Tag Archive | stress

Why not just move on?

I have heard people speak those words regarding people who have had something devastating occur in their lives, wondering why those people seem to linger in their misery long after the initial event has passed.  Sometimes it seems people just can’t seem to get past a particularly bad event in their lives. Maybe they stay in grief mode years after a death of a loved one. Maybe they have post traumatic stress for months or years after being mugged. And those around them, whether its people who love them or people who just like to pass judgment on others, can’t help but wonder why the person just can’t seem to pick up life where they left off? Just brush it off and MOVE ON already!

Well, as someone who suffers daily with chronic pain and anxiety related to a botched surgery that occurred in November 2005, let me just say that it’s not as simple as one may think.  I truly wish it was. But when every single waking moment is filled with pain from that incident, it’s really hard to just “get past it.” And the anxiety that I suffer with is also hard to just blow off…I suffer with anxiety and worry daily, regarding my declining health, my pain, my bleak future, not being able to do things I would like to do, not being able to make money to contribute to our family, incurring medical bills that keep us in debt, fear of future medical issues, feeling like a burden, and fear of the medical profession as a whole.  It’s hard to put trust back into the very group of people that caused your situation. It wasn’t just the surgical mistake the doctor made, it was me laying in ICU for days with infection burning thru my body, eating my insides like acid…with both nurses and doctors not picking up on it. It was that next year where 200 days of it were spent in hospitals, enduring 15 further “repair” surgeries, open wounds, flesh eating virus, pneumonia, blood clots,  wound vacs, poorly fitted ostomies, skin infections, central line infections, blood infections…caused by poor medical care in some instances. Nurses who didn’t wash their hands properly for instance. There was one instance I can prove this, I was of course very ill, laying in a hospital bed, a CNA was caring for me, cleaning me up for the day, and during the bedbath she had to wash around my central line in my chest, so she would touch it and move it aside during the bath. She was young and very sweet and I liked her, she was one of the few who actually talked to me and treated as a human being in the bed rather than some practice dummy. She and I were conversing, mostly her since I wasn’t feeling real chatty, but she used some little hand sanitizer she pulled from her pocket before she left and I said it smelled good, she said she got it at Bath and Bodyworks and she had many, so she handed the little container of sanitizer to me saying I could keep it. I said thank you of course, and she sat it on the bedside table and left. The lighting in the room was dim, but later I turned on the over-bed light and picked up the sanitizer…it was then I noted the little bottle was smeared with fecal matter. Yes…POOP. So, obviously at some point the girl got poo on it but didn’t realize it and was then squeezing it onto her hands to “sanitize” her hands, but was really contaminating her hands in the process…

So, that long story was really just to show that when we are helpless in a hospital or nursing home setting, we are depending upon the medical professionals caring for us to follow Universal Precautions to help keep the rate of infection down. But sometimes they do not. Sometimes they don’t wash their hands, or don’t do it properly. Sometimes they think, “I was wearing gloves when I cleaned up that poop, I don’t have to wash too” and move on to the next person.  But maybe the glove had a tear or small hole. Maybe some of the matter got on her wrist or her shirt or her stethoscope (another potential portal of infection), they maybe washing a dirty area then wash a clean area, or touch your IV caps or your foley cath tubing when emptying your bag…there are so many ways for infection to spread. They don’t mean to. They are just trying to do their jobs…which are extremely stressful, with the corporation rules, the constant short-staffing and heavy patient loads, the management breathing down their necks to keep costs down but do more work…it’s no wonder there are so many staph infections and MRSA infections, among others that get spread throughout healthcare settings on a daily basis.

But, this entry really wasn’t supposed to be about infection control…so I apologize for the tangent. My point with that was that I ended up with so many hospital acquired infections during that horrid year, and witnessed so many medical mistakes…wrong meds they attempted to give me, watched them perform treatments or instill meds in ways that were not following proper protocol, leaving me to lay in a dirty bed for far too long, or just being unprofessional or even, I am sad to say, downright cruel in some instances…I had one aid strip me down and park me in a shower chair, tossed a rag in my lap and left me there under the cold running shower, while she went to do something else. At the time I couldn’t stand or walk, I had lines coming from everywhere, my intestines were open with my belly having a softball sized wound, covered in saran wrap and hooked to a wound vac…a foley cath to collect my urine, and was so weak, ill and drugged I could really barely speak or move. I sat there with my teeth chattering, naked and vulnerable, freezing water spraying on me, no call light in reach and unable to call out for help. Another aid came in and half way dried me off, threw me in a gown and rolled me back to bed.

Nurses who yelled at me for wetting the bed, or soaking it with perspiration during high fevers or the hot-flashes after the ovary removal. A doctor who was abrasive saying “This is the hand you were dealt, you gotta decide how to play it” when I was fighting for my life…and just trying to live from one minute to the next.

So, yea…I have anxiety issues when it comes to the medical profession. I must go to the doctor every month, the Coumadin nurses every month…and I live in fear of my intestines becoming blocked or twisted by adhesions and ending up back in the hospital, facing another surgery in a life or death situation. Or having to go due to bloodclots or heart problems. 

Every single day since that botched surgery has been filled with pain and anxiety. They can’t fix the physical or mental damage that was done. They can throw meds at the problems, but they can’t fix them. They believe and understand the physical pain I am in, like they said, “You can’t be cut and sewn and cut and sewn on one area of your body as many times as you have been and not have long-term consequences, the adhesions have become rubber band tourniquets around your bowels Tammy, you can no longer digest food properly and the nerve bundles have been sewn up into the tissue adding to the pain cycle, the ventral hernia which we cannot fix will continue to burn and cause pain, we are sorry that all we can try is to keep you comfortable and keep your nutrition supplemented” oh and there’s always the “We are so sorry you have had to live thru this unattended mishap.”

I wake up and the pain is there, I can’t sit up from a lying position without first rolling onto my side. I walk hunched over much of the time because standing strait sometimes makes the pain worse. I cannot cough, sneeze, laugh, yell or blow my nose without bending over and splinting my belly and God help me if a sneeze catches me off guard! Of course running or most exercise is out of the question. I can walk, but not for long, extended periods. I can dance, (badly)…but carefully and not for long, I can’t lift more than 10 lbs, can’t pull wet towels out of the washer, I can’t eat red meat, raw veggies or fruits, fiber, nuts or seeds or dairy, I can’t do much of what a normal healthy person can do…somedays I can’t leave my bed or couch due to the pain in my abdomen. When I do leave my house, I put on my “normal face”…I walk straight even if it hurts, I smile at people and chat with people, I get my groceries and put them in my car…I’m so good at my act people have no clue how I’m really feeling…but what they don’t see is me getting into my car and driving away sobbing…but  CAREFULLY sobbing, because I don’t want to cause more pain…getting home and waiting for the garage door to shut so I can walk all hunched over, crying, holding my belly, carrying in the groceries and putting them away…then laying in the fetal position, as still as I can, while waiting and praying the pain med will atleast take the edge off so I can take a breath without feeling like a knife has been plunged deep into my gut.

My life was completely altered by that botched surgery and the events caused by it. I usually say that I died that day in the operating room…because a part of me truly did. I’m not the same person anymore and never will be whole again. I feel I would’ve been better off for them to have cut off my leg, because atleast that would heal…my insides can’t heal and they can’t just be removed. The pain and scarring from that ordeal is permanent. The change in my psyche is permanent.

Sometimes things happen to us in life, where it’s just not so easy to move on and forget it. When the memory of it hits you in the face everytime you move or cough or take a deep breath…how do you just “get over it already?”

Just as when a loved one dies…who’s to say how long you should grieve? You will never just get over losing that person…your heart will always feel heavy at the thought of them being gone. Or your house burns down, taking everything you own…yes, you can get new stuff and a new house…but its still a trauma that you will carry with you, even if just the fear of fire.

I do what I can to lead a normal life. But it truly is controlled by my pain on most days, even if I can walk and smile my way thru the store or at church…its an act…its not me…because ME is balled up in pain, sobbing and begging God to get me thru the next sixty seconds.

