Heart Issues

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I have been trying for several weeks to write a blog post. But my mind has been feeling overwhelmed by all the things that are going on in the world right now. Most days, instead of writing a blog, I click on my computer Solitaire. With our small rescued poodle snoozing in my lap, and the Australian Koolie puppy that we found last year napping beside me, I play several rounds of my favorite classic game.

The wind outside is blowing hard again, rattling the branches of the trees. There appears to be no end in sight to the record-breaking drought or the heat wave. Since the end of April, my phone has sounded twelve emergency fire evacuation alerts, as the largest uncontrolled wildfire in New Mexico’s history burns. Most of the fires are over 100 miles from our home. But one fire came within 40 miles, and another burned just 20 miles away. Our skies are often filled with smoke. I stepped outside one day, in the middle of the afternoon, and everything was tinted a bright red-orange. Not just the sky, but the whole outdoors glowed with an unearthly, fiery light. It was both beautiful and terrifying. I took some pictures with my phone, including the picture that I have posted at the top of this blog. But my phone’s camera could not capture the full, eerie effect.

Sometimes, when the fire alerts sound, I cry. I cry for all the people who have to evacuate yet again, for the poor animals, displaced from their habitat, for the ruined forests, and for the homes that are being destroyed. My husband and I have talked about what we will do if we have to evacuate. We agreed that we will just grab our three dogs, get in the truck, and go. Everything else is replaceable.

For so many years of my life, although I wanted to be informed about what was going on in the world, I could not watch or read any news reports. My PTSD was too easily triggered by things in the news. But now, thanks to several years of healing talk therapy, and the approximately 30 neurofeedback treatments that I had in 2017, I read or watch the news almost every day. Although my PTSD issues are rarely triggered now, I often end up with tears running down my face. The war in Ukraine. The drought. The fires. The horrific, evil shootings. I cry, and I pray. Sometimes I feel like my heart is breaking.

Last month, in the middle of April, I was bending over, cleaning the dogs, like I always do when I let them in after going outside. Suddenly I became very dizzy and I fainted. I fell all the way to the floor. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I exercise every day. I take health supplements. My diet is pretty good. I thought I was healthy. What happened, I wondered?

I noticed then that my heart seemed to be beating erratically from time to time. It felt like a fish was fluttering in my chest. I called my doctor’s office and made an appointment. She ordered a 48 hour cardiac Holter monitor. While wearing the monitor, I was supposed to tap it twice and write in a diary every time I noticed a heart arrhythmia. I tapped and recorded a total of 24 heart episodes during those 48 hours. Two of those episodes, just as I was about to get into bed on the second night, were very severe. They happened back to back, a couple of minutes apart. Those arrhythmias were so bad, I thought for a few minutes that my heart was never going to beat correctly again.

Years ago, when I was in nursing school, one of our instructors taught us that when a patient feels like their heart is misfiring, we should tell them to cough several times. Apparently, hard coughing can sometimes shock your heart back to its normal beat. I did that, when I was having the worst episodes. But even then, it took awhile for my heart to go back to normal. In retrospect, I should have called for an ambulance.

I removed the heart monitor at the end of the prescribed time and shipped it to an address in Arizona, where my 48 hour ECG would be read and compared with my written diary. It took awhile for my doctor to get the report. Finally, a nurse from my doctor’s office called. Long story short: I have an appointment to see a cardiologist on June 2. That’s four days from now.

Meanwhile, even with everything that’s going on, I am still writing in my memoir every day. I haven’t missed one day of writing my memoir since I began this particular draft, on September 7, 2018. Some days, I write hundreds of words. Some days, I only write a couple of sentences. But even if I only write my ‘mini habit’ goal of 25 words in a day, as long as I meet that goal, I don’t lose my momentum. I had no idea when I started this venture, that it would take me so long to write just one book! I hope and pray that I live long enough to write the whole thing, edit it, and get it published. But even if this does not happen, I have found that writing my life story has been worth the effort. The simple act of writing down my memories, both the good and the bad, has been very enlightening and healing.

My daughter, who lives in Washington State, is a licensed therapist. When I visited her home in the summer of 2017, she was so impressed by the changes she saw in me as a result of my neurofeedback treatments, that she became trained and licensed as a provider of NFT. Now, she is studying a form of therapy called LifeSpan Integration. She sent me the link to an article and video that explains what LI is all about. After reading the article and watching the video, I told my daughter that it seems quite similar to what I have been doing these past three and a half years, in the daily writing of my life story. I am integrating my memories! Some days the writing is hard, and some days it’s easy, depending on what part of my story I am working on. But always, I feel a sense of relief when my goal of writing for that day is done.

Here’s an example of one of my shorter daily memoir writings:

“Hey, look what I got,” Brad said as he walked through the door. I gasped when I saw what he had in his hands. It was a long barreled rifle.

I wrote those 30 words about ‘Brad’ (name is changed) and his rifle, back on December 1 of last year. I had to write this part of my story a few words at a time, over a period of several days. But I got it written!

And yaay, it looks like I have finally written a brand new blog post, for the first time in too many weeks. πŸ˜€

The picture below was taken on April 5 of this year. That’s me and my hubby, getting out of the house and going to lunch with some friends, for the first time in almost 2 years. This covid-19 pandemic has been a hard trial for everyone. My husband was treated for cancer last year, and his oncologist does not want us going out in public yet. But my hubby decided to make an exception for a high school friend who was driving through our town from New Jersey to the west coast. They hadn’t seen each other since they graduated in 1967! I have cut my husband’s friend and the friend’s wife out of the picture, since I don’t have their permission to share it on my blog. They are a great couple, and it was so much fun visiting with them.

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I am very grateful to all of my blogger friends, and to everyone who stops by and reads this rambling post. Thank you! God bless you! Here’s a great big grandma ((HUG)) if you want one. ❀

Bless the Beasts and the Children

We need more laughter and love. Thanks, Mitch!

Mitch Teemley

My heart has been troubled at how unimaginably brutal our world has become of late. So the only thing that felt appropriate was to post this collection of reminders, both silly and sweet, that love and kindness still exist. For all who are hurting, may there behealing and restoration.

Click on any image to enlarge it, or to begin slide show.

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