Tag Archives: The Mr.

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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Corn Dog Shit Show

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Just so we are clear, breading separation of this level = no longer edible to 5 year old

Being the ginormous food hog foodie that I am, I have always been very proud of the wide variety of food that Jr enjoys.

Until recently, that is.

If 4 years old was “the age of the questionable decision” (and oh, how it was,) then 5 is turning out to be “the age of the shrinking palate.”

Jr’s newest meal time battle cry has become “I don’t like that anymore.”

And people, let me tell you right now – mama ain’t down with it one damn bit.

After Jr tried to declare that carrots and broccoli (our last two approved true veggies) were now on his “do not eat list,” I went so far as to implement a “if you liked it when you were 3, you can’t unlike it now!” (Sorry, dude, but if 3 year old you would easily have eaten it, 5 year old you has to eat it too.  Because hashtag momlogic.)

Even with my MOTY rule in place, dinner time is substantially more hellish  eventful than it used to be.

Case in point, last night’s dinner… or as I immediately  took to calling it “The Corn Dog Shit Show.”

I gave Jr a prompt Heisman pose on his attempt to decide that he no longer liked the Morning Star Farms Corn Dogs that he loved as a 4 year old – because evidently vegan junk food is the hill that this mama decided was worth dying on.  Go figure.

Anyway, it worked and the kid decided that they were not only cleared for serving again, but actually his new-again favorite thing ever.  So for dinner last night when I offered a Corn dog instead of  the low carb Cheeseburger casserole thingy that The Mr. and I were having, his agreement was a level 2000 on a scale of 1-10.

Perfect, awesome, fantastic.  1 corndog, some grapes, and a yogurt tube (Simply Yo-plait ONLY, as he has decided that the Horizons tubes no longer meet his refined tastes,) coming up.

Except I wasn’t watching…. And if you overcook a vegan corndog, it blows up.

:::pause to de-corndog microwave:::

Round two is a success, and after a play session with the neighbor kid and a bike ride with dad, he was HUNGRY!

A corndog requires a 5-7 minute cooling time, which can be sped up by sticking the cooked dog back into the freezer. Skip this step and Jr’s delicious dinner becomes a molten mass of meat substitute lying in wait to scorch the taste buds off my offspring’s tender tongue.

All steps accomplished and we all sit down to din.

A third of the way through said perfectly cooled corndog, Jr decides to attempt to remove it from the stick, and half a blink later, it is on the floor, Potter has promptly wolfed it down, and Jr is has that pre-tantrum quiver in his lip.

RED ALERT!!!

I distract him with the yogurt tube and launch into emergency corndog prep procedure, cooking for 10 seconds, checking the temp, and going again – so as to produce a replacement that will be cool enough to eat PDQ, but not still a veggie-product popsicle in the center.

Just as the last grape goes into Jr’s mouth,  I sidle up beside him and hold out my microwaved creation, at the perfect temperature for instant ingestion.  Mom achievement unlocked.

The pride I took in this victory was far greater than any I ever felt in a kitchen – even when I made perfect puff pastry from scratch to ace my dreaded baking exam in culinary school.

We also had a quick lesson in pointing our corndog DOWN toward the plate if we are shoving it off of the stick, instead of pointing it up and firing it off of the stick like a cornbread-wrapped pop-bottle rocket.

One mealtime battle fought and won….  One food saved from 5 year old snubbery.   (Is that a word?  I am making it one.  I am the MF-ing corndog god… I can do that.)

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Stating the obvious. Just Sayin.

Me last night: “ugh I’m sick… everything hurts.”  Spends night coughing on sofa.

Drags through morning to drop Jr off at school, stops to buy out cold aisle at Walgreens.
Lays down on sofa and falls asleep in feverish heap of tissues, zinc, and Dayquil as husband leaves house.

The Mr, upon returning to find me in same feverish heap:  “Oh, are you sick ?”

Sigh.
Really?

Just Sayin.

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Mom’s night out

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Oh look! The oppressive fog of Mom Guilt! (No? Just me?)

I saw the text as I was exiting Jr’s room with my usual grace after a particularly quick bedtime. (In other words, I fell over the laundry basket and landed in a pile of library books, stubbing my toe on his dresser and holding my breath as I glared over to see if I’d woken him. Nope. Stuck that landing.)

“I know you may be in Jammies, but you wanna meet me at the brewery for a beer at 8?”
Two things….
1. It was like, 7 pm on a Saturday night.
2. I was TOTALLY in jammies.

An internal battle began. The Mr had just brought home a new load of wine that was calling my jammie-clad name, along with my comfy chair and puffy dog.
BUT.
Nobody wants to be the lamest mom on the block, right? Jr had fallen blissfully asleep super quick, The Mr had some hideous Bob Marley concert on the DVR he was dying to watch; in short, the stars were aligning to send me off into the night.
I would bet 20 bucks that my friend swore audibly from the shock of seeing my “sure I can do that” return text.

