Breaking Point

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Well, I'm afraid I had a bit of a scare yesterday at the office, the end result of what has been months and months of stress.

I had worked all weekend, and didn't come remotely close to finishing what needed to be done. I hadn't slept well for... well, for months, really. 

I have multiple deadlines this week. I'm far behind, for reasons that are nearly all beyond my control, so I was working frantically to stay on top of things. And yesterday afternoon, it all finally caught up to me.

I was taking part in an online meeting with my boss, sharing a conference room with several other writers. We were discussing the numerous items that needed to be completed this week, all of which involved me in one way or another. (I think the total was about 20 doc files, and literally hundreds of pages of documents, all of which I had to either write or review by the end of the week.) 

I'd felt odd all day, almost as if I was watching myself at times. I remember I was having a hard time focusing on what was being said, almost as if I was hearing it from a distance. Then I suddenly felt dizzy. 

I don't remember what happened next, but I was told I stood up and mumbled that I needed to get some air. Then I took a few steps and collapsed. 

Apparently I came to almost immediately, but I was very woozy.  I was blocking the door, but I managed to roll over and sit up against the wall. That tiny effort, though, was enough to leave me feeling utterly drained.

My co-workers had immediately called for an ambulance; they arrived what seemed like moments later. They took my vital signs, then strongly suggested I go to the ER. I knew enough not  to protest. Not this time. It was the first time I've ever been in an ambulance. 

(There was one funny incident on a day that really wasn't all that funny. My sister C is an ER nurse; she's also the only one in my family who knows about Cass at the moment

(She was my emergency contact. While we were in the ambulance, the EMT saw the name and asked if she was the C who worked in the ER at her hospital. I said she was, and he smiled, saying they all loved her. The other EMTs agreed. 

(Then he paused and added, "She doesn't filter much, does she?" That made me laugh. I  told him if he thought *that* was unfiltered, just watch what happened when she got to the ER. That made *them* laugh. :c) 

(She was fine, of course, and I'm very graeful she was there to help translate what the doctors and nurses were telling me. I was quite woozy at times, and she would stop them, politely but firmly, and ask them to explain it to me again, then ask i I understood. She was wonderful. I always suspected she was good at her job; now I know she is.)

I was in the ER for over four hours. They gave me an IV for dehydration, did a chest x-ray, and ran several other tests. Oh, and they took blood. Lots and lots of blood. :c) 

The ER doctor concluded it was a vasovagal episode; that is, low blood pressure, caused by standing up quickly. It was compounded by low blood sugar (I'd only eaten a bag of peanuts all day), stress, and insomnia. 

He let me go home, but prescribed Atavin to help me sleep. He said I should follow up with my primary care doctor. I left her a message, and am hoping to hear back soon. I can't return to work until I have clearance from her.

My therapist had strongly recommended a stress leave *before* this incident; I would imagine she will insist on it now. And this time I won't argue. The ER doctor told me this was a warning sign from my body. I got the message. I don't ever want to wake up on the floor of a conference room again.

Things have to change in my life. A lot of them: my current/future work situation, my living arrangements, my eating habits, my work routine, and more. And they will. My transition and my health come first; those are the most important things in my life. Everything else is secondary. My manager, to her great credit, sent me a message today saying as much. She is a good, kind, decent person.

I feel better today, but am very, very tired. I slept for eight hours for the first time in months, and feel as if I could sleep for another 80. I will, finally, try to relax. 

I don't think I have a choice anymore. 


Nothing helps healing more than music in my book. I'm waiting for the new Dylan and Mark Knopfler CDs to arrive (both came out today); in the meantime, here are a few old favorites on today's playlist.

I miss Levon Helm. :c(

There has always been something oddly moving about this video; I'm not sure what it is. It is a magnificent song, that's for sure. Mark Knopfler is one of the most distinctive guitar players I have ever heard.

Carole King wrote this one, believe it or not.


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