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E Is For Emergency; F Is For Failure

I have been quite disappointed in myself, after making the commitment to do the A To Z challenge, that I was unable to keep up with it this week. It is particularly disappointing because I’ve already blogged about my tendency not to complete things and to be hard on myself when I do not succeed at things.

However, all of Monday had gone by in a blur, and at the end of everything, I was upset because the day disappeared and I hadn’t blogged. Then it was Tuesday, usually the busiest day of the week in my world, and I still had not blogged.

E is also for Easter, which was Sunday and a relaxing day. Easter happened to be overflowing with TV shows I wanted to see, and I also tried my hand at another “E” thing, eating. *laughs* In particular, I made soup in the Crock-Pot, which turned out better than I expected—specifically considering I don’t really know how to cook, but I use recipes as guidelines rather than instruction manuals. I think I ate about 8 bowls of soup over a three day period, before I decided I was souped out (note to self: cut recipes in half. Also, rice is bigger after it’s cooked for a while.) After successfully making the soup, I watched the Smurf movie, which was pretty smurfing cute!! 😛 I don’t really love animated movies; I only usually see them if they are something fantastic, and “cute” isn’t usually my cup of tea. But the movie was entertaining, surprisingly witty, and had a great cast.

E is also for Energy, and I had been in better spirits and having more of it. So, as happens every time I’m feeling positive, I decided to try to cut back on my beta-blocker. Although doctors like to deny it because they are so widely prescribed, many reputable studies and also personal observations have shown me that beta-blockers severely slow down your energy level, cause weight gain, bloating, and in some people, diabetes. However, for people like me who have a high pulse and an irregular heartbeat, it is one of the only effective treatments and significantly lowers your risk for heart attack or stroke. Since my mother started having both in her 50’s, both my brother and I were put on beta-blockers at the first sign of “something’s wrong”. During my trip to the ER after the episode recounted in “B Is For Beach”, the doctors found I had PAT: Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia. My heart rate will randomly speed up, trigger heart palpitations and panic attacks. It is not entirely uncommon and not life-threatening, but an episode will keep you in bed or send you to the ER– and the beta blocker put an end to them almost completely. However, the side effects are terrible, even after 4 years.

Worse yet, my doctor denies things like the beta-blocker being responsible for weight gain and fluid retention (even though it has happened to almost everyone I know who takes them. Recently, a friend was put on them, and his doctor immediately put him on a low-carb diet before the pills even took effect.), and also does not understand why I cannot seem to cut back the dosage of this medication. I have tried multiple times, but after doing extensive research on the internet, learned that “rebound symptoms” were common. Cut back on your medication, symptoms of whatever made you take it to begin with return. I’ve never gotten past 4 days of even a small reduction, and my doctor gave me the OK to cut my dose in half. When my blood pressure started to read 92/58, I got scared, and decided it was time to try again.

Today is day 4, and the side effects have been terrible. I feel sad and just want to lie in bed all day, and the smallest thing going wrong makes me want to bury myself in a hole and never come out. My hands shake, and one night, felt so dry and swollen I couldn’t move them. I had a heart palpitation, my BP is up (it’s actually normal, which to me feels like I am riding a rollercoaster), and I generally feel scared. Still, I’ve done everything I can to stick to taking that little piece of pill away every day. It made me feel comforted to know at the same time, another friend has been struggling to cut back on his terrible smoking habit, and his symptoms and struggles aren’t much different. I try to remind myself that if I keep focused on the goal and don’t panic, I can do this thing that will help in the long run. But it is hard on my mind, my body, and my emotions.

I almost quite trying on Monday evening, when E was for Emergency. I had a text from my brother saying my dad was in hospital again. One of the things that scares me about my own health is how unhealthy my own parents are, in their mid-60’s. My dad has stage IV prostate cancer that’s spread to the bones, and is currently doing chemotherapy and injections to shrink the tumours. He also suffers from Lymphedema, is over 500 pounds, and has been confined to a bed and wheelchair for about 6 years. One of the side effects is an inability to get enough oxygen into his body, and although he has a machine to help with this, he doesn’t use it. So, when trying to get into his wheelchair, he fell, and the doctors discovered his carbon dioxide level was at 95%. He is currently in a medically induced coma while they get his body balanced. It is perhaps the third time this has happened. Yet, my dad refuses to go to a nursing home where trained professionals can give him 24/7 care. It is a very tough situation, and it upsets me that my own health issues keep me from being able to travel to see my family.

I try not to beat myself up for forgetting to blog in the midst of all this, and my body struggling with itself to even do simple tasks—but it does feel a lot like “F”, which is failure.

At this point in my life, I need a win. I need something to go right. I need to do something I didn’t screw up along the way. I need to fight for every day to be a good one, even if my quality of life isn’t what it used to be and may never be the same again. It’s too easy to give up hope and not find anything to smile about when you wake up in the morning, when everyone should be smiling just because they woke up in the morning. There is so much in life I don’t have the means, ability, or knowledge to control, making sure that there are little successes where I can find them is important to me–even if it just means writing on this blog every day.

I may only be able to live a “C” kind of life these days, but it’s way better than an “F” kind of life.

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6 Responses to “E Is For Emergency; F Is For Failure”

  1. Don’t need to beat yourself up too badly! You caught up, so relax and enjoy the blogging. Who knows, you might read another blog that really excites you, and that’s what it’s all about. Also, it is VERY difficult to post here as there are SO many safety measures in place. During the challenge, you might want to rethink that if you want more comments and repeat visitors… Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The only way I’m keeping up on the Challenge is because I’m participating as part of a group. Life is throwing a bunch of things at me lately too. Just do what you can and have some fun. 🙂

  3. Dan says:

    I’ll be watching your blog! I’ve got you on my sticky list. Please keep writing for me.

    Although I don’t myself write about personal stuff much, I find the act of writing enormously therapeutic, and it helps me to sort out things that are circling around in my head in a way that lets me sometimes put them to rest. Almost like taking a good shower or having a good cry and getting in a good think.

    At any rate, your experiences have clearly given you something to say about pain, guilt and struggle, not to mention rising above them, so say the things!

    (Temporarily!) Filling in for Author AJ Lauer at April A-Z Challenge

  4. Sorry to hear of your medical issues. Those are never easy. Hope you and your family are doing better soon.

    Thank you for joining the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
    We noticed that you stopped posting after the letter E/F.
    We understand that life gets in the way sometimes.
    Please let us know if you believe you will be continuing on with the Challenge or if you would like us to remove your blog from the list.
    Thank you for your time.

    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-host: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    Blog: The Waiting is the Hardest Part []

  5. Bertie says:

    Things sound hard. Dealing with health issues can be so discouraging, especially when the “cure” has side effects that impact your quality of life. My dad had PAT. His treatment was to immerse his head in water when his heart started acting up. But I don’t know what other things you are dealing with.

    Frankly, getting to E/F sounds like a victory in light of what you are dealing with. So take it as your “win” and celebrate what you can do for now.

    My mom always says that when you are sick you feel like you’ll never get through it. And then you do. And things get better. So look for the horizon where things are brighter!

  6. Arlee Bird says:

    Sorry to hear about the tough things you’ve been going through.

    Hope it’s getting better.

    Do you think you’ll be able to finish this A to Z Challenge this year? Or would you rather try again next year?