I would honestly give an arm or a leg, if it meant the pain would be gone or even lessened by 50%…maybe then I could “move on” but really I don’t think one ever truly just moves on after a traumatic event in their lives, they just learn to shove it down and hide it from the world, because it’s just not tolerated otherwise.

 

What kind of hand were you dealt? If you have had a strait flush your whole life…be very grateful…and if your holding jokers like me most of the time…I feel your pain!

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Worry…

lettinggotobefreeI am a worrier. I was born to a worrier, as was my mother and her mother. I’ve always liked the saying that worrying is like a rocking chair…it will keep you busy but get you nowhere.

I worry about my kids every minute of every day…I worry about my family, my husband, my pets, my home, myself…my mind never quits.

I worry I won’t live long enough to get my family situated…but I also worry that my existence keeps them from getting there. Somedays I beg the Lord to let me live and other days I beg him to call me home.

Serious and continuous pain screws with your mind for sure. I want to live so badly, to watch my family grow…to be here to support them and guide them…I pray constantly to be able to be a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter…a person. Today has been a day where I dont know what to pray for.

Why does the pain have to fight to get past the 10 scale? Isn’t it enough to stay a steady 5 or 6? Why must it have moments where it rips right thru my soul? Makes me hate everything? I don’t like ME when the pain goes off the charts… I keep to myself so as not to bite anyones head off, if I can. I live in fear that all my days will be full of this increasing pain, yet I think I would prefer it to death, or would I? I’m sure the constant worry about others and myself just increases my minds perception of the pain.

Worrying is really such a wasted energy. The people you’re worrying about don’t benefit from it. The worrier doesn’t benefit from it. It won’t stop any catastrophe from occurring. So why is it such a strong urge in some people? For me, it’s out of such intense love and caring for my family. I always feel if I could worry in advance I could somehow stop something bad from happening…as insane as that is. It’s out of some crazy thought that if I worry about them, I can keep them from being hurt or disappointed or…something.

But in reality, worrying doesn’t help them and it doesn’t help me. Worry and stress can literally kill a person…lowers the immunity…drives you slowly insane. In my opinion worry is tied to intense love for the people you worry about. Also, being chronically ill gives a person more time to sit and fret over things. I guess I’m too sensitive, I feel too intensely…love and care too deep. It feeds the worry monster.

There is one worry, that just this week I’ve come to feel I can stop. I always worried about being here for my family…to raise them and guide them thru life. I no longer feel they need me here to do that. They are grown and manage okay on their own. So it’s a prayer God granted me…keeping me here long enough to get my kids grown. I am grateful for that. I wish worrying had an on/off switch. But, it doesn’t, so us worriers just have to try to focus that energy elsewhere.

I envy the laid back people in the world. The ones who don’t worry. Who just let things go as they may. Leave it all up to the universe. The old saying “Ignorance is bliss” really has to be true. The happiest people seem to be the ones who don’t worry, who have few responsibilities, who don’t try to look into the future and stop some possible calamity.

So, tonite I think I will pray for ignorance. Ignorance to all the bad things that can happen in the world or to the people I love. Until that prayer is answered, I’m afraid I will keep….Worrying….about trying NOT to worry!

Fatigue to the nth degree

 

This will be short, and rambling I’m sure. All my “sleepy” meds are on board…have been for 2 hours now. Am I nestled into my kingsized memory foam bed dreaming of a day on a sunny beach lying in the sun? No…I’m up. Turned computer back on for blogging, again, the thinking being, lets get it out of the brain suitcase and on the puter for all to see.

I’m sooooooooooo tired as of late, I don’t think I classify as human at this point. I’m a science experiement that is being wasted…I’m sure much could be learned. I have gone by the books. Tv off, lights off, fan on….blinders on, lavendar spray on pillow, chammomile tea….quiet time an hour before wanting to sleep…no caffeine since early in the day. Following strict bed time routine. FAIL.

