Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

first coping


I’m home from the hospital.  Considering why I was there, everything went very well.  I did not have to do an EP study because my doctor felt he was has enough knowledge to go ahead with the main procedure: inserting the Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator.  The doctor found several low voltage areas in my heart, typical of ARVD.  He was able to induce Ventricular Fibrillation twice and, therefore, I was shocked twice.  My device was also read the next morning and everything seems to be working properly.

I did have a chance to push myself in the area of speaking up for myself, though.  I got to the cardiac specialty unit around 7 pm.  At 7:30 pm, I asked for my nighttime medications.  When they gave me my first dose of IV antibiotics, I asked for them a second time.  When they did my final vital signs at 9 pm, I asked yet again and was told that the pharmacy was sending them up.  By 11:30, my meds were still not there.  I was tired.  I was in pain.  And without those meds, I don’t sleep.  And did I mention, I really don’t like being in the hospital?  Especially when I am sleeping on an uncomfortable bed and can only sleep on my back and can’t move my left arm?  

But I kept telling myself not to press the call button and get my nurse and bother her for my meds.  I didn’t want to be that patient: the one who is always making demands, who annoys all the nurses, who whines, who complains about stupid things.  Mind you, I hadn’t complained about anything yet, nor had I even pressed the call button once.  But for some reason, I didn’t think I had the right to bother them.  It didn’t matter that I know I needed those medications.  I was going to stay silent.  

Suffer in silence?  Isn’t that what a lot of us have done so well for so long?  And then when we finally do start asking for help, how many of us were told we were complaining or making too big a deal of something?  I know I was.  And I learned not to ask for help.  In fact, I prided myself on not asking for help.  For biting the bullet and just getting through.

But I didn’t want to bite the bullet this time.  My physical body won over my emotional baggage and at 11:30 pm, with tears in my eyes, I finally pressed the call button and asked as politely as possible if anyone knew when I could get my nighttime meds.  And my nurse came in and apologized because the pharmacy hadn’t sent them up yet (cardiac units usually do not stock psych meds).  But she did ask if there was anything else she could do to help me out.  She knew I was feeling bad, and she felt bad that she couldn’t do more.  

I waited another hour until she was able to get them, one by one.  During that time, I put on my iPod, listened to some favorite music and took my evil eye bracelet a friend had given for me, and passed each bead through my fingers slowly as I inhaled and exhaled and concentrated on nothing but the feeling of the beads between my fingers.  I can’t say that I was calm, but I avoided the overwrought emotional flood that probably would have made my night a lot worse and the incision a lot more painful.

It seems like I’ve begun to learn new ways to cope without really having to make a conscious effort.

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July 17, 2009 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, heart | , , , , , , ,

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