many areas and even online.  It took me years – heed my mother’s advice now and reach out. (I didn’t know then what I know now.  My mother is always right.)

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Repairing leather Furniture: I fought the couch, and the couch won. (Kind of.)

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This is Potter.

We‘ve discussed the MONUMENTAL importance of Potter before, so I will keep my love-gush to myself. (He’s-the-best-thing-ever-there-I-said-it-whew.)

Potter is not a destructive guy. Never really has been. Sure there was a shoe or two lost to his puppy-chewing days, but he takes pretty good care of our stuff, all in all.

So great was both my surprise and despair when he found the PERFECT new place in the basement to hide his Greenie last Friday night, and upon investigation from The Mr., said place turned out to be our leather sectional.

Swearing ensued from the depths of the media room as I cranked up the Bubble Guppies and ushered Jr quickly upstairs away from the onslaught. (Think Ralphie’s mom trying to drown out his dad’s furnace fights in A Christmas Story. Yep, you get the picture.)

What can I say? I was scratched. Scratched bad.
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Crap.

The Mr.’s sideways crusty glares at the furry little shape of my heart needed to be stopped, so I Googled furiously for answers.

Two days later, a text from my Father-in-law came. Turns out his talents aren’t confined to his (substantial) cocktail mixing skills; he is also the mack daddy maven of furniture damage camouflage. (Thank goodness.)

In the interest of saving you the crippling option anxiety of blindly choosing from the VAST solutions offered on the internet (and I guess ironically become another of them,) here is what I found:

What did NOT help:

-The “cleaning and protecting” junk that came with the sofa

-Leather conditioning wipes

-Lexol (but it will make your cowboy boots soft as a baby’s butt. You are welcome.)

-pens designed to mask dings in wood floors/furniture

-creamy shoe polish that comes in a tube

-shameless bargaining prayer

What did help:

-Leather conditioning wax like this:
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-shoe polish that matches the couch leather:
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– buffing in the direction that pushes the tears back down on themselves

What I did:

After using all of the things that didn’t work, I had cleaned the scratches to a high shine. NOT the intended result obviously.

So I used some of the clear conditioning wax, and it seemed to help glue down the tears a bit, but they were still really obvious.
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It was at this point that I called Father-in-law for some follow up direction on his initial text of “use shoe polish and buff it in really good.”   Or maybe I just called for moral support, since I was about to put REALLY dark, really messy shoe polish all over the sofa that already had The Mr. seeing red. The potential for disaster was EPIC.

After consulting with him, and listening to his many tales of repaired dings, scrapes, scuffs, and stains – I held my breath and dove in, spreading a thick layer of the shoe polish over the scratches:
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I am not going to lie – there was more shameless bargaining prayer at this juncture.

A lot.

The first time, I panicked and started rubbing it away too early. The polish hadn’t dried, so most of it came off. Nope Keri, you were going to have to follow the directions and let it dry completely (but the directions are for SHOES!!! AHHHHH!!!)
I spread a new layer on and this time and for good measure I spread a thin layer over the whole square. (Look at you, getting all brave, Miss Thang.)

Then I let it dry for a good 10 minutes. Then I started to buff. Um…. It was kind of not coming off. DANGER KERI!!!

Like Skywalker hearing Ben Kenobi urging him to “use the force, Luke,” I heard my sage FIL’s words “just keep buffing.”

So I buffed and buffed. Until I looked down and realized it looked better. Like, LOTS better. I took pictures to poll the audience on FB, as I was kind of humming from the shoe polish fumes by then.

Here is the side-by-side (before on left, after on right):
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Not bad, right? My contact high is long gone, and I am still pretty impressed.

ANDPLUSALSO, I sat and rubbed my bootie on it and it did not transfer, so I won’t be staining guests’ backsides with my handiwork.

Is it undetectable? Nope. You can totally see it – especially with a recessed light DIRECTLY above it. Is it much worse to our (and by “our” I mean The Mr.’s) eye than it ever would be to anyone else?

Yup. Totally.

I haven’t ruled out the idea of eventual professional intervention – but I am pretty proud of my masking job.

I know (because EVERYONE had a story when I lamented the happenings on social media,) that lots of you have great ideas, and some pretty hilarious “how did that happen” stories) about covering your household’s dings, scrapes, and scratches. Share with us in the comments! Tips and tricks? What absolutely did NOT work?

As my Jedi-master FIL pointed out “you’ve got kids…. You’ve got dogs… you are going to have damage.”

Hold tight, husband. The battle to save the furniture has just begun.

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Filed under DIY, Helpful