A friend of mine told me about how animals in the wild will shake after they’ve escaped a dangerous situation. It’s their natural way of coming down from the stress of fighting for their lives. I guess you could say it’s a coping mechanism of sorts, one that allows the body to respond to the adrenaline in a way that brings the animal back to its baseline. In some ways, I guess you could also say it’s better than a coping mechanism because it liberates them from perpetually carrying that stress.
I found myself in the emergency room this weekend. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. You can imagine the trouble that can get you in when Google is just a click away. Well, I thought I might have overdone it with the sweets and actually made myself puke from too much sugar. Pretty ironic, considering I just went to a sugar awareness workshop at work. Then again, I can be pretty masochistic. Maybe it was slightly intentional on a subconscious level.
After a second puking episode where I projectile vomited all over the restroom (and yes, I even took a minute to clean it up with Clorox right after), and realizing I had a fever and abdominal pain, I started to really freak out. Then, Google added another layer of paranoia: What if it was my appendix? What if it was my gull bladder? Or my kidneys? Or pancreatitis? Or a heart attack?! I think I puked more in those few hours than during any other moments in my life combined – and that is most likely not an exaggeration.
I don’t know, but back to the emergency room . . . even on morphine, I couldn’t seem to keep my mind from wandering back into the past year. Would that be some kind of post-traumatic stress related tendency? Hmmmm. I wonder.
Well, there I was in the emergency room, on a hospital gurney, waiting to find out what the heck was wrong with me. You see, this past year I’ve been so focused on making sure my kids were taken care of that I neglected my own health, for the most part. Plus, you know, I have Google and I love to self diagnose.
I get wheeled in for an ultrasound to see if they can find anything wrong with my stomach and/or kidneys. You’d think this wouldn’t be a problem, but there I am in the middle of the ultrasound. The technician/nurse excuses herself for a minute. I start to freak out. There’s something about this not knowing and the positioning of my body (laid flat on a hospital bed) that takes me back to that moment right after my cesarean. Funny how we think we live in linear time, but somehow its all circular. I start feeling like I’m reliving that moment right before I found out that Tatiana was different. That same moment when I felt that something was terribly wrong and I begin to sob, deep sobs.
I take a deep breath and I bring myself back into the moment. The nurse reenters the room and resumes the ultrasound. Nothing. Then, she wheels me back to the emergency room. I try not to freak myself out with all the what-ifs and start counting the what-ifs of a different variety: What if it was just a virus? What if it was just food poisoning? What if a little more than one glass of wine really was too much alcohol for me? Thank goodness the morphine knocked me out for a good while. I think I would have driven myself crazy.
I was discharged from the hospital after a few hours with no clear diagnosis. Frustrating. They sent me home with a prescription of anti-nausea medication and Prevacid. I was tore up for another day and half – mind you, I am thirty years old and I don’t think I’ve been that sick in over two decades. I tried to follow the discharge instructions, but one little detail kept tugging at me – they didn’t know what was wrong with me. How was I supposed to put total faith in guesswork? I don’t care how educated your guess is – if you’re asking me to put chemicals into my body, there better be a good amount knowledge and a basis in fact for that recommendation to be taken seriously. After a 3 day long migraine, I decided to throw the prescription out (against hospital indications). It just wasn’t worth not being able to function. I did the same with Tatiana’s acid reflux medication a few months back. Did wonders for her too, but I’ll save that for another time. (Spare me the lectures and at least read up on the whole story before passing judgment.)
All of this made me think about how strong Tatiana is and of how far she’s come in the past year or so. It added another layer of perspective into the experience, of her mark on the world, and of how she’s shaped me in so many ways.
I started thinking about how right before my hospital visit I was finally feeling like I could breathe, of how everything seemed to be coming together, finally. A lot has happened in the past two years, aside from Tatiana making her mark on the world. I was looking forward to my Sunday of doing absolutely nothing. The stress was starting to lift, and I could relax. And, that’s when it hit me, and my body rebelled.
I guess I forgot to shake the leopard.