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High Anxiety meets The Perfect Storm!

January 20, 2012

Logo design by Christine Hepner

Or Baby Mamma meets Psycho!

Or Working Girl meets One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest, only the “girl” is 49, and Nurse Ratched turns out to be totally awesome and sweet!

These movie titles all seem to be a perfect way to describe April 1, 2009, the day that all my anxiety came bubbling up and I ended up in the emergency room.

The day before, I stupidly scheduled three tests including two that scared the bejesus out of me: chest xray and treadmill test. I was certain that the chest xray was going to show that I had lung cancer, not only because I smoked for too many years, but also because I’m a recovering Catholic and a pretty big hypochondriac. Throw in the guilt that I was feeling at having married D before I knew if I was even going to pass all the pretesting, and the actual lingering physical effects of having my blood pressure pushed to 200/100 the day before on that treadmill, and voila, there you have it–the perfect storm of an anxiety attack.

I sat at work all day dreading my phone. I was certain my doctor’s office was going to call and tell me that I had failed the treadmill so badly that I was out of consideration for IVF. As the hours ticked by, my stress levels and dread increased to the point where I was actually hyperventilating and dizzy. I had to keep going to the ladies room and throwing cold water on my face. Now, you well may ask, why not just call and ask if the results were in yet? Ha! You are so not Irish! There is no way I would do something sensible and proactive. As long as the phone didn’t ring, I would never have to hear the bad news, and I could blissfully go about in a happy haze of denial indefinitely.

Except for all that pesky anxiety. I could feel my blood pressure climbing again just sitting quietly at my desk. Finally after lunch, I almost passed out in complete fear in the ladies room, and I knew I had to do something. My boss, Brian, knew my situation. Brian was not just my boss; he came to my wedding and sang The More You Love Someone, The More You Want to Kill Them from Avenue Q.  I had clued Brian in just in case I lost my shit one day at work, which isn’t unheard of during the hormone phase of IVF. Or during an anxiety attack, so it would seem.

Brian came with me in a cab to the emergency room at NYU medical center and stayed with me until the triage nurse saw me and got me all set up. She took some basic information and then she took my blood pressure: 168/94. Not good. She sighed and looked at me and said, “What’s bothering you?” I started blubbering, “I’m really old and I’m trying to have a baby and I think I’m crazy and I think I married my husband under false pretenses and I think I might have had a stroke yesterday on a treadmill….” and other rational things just like that….for about two minutes without breathing….

She let me blubber for a few more seconds to get it all out, and then she reached in her pocket and took out her wallet to show me a picture of her 5-year old daughter. She also told me that she was older than I was when her daughter was born, and that a lot of the moms at her daughter’s school were older, too. She got me a bed in the ER where a series of interns and doctors, all young enough to be my child, took turns taking my blood pressure and asking me if I was having any chest pain or dizziness. Within one hour, my blood pressure was totally normal and I was discharged. I went out to the waiting room to thank the nurse , but her shift had ended and she wasn’t there. I wished I had asked her name so that I could have written to NYU to tell them how kind she had been.

So, did all this drama teach me to face my fears head on and call and get those test results? Of course not! Honestly, to this day, I have my doubts that anyone ever saw the test results. Dr. Nakhuda was so vigilant about my other tests; he made me repeat my glucose tests and other bloodwork a bunch of times, but he never even mentioned that my BP was high on the treadmill test. I do know that no matter what those readings were on the treadmill, I carried my baby to full-term and my blood pressure was low or normal at every check-up right up until the day after I had my baby, so go figure.

Next time: We Have a Match!

From → Pretesting

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