For two days I was feeling relatively good. I was up and about, cleaning stuff, and trying to get things sorted out so I can eventually go back to having a bedroom and an office again.
Actually let me go back a little farther. I went to the ER a couple of times. Once last week and once the week before that. The first time I was having an anxiety attack that was so insane I couldn’t handle it, which is pretty bad because I’ve been handling them for many years. It was about 2 AM when it happened and I debated going for two hours before I finally accepted that I couldn’t fix it myself. My father drove me there and they eventually gave me some Ativan, which made me feel really good for a few hours. Unfortunately it also gave me intrusive thoughts about 4 hours in and kept me off balance for a couple of days. It helped, but caused a whole other series of problems including, but not limited to: insomnia, confusion, & extreme memory loss. I ended up going back to the ER because these weird symptoms persisted well after the stuff was out of my system. They checked all my parts both times and found nothing wrong with my heart or anything obvious that would be causing me harm. Mostly they seemed to think it was all stress related and mostly in my head, and the second time they figured I had a bad reaction to the Ativan, which is not uncommon for me and drugs that alter brain chemistry. Lexipro, you may recall, made me have waking visions. They gave me some very strong antihistamines which knocked me on my ass for the better part of two days.
Of course they also made my terrible allergy symptoms abate, which made it possible for me to sleep better than I have in a long time. The dizziness I feel almost constantly also lessened considerably while they were in my system. They seem to make my heart rate increase though, which I’m not sure is common or not. In any event a few days later my doctor’s office called and said they wanted to run additional tests based on the ones they ran on the ER. My blood has very high iron content so they sometimes draw off some for medical reasons I can’t remember. It’s caused by my sleep apnea and it gets better when my cpap is working and I can sleep. It was borderline the last time I went to the doctor so they didn’t draw any off. Erring on the side of me not needing it done. Anyway I rushed over to the doctors to have the new tests done because they made it sound like they would decide what to do right then and there. After they drew blood they said they would have to send off the labs like usual and it would be a few days. This was on MLK day. I was very tired after that and slept most of the rest of the day and some part of the next, but before I went to bed I replaced all the attachments for my cpap: mask, hose, & filter. The hose is heated so it doesn’t blow freezing cold air in. The mask is the same ill fitting one as I always end up with, but it was fresh, so the rubbery bit had some life left in it. The filter is just a filter, but it’s clean. A couple of days of sleeping with those changes I felt great. So much so that I thought that maybe a big part of my problem was not getting a good seal on my mask because the apnea can cause all the symptoms of anxiety or make existing problems worse. Basically because I choke in my sleep and the panic of almost dying, and lower oxygen levels, make anxiety much worse.
Now I’m not sure about the whole thing. I’ve been up and about, as I said before, but it comes between bouts of feeling unwell. I sleep at random times, my muscles hurt so much sometimes I can barely function, my foot swells up, then it’s better, I feel sick to my stomach then I’ll suddenly be fine, then the cycle starts over. I think I have an infection in my ears or my jaw, or something… Sometimes it seems like how I’m sitting causes problems. When I sat down to write this post I suddenly had this weird spasm that make me feel like my breathing was out of sync with my heartbeat, or something. I don’t know. It just seems like someone should be able to give me some idea of what my problem is after telling a handful of medical professionals about everything that’s going on. It really seems like as soon as I say I have anxiety they just think it’s all in my head, but it can’t ALL be. Once I sorted out the cpap the better part of the anxiety just stopped, but some of the other stuff kept happening. I don’t think counseling is going to help with the muscle tension issues. I can’t find a place to sleep that allows me to get the right kind of rest anymore. I had to dismantle my little sleep coffin, as it has come to be known, and haven’t been able to replicate it.
I’ve been sleeping in my parent’s bed the last few days and it just doesn’t work. It’s super soft & causes my sternum to ache so much. My chest just kind of folds in half when I go fully to sleep. Which is why I made my little J.T. horizontal sleeping stand originally. Basically I like to sleep like a piece of toast snuggly inside a toaster. I also like sleeping on my right side & since I’ve been sleeping on mom’s side of the bed I’m oriented incorrectly. I really resisted sleeping in their bed but finally just gave up because since mom is always gone the dogs all want to sleep wherever I am and the bed is easier to deal with than being in a big pile of me and dogs on the floor. The dogs can’t get along or settle down either. Everything is such a power struggle with them. It’s less crowded now that Solomon died, but that’s the only silver lining there.
In any event I’ve managed to keep updating by working in the moments when I suddenly feel normal. They come and go at random, so I drop everything as soon as I realize I’m operating closer to 100% than whatever percentage has become the norm, and work as fast as I can. It may be a while before anything dynamic happens again in the comic since I’m struggling to draw people standing around talking. That’s about the minimal baseline for sequential art. If you can’t do that you better be really fucking funny, which I am not.
In not complaining news I bought a tiny fan to blow on my surface while I work. It goes in the USB port, is very quiet, and works well. I have to be careful while I do stuff because it’s just bare blades on a cord. Since the overheating thing happens randomly and without an obvious cause the fan seems to be a good solution for now.
