November 1st is always a strange day for me. It’s the day after my favorite day of the entire year, Halloween. It’s usually a melancholy day. I have to take down all my decorations and all the spooky movies aren’t playing 24/7. This year it was different.
Thursday, November 1st, was an exceptional day for me. I finally had a night of restful sleep. I woke up not feeling tired. I had a half day at work. I came home took down my Halloween decor and cleaned the house. I felt great, actually the best I had felt in a long time. My roomie and I were actually home at the same time, so I invited our friend Kati over and made dinner.
I hadn’t seen Kati in awhile. She sat in the kitchen while I worked my magic and we caught up. She complimented me on how well I looked and how it was the first time, in as long as she’s known me, that I’ve been this together. She was referencing the fact that I was finally putting myself first and was being myself. This compliment meant a lot to me. As this is exactly what I’ve been striving for the past year and a half. This is what happens to me though. Every time I have things together and I’m moving in a positive direction, the other shoe drops. I live my life in fear of the other shoe dropping. I’ve learned that it always drops.
After Kati left and Ashley went to bed, I decided to lay on the couch and watch the new Sabrina. I fell asleep on the couch because I did the whole, “one more episode” thing. I was woken up at 3:30 am. 3:30 am my defibrillator went off. What actually happened I am not sure I can describe accurately. To say that it was single-handedly the most terrifying thing that has happened to me would be an understatement. All I can really remember is feeling as if a 1000 pound anvil landed on my chest while getting struck by lightning. I legitimately flew up and forward off the couch, while clutching my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I was gasping for air. I couldn’t think. I had no idea what was happening as I sat in the floor hyperventilating. Finally, I calmed down and could form thoughts. I realized that I must have been shocked.
See in the 3 years and 2 months that I’ve had the defibrillator it hasn’t ever shocked me. It’s charged to shock me but my pacemaker managed to pace my heart into a normal rhythm. There was a time or two I thought I might have been shocked, but boy was I wrong. I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like if I was awake. Nor do I ever want to experience it.
I wasn’t really sure what I should do after being shocked and I wasn’t in the right state of mind to make any decisions. Naturally, I called my mom. Why? Because Karen knows what to do 97% of the time. My mother came over and I sent a transmission from my pacemaker to my EP specialist. I wasn’t sure if I should go to the ER or not. My doctors have told me previously that I don’t need to go to the ER unless I get repeatedly shocked. I decided to wait it out and see what my doctor had to say.
I don’t get to see my doctor until Friday. However, whatever he saw from my transmission made him take my driving privileges away and tell me that I am at a high risk of getting shocked again. He informed me that if I feel off or bad in any way that I need to go to the ER immediately. He also put me on a medicine I had been on previously and had issues with, but despite the side effects it does its job. He put me on the max dose 3x a day. Whatever he would rather discuss in person vs over the phone, has me freaking out. My anxiety is at an all-time high and part of me is too scared to go to sleep. I have barely slept since it happened. I know it’s silly that I’m not sleeping and sleeping didn’t cause me to get shocked, but I can’t help it.
The reality of what happened to me is slowly setting in. I have mixed feelings and in a way don’t know how I feel about it. I went to the ER on Friday because I didn’t feel right. I’ve felt off since it happened. I still don’t feel like my normal self. I spent a few hours with needles, IVs, heart monitors, and EKGs to be sent home to rest. I realize that had I not had this device that I likely wouldn’t have woken up. That my life could have been only 28 years long. That realization freaks me out. I’m so thankful that my defibrillator did its job, but I can say that this has been the worst experience of my life. The mental and emotional trauma as well as the physical. My left side is incredibly sore. Moving my arm, neck, or laying on my side is painful. My chest is sore to the touch. I’m slightly bruised from my neck to ribs.
Saturday morning I stood in front of my bathroom mirror staring at my reflection. I stood there and looked at my bruises and realized my left breast was slightly swollen. All I could do was tremble and cry. I cried while I ripped off my leads from the ER the night before. I cried as I slipped into a hot bath to wash the sticky residue of tape and monitors off of me. I cried because I’m scared. I cried because I’m overwhelmed. I cried because the reality of it all hit me. I am not normal.
I have got comfortable with my device. If anyone asked me about my heart then I would break it down as simply as I could. I tell them, “Yeah, I have it but it’s never gone off. I live a seemingly normal life. I’m good for now.” Well, that good for now is over. I have a feeling my “seemingly normal” life is about to be completely derailed. My life is going to do a 180 yet again. This experience has already changed me. I have been wanting to write a series of blogs breaking down the nitty gritty details of growing up and living with a legitimate broken heart. I had started writing the first one after I wrote about some of my experience with infertility. The feedback I received from that blog was unexpected and humbling. It was amazing the messages I received, the shares it got and I’m still hearing from strangers about it. So I figured why not really break this heart down? Why not put my story out there? Maybe just maybe my story can help someone. I didn’t really want to write to sort out my feelings for this scenario. Actually, I hoped I never would.
Yet, here I am writing to sort it all out. To get it out of my head. I sit here typing while feeling defeated. I’m trying to sort out how I actually feel and how I am physically doing. I’m trying to not stress or worry. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s okay, I’ll be okay. The other shoe always drops. For all of you asking how I am doing the answer is I don’t know. I’m sore, tired, confused and a little discouraged. I still don’t feel good and every little PVC, skipped beat, muscle cramp or shallow breath has me on edge. I just want to be normal. I want to not have to deal with this. I really want to get out of the house and not talk about it. I want to go for a run to let my frustrations out but I’m too damn scared. November 1st was a great day and it was normal. November 2nd, however, was not.