I have tried leaving tv on…cuz i love being lulled to sleep by the tv. I must have my fan on, thats non negotiable. I leave my fishtank on. I count sheeps, angels, I pray…endlessly I pray…I usually finally fall asleep in mid prayer, God gets sick of my going on and on and on and finally knocks me out…that’s generally how it happens…lol.

Which would be fine, if I then had a restful sleep for about 6 hours or more. But I wake up here and there. From like 5am to 9am.  Then go back to bed about 9am and sleep til maybe noon. I don’t feel like I sleep at all. It’s all outta whack. I tried valerian root, all kinds of holistic things…some stuff seems like it helps…but doesn’t solve it.

My eyes ache constantly…like the flu. My mind is mush, can’t remember anything from day to day. I feel I’m turning into an imbecile. I have no energy to do anything either. My adhesions are cutting me in 2. My back is wrecked. My broken foot and ankle just isn’t healing and they said to be patient cuz bonebruising is the worst and takes the longest to heal…even longer than my fractures! WTF>????

There’s been flu thru the house, thru my sons house. Thru my grandparents and parents homes. I’m just so tired. Part of it is probably stress due to the massive amounts of stress I live under, with all my health issues and the massive medical bills that I wrack up monthly with that…it then makes me go on a guilt trip for causing the extra bills….sleep would help escape….for a bit…but I don’t even get to do that…its the opposite…I’m up constantly thinking about it all! All the worlds problems are in my puny mush brain…and they won’t let me sleep!

So lets all start a Prayer that Tammy gets restful sleep pray group……shall we? Lets see if the power of prayer can get me some decent z’s…..It would be much  appreciated! xoxox

Tired with a dash of defeat

It’s been a long past couple of months.  Pain levels spiraling out of control many days. Family problems suddenly coming out the wazoo.  Stressing out because I feel I am not working enough to contribute to our finances because the pain keeps me from signing up for too many hours.  I feel I’ve failed my family in many ways.  And frankly they have failed me in some ways. That’s just life I guess.  But family is all we have, so we try to work it out.  But when you have a chronic illness, it’s hard to add all of that crap to your already piled up plate..

Will there ever be a day where I wake up and say “Wow! I feel pretty good today!” and hop out of bed and the sun is shining and my  whole family is here, all healthy and happy and loving and honest and appreciative of each other?  Where I can walk around the house without h0lding my butchered abdomen in my hands.  Where I can bend over to pick up something off the floor?  Where I can walk the 2 blocks to the grocery store to carry home a gallon of milk?  Where my children look at me with the love and admiration they had when they were little?  Where my grandmother is healthy and strong and planning on living another 10 years?  Where my dog stops peeing in the house? lol…I just want some happiness.  I want normalcy.  I want this feeling of fatigue and failure to walk the hell out the door and never come back.

So many days I think I should just stay in bed and let life just go on without me.  I evidently do no good when I’m up, so why keep participating in this rat race that is going nowhere?  Why should I keep pushing myself?  Why keep caring and worry about others when that care isn’t reciprocated? Why bother to do anything but take care of myself…and I can barely do that.  I’m just this sick woman who has been living this illusion that me being around was helping others.  That somehow they NEEDED me to be around.  Now I know no one NEEDS me around.  Maybe it’s good that no one needs me….but since my health disaster in 2005, me thinking that my family needed me was what saved me. It was what kept me fighting to live. It’s what forced me to keep going.  Now what keeps me going? As a mom you get used to being needed and looked to for answers. Once they are gone…what are you to do? Especially when you are a sick person? 

I spose it’s just another funk I’m in due to the increase in pain. And the realization that things are not always what you think they are.  People won’t always stay the same or always be there for you.  Sometimes you have to watch people go away. There are alot of cruel and crazy people in the world who can weasle their way into otherwise normal people and make THEM crazy as well. Crazy is contagious I think…

So here it is about 1am and I can’t sleep, although my eyes ache with fatigue.  My hair is falling out again due to stress.  My gutt is feeling like there are two swordsmen in there battling it out. Maybe I have caught one of the crazy bugs, who knows…but I’m feeling a bit lost here.