The other day I took my old Surface power cord and hooked it up to see if any part of it was working. The part that was broken was the main square bit. So I saved the plug part. Not sure why because I doubt I’ll ever need it, but you never know.
Nintendo sent me an email about Dragon Warrior Builders, or whatever it’s called, because there’s a demo for the Switch now. I was interested before, but since the downloading is so much easier on the Switch I decided to try it. I kind of assumed that it was already in the shop but it’s not till next month, which is a shame because I really liked it and wanted to play more. It’s basically Minecraft with a Dragon Warrior skin, but not exactly. There’s more goal oriented play which I like. I also like the classic DW score. Minecraft has always been lacking as far as music goes.
Well that’s a sign of a strong relationship. The biggest factor in ending relationships is economics
Jeez, sounds like a lot is going on for you, as usual. Well I hope you know we’re all here for you cheering you on your path and will not only find patience but hopefully some solace from that!
On the Dragon Warriors builder’s note. I agree- I wanted more too. I did everything in the demo then grabbed tons of dirt and started constructing ridiculous things, a giant maze, towers of dirt all over, and the beginning of a pantheon. Was a lot of fun. Reminded me of a mix between Backyard monster’s. (A base defense game.) And then as you said, Minecraft. I wish we had gotten the opportunity to work with stone. Dirt is so limiting and my OCD was driving me up the wall with certain parts of the city couldn’t be destroyed/built back up.
Hope you continue to sleep well and start feeling better! We’re all rooting for you.
This comic makes me realize that I sometimes have a difficult time understanding the mindset of Jo, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. She seems like someone who’d be real chill to hang with, yet keeping you on your toes at the same time. Such people are rare indeed and are to be treasured.
Life just seems too stale without people like Brooksie…
oh man, dragon warrior builders makes me want a switch. I even resisted with BotW, but this might crack me…
Hope you keep feeling better and better. Baby steps and all. :)
Just wanted to say, I’m happy your feeling better that usual. With everything you’ve been going through, that makes me happy. Fingers crossed it stays that way! =)
I…I don’t think I’m getting that last line…
I’m just guessing, but- I guess Jo is saying a sarcastic thing, like:
[Oh Goody. We get to talk about banks, + saving money, + making charts, That sounds like lots and LOTS of fun!], or something like that.
i think it’s been mentioned before, but apnea can cause stress on the heart, where the wrong cells decide to act as the pacemaker, and since they’re not good at it and doing it at the same time as the usual cells, you get “atrial fibrillation” – fast irregular heartbeats. next time your heart feels out of sync, check your pulse to see if it’s still regular. i had afib a few years back, and they saw it in the emergency room, but it didn’t happen to appear while i was on the monitor in the cardiologist’s office, or in the 24 hours i was wearing the holter monitor. afib also comes with a feeling of anxiety but it sounds like you have that more often than would likely be attributed to afib.
this has been ‘unsolicited medical advice’ with your host, another amateur doctor! ;-)
i hope you feel better. you’re good people. :-)
I feel for you when you talk about your anxiety attacks. I have PTSD, and often have times of high anxiety and panic attacks.
Last year, I had to go to emergency care because of fireworks. Normally, I’m mentally prepared for the holidays that shoot off fireworks, but my neighbor didn’t get to set off all his commercial and other fireworks on the 4th of July, so he decided to do it mid-August. Out of the blue and with no warning. I was on the deck grilling hamburgers, and suddenly it sounded like a freaking war zone erupted near me. Needless to say, after I got back from the clinic after also taking Ativan, the police went next door and wrote him a fine, reminding him that he has veterans who live in his neighborhood.
But yeah, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I sweat bullets and want to break things sometimes when my anxiety hits a peak. So I feel for you, big time.
Hopefully we can both find ways to cope that work better in the future.
Amen to that. I hope you can work it out.
Unrelated to the comic-
I agree w/ a thing that Jackie said, on twitter, about Nintendo Labo.
Labo = nintendo selling people [a toy made of cardboard boxes], to people, for $70 apiece.
That’s quite a thing.
Seriously, I also tip my had to the marketing-person who takes $6 of pipe insulation, and selling it as four [pool noodles], for ten dollars. That’s quite the marketing ploy. Please pardon my talking about L stuff.
I don’t want to armchair-diagnose (I’m not *that* kind of doctor…) but you saying your blood has a very high iron content got my attention. Have you ever been tested for hemochromatosis? (https://www.hemochromatosis.org/)
My kind-of mother-in-law has it and my partner is borderline (it apparently can be an inherited condition). They both have some symptoms that are similar to yours. It is *definitely* treatable. Maybe that could account for some of your medical problems?
Again, I’m not trying to intrude or diagnose you here – just hoping you feel better soon and trying to help with that a wee bit! I really admire your work ethic; I’ve got some medical problems of my own and I’m not NEARLY as reliable in my own work as you are! :)
Jackie, have you ever seen a dietician? I only ask because I’ve dealt with a ton of compounding health issues as well, and they have become very manageable since regulating some aspects of my diet. I used to think a lot of it was bs, but my own personal results are enough to make me a believer. I can’t pretend to know what would work for you since we are all different, but you might want to give it a try if all else fails.