On One Hand

May 5, 2006

Tumultuous Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 5:33 pm

I guess the chest pains I’ve been feeling over the last week are more than anxiety, because after the symptoms got much worse yesterday I went to a walk-in clinic complaining about chest pains and breathlesness, and they found an enzyme in my blood that singifies heart trauma. While they were hooking me up to the monitor I told them I’m probably a hypocondriac and need a psychologist more than a doctor, but I guess this time I had a good reason to be worried. They admitted me to Boulder Community Hospital overnight to monitor me and do several tests (the case was so minor that I was allowed to drive myself to the hospital), and found, over twelve hours of x-rays, echocardiograms, vital sign measurements and blood tests, that the signs of trauma were subsiding. My heart is perfectly healthy, I am told, but the problem is that irritation of the heart muscle has caused some fluid to pool around my heart (pericarditis) which caused pain and weakness. I was released with the hospital but need to go back for a follow-up exam in two weeks.

I’d just talked to the Christian minister of my religious group (the other minister is Unitarian) for three hours about what I need in my life, and she assigned me a spiritual exersize. The conversation started on problems with Clay and drifted to myself, and we wondered how I could improve myself for myself rather than for Clay. I said it shouldn’t make much difference because the actions are the same, because to get my focus off of someone I love so much seemed impossible at the time. But I recognize Tamara’s good sense behind her comments.

Being in a hospital overnight was a perfect way to finally look at myself. No one visited the first night and only my parents came in the morning (I told everyone I was fine and that they didn’t need to visit), so I had some time to think and realize that I do really want to live. I got a little scared for a while, but Clay answered the phone when I called at 1 am and helped me out. Ironically, having a potentially serious medical problem was exactly what it took to get my focus off of trivial things.

Looking back in time, I realized that the last week has been a tremendous process of change for me. On Monday I decided that since Clay and I had been dating so long, it was time to let him in on some issues in my psyche that few people are aware of. I talked about what I want our relationship to be and why it’s connected to my faith, and how my faith (and sense of security) has crumbled. I would never have said it if I didn’t trust him completely, and I was letting him see into my very depths.

On Tuesday night I briefly thought Clay was dumping me and broke down. I gushed to him how much I care about him and how much I can’t go through this right now, in the middle of finals, and he said I might have misenterpreted his email; he said he needs a “break,” which most people interpret as one thing but Clay interprets as “needing space” and that everything will be normal except that we don’t sleep together all the time. But in any case I opened up to him, no matter how much it woud potentially hurt me. In the mean time a growing pressure in my chest, seeming neither entirely physical nor entirely emotional, seeded the consideration that something serious could be wrong.

Then on Wednesday I talked to my pastor about my relationship with God, and she said, among other things, that she’s glad I have such a good understanding of why I feel the way I do and what my drives are. I was once again letting someone see into me. And I felt awesome after the night was up, with a better sense of what I need to do to put my life together. My heart felt great that night but I stayed up until 4 am studying, and my chest was soon aching again, more than ever, the next morning.

So on Thursday I talked to my parents about how I was feeling about life, telling them that I was scared about my problems and about losing Clay, and I asked my mother to pray for me, which is something I’ve never done. (I used to hate when my mother prayed for me). It was an intense conversation with my mother, and she responded by telling me things I already knew: (“You have to give him space if he wants space. It will work out if it’s meant to be, but if not, you’ll be ok.”) There were annoying moments in the conversation but I think the result was good.

Then I called my sister and had a talk with her about her life at CSU. It’s rare that I talk with her for a long time, because, though we were very close when we are young, there is a profound awkwardness in our conversations now that started when we were teenagers. I hope I’m breaking through that.

And right after I talked to my sister I went to the doctor and ended up in the hospital. Machines were hooked up to my body so that someone I didn’t even know could watch my pulse, and I watched as an ultrasound machine and X-rays showed doctors the exact anatomy of my heart. For the last week I’ve had so many people looking into my heart, trying to see where it’s broken.

The conclusion has to do with my anxiety and need to take care of myself. A doctor said she thinks I’m suffering from “mild depression” and anxiety, and that my chest pains and sense of exhaustion were a result of that and other things. The pericarditis likely results from alcohol or a viral infection, and a viral infection would indicate, as I assume, that I have not been taking care of my body. The doctor reccamended that I see a psychologist, while others gave me advice and prayers.



  1. 😦

    Comment by mroctober — May 6, 2006 @ 2:22 am | Reply

  2. Wow. I’m sorry things have been rough; that’s a lot to happen all at once. It seems like you will come out of it so much stronger because you have the will to.

    Also, I didn’t comment, but I liked your poem about god the other day.

    Comment by 477150n — May 6, 2006 @ 2:46 am | Reply

  3. Re: Tumultuous Times


    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a rough go of things right now. I sincerely hope you will get well soon. 🙂

    If you ever need a supportive, non-judgmental ear about anything, at any time, feel free to IM me — HarvillaL is the screen name.


    Comment by larrysphatpage — May 6, 2006 @ 6:23 am | Reply

    • Re: Tumultuous Times

      I do appreciate that, although I don’t use the Internet except on the school computers where I don’t have access to messenging.

      Comment by ononehand — May 6, 2006 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  4. Hey, you’ll be okay. You’re in my thoughts.

    Comment by randomcha — May 6, 2006 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

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