Mama was breaking out.

With almost no notice. On a Saturday night. WAY past the usual happy hour time for typical outings.
I took one last look at my snoozing offspring on the monitor and told The Mr adios. Then I backed out of the driveway, cranking up the Banner Pilot as I stole away from the subdivision like thief stealing freedom.
If I was going to do this, I was going to go all in. What did teenage Keri do when she was out and about in this town on a Saturday night?
Oh Hayyyyy, Taco Bell drive thru. Bell Grande me, por favor!

Except I sat in that damn drive thru for 20+ minutes. My pumped-up-edness totally deflated by the time I finally rolled up to the window, where the uber uninterested girl took my money and then didn’t come back FOREVER. When she finally stuck my order out the window, I was like “what’s going on in there!?” She looked at me like I was crazy. Every substance on those nachos comes out of a freaking caulking gun – how could it take 20 minutes!!!

Was the universe conspiring against me due to my horrible decision? Was it just me, or was Taco Bell girl giving me a “why aren’t you home with your small child!?” look?
I pressed on – I had REALLY hard-earned nachos to share, and there was beer to be had.
We laughed, we drank, we ate nacho-type-product. All was well. I only semi-obsessively checked my phone/imagined my son waking up and being devastated beyond what therapy could heal when he found his ever-lovin’ mommy had abandoned him. (There is a small chance I might be inflating his image of me in my mind. Nahhh.)

After a couple hours of girl-timey goodness, I departed to head home in time to give Jr his booster of cough meds, LONG before the hour that Cinderella’s accessories were in any danger of becoming fodder for the farmers’ market. But hey – baby steps, yo.

A layer of super dense, weirdly stilling fog had settled over the town. Like, “can’t see the stop light until you are almost running it” fog. “Thick like potato soup, but not my grandma’s gross watery potato soup, REAL potato soup” fog. “Serial killers come out of this shit, don’t stop by that clump of trees, stupid” fog.
Like SERIOUS fog.

Again – my mind wandered to thoughts of universal signs, and images of Jr reading a fairy tale of a mother who left her son for selfish reasons and was swallowed up by a fog in the woods, NEVER to be seen again… except it wasn’t a fairy tale, it was YOUR CRUMMY MOM, JR!!

I hunched into granny-over-steering-wheel posture and soldiered on – MAMA’S YO’ RIDE OR DIE SON, even in the fog – I am coming!!! I am like the U.S. MFing P.S. – no weather can keep me from my appointed rounds!!!! (My parents always said I was “over dramatic” when I was young… I clearly grew out of that just fine.)

I punched the button on the garage door and did a total runner into the house, convinced that was the smoke/CO alarm I heard going off, or SOMETHING.
Nope.
There was The Mr. sipping on some Jeffersons, monitor humming an image of Jr peacefully off in dreamland, possibly having not even moved since I pulled my laundry basket dismount from his room hours ago.
Hm.
As my Aunt Della would say – guess I’m not so mucking futch around here after all.

But that Taco Bell wait was still totally messed up, yo.

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HOORAY for 2015

2015.  What a ride it has been. Join me in a walk down memory lane in some of my favorite and most popular posts, linked throughout the post.

I started the year with bacon and nostalgic weeping over Fisher Price Little People and tiny underpants, and we are indeed, now in the land of big boy beds and button up jammies, and coloring in the lines (he is better than me at this point.)   BUT, 2015 has been so much more than just that.

It was the year I got trapped in a car wash, the year my hair grew a mind of its own, and the year I got slightly less nostalgic about our former life in The Treehouse.

It was the final au revoir to a touchstone of my younger years, and the year I discovered that some hurt leaves holes in the heart that no amount of roast chicken can ever fill.

2015 gave me my most treasured and proudly worn laugh line.

 

For Jr it ushered in The Age of the Questionable Decision, and gave him ample opportunity to shake his preschooler head at his nutty mom’s behavior, (and occasionally pay her back for it. Just Sayin’.)

 

For The Mr, it was a year of deep, important questions…

Questions like “How’d she end up sick?” and “What the hell is that giant pear for, anyway?”

 

It was the year I mortified the barbecue man.  (Seriously though dude, you have LOTS of company in that, I promise.)

2015 was the year that I clarified my stance on the all-important and extremely divisive issue of leggings usage. (Not Pants. NOT.)

 

It has been a great year, and fantastic to share the ups and downs, ins and outs, and highs and lows with all of you!

I appreciate you taking the time to read – I look forward to trying some new things here on Reluctantly Suburban in 2016, and I hope that each of you will join in with me.

Happy new year!

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