Sick Too

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” – Charles Dickens

If he hadn’t died over a hundred years ago I would have sworn Charles was following me around for the last month and a half to be inspired to write that paragraph from “Tale”.

I write it this way: I have been a yoyo.

My blood pressure is finally levelling off now but over the course of the last month it shot up to just under 200 (but never back to 240/125) and then after a few minutes or hours, dropped to 145. Finally, just in this last week, it’s settling around 135/85 and though that’s borderline high my doctor is happy with it. I’m just happy that it’s becoming consistent. Well, mostly consistent.

My daily now includes medication for the high blood pressure, an aspirin, supplements for magnesium, omega 3 and multi-vitamin. I was hoping for Flintstone multi-vitamins but apparently, according to the pharmacist anyway, I need a vitamin for ‘big people’. I tried a med for the anxiety. For 3 days. Everything got worse for those 3 days plus a couple new problems. Stopped those meds. The pharmacist, when she gave me the Zoloft for the anxiety, assured me that she gives it to, and I quote, “a lot of little old ladies, so you shouldn’t have any problem with it.” Apparently I can’t even handle the ‘little old lady’ dose.

My doctor, to help me deal with my anxiety, reminded me that as Christians we don’t have to fear death. I told him I didn’t fear dying as much as I feared living with anxiety.

The truth is though, I do fear dying.

I don’t fear heaven. I don’t fear the afterlife or have any worries about where I’m headed after I’m finished with this body. Like C.S. Lewis say, and I’m paraphrasing, I’m not a body with a soul, I’m a soul that’s got the temporary use of a body.

But I fear dying the same way I fear not finishing a book I’m reading or a movie I’m watching or a great adventure I’ve started. Who wants to get halfway through the line to the giant rollercoaster only to be told the park is closed? I’ve been around enough tragedy to know that there are no guarantees for anyone but when anxiety makes me feel like I’m dying, think I’m dying, my pages are dog-eared but I’m nowhere near the end of the book.

And don’t even get me started about a body in a box.


My panic attacks and anxiety are improving. I rarely get an ‘attack’ now. My anxiety comes and goes but doesn’t stay for the day anymore. When it starts to approach I can feel it and I can mentally beat it and the symptoms back so that I can carry on but it really wears me out to do that.

When it comes my pulse starts to go faster, my thoughts crank up into hyperdrive, I get really worked up inside over things that 2 months ago were just ‘no big deal’. If it gets the better of me, and sometimes it still does, I get chest pains, sweats, I can’t get a breath or I get so conscious of my breathing that I “over breath” from making myself breath and ultimately hyper-ventilate. I start to hurt all over, I have no energy or have way too much energy as adrenaline suddenly comes coursing through me and my natural “fight or flight” kicks into high gear with nothing to run from and no one to fight. Stomach acid goes crazy, shoulders and neck go uber-tense and when it goes totally out of control my heart feels like it will beat right out of my chest.

Good times.

But today is better than 3 weeks ago and so we take one day at a time. I’m still waiting for my doctor to get me in for my stress test to verify there’s no heart blockage, which runs in the family. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

If there aren’t any updates for a few months you’ll have to finish the story for me.

(insert smiley face here.)


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in anxiety attack, Confession, getting old, Life, panic, perception, Reflective, sick, stress, truth. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sick Too

  1. Don Rousu says:

    I love/hate that Dickens quote. It’s my standard answer when people ask me, “So, how are you?”

    I’ve had a couple of major crises in my life that have become the stuff of my pastoral sensitivity, so that I could “comfort others with the same comfort with which I have been comforted by God.” Looking back, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. On the other hand, I would never want to go through them again.

    I’ve come to believe that one of my primary functions in life is to incarnate ambivalence and help people embrace life as a paradox.

  2. Judy says:

    Wonderful stuff, magnesium. Rids the body of toxins. I use it too, along with vitamin D and a multivitamin. Shame they can’t make the big people vitamins chewable too. Those horse pills are pretty daunting.

    Hubby has chronic high bp. His was outta control like a yo-yo until he added niacin to the mix. It naturally opens the vessels, eases the strain on the heart, lowers the bp. Side effect – he looks flushed for a while after he takes it, and he says his skin tingles. That’s the capillaries opening up and the body producing histamine (improving the immune system). Can’t argue with the results : after the first while where it really got LOWWWW, a net 40-point drop in the upper number and a 30-point drop in the lower.

    It’s refreshing to hear someone talk about his fears as openly as you do – I’m a recent follower although (because I am not a facebook member and can’t “follow” unless I sign up) I don’t know if you know it. Got you listed on my “blogs I’m following” on my own site.

    I’ve always been afraid of dying. Not death so much anymore – just dying: the journey itself, not the destination. It was crazy when I was a kid – when I was really young, my favorite song was “Jeannie’s afraid of the dark” (I think it was Porter Wagoner and Loretta Lynn – what can I say, I was a kid) – and back then I knew the grip of panic on my throat from demons – real or imagined, it doesn’t matter. … but lately I’ve more developed a different kind of fear of dying… so I can really relate to what you write. What if I’m just about to do the very thing I was born to do?? What if I miss out on seeing my kids finally “get it” and have a real relationship with God?? What if I have to suffer? – ugh!

    I gotta trust that He won’t let me go before my time. That He’s got it all in control. That all I have is today anyway. That even (as CS Lewis said) if He isn’t safe – He’s always good.
    Baby steps.

    Thanks so much for writing about your journey. This is rubber meets the road kind of stuff. The church needs a little dose of reality, vulnerability, honesty. It shows that we haven’t got the market cornered on God and we don’t always have all the answers. What a concept.

    I’m praying for you – right now.

  3. Brad says:

    FYI, Costco sells a chewy adult multi. Its yabba-dadda terrific.

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