I don’t know what I’ve ever done to be made to live this way, to be discarded from the world…I just don’t know…but whatever it was I would like to say right now to the Universe I AM SORRY! PLEASE FORGIVE ME! PLEASE EITHER MAKE MY LIFE TOLERABLE BOTH PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY….OR TAKE ME OUT OF THE GAME! I’M SICK OF THE BENCH.

Depression and other emotional disorders:

I just saw on the news that Marie Osmonds nineteen year old son has committed suicide by jumping from the balcony of his apartment building.  It is just so completely sad to me that this young man could see no other solution to the way he was feeling, other than to end his life.  Evidently he had suffered with depression for many years, and had been under treatment.  It’s a well known fact that Marie has also suffered with depression.  It seems to me that people who suffer with depression or other emotional issues are so ashamed of it, that they either refuse to seek help or fail to follow through with treatment.

Why is it, that in today’s society, people must feel ashamed to say that they suffer with a mental illness?  It’s not their fault…it is a medical disorder.  Unfortunately it is often times slow to be recognized, especially in teens and young adults.  We blow off the symptoms as “just part of growing up” or the people themselves just hide their feelings, for fear of being “labled” as defective.

Even when they do go for help, it usually takes several attempts with different medications to find the right prescription that will work for that individual, and sometimes they just give up, thinking that they can’t “be fixed.”  Then too, the medications themselves often have such awful side effects, or atleast the reputation as having awful side effects that they do not want to take them.  There are so many mental diseases out there, depression, anxiety, ptsd, bipolar, schizophrenia…many others.  The brain is still a bit of a mystery even to the scientists that have devoted their lives to figuring it out…so, of course how could a teen or young adult figure out their feelings?  Even with a very supportive family, people can frequently feel isolated and alone.  They won’t share their feelings or fears with their loved ones.  They suffer in silence.  And often, unfortunately and tragically…they end up like Marie Osmonds son.

My thoughts and prayers are with that family tonight…and all the other families who have or are dealing with mental illness.  I am pasting below the symptoms of depression as written by the Mayo Clinic.  Please, if you or anyone you know have these symptoms…don’t be afraid or ashamed.  Call your family doctor or go to the hospital.  There is help.  Life can be better.

Symptoms

By Mayo Clinic staff

Depression symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Others people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Depression affects each person in different ways, so depression symptoms vary from person to person. Inherited traits, age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect you.

Depression symptoms in children and teens
Common symptoms of depression can be a little different in children and teens than they are in adults.

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, hopelessness and worry.
  • Symptoms in adolescents and teens may include anxiety, anger and avoidance of social interaction.
  • Changes in thinking and sleep are common signs of depression in adolescents and adults, but are not as common in younger children.
  • In children and teens, depression often occurs along with behavior problems and other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Depression symptoms in older adults
Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and most seniors feel satisfied with their lives. However, depression can and does occur in older adults. Unfortunately it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Many adults with depression feel reluctant to seek help when they’re feeling down.

  • In older adults, depression may go undiagnosed because symptoms — for example, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — may seem to be caused by other illnesses
  • Older adults with depression may say they feel dissatisfied with life in general, bored, helpless or worthless. They may always want to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things.
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings in older adults is a sign of serious depression that should never be taken lightly, especially in men. Of all people with depression, older adult men are at the highest risk of suicide.

When to see a doctor
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression symptoms may not get better on their own — and depression may get worse if it isn’t treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or problems in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.

If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

If you have suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact a family member or friend.
  • Seek help from your doctor, a mental health provider or other health care professional.
  • Call a suicide hot line number — in the United States, you can reach the toll-free, 24-hour hot line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.

When to get emergency help
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If you have a loved one who has harmed himself or herself, or is seriously considering doing so, make sure someone stays with that person. Take him or her to the hospital or call for emergency help.

Of course the other illnesses have their own symptoms, if you have any feelings of suicide, anxiety, depression, worry or stress that seems out of control or is affecting how you live…please call your doctor.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Never give up hope…Life can be better.