The back story ~ to put my previous blog into perspective I need to take a few steps back, before I take a few steps forward and continue with the tale.
It all started with a heart attack. Mine. Yup, me. Way to young to have one you say, no. They can strike at any age, and there are many different types. Mine was a Syndrome X. Otherwise what is known as a “silent heart attack”. Everything looks normal, only it’s not. The cause? High blood pressure. Something very few people check as often as they should.
Symptoms? Nothing you would think twice about. Chest pain, fatigue, feeling of general malaise, weakness, loss of appetite. Basically, how I felt every day. Dec 1st, 2008. 7:01 pm. Had been feeling really bad all day, it kept increasing, until I felt a massive crushing weight on my chest. I thought I was just having a panic attack. Wait until the morning, you’ll feel better. Yeah right. I would most likely have been dead by then. Sayonara, see ya later bye.
I called 911. The policeman on duty talked to me for a few minutes and told me to calm down. He was being polite. The ambulance was at my house in less than 11 minutes. The medic took my blood pressure and said ‘oh my god”. My BP was 248/199. Fuck me. Your heart simply cannot pump at that rate for very long with out massive damage, or just giving out. I was on an express elevator to hell, going down.
Tick, tock, boom. Onto the stretcher, into the ambulance. Everything was a blur. It was pouring outside. Major deluge. I thought, nice, I like the rain. Lying on the gurney, they hooked me up to an IV drip, stuck a nitro glycerin tab under my tongue, removed my shirt, the better to”jump” start my heart if need be. I felt very detached from my surroundings. Stared at the ceiling. Focused on a teeny tiny bug. Inching its way across the top, oblivious to the drama unfolding below. Talk about out-of-body experiences, I did not have any major life altering thoughts, except two, I wished I had been able to kiss my daughter good-bye, and did I have my iPod with me.
We were at the hospital in no time. I now have great respect for EMT’s and drivers who get the fuck out-of-the-way when an ambulance is barreling down the road. Could be you in there. When every moment counts. They had my “room” ready. Section of the ER for really bad cases. Dr.s every where. More IV’s, more meds, hooked up to life support. Blood pressure cuff put on, and it stayed there for the next 24 hours. Numbers were now higher than before 260/ 210. Time to freak out. I vaguely remember what went on for the next 5-6 hours. Got a shot, to relax me, um, nope. More meds. More Dr.s. Where to put me, ICU? Or down the hall telemetry. BP started to fall. Finally.
200/120. They moved me. I needed to pee. Thanks intravenous lasix. To remove excess water around the heart. One of the first places it collects. Hey, new fact I never knew. I do now. And lots more. Long story long, by morning I was holding steady at about 180/90. Beautiful #’s. EKG showed no major damage. Ditto a myriad of tests. Head scratching ensued. Took numerous stress tests. Ultrasounds. Drank funky dye. On and on. Day 2. More of the same. No change. Day 3. Okay, now I’m 160/80. I want to go home now please. I’d really like to go home now.
And I did. They couldn’t keep me, and they couldnt tell me exactly what happened. That took months. Almost a year. The verdict? Stress. Taking care of my parents, quitting my job and having the weight of the world thrown in my lap all took its toll. My BP stayed high for a year. Was put on an ungodly amount of metoprolol. 300 milligrams daily. I was always tired. Because its function is to slow your heart rate down, and I was still running the Tokyo Bullet in my chest. My BP never went below 160/80. Ever. Bummer. No flying. No mosh pits. No stress. Dont get to excited. Yeah, right. Like when my Dad would fall out of bed @4am and I be calling 911. Oh Hi Victoria, how are you? I’m fine officer, its pops. 8 times in one year. ER trips. Hospitals. Mummy sick, her surgeries. Quit my job. No wonder I was stressed. Ya think?
Flash forward to Sept, 25th 2009. Routine Dr. check-up. BP 185/ 92. Crap. New Dr. though. We talked. For an hour. Gave me some freebies for a med called Lexapro, to calm me down. Okay, now I don’t do drugs any more, but I figured, why not? Try it. Maybe it will help. Got the evening bullshit done, took one and had a glass of Cabernet. Big mistake! Huge! Within 20 minutes I was in the throes of a full-scale panic attack. I (by this time) owned my own BP cuff, since I had to take it once a week to monitor my numbers. Got the cuff, fuck. 210/99. Hour later 225/130. 2 hours later 240/160. Not again lord. This can’t be happening to me. Called the Dr. left a message. He called right back, first question, did you take the Lexapro? Yup. Second question, did I have anything to drink? Yup.
And therein was the problem. I always had a glass or two of red wine every night. No big really, except it was causing my heart rate to soar. In combo with the Lexapro ( which is a huge no-no by the way) well it was not cool. Dr. Yenz said can you chill until morning and come see me? I did. Still crazy high BP, but he took blood & ran some tests, something that no one ever did in hospital. Verdict, I was allergic to many chemicals & sulfites in the wine. Hell I was allergic to practically everything. Combined with my stressful existence= high BP. I was poisoning my own body, only I didn’t know it.
Sept 27th 2009. I quit drinking. Everything. Became Vegan. Gave up dairy, wheat, sugar, meat. Nothing processed, nothing canned, nothing frozen, nothing out of a bag or a box. Brown rice, avocados and green tea became my best friends. Though as a french chef my eating habits were always quite excellent. 2 months later, BP 140/80. Feb 2010. BP 130/70. Meds reduced and removed. April 2010 BP 121/65. Pulse 69. Perfection. Metoprolol dropped to 25 milligrams once a day. Still no alcohol. Though Dr. Ynez says a glass of Cabernet or Merlot would be fine now. A glass. Maybe 2. Sweet. On the weekends. As treat. Not as a way to reduce my stress. I have learned breathing techniques and relaxation methods. How to avoid stress or situations that could be potentially “unpleasant. Or how not to let certain situations piss me off or get control of me. Only I control me.
Saw Dr. Yenz the other day. He was in awe. I look incredible. I look fantastic. I glow. Radiant. My body has changed completely. Now if I could just get my obsession with Blip under control I’d be perfect! LOL> And that my friends is the second half of this story. Which will be next. And then the circle will be complete.
Tick ~ Tock ~ Boom. No longer.
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