Archive for January 21, 2018

It’s Not Terrible Anxiety. It’s Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease!

medical-appointment-doctor-healthcare-40568In my last post I described my horrible, mysterious anxiety. Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t emotional stress. It was a lack of oxygen to my muscles and my brain. My muscles burned with tension. I was depressed and ineffective. I dragged myself through the days and slept badly at night. I was shaking inside as if overwhelmed with nervousness.

At last, I became so disabled I asked my travel partner, Barb, to fly to Arizona and drive me back home to Ontario’s healthcare and my family. Meanwhile in Arizona where I’d planned to stay the winter, I was hospitalized with a minor stroke and suffered intolerable physical anxiety. My blood pressure was out of sight and I couldn’t stop shaking.

Barb arrived at the house I’d rented for Sammy the poodle and me and we started driving north and east, back to Ontario. We decided to go via Sedona. It was in this magic place that I stopped breathing except for tiny sips. Barb took me to the emergency where the medical people rolled me onto a stretcher and gave me a bunch of pipes containing oxygen and other gases. I survived, thanks to Barb, and spent the next days lying in bed with a magnificent view of Sedona’s red rock formations, soaking up the amazing energy of this wondrous place. We even found a great kennel for Sammy while I recovered. Here, my faithrful canine companion refused to get into their car or leave the property – in case I returned and he wasn’t waiting for me.

En route we passed Saint Louis where my niece lives. She and I had planned a visit while I was in the southern USA. Mary, my namesake, agreed to inform the family of my urgent state. At last we crossed the border and headed for London, Ontario, home of my nephew and his wife. I said to Barb, “I’m sure Rob and Barb would take us in.” We ended up basking in their caring as they fed and housed us for the night. I have to admit my brain was a bit addled, but I’ve never felt more loved and cared for. Families, when they work, are wonderful. My nephews and nieces had all, in some distant time, been my beloved babies.

As I write this, I am in Toronto at Barb’s house. Barb has taken Sammy to the local dog park. We are about to strike out for the final lap of our journey back to my home in Kingston where my son and daughter-in-law, plus her whole family await my return. I can be sure of help and support in facing whatever life has in store for me.

Best of all, I am remarkably peaceful and happy. I expect this has to do with a physical system that is properly oxygenated and free from an overdose of CO2. We are, after all, chemical beings.

For those of you who are interested, I’m attaching the note I wrote for my family in an attempt to explain what had happened to me. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.


Dear Family:

Now that my health situation finally makes sense to me, I want to let you know what’s been happening. For months, I’ve been experiencing anxiety that made no sense. My muscles burned with tension and my head clouded over. There was nothing in my life to warrant this. My BP went sky-high and I was constantly racing or trebling inside. It felt like the worst possible fear/anxiety. Turns out that COPD was responsible for all of this and for my high BP. It also caused a small stroke for which I was hospitalized in November. I still had not clued in to the underlying cause. I had not been careful to use my medication or equipment properly and this was a lengthy exacerbation for which I did not seek treatment. I’m really paying the price.

In Green Valley I got to a place that I was incapable of taking care of myself. I believe there was something in the air (sand or invisible smoke) that was poisoning my lungs. I asked Barbara Beresford to fly down and drive me home (5 days of driving.) Barb came and we have just now arrived at her house in Toronto.

En route when I could take only tiny sips of air she rushed me to the emergency at Sedona where they rolled me onto a stretcher and started giving me pipes-full of oxygen and various gasses. They would have hospitalized me, but fortunately there wasn’t a single hospital bed in the state. Barb and I headed for a hotel where I lay comfortably in bed soaking up the wonderful vibes of Sedona until I could do a little walking.

Conclusion: the agitation came from muscles starved for oxygen and given too much CO2. Same with the stroke, the confused thinking, high BP and all the other systems.

You can bet I’ll be looking for expert guidance around COPD in the Kingston area and that from now on, COPD awareness will be central to my life.

I’m hoping to be able to drive Sammy and me to Kingston tomorrow (Saturday) – but if I can’t Barb will drive me in my car. I look forward to being with all of you again.