Got some things done today, figured I’d talk about them.
I’m still having some pretty bad anxiety while driving, but the choir has started up rehearsals again which gives me a reason to drive at least once a week. Last night I felt anxious on my way there but totally fine on the way back.
Anyway, today I finally made my way out to the Renton Uwajimaya, which I’d been wanting to go to for a while, mostly as a driving acclimation thing but also to get some ingredients that I haven’t found at any of the Asian groceries in White Center. Most of the drive, as it turns out, is the same as the drive to the church the choir’s rehearsals are at, which makes sense since Renton is just a bit further down Rainier Ave. And I was anxious but I made it just fine, and on my drive back I was anxious in a few spots but I made it just fine.
I think if I keep doing this stuff I’ll feel fine faster.
So it turns out I didn’t have anything to worrry about. The angiogram showed no blockage whatsoever and hopefully this means I’ll stop having heart-concern panic attacks. No angioplasty, no stent, etc.
The most annoying thing right now is I’m not allowed to use my right hand until Sunday, and also cannot shower until then, since that could potentially cause a hematoma or arterial rupture in my right wrist artery (which is where they inserted the probe). So I’ll be stinky tomorrow, and also I can’t do any of my fun activities. At least I have a lot of prepared foods available.
The whole experience wasn’t too bad. The entire team felt supportive and friendly, and we joked around a lot during the whole thing. During the procedure I was given a small dose of midazolam, which helped me to relax, but wasn’t enough to get an amnesiac effect, so I remember the whole thing. The only really painful bit was at the very end when my forearm started to spasm while the probe was still inserted.
Also I asked for souvenir pictures but I think they thought I was joking. Maybe I’ll get them on MyChart? I dunno. It’ll go nicely next to my esophogeal endoscopy photo from when I was having stomach problems a decade ago.
They seemed to be really surprised that I understood most of the medical terminology and that they didn’t need to coddle me or the like. One of the consent forms asked me to write, in my own words, what I thought was going to happen and I wrote “angiogram w/ potential angioplasty” and this was really surprising to them.
Anyway afterwards I got hospital food for lunch. I ordered the salmon. It was pretty okay. Hard to eat one-handed though.
Last night I had to drive to choir practice myself, and I had a panic attack on the way. I managed to push through it and felt fine when I got there. So of course I had another panic attack on the way home, because my brain decided that no, proof of being able to drive safely is NOT enough anymore to sustain a lack of anxiety when driving.
Tomorrow I am going in for an angiogram and potential angioplasty (depending on what it turns up). The procedure itself is pretty straightforward and primarily preventative; non-invasive imaging was inconclusive as to how much arterial blockage I have (if any), and I seem to have an arterial abnormality that makes imaging difficult. So it is out of an abundance of caution that I am getting the angiogram, and if any blockage is found it will be mitigated, and perhaps a stent will be installed as well (although my dad also has an arterial abnormality which made a stent installation impossible for him when he went through a similar thing, in a much more emergent situation).
I haven’t felt like blogging lately, but here’s some updates.
I used to get bad panic attacks while driving, and the trigger and underlying cause was pretty obvious. But they faded over time and I felt that I was panic-free for a few years.
Until fucking TWO WEEKS AGO when I had a small one while carpooling to choir practice, and then a big fucking one the next week when driving to the doctor’s office for routine lab work! And now I don’t feel safe driving at all! And I have to do a lot of driving this week! WHAT AMAZING TIMING!
Does anyone have any good quick fixes for driving panic? I honestly do not know if I did anything to help it go away or if it just faded on its own. I suspect the actual common thread behind them is Fear Of Mortality and I’ve had plenty of things driving that fear lately, and like, okay it’s great that my brain is in full-on self-preservation mode but maybe causing me to nearly pass out and lose control of a two thousand pound machine wrapped around a 50kWh lithium battery isn’t the best way to go about that?
I mean okay, fair, you’re preventing me from entering the machine in the first place, so, good job
So, yesterday I had a major panic attack while driving, for the first time in several years, and the worst one I’d had in over a decade. So, that was fun.
Right now I’m in this weird split mindset, where on the one hand I feel like I need a day job to be motivated, but on the other hand, every time I find out about a job that I’d be qualified for, I have no interest whatsoever in doing it, like at all.
A real smorgasbord of things to ramble about/catch up on.
So, a few hours after I posted that last entry, I woke up in bed feeling a squeezing in my chest, pain in my jaw, and a few other heart attack symptoms. I got out of bed, did my best to calm my nerves, and called 911.
The EMTs evaluated me and said they didn’t see anything wrong offhand but my blood pressure was extremely elevated and with my medical history they felt that it would be best if I went to the ER. So, I let them convince me to go in the ambulance, which will probably cost me quite a lot.
At the hospital they did a bunch of work-ups, including blood tests for heart attack markers and a chest X-ray, and nothing turned up. Out of an abundance of caution they put me on an IV saline drip and gave me some aspirin in preparation for whatever other tests might have been necessary.
Within half an hour I was feeling totally fine, and my BP and heart rate returned to their usual levels.
So, I’m pretty sure I was just dehydrated.
I’m not looking forward to the bill, but I’m glad that I’m not dying. The ER nurse recommended that I convince my doctor to refer me to a cardiologist (like I’ve been wanting for quite some time anyway).
Anyway, I guess this is a good reminder to stay hydrated, gosh darnit. One can of seltzer and a decaf cappuccino per day isn’t enough to live on.
For the last few days I’ve been feeling anxious and having an elevated heart rate. That’s not just subjective, that’s what my heckin' Apple Watch has recorded. I keep on waking up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart, too. It’s hard to tell if it’s anxiety raising my heart rate or the other way around, but either way, something’s got to change.
The last few months I’ve been particularly sedentary due to a bunch of things (mostly chronic pain but also generally just feeling Meh and not wanting to do anything) and time has been slipping away from me very quickly.