on parenting, kids, writing, humor, children's books, all books, traditions, the weird and intangible

Concussion, Part II: Panic Attack

Concussion, Part II: Panic Attack

So that was a panic attack. Huh.

For those of you who haven’t heard how panic attacks can be – that was me, just a few months ago –  this next section is for you. My understanding is that my kind of panic attack was related, whether directly or indirectly, to neurological impairment, as one might have with concussion, or, I’ve learnt, something like Lyme’s disease. Please skip ahead if you are familiar, for it may provoke unnecessary anxiety.

This is a public service announcement.

     First red flag: sitting at breakfast with Savannah when I break out into a full-body, dripping-droplets kind of sweat. I think, “What a cruel joke that I get my first hot flash after surviving a hit on the head.”
     Second red flag – my heart is racing and I put down my coffee half-way. Here, I should have known something was up.
(Coffee + me = tight.)
     Savannah is all set for her day at Dance Camp and I drive off for my prophylactic neck flexion-extension X-Ray to check for instability after the concussion injury of the prior weekend; mild headache noted and still warm, maybe a little nauseated. Am I nauseated? Or dizzy? Maybe both. The world is kinda bloated like too many Photoshop effects have been applied. No, the world is definitely moving and the car is still, though the speedometer shows 40 MPH. I’m going to pass out! Need to pull over but someone needs to know. Calmly (really!), I dial my doctors office.
     “Four people ahead of you in the queue. Please hold.” My heart is racing. Right leg shaking, heel pounding the ground under the accelerator pedal. A rising ickiness wants to constrict my throat and snuff out my brain. I’m dying! It’s a stroke or a brain bleed. Please, God –  just get me to the ER so they can race me through to brain surgery on a stretcher. Please, God. 

     I’m not going to make it. So many things I need to tell Kent and Savannah. My body is shaking and my heart beating in my throat, fast. A few more turns to the ER. I have the number in my speed dial.
     “Something is happening to me. I think I have an intra-cranial bleed so I can’t pull over because I won’t wake up and no one will find me. I am going to come straight to the ER but I’ve never been there before.” Can’t catch my breath. “Can I pull up in front? I don’t know if I’ll make it from the car to the entrance.”
     “Ma’am, MA’AM! We can’t give advice over the phone.” OMG. My doctor’s office is closer. Someone pulls out directly in front. Thank you God. Now I can’t breathe at all. I’m gasping, heaving, shaking and yes, if it’s okay with you, I’m panicking. That’s what you do when you are about to die. 

I love my doctor, Elizabeth Etamad. She needs a doctor-Oscar for, well, everything she does. She knows that I am, without exception, a low-low blood pressure girl. Until today. Two-hundred-over-something. Good God, their eyes say.
     “What is happening to me? I ask, Sigourney Weaver-esque. “Can I please breath into a paper bag?” No help. Still struggling for a breath. Corpse pose helps, a little. Ambulance is on its way.
     “Let’s get a CT.” Dr Etamad is expecting my usual resistance with any kind of medical anything.
     “Yes. Please.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *